Magnesium is rightly called the miracle mineral. There are few minerals which attract so much attention and instigate so much scientific research. The reason is that it not only participates in over 300 biochemical reactions in the body, but helps maintan so many bodily functions, such as the normal muscle and nerve function, steady heart rhythm, normal blood pressure, healthy immune system and strong bones. It also helps maintain the blood sugar at normal levels. It plays a vital role in preventing heart disease, diabetes, cancer, osteoporosis and a whole range of other dangerous and debilitating diseases.
Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body. About half of the total body magnesium is found in bones. The other half is found mostly inside cells of body tissues and organs. Only 1% of magnesium is found in the blood where it plays a vital role, so the body works very hard to keep the blood magnesium levels constant.
“…Important participant in enzyme processes which ensure protein biosynthesis and carbohydrate metabolism. It is also very important for the nervous and muscular systems, helps to maintain the healthy tone of the blood vessels. Magnesium is a ‘calming’ element for the nervous system slowing down the brain activity. It expands the blood vessels and is a natural diuretic. Generally, it is vital for all body systems and processes. Adult requirement in magnesium is 350-500mg per day. Fresh Green Vegetables, Seafoods, Soybeans, Special Nutritional Yeasts, Seeds, Apples and Whole Grains are
rich sources. Read more about the important role of magnesium in the body”. http://www.traceminerals.com/research/magnesium.html
Magnesium deficiency – how it affects our health
There is increasing evidence which connects low levels of magnesium in the body with a whole range of diseases. “…Magnesium deficiency is a health problem of first cause. Magnesium is a nutritional element that is dangerously low today. Because of its essential role as a foundational building block of cell physiology we have a huge health problem that allopathic medicine is dragging its feet to address. Populations in the first world are dangerously deficient and are actually starving for magnesium. Doctors are missing a huge opportunity to help their patients when they ignore the increasing deficiency of magnesium in them. We are familiar with the malnourishment of third world populations and do not expect to see this in the west. The clinical impact of magnesium deficiency is huge and can be tied into the majority of clinical situations”. http://www.magnesiumforlife.com/magnesiumdeficiency.shtml
And this is what Mildred S. Seelig, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.N. says in her book “MAGNESIUM DEFICIENCY IN THE PATHOGENESIS OF DISEASE – Early Roots of Cardiovascular, Skeletal and Renal Abnormalities”:
“Magnesium plays an important role in maintaining the integrity of the myocardium, kidneys, and bone. Its deficiency has been shown to cause cardiomyopathy in several animal species, and to intensify myocardial lesions caused by a variety of modalities. Its deficiency has caused arteriosclerosis and has intensified formation of atheromata, or arteriosclerosis, thrombosis, and even myocardial infarction, induced by atherogenic diets, high intakes of vitamin D, calcium, phosphate, and fat. Its deficiency has caused renal lesions and intensified damage produced by vitamin D, calcium, and phosphate. And its deficiency has been implicated in some forms of bone damage. Magnesium supplementation has prevented or reversed some of the lesions in the experimental models and been used clinically in cardiovascular disease and urolithiasis”.
Dr. Nan Kathryn Fuchs, author of “The Nutrition Detective”, says the following about Magnesium deficiency: “Our diets today are very different from those of our ancestors though our bodies remain similar. Thousands of years ago, our ancestors ate foods high in magnesium and low in calcium. Because calcium supplies were scarce and the need for this vital mineral was great, it was effectively stored by the body. Magnesium, on the other hand, was abundant and readily available, in the form of nuts, seeds, grains, and vegetables, and did not need to be stored internally. Our bodies still retain calcium and not magnesium although we tend to eat much more dairy than our ancestors. In addition, our sugar and alcohol consumption is higher than theirs, and both sugar and alcohol increase magnesium excretion through the urine. Our grains, originally high in magnesium, have been refined, which means that the nutrient is lost in the refining process. The quality of our soil has deteriorated as well, due to the use of fertilizers that contain large amounts of potassium a magnesium antagonist. This results in foods lower in magnesium than ever before.”
According to American nutrtionists, an average adult needs 200mg more magnesium per day than is obtained from a diet. The fact is, that dietary magnesium is not sufficient in providing the body with this important mineral.
Symptoms of chronic magnesium deficiency
“Early signs of magnesium deficiency include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and weakness. As magnesium deficiency worsens, numbness, tingling, muscle contractions and cramps, seizures, personality changes, abnormal heart rhythms, and coronary spasms can occur. Severe magnesium deficiency can result in low levels of calcium in the blood (hypocalcemia). Magnesium deficiency is also associated with low levels of potassium in the blood (hypokalemia).
Many of these symptoms are general and can result from a variety of medical conditions other than magnesium deficiency. It is important to have a physician evaluate health complaints and problems so that appropriate care can be given.” http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/magnesium.asp
An abstract from Magnesium Research (1994) 7, 3/4, 313-328 (http://www.mgwater.com/dur01.shtml) says:
“Open and controlled trials have established the clinical and paraclinical pattern of chronic magnesium deficiency (CMD). Whatever the age nervous consequences must be first studied: clinical and paraclinical symptoms of latent tetany (hyperventilation syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome, spasmophilia, cryptotetany) with or more often without ‘idiopathic’ mitral valve prolapse (idiopathic Barlow’s disease, Da Costa syndrome, soldier’s heart, effort syndrome, neurocirculatory asthenia) with or without pseudoallergy (through peripheral hyperreceptivity) more often than allergy (type I mainly). The non-specific pattern of this symptomatology brings the patient to consult a wide range of specialists as well as the general practitioner. It includes non-specific central, peripheral and autonomic manifestations.
The neurotic, or rather, ‘central’ symptoms consist of anxiety, hyperemotionality, fatigue, headaches (and sometimes migraine), insomnia, light-headedness, dizziness, nervous fits, lipothymiae, sensation of a ‘lump in the throat’, of ‘nuchalgia’ and ‘blocked breathing’.
The peripheral signs are acroparaesthesiae, cramps, muscle fasciculations and myalgiae. The functional disorders include chest pain, sine materia dyspnoea, blocked respiration, precordialgia, palpitations, extrasystolae, dysrhythmias, Raynaud’s syndrome, trends to orthostatic hypotension or conversely to borderline hypertension. In fact, the dysautonomic disturbances involve both the sympathetic and the parasympathetic systems”.
