Magnesium

Its been referred to as the miracle nutrient, the blessing hiding in plain view, and the remedy for many ills. With extra magnesium many painful and difficult health conditions have been reversed. It's used in medicine to help women in labor reduce seizures when they have a blood pressure crisis. It's useful after a heart attack to reduce pain and spasms in the cardiac arteries. Now its coming to the attention of many health professionals in the treatment of a myriad number of other conditions.

Magnesium is an essential mineral involved in more than 300 enzymatic reactions in the body. It is crucial for ATP production and utilization. ATP is the 'energy bank' in the cell from which our energy is derived. Research has linked magnesium deficiency to a number of cardiovascular conditions, including coronary artery disease, angina (chest pain), myocardial infarction (heart attack), hypertension, and hyperlipidemia. Reduced magnesium levels have also been noted in chronic fatigue sufferers.

Magnesium in the dance of balance

Our body is all about balance. One aspect of balance is that of relaxation vs contraction. Our heart needs to contract to deliver blood but then needs to open to receive more. To have a bowel movement, our anus needs to open so contractions in our colon can do their work. So it is in every process involving bodily movement.

In order to effect these contraction - expansion processes there are two key ingredients; calcium for contraction, magnesium for relaxation.

Magnesium (Mg+) = relaxation

Calcium (Ca.++) = contraction

Signs of low magnesium levels:

  • loss of appetite
  • nausea
  • muscle contractions and cramps
  • seizures
  • personality changes
  • abnormal heart rhythms

What conditions can lead to low magnesium levels?

  • poorly controlled diabetes
  • chronic malabsorption (i.e. from Crohn's, gluten sensitive intestinal disease, certain medications (diuretics, antibiotics)
  • old age

What can Magnesium help with?

  • pre-eclampsia (a dangerous condition in pregnancy which can lead to maternal seizures and fetal death)
  • a cardiac rhythm disturbance (used in acute management of atrial fibrillation). It has also been shown to reduce the risk of ventricular fibrillation in patients with stable heart failure.
  • inhaled (nebulized) magnesium sulfate is useful in acute asthma when taken together with nebulized Ventolin.
  • cluster headaches, migraine (especially menstrual migraine) responded to high daily doses of magnesium.

Caution

While magnesium is generally well tolerated, an overdose may cause diarrhoea, vomiting, thirst, low blood pressure, muscle weakness, respiratory depression, cardiac arrhythmias and death.

The use of glucagon, calcitonin taken with high doses of magnesium can lead to overdoses. Magnesium use may lead to poor absorption of certain antibiotics, heart medications and skeletal muscle relaxants. People with poor kidney function are at increased risk of overdosage.

The best way to get enough magnesium is to consume foods rich in it. Some examples: halibut, almonds, cashews, almost all vegetables and fruit.

 

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