The Way Up
rainbow separator

The Way Up Newsletter
Vol. 30, 08-15-01


Magnificent Magnesium
"Responsibility is about living in the present moment.
We cannot change the past.
We can only affect the future by what we think & do in the present.”
--- Science of Mind.
   
 

NAMASTE & WELCOME TO THE WAY UP NEWSLETTER!

 
Our topic is: MAGNIFICENT MAGNESIUM (Mg)
And you will soon know why. It is a supplement commonly prescribed by me because I often see deficiency conditions.
If you first like narrative explanations of a subject, you may want to skip the next section & return to it later. But if you want know whether you have low magnesium you may want to begin with this:
MAGNESIUM DEFICIENCY QUESTIONNAIRE
Circle each yes answer which is given a numerical value.
When you finish, total your score.
--With 30-50, you likely have low magnesium.
--Over 50 & you most certainly have low magnesium.
YES QUESTION...
2 Under excessive emotional stress
3 Irritable, or easily provoked to anger
2 Restless, or hyperactive
4 Easily startled by sounds or lights
2 Difficulty sleeping
3 Chronic headaches or migraines
2 Convulsions
3 Fine tremor or shakiness in your hands
3 Fine, barely noticeable muscle twitching around your eyes, facial muscles, or other muscles of your body
3 Muscle cramps
3 Muscle spasms in hands or feet
4 Gag or choke from spasms in your esophagus(food tube)
3 Have asthma or wheezing
2 Suffer from emphysema, chronic bronchitis, or shortness breath
5 Have osteoporosis
3 Have you ever had a kidney stone
2 Suffer from chronic kidney disease
4 Have diabetes
3 Have an overactive thyroid, or parathyroid gland
3 Have high blood pressure
4 Have mitral valve prolapse (“floppy heart valve”)
3 Have very fast heart beats, irregular heart beats, or arrhythmia
3 Take Digitalis (Digoxin)
5 Take any kind of diuretic
5 Recent radiation therapy or exposure
4 Have more than 7 alcohol drinks weekly
3 Have you ever had a drinking problem?
2 Have more than 3 servings of caffeine daily
2 Eat sugar containing food daily
2 Crave carbohydrates &/or chocolate
2 Crave salt
2 Eat a high processed food/ junk food diet
2 Eat a diet low in green, leafy vegetables, seeds, & fresh fruit
2 Eat a low protein diet
2 Pass undigested food or fat in your stools
3 Suffer from chronic intestinal disease, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s, irritable bowel syndrome
3 Frequent diarrhea or constipation
3 Suffer from PMS or menstrual cramps
2 Pregnant or recently pregnant
4 In previous pregnancy had high blood pressure or pre-eclampsia
2 Chronic fatigue
2 Muscle weakness
2 Cold hands &/or feet
2 Numbness in face, hands, or feet
2 Persistent tingling in body
2 Chronic lack of interest, indifference, or apathy
2 Poor memory
2 Loss of concentration
3 Anxiety
2 Chronic depression for no apparent reason
2 Feelings of disorientation as to time or place
2 Feel your personality is stiff or mechanical
2 Hallucinations
2 Feel that people are trying to harm or persecute you
2 Face pale, puffy, or lacking in color
2 Loss of considerable sexual energy or vitality
2 Been told by your Dr that your blood calcium is low
3 Been told by your Dr that your blood potassium is low
2 Take Calcium supplements regularly without magnesium
2 Take iron or zinc supplements regularly without magnesium
2 Know chronic exposure to fluorides
3 Frequently use antibiotics, steroids, oral contraceptives,
Indomethacin, Cisplatin, Amphotericin B, Cholestyramine, synthetic estrogens
  <--- TOTAL ...
Subtract 15 from your score if you daily supplement at least 600 mg of magnesium.
WHAT ARE THE FUNCTIONS OF MAGNESIUM?
You can infer much of this by the questionnaire above, but let’s go into more detail.

