Magnesium: The miracle mineral
Most Americans today are well informed of the importance of calcium in the body. Few, however, are aware of the need for magnesium, an essential mineral which has a close relationship with calcium. In fact, calcium and magnesium are both necessary for strong bones and teeth. Showing that, without magnesium, calcium alone would be useless.
Magnesium makes up about .05% of the average person's body weight. Sixty percent of this is found in the bones, while about 28% is found in the soft tissues of the liver and muscles – including the heart. Magnesium is the second most abundant intracellular cation in the body, involved in more than 300 enzymatic reactions involving glucose, fat and protein among many others.
What does that tell us about magnesium? Numerous studies have been conducted on the effect of magnesium on the body. In a study reported in the American Journal of Cardiology, 20% of patients with a trial fibrillation had a magnesium deficiency. In a study conducted in South Africa, a ten percent reduction in deaths caused by coronary heart disease was shown for every six milligrams per liter of magnesium in the water levels. In Oklahoma City, patients with low magnesium in their blood required more drugs to control hypertension that those with normal magnesium levels. Twenty patients receiving long term diuretics in Umea, Sweden, were given 345mg. a day of magnesium. After six months, nineteen of the twenty showed a drop in blood pressure.
Without the proper levels of magnesium in the body, results can be painful and destructive. The earliest symptoms of a magnesium deficiency include appetite loss, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, mental changes, irritability and seizures. Magnesium deficiencies may cause calcium deposits in muscles and kidney – often resulting in painful kidney stones. A deficiency in magnesium leads to the constriction of blood vessels as well as reducing the amount of oxygen in the blood. Germ life multiplies; intestinal putrification products build up; Schizophrenic tendencies, borderline insanity, neuroses and manic depressive disturbance may occur.
As a treatment option, magnesium can do many wonderful things. In combination with calcium, magnesium is useful in reducing hypertension. A diet high in magnesium may prevent heart attacks and heart disease and improve cholesterol. Magnesium can be used to treat PMS, prevent kidney stones, fight depression, prevent premature labor, aid the treatment of nervous disorders, and treat diarrhea, vomiting and indigestion. A combination of magnesium – vitamin B6 therapy is often used to treat patients with Autism. Patients with chronic fatigue syndrome often respond favorably to magnesium supplementation. Magnesium can also be used to calm nerves, make the body more flexible, induce restful sleep, and cool the body. Other benefits from magnesium supplementation include the following: It purifies the body tissues and prevents phosphates from depositing in joints, which may lead to arthritis, bone complications, and gout. Magnesium has also been proven to cool the liver, sooth nerve endings, prevent motor nerve contractions, end neurotic cramps and mellow the temper.
Magnesium is found in many food sources such as savory cabbage, dandelions, nettles, rye, barley, whole wheat, walnuts and almonds. The best food sources are whole grains and legumes. However, even if you believe you are eating plenty of magnesium-rich foods, you may still be deficient. Over 80% of magnesium is lost in the process of making refined white and enriched flours. Certain chemical additives used to keep frozen vegetables bright strip the food of its magnesium. In addition, there are many chemicals which deplete the body of magnesium. Diuretics and alcohol deplete what magnesium stores, while caffeine increases the excretion of magnesium, and phosphates, widely available in soft drinks, bind magnesium in the bowel and prevent its absorption. It is essential, furthermore, that one have sufficient calcium, vitamin C, and protein in order to absorb magnesium.
People with certain diseases are especially prone to magnesium deficiency, including patients with diabetes mellitus. Postmenopausal women and alcoholics are especially prone to osteoporosis caused by a lack of magnesium.
The only sure way to be confident that your body has sufficient magnesium is by magnesium supplementation, preferably by using a liquid source that is easily absorbed into the body's cells.