More than three hundred different enzymes in your cells need magnesium to work, including every enzyme that uses or synthesizes ATP (the basic energy molecule in a cell) and including enzymes that synthesize DNA and RNA. It is also a constituent of bones and teeth, is important for neuromuscular contractions, and is necessary in the production of testosterone and progesterone. It is important for the metabolism of phosphorus, calcium, potassium, sodium, B-complex vitamins, and vitamins C and E. Magnesium is also a cofactor in methylation (see Genes to Know About: MTHFR) and is necessary for detoxification functions.
Importantly, magnesium depletion has been shown to have a profound impact on the thymus gland (an important immune system organ), which has implications for all autoimmune diseases. Higher levels of dietary magnesium have also been correlated with decreased systemic inflammation in postmenopausal women. Although links between magnesium deficiency and autoimmune disease have not been extensively studied, a link to systemic lupus erythematosus has been established.
Foods rich in magnesium include green vegetables, nuts and seeds, fish, legumes, and avocados.