The most known functions are the following:
 
1- MAINTAINS THE HEART MUSCLE & BLOOD VESSELS
Magnesium deficiency is associated with an increased incidence of atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, heart attacks, & strokes.
 
Interestingly, Mg mimics many of the activities associated with a variety of cardiovascular medications. It thins blood similarly to Coumadin. It blocks Calcium uptake similar to Calcium Channel Blocker. It acts as a potent vasodilator by relaxing blood vessels as do the Ace Inhibitors, such as Vasotec. It inhibits platelet aggregation as does aspirin. Magnesium maintains the balance of the clotting mechanisms. It also increases the oxygen in the heart by improving heart muscle contractility.
Fifteen percent of the population have what is called mitral valve prolapse ( a floppy heart valve). This is associated with an increased tendency to anxiety, an irregular or fast heart rate, palpitations, & in general a hyper-irritable heart muscle. Studies have shown 62% of these people are Mg deficient & symptoms can be prevented by Mg administration.
 
Unfortunately, some widely used cardiac medications such as digitalis & the diuretics increase urinary excretion of Mg & contribute to the deficiency states. Thus Mg is an important anti-arrhthymic agent in treating digitalis toxicity. It also helps in treating atrial tachycardia & ventricular tachycardia when used intravenously in these emergency conditions.
 
2- MAGNESIUM IS INTEGRAL TO BONE STRUCTURE
Sixty percent of the body’s Mg is in the bones. With osteoporosis, there is significant skeletal Mg depletion.
 
A common mistake which distresses me the is the recommendation by many Drs & the belief by many people that one need only supplement calcium to prevent or to treat osteoporosis. Not only is magnesium essential for bone formation, but calcium supplementation without magnesium will contribute to metabolic imbalances & bone loss.!!
 
Magnesium assists in the metabolism & uptake of calcium. Magnesium depletion promotes abnormal crystallization of calcium in soft tissues, such as kidney stones, gall stones, atheroslerosis, microcalcifications in the breast & other soft tissue. Magnesium can help dissolve calcium phosphate kidney stones, & may prevent the formation of calcium oxalate kidney stones. Natural estrogen helps move magnesium into the bones, while certain synthetic estrogens deplete bodily magnesium.
 
The parathyroid gland is adjacent to the thyroid & has a major function of regulating calcium metabolism. Magnesium synergizes the secretion of parathyroid hormone. Also a magnesium deficiency decreases the ability of the body to respond to parathyroid hormone. Magnesium deficiency associated with low blood calcium levels may create symptoms of parathyroid hormone deficiency.
 
This low calcium level will not respond to parathyroid hormone, to Vitamin D, or to calcium supplementation, but is only corrected with magnesium therapy.
 
