March 25, 2013

209 Magnesium – a Crucial Mineral [25 March 2013]

Magnesium plays many vital roles in our body. I remember a high school chemistry lab where the teacher lit a strip of metal magnesium. It burned quickly with a very bright flame leaving a whitish powder ash. This ash is magnesium oxide, the most common form of magnesium supplement.

Magnesium plays many critical roles in our health. It is a component of over 300 different enzymes, and 3,751 binding sites have been identified on human proteins. GreenMedInfo lists over 100 health benefits of magnesium and describes seven “key therapeutic applications for magnesium”:
• fibromyalgia;
• atrial fibrillation;
• Type 2 Diabetes; PMS;
• cardiovascular disease;
• migraines; and
• aging.
I would add bone health and strength to the most important roles of magnesium.

Dr. Joseph Mercola estimates that 80% of Americans are deficient in magnesium. Blood tests are not reliable as only 1% of our body’s magnesium is in the blood and blood levels are so critical that our body keeps it stable even as tissue stores are being depleted.

Early signs of deficiency include:
• loss of appetite;
• poor sleep;
• headaches;
• nausea;
• fatigue and
• weakness.

Other symptoms include high blood pressure; anxiety; menstrual cramps, and stiff joints. More severe chronic magnesium deficiency can cause:
• numbness and tingling;
• muscle spasms and cramps; abnormal heart rhythms;
• coronary spasms; and
• seizures.

Conditions that increase the risk of deficiencies include
• Crohn’s disease;
• diabetes;
• alcoholism;
• old age;
• kidney impairment; and
• the use of diuretics, antibiotics and certain cancer drugs.

In the Introduction to Dr. Carolyn Dean’s 2003 book The Miracle of Magnesium she lists 16 different therapeutic areas where magnesium is used successfully. See the list here.

Next week I’ll list good dietary sources and discuss supplementation.

For more information on this or other natural health topics, stop in and talk to Stan; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.

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