What causes magnesium deficiency?
The levels of magnesium in the body are depleted due to a number of factors, such as stress – physical and mental, certian medications (e.g. insulin, diuretics, some asthma medications, birth control pills, corticosteroids), extreme physical training, chemical toxins getting into the body from the environment, excessive intake of sodium chloride (table salt), sugar, caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, cocaine, fizzy drinks (especially colas), intense sweating, diarrhoea, etc. Age is another factor which plays a major role in magnesium deficiency.
This information is quoted from the Office of Dietary Supplements website:
“…There is concern about the prevalence of sub-optimal magnesium stores in the body. For many people, dietary intake may not be high enough to promote an optimal magnesium status, which may be protective against disorders such as cardiovascular disease and immune dysfunction.
The health status of the digestive system and the kidneys significantly influence magnesium status. Magnesium is absorbed in the intestines and then transported through the blood to cells and tissues. Approximately one-third to one-half of dietary magnesium is absorbed into the body. Gastrointestinal disorders that impair absorption such as Crohn’s disease can limit the body’s ability to absorb magnesium. These disorders can deplete the body’s stores of magnesium and in extreme cases may result in magnesium deficiency. Chronic or excessive vomiting and diarrhea may also result in magnesium depletion.
Healthy kidneys are able to limit urinary excretion of magnesium to compensate for low dietary intake. However, excessive loss of magnesium in urine can be a side effect of some medications and can also occur in cases of poorly-controlled diabetes and alcohol abuse”. http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/magnesium.asp
Who may require extra magnesium?
This is what the above mentioned website says about the subject:
“Magnesium supplementation may be indicated when a specific health problem or condition causes an excessive loss of magnesium or limits magnesium absorption.
- Some medicines may result in magnesium deficiency, including certain diuretics, antibiotics, and medications used to treat cancer (anti-neoplastic medication). Examples of these medications are:
Diuretics: Lasix, Bumex, Edecrin, and hydrochlorothiazide
Antibiotics: Gentamicin, and Amphotericin
Anti-neoplastic medication: Cisplatin
- Individuals with poorly-controlled diabetes may benefit from magnesium supplements because of increased magnesium loss in urine associated with hyperglycemia.
- Magnesium supplementation may be indicated for persons with alcoholism. Low blood levels of magnesium occur in 30% to 60% of alcoholics, and in nearly 90% of patients experiencing alcohol withdrawal. Anyone who substitutes alcohol for food will usually have significantly lower magnesium intakes.
- Individuals with chronic malabsorptive problems such as Crohn’s disease, gluten sensitive enteropathy, regional enteritis, and intestinal surgery may lose magnesium through diarrhea and fat malabsorption. Individuals with these conditions may need supplemental magnesium.
- Individuals with chronically low blood levels of potassium and calcium may have an underlying problem with magnesium deficiency. Magnesium supplements may help correct the potassium and calcium deficiencies.
- Older adults are at increased risk for magnesium deficiency. The 1999-2000 and 1998-94 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys suggest that older adults have lower dietary intakes of magnesium than younger adults. In addition, magnesium absorption decreases and renal excretion of magnesium increases in older adults. Seniors are also more likely to be taking drugs that interact with magnesium. This combination of factors places older adults at risk for magnesium deficiency. It is very important for older adults to consume recommended amounts of dietary magnesium”.http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/magnesium.asp
Magnesium and the Heart
Magnesium is an essential element for the heart. People suffering from heart problems have low magnesium and high calcium levels in the heart muscle. High calcium levels constrict the arteries, making them rigid and reducing their elasticity, which increases the rate of heart attacks. Also, artherosclerosis is the condition which involves calcium deposits in the arterial walls. Magnesium, on the other hand, dilates the arteries and lowers cholesterol deposits in the arterail walls, thus reducing the high blood pressure and a risk of heart attacks and strokes.
There is extensive research showing that when patients with coronary heart disease are treated with high doses of magnesium injections, their survival rate increases dramatically.
Worldwide, the intake of magnesium has decreased and that of calcium has increased – due the high use of fertilisers high in calcium and low in magnesium. This (and of course other factors, such as unhealthy diet and lifestyle) has resulted in the unprecedented increase in the number of people dying from heart conditions. Potassium (coming from fertilisers) is thought to be another culprit for depeltion of magnesium levels in soils and in our diets.
Areas where the soil is low in calcium and potassium and high in magnesium show a much smaller rate of conditions connected with magnesium deficiency.
In her article “MAGNESIUM IN ONCOGENESIS AND IN ANTI-CANCER TREATMENT: INTERACTION WITH MINERALS AND VITAMINS”, Mildred S. Seelig, M.D., M.P.H. says about the risk of mortality from cardiovascular disease: “Greater morbidity and mortality from cardiovascular disease is directly correlated with water softness and diet. Metabolic balance studies, with normal young adults on their usual diets, show that the lesser American Mg intake by adults, causing negative Mg balance, than in the Orient, correlates with the much higher death rate from ischemic heart disease (IHD) in the USA. Most American diets provide less than 70% of the 1980 recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of Mg. Experimental and clinical studies, and epidemiologic findings indicate that it is Mg, rather than Ca, that protects against IHD, myocardial infarcts and sudden unexpected cardiac death caused by arrhythmias.”
Magnesium and Cancer
“Cancer is second to heart disease as a cause of death in the aged, and thus is more common in regions where more people reach old age. Depressed B-cell and T-cell immunologic function, occur with aging.(55-57) Also, the longer the exposure to environmental agents with oncogenic potential, the greater the risk of developing cancer”. http://www.mgwater.com/cancer.shtml
Worldwide studies have established that the cancer rate increases with the decreased magnesium content of water and of soil.
On May 19, 1931, Dr Schrumpf-Pierron presented a paper entiltled “On the Cause of the Rarity of Cancer in Egypt”. In it he concluded:
“(1) Cancer for Egypt is about one-tenth that of Europe and America.
(2) In Egypt, cancer is less frequent in country fellahin than in the Egyptians who live in the towns and who have adopted Europeanized dietary habits.
(3) The degree of malignancy of Egyptian cancers is less than that of European cancers. They develop less quickly, and have less of a tendency to invade neighboring tissues.
