The Mighty Powers of Magnesium

In All Health Watch, Diet and Nutrition, Featured Article

Did you know that deficiency in just one mineral can cause anxiety… diabetes… even heart disease?

In fact, deficiency in this mineral makes you twice as likely to die, according to findings published in The Journal of Intensive Care Medicine. And the bad news is that 80 percent of Americans are deficient in it.

The mineral we’re talking about is magnesium.

Medical experts agree that magnesium is essential to a long and healthy life. “In my practice, this nutrient is one of my secret weapons against illness,” says Dr. Mark Hyman, who serves on the Board of Advisors of Georgetown University and operates a practice in Lenox, MA. “Yet half of Americans are deficient in this nutrient and don’t know it.”

“I remember using magnesium when I worked in the emergency room,” says Dr. Hyman. “It was a critical ‘medication’ on the crash cart. If someone was dying of [an] irregular heartbeat, we used intravenous magnesium. If pregnant women came in with seizures, we gave them high doses of magnesium.”

And he’s not alone in praising magnesium.

“Magnesium deficiency triggers 22 conditions,” says Dr. Carolyn Dean, M.D.

Dr. Dean is a magnesium expert: she’s led medical research on it for over 30 years. She currently serves as the Medical Director of the Nutritional Magnesium Association and wrote The Magnesium Miracle.

Miracles of Magnesium

Magnesium triggers over 300 enzyme reactions and is present in all bodily tissues. It’s critical to bones and muscle. Your cells use it to make energy and stabilize membranes.

It fights depression, fatigue, and even kidney disease. And it’s essential to many essential bodily functions.

So… if magnesium is so beneficial to health, why don’t we hear more about it?

“This mineral is ignored because it is not a drug,” says Dr. Hyman. “It is more powerful than drugs in many cases. That’s why we use it in hospitals for heart failure.”

Dr. Dean agrees. She believes the drug makers have financial reasons for keeping it under the radar.

“Most of the funding for medical research comes from drug companies,” she says. “Magnesium is not a drug and will not be studied by drug companies. Except to try to disprove its action.”

And magnesium deficiency often goes under the radar because it’s hard to detect.

“In our society, magnesium deficiency is a huge problem,” says Dr. Hyman. “By conservative standards of measurement (blood or serum magnesium levels), 65 percent of people admitted to the intensive care unit have magnesium deficiency.

“But this underestimates the problem. A serum magnesium level is the least sensitive way to detect a drop. So rates of magnesium deficiency could be even higher.”

And that’s bad news for good health. Magnesium deficiency has been linked to migraines, inflammation, and high CRP levels.

Why Our Society Is Magnesium Deficient

It’s a scientific fact that modern man is deficient in magnesium. One recent study concluded…

It is regrettable that deficiency of such an inexpensive, low-toxicity nutrient results in diseases that cause incalculable suffering throughout the world.

So why are we so deficient? What’s changed?

As is often the case, our own diets work against us. Highly processed foods contain little magnesium. Carb-rich foods like white flour and pasta have no magnesium at all. Neither does dairy.

Worse, many of the foods we do eat reduce our levels. Dr. Hyman says alcohol, salt, cola, and coffee all reduce magnesium. And our modern lifestyle does the same: stress, antibiotics, and diuretics decrease our levels too.

Another reason we have low levels is because it’s hard to absorb. Worse… our bodies lose it easily. That’s why it’s important to supplement our magnesium intake.

Supplement Your Diet

Many foods are rich in magnesium. Good sources include:

  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Walnuts
  • Shrimp
  • Green drinks
  • Leafy green vegetables

Dr. Hyman suggests taking a supplement. While the recommended daily amount is about 300 mg a day, he believes most of us get less than 200 mg. And he says that most people could benefit from as much as 400 – 1,000 mg a day.

Another good option for kicking up your levels are Epsom salts. Taking a hot bath in Espom salts (magnesium sulfate) helps reduce stress and allows easy absorption of magnesium.

Both doctors Dean and Hyman suggest that magnesium citrate, glycinate taurate, and aspartate are the most easy to absorb. They caution against magnesium carbonate, sulfate, gluconate, and oxide because they are more difficult to absorb.

Dr. Hyman also notes that people with kidney or heart disease should consult a doctor to define safe levels.

To your health,

Ian Robinson,
Managing Editor
NHD “Health Watch"