Both Mg deficiency & Mg excess are detrimental to bones & extreme Mg excess contributes to a rare softness & deformity of the bones called osteomalacia, which is far less common than osteoporosis.
3- MAGNESIUM MAINTAINS NORMAL NERVE, BRAIN, & MUSCLE FUNCTION.
While 60% of the Mg is in the bones, the rest is primarily in the cells where it functions to regulate the transmission of impulses between brain cells, & from nerves to muscles & organs. It also maintains normal muscle function & contractility.
Since Mg regulates the irritability or sensitivity of the nerves & muscles, a deficiency leads to neuromuscular hyperexcitability which can be associated with muscle cramps, twitches, & tremors, tension, tightness, or soreness. It is also associated with various spasms, such as the bronchospasm of asthma, esophageal spasm ( a lump in the throat with difficulty swallowing), the vascular spasm of migraines some forms of hypertension, chest pain & other chronic pain syndromes, the urinary spasms with some forms of urinary problems & bedwetting, the spasms of premature labor & menstrual cramps, & of course the spasms of seizures. The excitability can also be associated with an easy startle response, noise & light sensitivity, numbness & tingling & strange body sensations.
Some of the most dramatic effects of Mg deficiency may occur in the central nervous system such as with the DT’s (delirium tremens) of alcoholism, general anxiety & irritability, nervousness, confusion, tantrums, insomnia, depression, The symptoms can even progress to the point of psychotic proportions. Studies have shown lower Mg in the blood of those with active schizophrenia than in those in remission.
4- MAGNESIUM IS A CO-FACTOR TO ACTIVATE & REGULATE OVER 300 ENZYMES SYSTEMS IN THE BODY RELATING TO LIFE SUPPORTING BIOCHEMICAL REACTIONS
It is integrally involved in the production of energy in the cells via a biochemical reaction called the Kreb’s Cycle. It participates in the formation of the energy reserve of the muscles ( called Cyclic AMP) Many of these functions take place in combination with pyridoxal 5 phosphate (the co-enzyme form of vitamin B6). Thus deficiency can be associated with fatigue & weakness.
Through its’ co-factor functions, Mg participates in the synthesis of protein, & genetic material such as DNA. It is a binding agent for the genetic material called messenger RNA. Thus a deficiency can lead to poor growth or genetic defects. A Study in the Journal Of The American Medical Association reported a70% lower incidence of mental retardation, & a 90% lower incidence of cerebral palsy in children of mothers supplemented with magnesium during pregnancy.
Magnesium works with vitamin C to build collagen. It assists with temperature regulation. Magnesium also supports the function of the pancreas.
5- MAGNESIUM IS CRITICAL IN GLUCOSE METABOLISM, TOGETHER WITH VITAMIN B1
It plays a role in the breakdown & digestion of sugars & fatty acids.
It helps to maintain normal levels of blood fats. Magnesium deficiency is especially associated with increased triglycerides & the insulin resistance known as Syndrome X. Insulin resistance can be reduced by taking Mg.
 
6- MAGNESIUM ACTS AS A BUFFERING AGENT TO REGULATE THE ACID/ALKALINE STATE OF THE BODY.
it regulates intracellular fluid & supports the cell membrane, including permeability.
 
7- MAGNESIUM IS A CHELATING & DETOXIFYING AGENT & WORKS TO MAINTAIN PROPER LIVER FUNCTION.
 
WHAT DEPLETES OR INTERFERES WITH MAGNESIUM?
High stress contributes to Mg deficiency which exacerbates anxiety, fear weakness & physical complaints, leading to more stress & a vicious cycle. The decreased oxygen in the tissues related to stress , tissue injury, & an acid condition cause Mg to move out of the cells into the blood plasma leading to intracellular deficiency.
Excess sugar, caffeine, carbohydrates, low dietary protein, prolonged fasting, general malnutrition, chronic diarrhea, vomiting, excess zinc, vitamin D & calcium contribute to Mg deficiency. Aluminum, fluoride, & phosphate interfere with absorption.
Excess alcohol deserves its’ own paragraph as it is a common cause of low Mg. Multiple mechanisms are at play. Often those who drink excessively eat less than optimal diets. Then the alcohol causes increased urinary loss of Mg & increased gastrointestinal losses of Mg. The acidotic & alkalotic shifting states which accompany high alcohol intake further deplete the Mg stores. Many of the physical & mental symptoms of alcoholism are related to depleted Mg.
Those with diabetes, chronic gastrointestinal disorders, an overactive thyroid or parathyroid gland, or in the last 6 months of pregnancy are particularly prone to low Mg. Radiation causes large losses of Mg & Mg has a radiation protective action. Since high dose Mg antagonizes thyroid, I use high doses as part of my natural for hyperthyroidism & avoid high doses when there is a problem with low thyroid function.
Diuretics are a major villain in both Mg & potassium depletion, causing loss of both in the urine.
Potassium is the most abundant intracellular mineral with Mg ranking second. Magnesium assists in the cellular uptake of potassium so a Mg deficiency can lead to decreased potassium in the cells. Forty two percent of those with low potassium also have low Mg & will not respond to the administration of potassium until Mg is added. Unfortunately, normal serum levels of Mg & potassium do not necessarily indicate normal intracellular levels.
Medium chain triglycerides & the milk sugar, lactose enhance Mg absorption.
 