(4) The type of cancer which is the most frequent in all the countries rich in cancer is cancer of the digestive, tract, which represents 40 to 50 percent of all cancers. In the case of Egyptians, this type of cancer is remarkably rare; in the country fellahin, practically nonexistent”.
He concluded that the prevalence of potassium in the soils of European countries and their diets and not enough magnesium leads to an increased risk of cancer. In Egypt, both the soil and diet is rich in magnesium, and for this reason he saw it as the main factor in the very low cancer rate among Egyptians.
“An intoxication of potash – an excess of potash poisons – can “kill” the soil where the food is grown. It poisons the plants, then man. Besides, several other authorities have already accused potash of producing cancer. Theis and Benedikt, as will as Mentrier, have already stated that the higher amount of potash in cancerous tissue, which is a radioactive body, would cause the multiplication of cancerous cells”.
In her article “MAGNESIUM IN ONCOGENESIS AND IN ANTI-CANCER TREATMENT: INTERACTION WITH MINERALS AND VITAMINS”, Mildred S. Seelig, M.D., M.P.H. says that magnesium deficiency can both decrease and paradoxically protect against cancer. For example, magnesium supplementation of those who are magensium-deficient (e.g. chronic alcoholics) may protect them against developing some tumours.
“Optimal Mg intake may be prophylactic against initiation of some neoplasms. Since cancer cells have high metabolic requirements, it is not indicated (alone) in the treatment of cancer.”
The author then points out the correlation between water hardness/softness and longevity: “Since environmental factors have been judged likely to contribute to most human cancers, it is worth effort to ascertain if there are protective geochemical agents. Determining what it is in different geographic regions, that affects life expectancy, provides one approach. The largest area in the United States of America (USA) with increased longevity is in the north and central plains; the largest area with decreased longevity is in the south-eastern coastal area. These are hard and soft water regions, respectively”.
Worldwide studies have establsihed a reverse correlation of magnesium deficiency in soil and prevalence of certain types of cancer.
“A Russian report showed that stomach cancer is four times more common (40/100,000) in the Ukraine where the Mg content of soil and drinking water is low, than it is in Armenia (10/100,000) where the Mg content is more than twice as high.(14,66-68) A more recent morphologic and statistical analysis of neoplastic deaths in two Polish communities(69) disclosed a nearly three-fold higher death rate in the one in a low soil Mg area (27%) than in the one with high soil Mg (10%). The malignancies accounting for the differences were mainly adeno- and squamous cell carcinomas in the gastrointestinal tract (61.3%) and respiratory system (22.3%)”.
“Correlation of high rates of leukemia with low levels of Mg in soil and water is concordant with experiments showing that chronic Mg deficiency can cause lymphosarcomas and leukemia in rats”.
“Connective tissue, made up of fibroblastic cells that produced collagen type III, proliferated in the intestines of rats maintained on severely Mg deficient diets for at least 8 weeks. A less Mg-restricted diet did not evoke such tumors.”
She goes on to conclude: “Despite provocative findings that suggest that Mg deficiency might be implicated in aspects of pathogenesis and treatment of neoplasms, there are many unknowns. Investigation of these questions might lead to means to prevent lympholeukemias, or possibly of immuno-incompetence. Whether higher Mg intakes might be protective against oncogens in humans as it is in some animal models deserves study”. http://www.mgwater.com/cancer.shtml
Magnesium and Diabetes
There is a lot of scinetific research avaialble nowadays which links diabetes mellitus and magnesium deficiency. In his article, “Diabetes and Magnesium: The Emerging Role of Oral Magnesium Supplementation”, Jerry L. Nadler, M.D., says:
“A growing body of evidence suggests that magnesium plays a pivotal role in reducing cardiovascular risks and may be involved in the pathogenesis of diabetes itself. While the benefits of oral magnesium supplementation on glycemic control have yet to be demonstrated in patients, magnesium supplementation has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity. Based on current knowledge, clinicians have good reason to believe that magnesium repletion may play a role in delaying type 2 diabetes onset and potentially in warding off its devastating complications – cardiovascular disease, retinopathy, and nephropathy”.
He goes on to say that intracellular free magnesium levels are lower in patients with diabetes than in the general population. This is an important finding, since magnesium plays a crucial role in many enzymatic reactions involved in metabolic processes.
Insulin stimulates the transport of magnesium from the extra-cellular to the intracellular compartment. “Insulin resistance – central to type 2 diabetes – is associated with reduced intracellular magnesium and can be mitigated with magnesium. It has been demonstrated that insulin resistance in skeletal muscle can be reduced by magnesium administration”.
Jerry L.Nadler lists the following reasons for low magnesium levels in patients with diabetes:
- “Diets tend to be low in magnesium
- Renal excretion of magnesium is high
- Insensitivity to insulin affects magnesium transport as well as glucose metabolism
- Use of loop and thiazide diuretics promotes magnesium wasting”.
So what are the benefits of magnesium supplementation in people who have diabetes or are at risk of developing diabetes? Here is what the above article says:
“There are potential benefits supporting the use of magnesium supplementation in persons who have diabetes or risk factors for diabetes (Table 3). Increased magnesium intake is associated with decreased risk of developing type 2 diabetes in populations. In a prospective study of almost 85,000 women, the relative risk of diabetes for women in the highest quintile of magnesium consumption was 0.68 when compared with women in the lowest quintile (Figure 2). Oral magnesium supplementation is contraindicated in patients with significant renal impairment”.
“Magnesium supplementation does the following:
- Corrects the deficit in intracellular free magnesium levels
- Decreases platelet reactivity
- Improves insulin sensitivity
- May protect against diabetes and its complications
- May reduce blood pressure”.
At the end of his article, Jerry L.Nadler gives a good example of correlation between diabetes mortality and levels of magnesium in the drinking water:
“In a study from Taiwan, the risk of dying from diabetes was inversely proportional to the level of magnesium in the drinking water (Figure 4). This was all the more striking because the greatest increase in chronic disease mortality in Taiwan since 1970 has been due to diabetes. Because the dysregulation caused by a chronic latent magnesium deficit is probably more important than clinical hypomagnesemia in the pathogenesis of diabetes, this may suggest that dietary magnesium (including that in a water supply) is protective against diabetes and its dreaded complications”.
“Magnesium in the management of asthma: critical review of acute and chronic treatments, and Deutsches Medizinisches Zentrum’s (DMZ’s) clinical experience at the Dead Sea.
