mighty magnesium

When we consider good health and what it entails we need to think in terms of cellular health. When your cells are healthy, your organs are healthy and YOU are healthy. Dysfunctional and damaged cells lead to disease. Thus the key to excellent health is to restore and maintain good function of your cells. Although there are many important nutrients (and conditions) required for good cellular health, magnesium is an extremely important mineral that is involved in over 300 biochemical processes, making it a true cellular tonic. Magnesium deficiency can lead to serious mental and physical problems, eventually leading to disease. The list of illnesses and ailments relating to magnesium deficiency is a long one which proves the importance of magnesium for good health.

The highly respected Norman Shealy, MD, PhD says this: “Every known illness is associated with a magnesium deficiency,” and further states, “magnesium is the most critical mineral required for electrical stability of every cell in the body. A magnesium deficiency may be responsible for more diseases than any other nutrient.”

Says Dr. Mark Sircus of the IMVA; “Magnesium is grossly deficient in the great majority of people existing on modern diets. The clinical situation is so bad that when it comes to magnesium, people with chronic diseases can be sure that their magnesium levels will be very low”

Factors which may result in magnesium deficiency:

  • Our soils are deficient in magnesium and therefore our foods are more likely to be mineral deficient too.
  • The typical western diet of refined and processed foods will almost certainly be lacking in magnesium.
  • Stress, which afflicts so many in this increasingly fast-paced and complex world of ours, exhausts our magnesium stores. Thus a greater supply of magnesium is needed when stressed.
  • General nutrient deficiencies means that the magnesium co-factors may be lacking and thus magnesium cannot be utilized fully. The magnesium co-factors are: Vitamins B1, B6, C & D, zinc, calcium and phosphorus.  A wholesome, nutritious and varied diet, daily exposure to sunshine (for vitamin D), sufficient rest and a reduction in stress levels, may mean that you’ll get enough of these nutrients. If not, at least as a minimum include a good B-complex supplement.

Let’s consider some of the major roles magnesium plays in good health:

Magnesium for the heart: Magnesium is known as the heart mineral. Run your magnesium stores down and your risk of having a heart attack increases. Add stress to the deficiency problem and you could find yourself in serious trouble. Even over-exercising (a physical stress) can deplete your magnesium stores and increase your risk of a heart attack. Here’s an extract from “Magnesium – the ultimate heart medicine” by Dr. Mark Sircus of the IMVA: “Magnesium is absolutely essential for the proper functioning of the heart. Magnesium’s role in preventing heart disease and strokes is generally well accepted, yet cardiologists have not gotten up to speed with its use. Magnesium was first shown to be of value in the treatment of cardiac arrhythmias in 1935. Since then there have been numerous double-blind studies showing that magnesium is beneficial for many types of arrhythmias including atrial fibrillation, ventricular premature contractions, ventricular tachycardia, and severe ventricular arrhythmias. Magnesium supplementation is also helpful in angina due to either a spasm of the coronary artery or atherosclerosis.

Magnesium to prevent and treat diabetes: Magnesium is necessary for both the action of insulin and the manufacture of insulin. Without insulin, magnesium doesn’t get transported from our blood into our cells whereit is mostneeded. When Dr. Jerry Nadler of the Gonda Diabetes Center at the City of Hope Medical Center in Duarte, California, and his colleagues placed 16 healthy people on magnesium-deficient diets, their insulin became less effective at getting sugar from their blood into their cells, where it’s burned or stored as fuel. In other words, they became less insulin sensitive or what is called insulin resistant. And that’s the first step on the road to both diabetes and heart disease (which is often caused by diabetes).

Magnesium for asthma:  Magnesium is an excellent treatment for asthma because it is a bronchodilator and an antihistamine, thereby naturally reducing histamine levels in the body. Asthma is often an allergic response to an allergen (extrinsic asthma) which results in the release of excess histamine which can cause the bronchial tubes to go into spasm. These spasms can initiate episodes of wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath which quickly leads to rapid breathing, difficulty exhaling, anxiety and dehydration. Using magnesium oil liquid as a spray applied to and absorbed by the skin is a far more superior way of delivering magnesium directly into the blood stream and is far quicker acting. Intravenous magnesium would also be a good choice for serious attacks that are life threatening.

According to the World Health Organization, 150 million people around the world have asthma and over 180,000 die annually as a result of it. Perhaps magnesium therapy could help sufferers gain control over their asthma. Simple, safe and inexpensive, it seems sad that it not a major consideration.

Here is an excellent article on the management of asthma using magnesium – if you know of someone who has asthma troubles, please be kind enough to pass this on to them or send them the link.

http://blog.imva.info/medicine/magnesium-asthma

Magnesium and high blood pressure: Magnesium in our cells helps the muscles to relax but if we can’t store magnesium because the cells are resistant then we lose magnesium which makes the blood vessels constrict and causes an increase in blood pressure. Magnesium excels as a natural antihypertensive and should be the first port of call when treating high blood pressure – along with a change in diet of course!

Magnesium to calm the nerves and alleviate stress, anxiety, panic attacks and depression: Serotonin, the “feel-good” brain chemical that is needed for a happy, positive mood depends on magnesium for its production and function. Rather than resorting to pharmaceutical anti-depressants and anti-anxiety drugs, why not turn to magnesium. Transdermal magnesium therapy is an inexpensive and efficient way to raise serotonin levels – plus you get all the other benefits of magnesium supplementation.

