Magic Magnesium Treats Many Health Issues

We hear a great deal about the importance of calcium, but recently, I’ve been hearing a lot about magnesium! Just today, I came across an excellent post by Christiane Northrup, MD and writer that clearly outline the importance of magnesium.  I’ve summarized the information here, but you can also read the full post at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/christiane-northrup/magnesium-calcium_b_509115.html?view=screen

Bottom line: while magnesium and calcium work together, magnesium controls the entry of calcium into each and every cell. So when it comes to building healthy bones, magnesium is as important as calcium and vitamin D.  Without adequate magnesium, too much calcium gets inside the cell which is not optimal for health.

Apparently, in 1997, The National Academy of Sciences found that most Americans were deficient in magnesium. Contributing factors include food processing  and modern farming practices that remove much of the magnesium that is  naturally found in certain foods; and taking medications including antacids, common diuretics, birth control pills, insulin, tetracycline and other antibiotics, and cortisone that interfere with magnesium absorption in the body.

That’s not good! Magnesium is essential for the functioning of more than 300 different enzymes in the body.  In short, living without adequate levels of magnesium is like trying to operate a machine with the power off. And like a machine, it’s likely to malfunction. Here are some health conditions associated with the cramping and constrictions that can be attributed to a magnesium deficiency: Anxiety and panic attacks, asthma, constipation, heart disease, hypertension, infertility, nerve problems and muscle spasms as well as obstetrical problems.

Northrup cites that according to Carolyn Dean, M.D., N.D., author of The Magnesium Miracle (Ballantine Books, 2007), there are other issues associated with magnesium deficiency as well, including: blood clots, bowel disease, cystitis, depression, detoxification, diabetes, fatigue, hypoglycemia, insomnia, kidney disease, kidney stones, musculoskeletal conditions, osteoporosis, Raynaud’s syndrome, and even tooth decay. Northrup says that Dr. Dean also reports that she’s seen magnesium improve patients’ PMS, painful periods, chronic fatigue, and fibromyalgia.

Supplementing With Magnesium

According to Northrup, today’s diets contain an average of 10 times more calcium than magnesium although the optimal ratio of calcium to magnesium in the diet should be 1:1.

She recommends that you use supplements that contain magnesium. While there’s considerable variation among individuals as to the ideal amount of magnesium to take, Northrup suggests you keep your calcium intake between 800-1,400 mg per day, adding enough magnesium to balance it. For example, if you take 1,000 mg of calcium per day, you need at least 500-800 mg of magnesium.

Magnesium comes in many forms. Magnesium oxide or chloride is fine, as is chelated magnesium. Capsules usually contain 250-500 mg of magnesium. You can also use a calcium/magnesium supplement. Experiment with levels. The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for magnesium is 350-400 mg per day, although for optimal levels, you may need as much as twice that amount.

It’s best to take magnesium in divided doses throughout the day. You can take it either on an empty stomach or with meals. You can also add Epsom salts to your baths–Epsom salt is magnesium sulfate. It’s absorbed through the skin and will help replenish magnesium stores.

Testing for proper levels of the nutrient is difficult. Only one percent of the body’s magnesium is in the blood, and the body will take it from bones and tissues if that level drops. That means that a blood test could easily show a normal reading, even when the rest of the body is very deficient.

For more information about magnesium, visit the association’s Web site at www.nutritionalmagnesium.org. Additionally, Northrup recommends Dr. Dean’s The Magnesium Miracle.

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Date: Wednesday, 31. March 2010 15:50
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