Harari M, Barzillai R, Shani J.
DMZ Rehabilitation Clinic, Ein-Bokek (The Dead Sea), Israel.
The recognition of asthma as an inflammatory disease has led over the past 20 years to a major shift in its pharmacotherapy. The previous emphasis on using relatively short-acting agents for relieving bronchospasms and for removing bronchial mucus has shifted toward long-term strategies with the use of inhaled corticosteroids, which successfully prevent and abolish airway inflammation. Because some of the biological, chemical, and immunological processes that characterize asthma also underly arthritis and other inflammatory diseases, and because many of these conditions have been successfully treated for the past 40 years at the Dead Sea, we were not surprised to realize and record the significant improvement of asthmatic condition after a 4-week stay at the Dead Sea: lung function was improved, the number and severity of attacks was reduced, and the efficacy of beta2-agonist treatments was improved. After reviewing the acute and chronic treatments of asthma in the clinic (including emergency rooms) with magnesium compounds, and the use of such salts as supplementary agents in respiratory diseases, we suggest that the improvement in the asthmatic condition at the Dead Sea may be due to absorption of this element through the skin and via the lungs, and due to its involvement in anti-inflammatory and vasodilatatory processes”.
Magnesium and Chronic Migraines
This is what Mauskop A, Altura BM are saying in their article “Role of magnesium in the pathogenesis and treatment of migraines”,Clin Neurosci 1998:
“The importance of magnesium in the pathogenesis of migraine headaches is clearly established by a large number of clinical and experimental studiesâ€¦However, the precise role of various effects of low magnesium levels in the development of migraines remains to be discovered. Magnesium concentration has an effect on serotonin receptors, nitric oxide synthesis and release, NMDA receptors, and a variety of other migraine related receptors and neurotransmitters.The available evidence suggests that up to 50% of patients during an acute migraine attack have lowered levels of ionized magnesium. Infusion of magnesium results in a rapid and sustained relief of an acute migraine in such patients. Two double-blind studies suggest that chronic oral magnesium supplementation may also reduce the frequency of migraine headaches. Because of an excellent safety profile and low cost and despite the lack of definitive studies, we feel that a trial of oral magnesium supplementation can be recommended to a majority of migraine sufferers. Refractory patients can sometimes benefit from intravenous infusions of magnesium sulfate”. http://www.mgwater.com/migraine.shtml
Following is an extract from an article by Mishima K, Takeshima T, Shimomura T, Kitano A, Takahashi K, Nakashima K, Okada H “Platelet ionized magnesium, cyclic AMP, and cyclic GMP levels in migraine and tension-type headache”; Headache 1997 Oct:
“Decreased serum and intracellular levels of magnesium have been reported in patients with migraine. It has been suggested that magnesium may play an important role in the attacks and pathogenesis of headachesâ€¦It is suggested that reduced platelet ionized magnesium in patients with tension-type headache is related to abnormal platelet function, and that increased platelet cyclic AMP in patients with migraine is related to alteration of neurotransmitters in the platelet”.
Magnesium and Muscle Cramps
Leg cramps are sudden, involuntary contractions of the calf muscles or mauscles in the soles of the feet that occur during the night or while at rest. The cramps can affect people in any age group.
There may be various causes for this to happen. Scientific research has not identified a precise reason for muscel cramps. However, it may be due to the nerves controoling the muscles rather than the muscles themselves.
The cramps can be caused by overexertion of the muscles, structural disorders ( such as flat feet), prolonged sitting, standing on hard surface, inappropriate leg positions, or dehydration. Less common causes include diabetes, hypoglycemia, anaemia, thyroid and endocrine dysfunction, Parkinson’s and certain medications.
Low levels of certain minerals acting as electrolytes in the body – they include magnesium, potassium, sodium and calcium – have long been linked to leg cramps. It especially affects long-distance runners and cyclists. Diuretics can also cause leg cramps, as well as pregnancy.
To prevent cramps from happening, consider the regular use of supplements, especially magnesium, potassium, calcium and sodium (be careful with sodium and take it only if it is low or if you sweat a lot). Stretch your calf muscles regularly. Heat applications for 10-15 minutes before going to sleep helps a lot.
Applying a “Bishofit” compress (warmed up) to the calf area for 1-2 hours (or even overnight) helps to replentish magnesium and relax the the calf muscles.
“Canadian doctors have found that magnesium supplements can alleviate muscle cramps. In severe cases, magnesium has been provided intravenously and this has led to relief of symptoms within 24 hours. Many cases of muscle cramps are caused by low concentrations of magnesium in the blood which can The reason why it helps is due to diuretic medications or strenuous exercise. When taken orally, it seems that magnesium glucoheptonate or magnesium gluconate work best”. Bilbey ,Douglas L, Prabhakaran V.M. Muscle cramps and magnesium deficiency: case reports. Canadian Family Physician. July http://www.internethealthlibrary.com/Health-problems/Muscle%20cramps%20-%20researchDiet&Lifestyle.htm
“Interrelationship of magnesium and estrogen in cardiovascular and bone disorders, eclampsia, migraine and premenstrual syndrome.
The anticonvulsive and antihypertensive values of magnesium (Mg) in eclampsia, and its antiarrhythmic applications in a variety of cardiac diseases, have caused Mg to be considered only for parenteral administration by many physicians. In contrast, nutritionists have long recognized Mg as an essential nutrient, because severe deficiencies elicit neuromuscular manifestations similar to those justifying its use in eclampsia. More recently, this element has been used to favorably influence latent tetany with and without thrombotic complications, to delay preterm birth, to influence premenstrual syndrome, and to ameliorate migraine headaches. Most of these disorders exclusively or largely afflict women. The lesions of arteries and heart caused by experimental Mg deficiency have been well documented and may contribute to human cardiovascular disease. Estrogen’s enhancement of Mg utilization and uptake by soft tissues and bone may explain resistance of young women to heart disease and osteoporosis, as well as increased prevalence of these diseases when estrogen secretion ceases. However, estrogen-induced shifts of Mg can be deleterious when estrogen levels are high and Mg intake is suboptimal. The resultant lowering of blood Mg can increase the Ca/Mg ratio, thus favoring coagulation. With Ca supplementation in the face of commonly low Mg intake, risk of thrombosis increases”. Seelig-MS J-Am-Coll-Nutr. 1993 Aug; 12(4): 442-58
Magnesium and Osteoporosis
Osteoporsis is mostly associated with the menopause and the changes that happen to the bone with age. There is growing evidence that osteoporosis is influenced by the levels of calcium, vitamin D, fluoride, phosphorus, magnesium, as well as trace minerals, such as copper (Cu), zinc (Zn) and manganese (Mn) which are essential co-factors in bone metabolism enzymes.
