In 1988, a study conducted by the U.S. Government showed that the American diet did not provide the daily requirement of magnesium. 20 years since then, urbanized people are even getting less magnesium from their diet. Experts have also come to the inescapable conclusion that the present practice of farming has depleted the soil to the extent that the typical diet, is poor in magnesium.
Magnesium is required for the proper function of approximately more than 350 enzymes in the human body. Functions as diverse as blood pressure regulation, muscle contraction and relaxation, lung functions, heart rhythm stabilization, and nervous system communication are all magnesium-dependent processes.
Study shows 68% of Americans above the age of 50 years are magnesium deficient, which indirectly makes them susceptible to a host of ailments and thus the body, physically and mentally, is not able to function properly. This problem is further exacerbated by a lack of Vitamin B6, which is required for the transportation of magnesium into the cells.
Current research and medical facts acknowledge that magnesium is of therapeutic value in treating a myriad of symptoms, examples which are as follows (**extracted from “ The Magnesium Miracle” by Carolyn Dean, M.D.; N.D.**) :
- Anxiety and panic attacks. Magnesium normally helps keep adrenal stress hormones under control.
- Asthma. Both histamine production and bronchial spasms increase with magnesium deficiency.
- Blood clots. Magnesium has an important role to play in preventing blood clots and keeping the blood thin – without any side effects.
- Bowel disease. Magnesium deficiency slows down the bowel, causing constipation which could lead to toxicity and malabsorption of nutrients as well as colitis.
- Cystitis. Bladder spasms are worsened by magnesium deficiency.
- Depression. Serotonin, which elevates mood, is dependent on magnesium. A magnesium-deficient brain is also more susceptible to allergens, foreign substances that in rare instances can cause symptoms similar to mental illness.
- Detoxification. Magnesium is crucial for the removal of toxic substances and heavy metals such as aluminium and lead from the body.
- Diabetes. Magnesium enhances insulin secretion, facilitating sugar metabolism. Without magnesium, insulin is not able to transfer glucose into cells. Glucose and insulin build up in the blood, causing various types of tissue damage.
- Fatigue. Magnesium-deficient patients commonly experience fatigue because dozens of enzyme systems are under functioning. An early symptom of magnesium deficiency is fatigue.
- Heart Disease.Magnesium deficiency is common in people with heart disease. Magnesium is administered in hospitals for acute myocardial infarction and cardiac arrhythmia. Like any other muscle, the heart requires magnesium. Magnesium is also used to treat angina, or chest pain. Slow IV magnesium is used to revert cardiac arrythmias to normal rhythm.
- Hypertension. With insufficient magnesium, blood vessels may go into spasm and cholesterol may rise, both of which lead to blood pressure problems.
- Hypoglycemia. Magnesium keeps insulin under control; without magnesium, episodes of low blood sugar can result.
- Insomnia. Sleep-regulating melatonin production is disturbed without sufficient magnesium.
- Kidney disease.Magnesium deficiency contributes to renal stones and to atherosclerotic kidney failure. Magnesium deficiency creates abnormal lipid levels and worsening blood sugar control in kidney transplant patients.
- Migraine.Serotonin balance is magnesium-dependent. Deficiency of serotonin can result in migraine headaches and depression.
- Musculoskeletal conditions.Fibrositis, fibromyalgia, muscle spasm, eye twitches, cramps, and chronic neck and back pain may be cause by magnesium deficiency and can be relieved with magnesium supplements.
- Nerve problems.Magnesium alleviates peripheral nerve disturbances throughout the body, such as headaches, muscle contractions, gastrointestinal spasms, and calf, foot, and toe cramps. It is also used in treating the central system symptoms of vertigo and confusion.
- Obstetrical and gynaecological problems. Magnesium helps prevent premenstrual syndrome and dysmenorrhea (cramping pain during menses), is important in the treatment of infertility, and alleviates premature contractions, preeclampsia, and eclampsia in pregnancy. Intravenous magnesium is given in obstetrical wards for pregnancy-induced hypertension and to lessen the risk of cerebral palsy and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Magnesium should be a required supplement for pregnant women.
- Osteoporosis.Use of calcium with vitamin D to enhance calcium absorption without a balancing amount of magnesium causes further magnesium deficiency, which triggers a cascade of events leading to bone loss.
- Raynaud’s Syndrome.Magnesium helps relax the spastic blood vessels that cause pain and numbness of the fingers.
- Tooth decay. Magnesium deficiency causes an unhealthy balance of phosphorus and calcium in saliva, which damages teeth.
Drugs such as painkillers, diuretics, antibiotics, and cortisone, many of which are commonly prescribed, further deplete magnesium and other minerals, allowing symptoms to get completely out of control.
Surgery, malnutrition, third-degree burns, serious injuries, pancreatic inflammation, liver disease, malabsorption disorders, diabetes, hormonal imbalance, and cancer are all seriously stressful medical conditions requiring increased amounts of magnesium.
Examples of dietary sources rich in magnesium:
Black beans, Raw broccoli, Halibut, All forms of Nuts, Frozen Okra, Oysters, Raw Plantain, Rockfish, Scallop, Seeds, Pumpkin, Squash, Soy milk, Spinach, Tofu, Whole grain cereal, Whole grain cereal and Whole wheat bread.
For further reading on Magnesium:
- The Magnesium Miracle by Carolyn Dean, MD; ND.
Co-Authored by, Datuk Dr Selvam Rengasamy & Dr James Jeremiah