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Microsoft word - magnesium.doc
This information has been produced for self-education purposes only
What is Magnesium?
Magnesium is a trace mineral, a metal. It is the eighth most abundant element
in the world, the fourth most abundant in the body, and Magnesium oxide is
the second most abundant compound in the earth’s crust.
Magnesium is a key component of plant chlorophyll. Why is it Important to Me?
Magnesium is used in over 350 enzyme processes in the human body, more
than any other trace mineral. Every cell in your body has magnesium inside of
it with 99% of your magnesium being inside of cells. Approximately 50% of
total body magnesium is found in bone, the other half is found predominantly
inside cells of body tissues and organs, and only 1% of magnesium is found in
blood (outside of cells).
Magnesium has a calming effect on the body … the heart, the blood
vessels, your muscles, your mind.
It helps maintain normal muscle and nerve function, keeps heart rhythm steady, supports a healthy immune system, and keeps bones strong. Magnesium also helps regulate blood sugar levels, promotes normal blood pressure, and is known to be involved in energy metabolism and protein synthesis Research has shown that if you are diabetic or hypertensive, then you have a magnesium deficiency. Magnesium may one day prove to be the reason we see diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure in the same people. A diet low in magnesium is associated with a risk of developing these problems. It is possible … but not proven yet … that taking magnesium supplements can prevent, or at the very least assist, these problems. Jerry Nadler is an international expert and division chief of endocrinology and metabolism at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. He put 16 healthy people on magnesium-deficient diets for a mere three weeks and their cells not only became deficient in magnesium, they became insulin resistant, that is, their body needed more insulin to do its job of putting sugar into cells. He made the remark "You can induce insulin resistance even in people who do not have diabetes. Just deprive them of magnesium."
Calcium and Magnesium
Calcium and magnesium work together and against each other. An excess of
calcium in your body can upset the balance causing poor absorption of the
magnesium, low intracellular levels of magnesium and high levels of cellular
calcium leading to hardening of tissues and muscle contractions (spasms).
One of the common classes of high blood pressure medications are “calcium
blockers” (for example Plendil, Norvasc and Verapamil). This is for a good
reason. High levels of calcium inside of the muscles that line arteries cause
the muscles to spasm raising blood pressure. We give expensive calcium
blockers to stop this. Magnesium is cheaper, safer, and natural and does the
same thing, without any nasty side effects.
Currently, in the western world, we are eating about four to six times as much
calcium as magnesium. The recommended ratio is twice as much calcium as
magnesium. Palaeolithic studies show that our bodies developed eating equal
amounts of calcium and magnesium – it is important, in today’s world, that we
make the appropriate efforts to return to this ratio, for our current and future
Doesn’t the Doctor Test for Magnesium Deficiency?
Most of the time no. It is not a standard addition to the automated metabolic
profile like potassium, sodium and chloride. When the doctor does test for
magnesium, they usually order serum magnesium. Since the body works hard
to maintain a normal blood level of this element, you can
lose significant amounts of from inside of your cells yet the blood test will
come back ¨normal.¨ In other words, only if your magnesium deficiency is very
severe will your doctor diagnose it with a blood test. What are some symptoms of Magnesium deficiency?
Magnesium deficiency can cause all of the following but please keep in mind
that it is not the only cause of these problems. (Remember, any or all of 350+
processes can go wrong when we are magnesium deficient so the symptoms
can be very broad and varied)
• Anxiety and panic attacks
• Bowel disease
• Reynaud’s Syndrome
• Tooth decay
• Muscle aches and cramps
• Kidney stones
• Impaired insulin secretion
• Insulin resistance and elevated blood sugars • High blood pressure • Osteoporosis • Atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries • High triglyceride levels • Mitral valve prolapse • Palpitations, heart irregularities and heart rhythm problems • Phlebitis and blood clots • High hs-CRP, the test for artery inflammation and risk of heart disease • Oxidation … magnesium deficiency has a pro-oxidant effect negating the Antioxidants such as Vitamin C and E that you might be taking.
Increasing your magnesium intake every day may
greatly help with these conditions.
How Much Magnesium Do I Need Per Day?