Magnesium plays a crucial role in bone metabolism by regulating active calcium transport. As a result, there has been high interest in the role of magnesium (Mg) in bone metabloism and its role in preventing osteoporosis. One of the studies conducted on post-menopausal women given magnesium hydroxide to measure the effect of magnesium on bone densisty has concluded that “at the end of the 2-year study, magnesium therapy appears to have prevented fractures and resulted in a significant increase in bone density”. Sojka-JE; Weaver-CM, Nutr-Rev. 1995 Mar; 53(3): 71-4 http://www.mdschoice.com/text/abstracts/Magnesium/magosteo.htm
One of the studies aiming to establish an interrelation between the rate of osteoporosis and nutrition has concluded that “osteoporosis-related bone fractures are a significant cause of mortality and morbidity, with women being particularly affected. Osteoporosis is a
condition of bone fragility resulting from micro-architectural deterioration and decreased bone mass; adult bone mass depends upon the peak attained and the rate of subsequent loss; each depends on the interaction of genetic, hormonal, environmental and nutritional factors. An adequate supply of calcium is essential to attain maximum bone mass, and adult intakes below about 500 mg/day may predispose to low bone mass. Supplementation with calcium may conserve bone at some skeletal sites, but whether this translates into reduced fracture rates is not clear. Chronically low intakes of vitamin D- and possibly magnesium, boron, fluoride and vitamins K, B12, B6 and folic acid (particularly if co-existing)–may pre-dispose to osteoporosis. Similarly, chronically high intakes of protein, sodium chloride, alcohol and caffeine may also adversely affect bone health. The typical Western diet (high in protein, salt and refined, processed foods) combined with an increasing sedentary lifestyle may contribute to the increasing incidence of osteoporosis in the elderly.Bunker-VW Br-J-Biomed-Sci. 1994 Sep; 51(3): 228-40” http://www.mdschoice.com/text/abstracts/Magnesium/magosteo.htm
In conclusion, although magnesium undoubtedly plays a major role in preventing and treating osteoporosis, its supplementation should go along with other minerals and vitamins for a balanced and productive response of the body systems to the treatment.
Magnesium in Pregnancy
Calcium, magnesium, and zinc supplementation and perinatal outcome
The overall importance of nutrition to favorable perinatal outcome is only beginning to be fully appreciated. Although nutritional status can be linked to such things as socioeconomic class and education, it is nutrition directly that exerts a biologic effect. This review has attempted to look at three elements and their relationship to maternal and fetal outcome. At the present time, there does not seem to be a role for routine magnesium supplementation during pregnancy. Magnesium deficiency, as an isolated nutritional deficiency, is rare, and the evidence is, at best, weak that magnesium supplementation reduces the risk of poor perinatal outcome. Zinc deficiency is also a very rare isolated nutritional finding. Our ability to measure zinc accurately, be it in leukocytes or serum, is improving, but the routine use of zinc supplements during pregnancy cannot be recommended at this time. It may be that zinc will be a useful diagnostic marker, rather than a therapeutic intervention. There is substantial evidence that the average American diet does not contain sufficient calcium. An expansive literature continues to grow in the areas of calcium and colon cancer, calcium and breast cancer, calcium and hypertension, and calcium and osteoporosis. Is it possible that our susceptibilities to these problems begin in utero? Obviously, the answer is unknown. What is known is that supplemental calcium to some degree is needed in the diets of most Americans and in about two thirds of pregnant women. Calcium supplementation seems to affect blood pressure favorably and, pending confirmation with larger trials, may significantly reduce prematurity and preeclampsia risk, thus improving perinatal outcome for a large number of our high-risk patients”.
Magnesium and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
I found this article named “Chronic Fatigue – an Answer?” on the website http://www.mgwater.com/chroniclz.shtml, which I reproduce here in full:
“Two recently published studies suggest that a possible organic explanation for Chronic Fatigue exists.
British scientists report that low levels of magnesium may play a part in this illness of unknown cause. Although it is unclear whether magnesium injections reported improvements in their condition. The findings were published in the March 30 issue of “The Lancet” a renowned British medical journal.
The studies were conducted by Dr. Michael J. Campbell, a medical statistician at Southampton General Hospital. Ivan M. Cox, a medical student at the University of Southampton and Dr. David Dowson, a Southampton physician.
“This study shows a dramatic improvement in a small group of people with this illness, but it is too soon to say that this is an appropriate treatment that will be of help to the vast majority of patients,” said Dr. Jay A. Levy, a professor of Medicine at the University of California at San Francisco, who has been searching for a possible viral cause of the disease.
Chronic fatigue patients usually complain about malaise lasting several months or years and nonspecific flu-like symptoms, including headaches, fever and muscle pain. They also suffer from an inability to think clearly, irritability and depression.
The researchers said they had decided to explore magnesium levels in patients with chronic fatigue because malabsorption of magnesium had been associated with lethargy and weakness. They did a case study and found that 20 patients suffering from chronic fatigue had slightly lower red-cell magnesium concentrations than did 20 healthy subjects matched for age, sex and social class.
In a clinical trial involving 32 patients with chronic fatigue syndrome, 15 patients were randomly given intramuscular injections of magnesium sulfate every week for six weeks and 17 were given shots of water.
The patients were not aware which treatment they were receiving. Before and after the treatment, patients completed a questionnaire asking about their energy levels, pain, perception, sleep patterns, sense of social isolation, emotional reactions and physical mobility.
Twelve of the 15 patients treated with the magnesium said they had benefited and reported higher energy levels, better emotional states and less pain: just three patients who received the dummy shots claimed any improvement.
Yet to be determined is why magnesium levels were so low in these patients and if this is the case in the majority of chronic fatigue patients. Doctors have only recently started to take chronic fatigue syndrome seriously after years of dismissing it as little more than a figment of a patient’s imagination”.http://www.mgwater.com/chroniclz.shtml
Magnesium and Cardiac Arrhythmias
Antiarrhythmic effects of increasing the daily intake of magnesium and potassium in patients with frequent ventricular arrhythmias. Magnesium in Cardiac Arrhythmias (MAGICA) Investigators.