Magnesium supplementation is indicated for those with:

  • Anxiety/nervousness/panic
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Emotional overreactivity Irritability/anger
  • Hyperactivity/restlessness/squirming
  • Short attention span & learning disabilities
  • Hypersensitivity to sound & pain
  • High stress Fatigue Muscle pain, spasms & tension
  • Tics & tremors
  • Asthma
  • High blood pressure
  • Migraine or other headaches
  • High sugar, alcohol or caffeine intake
  • Constipation
  • Rapid pulse
  • Heart irregularities
  • Mitral valve prolapse
  • Those with low potassium (potassium supplemental therapy may be ineffective without concurrent magnesium)

SYMPTOMS OF MAGNESIUM DEFICIENCY BESIDES THOSE INFERRED FROM THE ABOVE LIST:

  • Excessive perspiration
  • Numbness & tingling
  • Poor muscle coordination
  • Increased startle response
  • Decreased concentration & memory
  • Confusion & disorientation
  • Appetite loss
  • Organic brain syndrome
  • Kidney stones
 
HOW DO YOU MEASURE MAGNESIUM?
I am not thrilled with any of the available methods. Probably for blood tests, the Red Blood Cell Mg is the best. Urinary loss can be measured by a 24 hour urinary Mg level, but that doesn’t say much about what is I the cells. Though I may do the testing I prefer to make the decision based upon diet, symptoms, & medical history which suffices.
 
CAN YOU GET TOO MUCH MAGNESIUM?
Yes magnesium toxicity is possible, but not common & more likely to be associated with severe medical conditions such as liver or kidney failure. If one does not supplement beyond recommended dose should be no problem, but should not supplement if have the above conditions. Conversely mild kidney disorders contribute to Mg deficiency as one of the kidneys functions is to conserve Mg by reabsorbing it when needed rather than excreting it in the urine. With mild dysfunction there may be excess Mg loss in the urine & sometimes subsequent severe Mg deficiency symptoms.
The symptoms of Mg toxicity are a drop in blood pressure, skin flushing, nausea, vomiting, slowed heart beat & breathing, even leading to a coma or death in severe instances. The best treatment for this is intravenous Calcium which will antagonize the Mg & decrease the toxic effects.
 
WHAT FOODS ARE HIGHEST IN MAGNESIUM?
Listed in order of priority are re Mg content per 3 1/2 ounces: kelp, wheat bran, wheat germ, almonds, cashews, blackstrap molasses, brewer’s yeast, buckwheat, brazil nuts, dulse, filberts, peanuts, millet, wheat grain, pecans, walnuts, rye, tofu, beet greens, dry coconut, cooked soybeans, spinach, brown rice, dried figs, swiss chard, dried apricots, dates, collard leaves, shrimp, sweet corn, avocado, cheddar cheese, parsley, prunes, sunflower seeds, cooked beans, barley, dandelion greens, garlic, raisins, fresh green peas, potato with skin, crab, banana, sweet poet, blackberries, beets broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, celery, beef, asparagus.
 
WHAT ARE THE USUAL SUPPLEMENTAL DOSES?
Anywhere from 400 -2000 mg daily total in 2-3 divided doses depending upon symptoms & response. Magnesium is also quite laxative & this effect sometimes makes it difficult to take a high enough dose , so may do better with a time release form


 


Feel free to forward to anyone you feel would be interested.

Please tell me what you want to have in future newsletters.

Let us go about unselfishly scattering seeds of love, joy, peace, harmony, & healing.

Until then....
    "Fear not to look upon the lovely truth in you." **
    
                     Priscilla Slagle M.D.
                         **Course In Miracles
To subscribe or to unsubscribe go to http://www.thewayup.com/newsletter.htm
  rainbow separator
 

Home | Quick Order | Product Catalog


We can be reached by E-Mail or Phone:
E-Mail:thewayup@dc.rr.com
Phone:1 (800) 289-8487
1 (760) 322-7797