If you think back to your high school chemistry class, you'll probably remember learning about magnesium. It's the 12th element on the periodic table and is a shiny, silvery metal. It's found in plants and soil, but it's also an important nutrient that your body needs to survive.

"Magnesium is found in the bones, muscles, soft tissues and bodily fluids," says Amber Ingram, a registered dietitian with the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus. "Magnesium is important to many processes in the body, including building proteins, bone and DNA, as well as regulating muscle and nerve functions, blood sugars and blood pressure."

Marysa Cardwell, a nutrition therapist and contributing dietitian to Lose It!, a free calorie-counting app, says magnesium is involved with more than 600 metabolic processes in the body. "This means that without magnesium, everything from protein synthesis and blood sugar control to blood pressure regulation and energy production suffers."

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