Zehender M, Meinertz T, Faber T, Caspary A, Jeron A, Bremm K, Just H J Am Coll Cardiol 1997 Apr 29:5 1028-34
OBJECTIVES: This study sought to assess potential antiarrhythmic effects of an increase in the daily oral intake of magnesium and potassium in patients with frequent ventricular arrhythmias. BACKGROUND: Magnesium and potassium contribute essentially to the electrical stability of the heart. Despite experimental and clinical evidence for the antiarrhythmic properties of the two minerals, controlled data in patients with stable ventricular arrhythmias are lacking. METHODS: In a randomized, double-blind study, 232 patients with frequent ventricular arrhythmias (> 720 ventricular premature beats [VPBs]/24 h) confirmed at baseline and after 1 week of placebo therapy were subsequently treated over 3 weeks with either 6 mmol of magnesium/12 mmol of potassium-DL-hydrogenaspartate daily or placebo. RESULTS: Compared with placebo pretreatment, active therapy resulted in a median reduction of VPBs by -17.4% (p = 0.001); the suppression rate was 2.4 times greater than that in patients randomized to 3 weeks of placebo therapy (-7.4%, p = 0.038). The likelihood of a > or = 60% (predefined criterion) or > or = 70% suppression rate (calculated from the placebo-controlled run-in period) was 1.7 (25% vs. 15%, p = 0.044) and 1.5 times greater in the active than in the placebo group (20% vs. 13%, p = 0.085), respectively. No effect of magnesium and potassium administration was observed on the incidence of repetitive and supraventricular arrhythmias and clinical symptoms of the patients. CONCLUSIONS: To our knowledge, this study is the first to provide controlled data on the antiarrhythmic effect of oral administration of magnesium and potassium salts when directed to patients with frequent and stable ventricular tachyarrhythmias. A 50% increase in the recommended minimum daily dietary intake of the two minerals for 3 weeks results in a moderate but significant antiarrhythmic effect. However, with the given therapeutic regimen, repetitive tachyarrhythmias and patient symptoms remain unchanged.
Magnesium and Sport
Strenuous and prolonged exercise can lead to magnesium deficiency (hypomagnesaemia).
In their article “New experimental and clinical data on the relationship between magnesium and sport” Y. Rayssiguier, C. Y. Guezennec, and J. Durlach provide scientific information on the relationship between magnesium and sport (http://www.mgwater.com/dur18.shtml). Here is what it says:
“Exercise under certain conditions appears to lead to Mg depletion and may worsen a state of deficiency when Mg intake is inadequate. Whereas hypermagnesaemia occurs following short term high intensity exercise as the consequence of a decrease in plasma volume and a shift of cellular magnesium resulting from acidosis, prolonged submaximal exercise is accompanied by hypomagnesaemia”.
“In developed countries Mg intake is often marginal and sport is a factor which is particularly likely to expose athletes to Mg deficit through metabolic depletion linked to exercise itself, which can only aggravate the consequences of a frequent marginal deficiency. Mg depletion and deficiency therefore play a role in the pathophysiology of physical exercise.”
“Experiments on animals have shown that severe Mg deficiency reduces physical performance and in particular the efficiency of energy metabolism”.
“Several studies have been performed to test the effect of using oral Mg supplementation on muscular work performance. A 4-week administration of Mg to athletes increased their physical performance. This amelioration was shown by registering the maximum oxygen consumption as well as the PWC170, using both a running board and bicycle ergometry 78. Mg supplementation resulted in a significant decrease in protein release from the muscle cells during a marathon run and total creatine kinase (CCK) in serum increased less 79-80. Mg supplementation has a significant effect on respiration indices and improves lactate elimination in competitive rowers during exhaustive simulated rowing. In moderately trained subjects, the effects of magnesium supplementation were tested on some cardiorespiratory variables monitored during a 30 min submaximal effort test 81. In the Mg group, a significant decrease was found in blood pressure, heart rate and oxygen consumption. The results indicate that magnesium supplementation induces an overall improvement in cardiorespiratory performance”.
“A recent longitudinal study of a group of medium-distance runners carried out over a training season also demonstrated plasma Mg reductions during the competition period, although there were no variations in erythrocyte Mg. Since both their energy intake and their work load remained more or less constant during the study, a relationship can be established between plasma Mg changes and the stress of the competition period 48. In conclusion, exercise under certain conditions appears to lead to magnesium depletion both in humans and in animals and may worsen a state of deficiency when Mg intake is inadequate”.
Regarding the consequences of magnesium deficiency on endurance and performance, the article says:
“The effects of feeding varying concentrations of dietary Mg on exercise capacity were investigated in rats. Based on treadmill or swimming tests, the Mg-deficient rats showed a markedly lower exercise endurance capacity than rats fed the higher levels of dietary Mg 5-7,54”.
“As compared to the resting condition, Mg-deficient rats showed a significant decrease in RBC Mg concentration, and a significant increase in plasma free fatty acid and lactate concentrations. These studies, which clearly show that dietary deficiency may influence exercise performance, also indicate that exercise adversely affects RBC Mg concentration when Mg intake is inadequate. An improved magnesium nutritional state can prevent the decrease in RBC (red blood cells) Mg induced by increased physical activity”.
Therapy by oral physiological doses of Mg represents a major step in treating Mg deficit. The normal treatment consists of oral intake of 5 mg/kg.day of Mg for the adult in a Mg salt that is well absorbed and well tolerated. It represents the exclusive treatment for Mg deficiency”.
Magnesium levels can also be increased by intravenous and transdermal methods. “Bishofit” is the most suitable product for the transdermal supplementation of magnesium.
Magnesium can be introduced into the body orally (supplementation by mouth), intravenously (injections), enterally (enemas) and transdermally (through the skin – absorption method). Following is the information on the oral, intravenous and transdermal methods.
Magnesium is said to be poorly absorbed when taken orally. “According to Shealy the best absorbed oral preparation is magnesium taurate, but in his experience, it takes up to one year of oral supplementation to restore intracellular levels to normal”. http://www.magnesiumforlife.com/dosage.shtml:
Magnesium is a well-known laxative, and here lies the main problem with oral application of magnesium. The success of its absorption depends on the time magnesium needs to spend in the gastro-intestianl tract, which, according to research, should be no less than 12 hours.
