One patient had muscle cramps. Another had headaches. And a third
had an irregular heartbeat.
These were vastly different medical
conditions, and yet the solution that I recommended for each patient
was the same. You may be surprised to find that the remedy was none
other than magnesium. It helped each of these patients - and did so
Few nutrients possess the remarkable and diverse benefits of
magnesium. It is the fourth most abundant mineral in cells after
calcium, phosphorus and potassium.
Magnesium is found in our,
...and other tissues.
It is needed by the body for,
According to US Department of
Agriculture data, two out of every three Americans donít meet
average daily intake requirements for magnesium, which are 300
milligrams (mg) to 420 mg daily for adults.
In addition, many people have a
magnesium deficiency due to stress... genetics... or a medication,
such as a diuretic (usually taken to control blood pressure).
As a consequence, these people face an
increased risk for health problems. Maintaining adequate levels of
magnesium can help reduce muscle cramps, stabilize blood sugar,
lower the risk for heart disease, ease migraine headaches,
strengthen bones and slow the aging process.
Consider one of my patients, Robert, who limped into my clinic. He
was suffering from painful leg muscle spasms that woke him at night
and plagued him during the day. Muscle spasms often are related to
low magnesium. Since magnesium relaxes muscles, I started Robert on
an intravenous (IV) drip of magnesium sulfate. Within an hour, the
pain in his leg eased.
I had Robert begin taking a daily
magnesium supplement, which helped to reduce subsequent leg muscle
spasms. Magnesium is so important that it is sometimes hyped as a
Truth: Boosting magnesium levels can
lead to recoveries that seem almost miraculous.
Hereís how magnesium could help you...
In addition to cramp relief,
magnesium has many other muscle-related benefits.
The reason that people often say
that they feel an increase in energy after starting to take
magnesium supplements is that the mineral is involved in the
bodyís production of energy, most of which occurs in muscle
In a study conducted at the
University of Palermo, Italy, researchers found that seniors
with the highest levels of magnesium had the greatest muscle
strength, including better grip strength, lower leg muscle
power, knee-extension torque and ankle strength.
People with low magnesium levels
had poor muscle function and strength.
Almost two-thirds of the bodyís
magnesium is found in bone, where it works with calcium to
provide structural support. Researchers at Yale University
gave girls ages eight to 14 either magnesium or a placebo
twice daily for one year.
Result: The girls who took
magnesium developed much stronger bones compared with girls
who took a placebo.
Many people manifest stress
physically by tensing the muscles of their back and
shoulders, leading to tightness. Because magnesium is such a
good muscle relaxant, it often can help ease muscle tension.
Magnesium also stimulates the
bodyís production of the calming brain chemical gamma amino
butyric acid (GABA), so it also helps people to mentally
Magnesium helps relax blood
vessel walls, which reduces blood pressure. Magnesium
sulfate is sometimes administered intravenously in the
hospital to reduce the risk for arrhythmia (irregular
heartbeat). It also eases heart palpitations.
Magnesium can help other heart
problems, such as cardiomyopathy, a condition in which the
heart fails to pump blood adequately.
Thereís more: Doctors
at Harvard Medical School report that high levels of
magnesium were associated with a significantly lower risk
for sudden cardiac death, which causes about half of all
deaths from coronary artery disease.
The study found that people with
the highest blood levels of magnesium were 77% less likely
to suffer sudden death from cardiac arrest.
Magnesium deficiency is common
among people with type 2 diabetes. Earlier this year, German
researchers conducted a study in which they gave magnesium
supplements to overweight, prediabetic men and women.
Those taking magnesium had a
significant reduction in fasting blood sugar, better insulin
resistance and lower blood pressure compared with those
given a placebo.
Soaking in a bath with Epsom
salts, which are granules of magnesium sulfate, is a
well-known way to ease aches and pains. But I believe that
magnesiumís role in relieving severe pain has been barely
In one study, British doctors
used intravenous (IV) magnesium to treat people with
postherpetic neuralgia, intense pain after a shingles
(herpes zoster) outbreak. Pain was significantly reduced
after just 30 minutes of receiving magnesium.
Another study found that a
onetime IV dose of 500 mg to 1,000 mg of magnesium sulfate
eliminated nerve pain related to metastases in cancer
patients. In my own practice, I find that a combination of
IV and oral magnesium eases nerve pain.
Magnesium can block the
bronchial reactivity common in asthma attacks. In one study,
doctors from Brazil reported that supplements of magnesium
glycinate decreased bronchial reactivity by 30%.
When taken in supplement form,
magnesium glycinate is a well-absorbed and well-tolerated
type of magnesium. In the study, subjects became more
resistant to common asthmatic triggers (such as cold air and
allergens) and were able to reduce their asthma medication
by almost 40%. I have found similar results with my
Several studies have shown that
supplementing with magnesium can reduce the frequency of
migraine headaches. IV magnesium sulfate also has been found
to relieve the pain of cluster headaches in people with low
blood levels of magnesium.
Research has found that
magnesium levels affect serotonin receptors and other brain
chemicals that affect headaches.
Magnesium also might help keep
you younger. Studies show that magnesium is required to
maintain telomeres, the protective tips of chromosomes
(which are made up of genes).
Researchers have found that
magnesium-deficient cells have an abnormal shortening of
their telomeres, which is strongly associated with rapid
Many foods contain magnesium, although most people donít get enough
magnesium from their diet.
Foods rich in magnesium include green
vegetables, such as spinach and dark-leaf lettuce. The green color
of vegetables comes from chlorophyll, which contains magnesium.
Other excellent sources of magnesium
I recommend that my patients have their
magnesium levels checked.
This can be done with a red blood cell
magnesium test, which is not part of a regular blood test so you
will have to ask for it.
Based on the results of this test, I find that most patients do need
to supplement with magnesium. I usually recommend that these adults
(both men and women) eat foods high in magnesium and take 200 mg
of magnesium glycinate (gluconate) two or three times a day
Information About Magnesium Gluconate and
Most multivitamins donít contain that
amount, but many calcium-magnesium formulas do.
Magnesium of any kind can have a laxative effect if you take too
much. If you have kidney problems, speak with your doctor before
taking magnesium because the mineral could exacerbate kidney