The RDA of Magnesium is based on 6-8 mg to kg p/day, and is roughly
• 320 milligrams of magnesium daily for women, and • 420 milligrams daily for men.
While these are the current official recommendations, the body needs more
when it is under physical or mental stress, when diseased or imbalanced, and
when pregnant or breastfeeding.
It is therefore recommended that you take 400 to 500 milligrams of
magnesium daily, unless otherwise advised by your health care practitioner.
This dosage easily meets the recommended daily intake and provides extra
for healing, repair and special needs.
Depending on your individual condition, and degree of deficiency,
supplementation with magnesium may take about six weeks to start to take
noticeable effect, so patience is important. Remembering that you didn’t
become Magnesium deficient overnight (it’s often months if not years in the
making) so give your body time to rebuild its stores before you start to notice
Who may need extra magnesium?
Increasing dietary intake of magnesium may not be enough to restore very
low magnesium levels to normal, and in such cases a therapeutically viable
supplement may be recommended daily for best effect.
Magnesium supplementation may be indicated when a specific health
problem or condition causes an excessive loss of magnesium or limits
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
Following an injury or an illness you need more magnesium for tissue repair, as well as during times of excess mental or physical stress (students, athletes, etc.), as during these times the body is under considerable pressure which further exhausts existing magnesium supplies.
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, due to lack of magnesium ingestion through a balanced diet.
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.
Pregnant and lactating women also require higher daily amounts of Magnesium, as the physical burden of growing a fetus and producing the milk to then feed it, increases a woman’s daily requirement of the mineral. There is also evidence that magnesium levels are further decreased in women who later develop pre-eclampsia. Leg cramps (especially at night) are a sure sign of magnesium deficiency in a pregnant woman.
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 1988–94 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 get recommended amounts of dietary magnesium.
Can I get enough magnesium from food?
At the turn of the century, people ate more “farm fresh” (less processed) foods
and it is estimated that with such a “natural” and “healthy” diet they typically
consumed 500 to 1,200 mg of magnesium per day.
With the introduction of “fast food” and the highly processed, packaged,
flavoured and preserved foods that we see filling our supermarket shelves
today, our current average daily consumption is 143 to 266 milligrams of
magnesium per day, far below the suggested daily amount of 400-500 mg
It is important to re-introduce more chemical free, natural and organic fresh
foods back into the daily diet in order for us to change these stats around and
benefit our long-term health.
What Foods Contain Magnesium?
Green vegetables such as spinach and silver-beet are good sources of
magnesium because the center of the chlorophyll molecule (which gives
green vegetables their color) contains magnesium.
Magnesium is also contained in wheat germ, wheat bran, wheat grass,
spirulina, barley grass, whole grain oats, millet and barley, buckwheat, mature
lima beans, navy beans, kidney beans, green beans, soybeans, black-eyed
peas, bananas, blackberries, dates, dried figs, mangoes, watermelons,
almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, shrimp and tuna.
Refined grains are generally low in magnesium. When white flour is refined
and processed, the magnesium-rich germ and bran are removed. Bread made
from whole grain wheat flour provides more magnesium than bread made
from white refined flour.
Hard water also contains magnesium but most localities prefer soft water
Distilled water does not contain any magnesium while mineral water does.
Processed foods … sugar, white flour products, most things that come in a
box or can have lost their magnesium. Magnesium is not a required element
to list on the package nutritional labelling so you don’t know if there is any
magnesium in the food or not.
In short, eating a variety of whole grains, legumes, and vegetables (especially
dark-green, leafy vegetables) every day will help provide recommended
intakes of magnesium and maintain normal storage levels of this mineral.
Freshly juicing green veg is a great way to boost stores of magnesium
naturally, and by increasing dietary intake of magnesium alone, mildly
depleted magnesium levels can be restored.
When considering Magnesium supplementation, as per supplementation of
any vitamin or mineral, it is important to remember that the amount of
elemental magnesium in a compound and its bioavailability influence the
effectiveness of the magnesium supplement.