There are various forms of magnesium. Magnesium chloride is considered to be the most easily absorbasble form among them. It is one of the most common forms of magnesium which comes from the sea or underground deposits (as is the case with the ‘Bishofit’ products). Magnesium chloride is well tolerated, but it is released in the stomach (upper gastro-intestianl tract), where it reacts with calcium, so its absorption by the body is impaired.
Magnesium is absorbed in the lower parts of the intestines – namely the colon, where it is transported by the circulatory system to the body tissues. The intake of magnesium by the body depends very much on the health of the digestive and renal system. Approximately one-third to one-half of dietary magnesium is absorbed into the body. Gastrointestinal disorders (e.g. Crohn’s disease, IBS) will impair magnesium absorption. Drugs may interfere with magnesium absorption – magnesium binds with some of them. Phosphates in colas also bind with magnesium.
“There is no specific information about oral magnesium chloride in liquid form but it is reasonably safe to assume it would be more absorbable than magnesium taurate. Liquid minerals are thought to be much more absorbable than tablets.
3-5 sprays of magnesium chloride in a glass of pure water is an
excellent way to take magnesium internally. It assists digestion,
counteracts excess acidity in the stomach, and delivers magnesium
swiftly into the bloodstream for distribution to all the cells of the body.
Tao of Detoxification
The taste of the solution is not very good (it has a bitter-saltish flavor) so a little of fruit juice (grapefruit, orange, lemon) can be added to the solution. Individuals with very sensitive taste buds may start using it in tiny amounts mixed with strongly flavoured food and increase doses very gradually. Alternatively, drink it in one gulp dissolved in water while pinching your nose and quickly drink something pleasant afterwards”. http://www.magnesiumforlife.com/dosage.shtml
“Dr. Raul Vergin offers the following guidelines for oral intake of a 2.5% Magnesium Chloride hexahydrate (MgCl2-6H2O) solution (i.e.: 25 grams or approximately one ounce of pure food grade powder in a liter of water). The quantity of elemental magnesium contained in a 125 cc (cubic centimetre) dose of the 2.5% solution is around 500 mg.
Dosages are as follows:
Adults and children over 5 years old 125 cc
4 year old children 100 cc
3 year old children 80 cc
1-2 year old children 60 cc
Over 6 months old children 30 cc
Under 6 months old children 15 cc
125 milliliter = 4.2267528 ounce [US, liquid]
cc and ml are equivalent
Dr. Vergin indicates that “In acute diseases the dose is administered every 6 hours (every 3 hours the first two doses if the case is serious); then space every 8 hours and then 12 hours as improvement goes on. After recovery it’s better going on with a dose every 12 hours for some days. As a preventive measure, and as a magnesium supplement, one dose a day can be taken indefinitely. Magnesium Chloride, even if it’s an inorganic salt, is very well absorbed and it’s a very good supplemental magnesium source. http://www.magnesiumforlife.com/dosage.shtml
Is considered the most efficient form of magnesium administration to restore magnesium deficiency. The intravenous method has been used in hospitals toi treat a variety of acute conditions – severe asthma, cardiac problems, HBP,
“A study in Canada showed a 66 per cent drop in the death rate of heart-attack patients who were given intravenous injections of magnesium, and Dr. Cass Igram reports that magnesium injections resulted in a 90 percent reduction in heart-attack mortality in a similar study in the USA”. http://www.hps-online.com/foodprof14.htm
“Dr. Norm Shealy, who has tested the transdermal/topical method against oral and intravenous applications, asserts that only through the transdermal form are DHEA levels raised. According to Shealy the best absorbed oral preparation is magnesium taurate, but in his experience, it takes up to one year of oral supplementation to restore intracellular levels to normal. Until a few years ago, Dr. Shealy gave most of his patients’ ten doses of magnesium chloride intravenously over a period of two weeks. This helped to restore the intracellular levels to normal and usually allowed them then to maintain normal levels with oral supplementation. However, one can use transdermal magnesium mineral therapy to achieve the same result in only a slightly longer time frame. In four weeks, use of Magnesium Oil can accomplish as much as having the ten doses intravenously according to Shealy who says, “It is a lot simpler and easier, and you can do it on your own. There is no known risk to using magnesium unless you have kidney failure.”
“Dr. Norman Shealy MD, Ph.DC. one of the founders of the Holistic Medical Society and expert in pain management who holds patent on the TENS unit investigated the benefits of a 25% magnesium chloride oil and has found that it is effectively absorbed through the skin and significantly raises magnesium levels. Here he shows the typical results of a 25% magnesium oil used in foot baths . A 50% solution was used for the body spraying. Please note that now we have an oil available and recommended by the IMVA, that is 35% magnesium chloride, and comes directly from the sea with lower toxicity levels than the solution used in this study and which will raise levels even faster than this information shows.
Dr. Shealy stated at the time: “This insight led me to test the possibility that the oil, known to contain up to 25% magnesium chloride might facilitate absorption of magnesium through the skin. We then recruited 16 individuals with low intracellular magnesium levels to participate in the following experiment”
“Our purpose was to research whether or not magnesium was absorbed through the skin. Exclusion factors included anyone taking oral or IV magnesium during the last 6 weeks and smokers. Individuals sprayed a solution of 50% Magic Oil over the entire body once daily for a month and did a 20 minute foot soak> in Magic Oil once daily for a month. Subjects had a baseline Intracellular Magnesium Test documenting their deficiency and another post-Intracellular Magnesium Test after 1 month of daily soaks.
The results were impressive. Twelve of sixteen patients, 75%, had significant improvements in intracellular magnesium levels after only four weeks of foot soaking and skin spray.”
“Intravenous as well as transdermal administration of magnesium bypass processing by the liver. Both transdermal and intravenous therapy create “tissue saturation”, the ability to get the nutrients where we want them, directly in the circulation, where they can reach body tissues at a high doses, without loss. Intravenous administration is riskier though as an emergency medicine it most certainly has its place”.
Magnesium Chloride can also be used as a deodorant – sprayed or applied otherwise under the arms. Not only does it eliminate the unpleasant ordours, but is also effectively delivers a dose of magnesium to the body through the soft and porous skin of the armpits.
