by Carolyn Dean, MD, ND,
Medical Advisory Board member of the Nutritional Magnesium Association www.nutritionalmagnesium.org
Magnesium is a crucial mineral that allows the proper functioning of over 325 enzyme systems in the body. The most touted aspect is the ability to relax muscles to prevent heart attacks and high blood pressure.
The list of health benefits of magnesium is very lengthy. In my book The Magnesium Miracle, I give two sets of lists. One list includes the conditions proven scientifically to be contributed to or triggered by magnesium deficiency. Just a few of the numerous conditions include fatigue, hypertension, heart disease, insomnia, kidney stones, migraine headaches, osteoporosis, nerve problems, musculoskeletal conditions and diabetes.
The second list includes the 100 factors that can promote magnesium deficiency, such as alcohol and coffee consumption, stress, constipation, sugar consumption, improper diet, and medications, to name but a few. Both complete lists can be found at www.nutritionalmagnesium.org/deficiency.
There’s no way of knowing how many factors correlate with any one person’s magnesium deficiency, but if you find yourself ticking off a few dozen symptoms, you may want to see how many symptoms improve when you take magnesium supplements.
The most frequent questions I’m asked about magnesium are, “How do I know I need more magnesium?” and, “Should I take magnesium supplements?” I have come to the conclusion that everyone could benefit from extra supplementation.
Endless lists may not be an elegant way to present vital information about magnesium, but they serve to bring home the importance of magnesium and hopefully encourage you to do more research on this topic. One place to start is the nonprofit website www.nutritionalmagnesium.org, where you can obtain a free eBooklet that I wrote on magnesium, view videos, and read articles and testimonials on how magnesium is saving lives.
A proper diet isn’t enough. It’s difficult to get sufficient magnesium in the diet to even meet the minimum RDA requirements because minerals, including magnesium, have been farmed out of the soil and eliminated from most processed foods.
The only side effect from magnesium is a laxative effect if you take a large amount at once. That can be avoided by breaking up the dose into two or three throughout the day, but it can also be a benefit to someone who’s chronically constipated. The only people who should avoid self-administering magnesium are those with heart block (the type that requires a pacemaker), myasthenia gravis (because their muscles are already too relaxed), bowel obstruction, and those on kidney dialysis.
A 32-page guide to the health benefits of magnesium and how to avoid osteoporosis, strengthen bones naturally and support a healthy heart is available as a free download at www.nutritionalmagnesium.org.