Bioavailability refers to the amount of magnesium in food, medications, and in
this case supplements that is absorbed in the intestines and ultimately
available for biological activity in your cells and tissues. Enteric coatings (the
outer layer of a tablet or capsule that allows it to pass through the stomach
and be dissolved in the small intestine) of a magnesium compound can
decrease bioavailability, which is why powdered and liquid formulas tend to be
much more effective.
A great choice is Bioceuticals Ultra muscle-eeze powder tang, sold at most
leading health food stores or prescribed upon naturopathic consultation. This
is a strong therapeutic grade formula with great bioavailability.
Though magnesium supplements have been the most popular strategy to
replenish our magnesium reserves, there are also other tried and tested
methods alongside oral supplementation and appropriated dietary
The skin, being our external lung has massive unrecognised absorption
potential, whereby using magnesium products topically allows direct entry into
the bloodstream, bypassing the digestive system – where issues with
absorption and assimilation can sometimes occur, especially in those with
pre-existing digestive issues.
The following suggestions have proven to be very beneficial for some people
wishing to boost their magnesium stores naturally. MagSorb™
is a liquid concentration of magnesium chloride, derived from
ancient sea bed deposits. It has a naturally oily texture and is commonly
called magnesium oil (although it is not technically a oil). It can be purchased
at most leading health food stores or on-line.
(see Epsom salt bathing notes: www.rachelgray.com.au )
Magnesium Sulfate (Epsom salts) can be purchased at most supermarkets
and make a great relaxing bath soak. What Interferes with Magnesium absorption?
• Boiling vegetables leaches the magnesium out into the liquid.
• Cooking in general causes a 40% loss in magnesium.
The following cause loss of magnesium in your urine;
• Dietary phosphates (found in phosphoric acid) in soft drinks
• High salt/sodium diets
• High sugar diets
• Excess insulin
• Diuretics (caffeine, fluid pills) alcohol and medications (inc. contraceptive pill)
• Stress - releases stress hormones that cause magnesium loss
• High calcium intake interferes with magnesium absorption If Magnesium is so good why don’t I hear about it more?
You can’t patent magnesium. Therefore, there is no incentive for a drug
company to spend millions of dollars conducting studies to prove its
effectiveness. There are no drug representatives, expensive TV commercials
or magazine ads selling magnesium. Unfortunately these days Money, and
the profit motive, drive much medical research.
No one pays experts to lecture to doctors about magnesium and medical
schools don’t teach of its therapeutic value or use.
But also, In all fairness, most doctors don’t use magnesium because there
have been no large, long term, double blind, placebo controlled studies
showing the effectiveness of daily magnesium supplementation in lowering
blood sugar, improving insulin resistance, lowering blood pressure,
stopping migraine headaches, etc. So to convince doctors will take many
years. What are the dangers of Magnesium?
Very few… People with diseased kidneys on dialysis should not take
magnesium or any other supplement without the express approval of their
doctor. Taking too much magnesium, being a muscle relaxant and stimulant
of the parasympathetic nervous system, can cause loose stools or diarrhoea
as a side effect.
If you are a diabetic it might lower your blood sugar too much and if you are
hypertensive, it might lower your blood pressure too much … actually the
effects we want, so you can start to reduce your dependency on medications.
Magnesium is one of the most important minerals in our body. Without it, over
350 different enzyme processes can go wrong.
It is difficult to measure in the blood, poorly appreciated by physicians and
may be the underlying cause of a large number of diseases, including
migraine headaches, anxiety and panic attacks, osteoporosis, heart disease,
high cholesterol, diabetes, blood clots and hypertension.
If you are not eating enough magnesium or it is being poorly absorbed, you
will gradually become more and more deficient as the years go on … and no
one will diagnose you!
Increasing your daily consumption through fresh foods, and or taking a daily
magnesium supplement is smart, cheap, safe and good for you now, and
International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences INT.J.PH.SCI.,SEP-DEC, 2010;2(3):680-686 ISSN 0975-4725 Original Research Manuscript Date of Submission: 29-06-2010 Date of Acceptance: 20-09-2010 Evaluation of iridoid glycosides from leave of Barleria Prionitis as an Anti-diarrhoeal Activity: an Ethnopharmacological study Sunil K. Jaiswal3*, Mukesh K
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