Spraying Magnesium Chloride on the body is a very effective and economical way of transdermal application of this mineral. It delivers Magnesium for internal body processes and is an excellent remedy for various skin conditions, as well as a prophylactic measure.
“Possibly the best approach is a combination approach alternating with baths, direct spraying on the body, and oral intake besides relying on one’s foods. When one uses all three approaches together it is easier to bring ones magnesium levels up in a month or two to healthy levels and from there one has only to maintain appropriate daily intake”. http://www.magnesiumforlife.com/dosage.shtml
However, transdermal application methods are of most interest to us, since they represent the easiest, safest and most practical way which can also be safely used at home. There is normally no danger of overdosing with this method. ‘Bishofit’ products as marketed by Medicina (UK) Ltd are an excellent chioce for such transdermal applications of Magnesium.
How can magnesium be applied transdermally?
“Daniel Reid says, “Using Magnesium Oil is the quickest and most convenient way to transmit magnesium chloride into the cells and tissues through the skin. 2-3 sprays under each armpit function as a highly effective deodorant, while at the same time transporting magnesium swiftly through the thin skin into the glands, lymph channels, and bloodstream, for distribution throughout the body. Spray it onto the back of the hand or the top of the feet any time of day or night for continuous magnesium absorption. Regardless of where you apply the spray on the body, once it penetrates the surface of the skin, the body transports it to whichever tissues need magnesium most.” http://www.magnesiumforlife.com/dosage.shtml
To add to it, Magnesium Chloride (“Bishofit”) can be applied transdermally using the following methods:
- Compresses (very effective and economical method. Can be used for localised aches/pains, arthritis, wounds, etc.)
- Baths (effective, but less economical, than a compress. Works on the whole body).
- Spays (very effective and economical way of getting required doses of magnesium and maintain healthy skin condition).
- Underarm deodorant (sprayed or applied otherwise) – removes unpleasant ordours and delivers magnesium throught the skin.
- Body/face wash (similar to spays).
- Massage medium (although Magnesium Oil is not actually an oil, it has an oily consistency, and is a very effective way to deal with muscle aches/pains).
- Mouth wash, gargle – diluted. Can be used to deal with infections and halitosis.
- Foot baths (effective and safe, especially suitable for children. Excellent for tired legs, muscle cramps, as well as a way to deliver magnesium to the body).
- As part of clay and mud packs (body wraps, compresses, masks, poultices). Excellent for the skin and a great way to bring Magnesium to the body.
- Low concentrations can be used for nose washes, sitz baths / vaginal douches to deal with infections.
Some people may find that pure magnesium oil may irritate their skin. If this happens, make a pause in the treatments until the irritation goes away and try diluted solutions. Only diluted ‘Bishofit’ should be used for transdermal applications for children and people with sensitive skins.
“Soak the whole body or just the feet in bath water for 20-30 minutes, at a temperature of about 108 degrees The most effective protocol for this therapy is to begin with a daily body or foot bath every day for the first 7 days, (starting at lighter concentrations and building up) then continue with a maintenance program of 2-3 times a week for 6-8 weeks or longer. Sensitive care must be taken especially with children as to dose levels, water temperature and magnesium concentrations. Muscle spasms might occur on rare occasions if one forgets to get out of the tub so it is necessary to supervise children and the length of time they remain soaking in magnesium chloride. All strong reactions like redness in local areas to diarrhea or even muscle spasms are indications to reduce concentration…”. http://www.magnesiumforlife.com/dosage.shtml
Russian doctors recommend using up to 2 litres of “Bishofit” (4 bottles) per a bathful (50 litres) of water for a strong action. However, 250-500ml is enough to achieve a therapeutic effect. Spays/washes can be used as a much more economical alternative.
Spraying Magnesium Chloride on the body or using it as a wash/rinse is a very effective and economical way of transdermal application of this mineral. It delivers magnesium for internal body processes and is an excellent remedy for various skin conditions, as well as to prevent magnesium deficiency and a variety of conditions associated with it.
For a large adult, spraying the body with one ounce (25 ml) of “Bishofit” is sufficient. A small adult or a child will require less. For people with muscle injuries concentrated magnesium baths or several alternative applications a day should be used. Footbaths – 2 ounces (50ml) will make a very effective footbath when mixed with warm water.
Spraying it on the body will result in a higher magnesium concentration on the skin. Therefore, an ounce used that way will result in more magnesium absorbed than several ounces or even more used in a bath.
Add 25-50ml (1-2oz) of “Bishofit” to 5-6 litres of warm water for a pleasant and relaxing foot bath. Good and economical way to get regular doses of magnesium into your body.
Vaginal douche/ sitz bath
Dilute 25ml (1oz) of “Bishofit” in 1 glass (250ml) of warm water (1:10). Can be used as a vaginal douche for minor infections. Same dilution but a larger amount can be used in a sitz bath.
Nose spray/ gargle/ mouth wash
Use the same dilution as for a vaginal douche. Gargle, spray/ rinse mouth/ throat to fight infection, strengthen teeth and revitalize the gums.
A few sprays of “Bishofit” (use diluted product to avoid irritation) under each armpit works both as an effective deodorant and to transport magnesium into the body systems through the lymphatic nodes positioned in the armpits. It can also be applied by hand. Spray/wash feet with it to achieve the same effect.
“Bishofit” is especially effective when used as a massage medium. It has an oily consistency which makes it very suitable for massage.
Massage speeds up circulation, opens up pores and raises the skin temperature by attracting blood to the area. This improves the absorption by the body of Magnesium and other minerals contained in “Bishofit”. Dilute the product if necessary to suit each particular skin type.
Bishofit also comes in a gel form called “Bisholin” – we are currently working on its CE certification, so it should be arriving on the market soon. It is an excellent massage medium and is recommeneded for all massage, physio and sport therapists. “Bisholin” is a milder form of “Bishofit”, so it is more suitable for people with sensistive skin and children.
Mask/ body wrap/ compress / poultice
Add “Bishofit” to clay and mud packs and body wraps, compresses and poultices. Such applications ensure a more prolonged action and therefore stronger effect on the body due to the fact that they stay on the body much longer than any other applications and in a more concentrated form. Also, muds and clays have a thermal effect on the body raising the skin temperature under the application. This is especially useful in the treatment of arthritis, muscle aches and pains, musculo-skeletal disorders, as well as any other conditions associated with magnesium deficiency.