Magnesium to help insomnia: Due to magnesium’s ability to raise serotonin levels it can greatly improve quality of sleep and the ability to fall asleep. Melatonin, the sleep hormone is dependent on serotonin. The addition of B6 may also prove useful as it too is needed for serotonin production.

An Epsom’s bath prior to bed followed by a few sprays of magnesium oil onto the skin is very likely to encourage a good night’s sleep.

Says Dr. Mark Sircus of the IMVA:

“The involvement of free radicals in tissue injury induced by magnesium deficiency causes an accumulation of oxidative products in heart, liver, kidney and skeletal muscle tissue, and in red blood cells. Magnesium is a crucial factor in the natural self-cleansing and detoxification responses of the body and it certainly helps people sleep better than any pharmaceutical. Nothing will de-stress one’s cells faster than raising one’s cellular magnesium levels”

Magnesium to prevent stroke: Stroke is caused by high blood pressure and thickened blood. Magnesium along with omega 3 essential fatty acids from fish oil can help to lower blood pressure, and omega 3’s along with vitamin E will thin the blood. A healthy diet along with these supplements will go a long way in preventing stroke.

Magnesium for migraines: Magnesium prevents platelet aggregation which helps to avoid the thickened blood and tiny clots that can cause blood vessel spasms and the pain of a migraine. Magnesium also acts as a muscle relaxant thereby reducing head and neck muscle tension that can make migraines worse. Low brain magnesium also promotes neurotransmitter hyperactivity and nerve excitation that can lead to headaches.

Magnesium for muscle pain, spasms, tics and twitches: Since magnesium is a muscle and blood vessel relaxant, it helps to ease muscle pain and spasms. By relaxing the nervous system, magnesium can eliminate tics and twitches.

Magnesium as a natural cholesterol-lowering statin: Pharmaceutical statins, whilst effective at lowering cholesterol, also come with a host of serious potential side effects such as liver disruption, muscle damage (statin myopathy – which causes muscle cell destruction that leads to muscle pain and tenderness), depletion of coenzyme Q10 (needed for energy production), depression and cancer. The production of cholesterol requires the enzyme HMG-CoA reductase – this is the same enzyme that statin drugs target and inhibit. As it turns out, magnesium is the mineral involved in controlling cholesterol levels through its action on HMG-CoA reductase. As we can see then, given the right nutrients our body can deal with imbalances very easily.

Magnesium to alleviate fatigue: Because magnesium is necessary for so many biochemical processes (over 300), a lack of magnesium means that the many enzyme systems required for energy production will be lacking. The inevitable result: fatigue

Magnesium as a calmative for ADHD children: Magnesium is one of the important nutrients required for good neurological function and acts as a calmative which would be particularly useful for hyperactive children. ADHD also responds well to other nutrients such as vitamin B6, omega 3 essential fatty acids and zinc. Vitamin B1 and B3 may also be deficient. It has also been found that ADHD children accumulate heavy metals such as cadmium and lead more readily. The sulphate component of Epsom salts is especially useful in this instance as it helps with heavy metal detoxification. Thus twice weekly Epsom salt baths are likely to be of great benefit to those afflicted with ADHD.

Lead toxicity can also be dealt with using the following natural items:

  • Fucus ( Pro-Algin), a sea vegetable
  • Chlorella, a blue-green algae
  • Alpha lipoic acid (100—200 mg 3x/day) … also helps maintain optimal levels of reduced-glutathione for improved biological conjugation and clearing of these and other toxic substances.
  • Selenium (preferably yeast-based) 400 mcg/day (adjust dose down for child)
  • Vitamin C (try powdered Emergen-C packets with MSM)
  • Foods: Garlic, cilantro, whey protein

Source: www.healing-arts.org/children/ADHD – included in an article by John M. Dye ND

As you can see, it is important to ensure we do not become magnesium deficient. How do we do this?

 1.  Eat a varied, magnesium-rich diet:

Include leafy greens, nuts, seeds and a moderate amount of whole grains – always soaked overnight prior to cooking. You can also enjoy raw cacao with “moderate abandon” as it is one of the richest sources of magnesium!

2.  Magnesium supplementation:

Since it may be difficult to obtain sufficient magnesium from the modern diet, and since magnesium is rapidly depleted when stressed, it is generally advisable to consider magnesium supplementation.

Effective forms of supplementation are:

Transdermal application which involves magnesium applied to the skin as a liquid solution of magnesium chloride and purified water. This application allows for rapid absorption of magnesium directly into the blood stream. The solution is sprayed onto the skin twice to three times daily. It is not necessary to wash it off but if itching or tingling (quite normal after the first few applications) is experienced, then rinse after 20 minutes.

 Dr. Mark Sircus of the IMVA is one of the leading authorities on transdermal magnesium therapy – you will find loads of informative and well-researched articles on his website, which is well worth a visit. Here is an informative article on transdermal medicine: www.magnesiumforlife.com/transdermal-magnesium/principles-and-practices-of-transdermal-medicine

“Transdermal is the ultimate way to replenish cellular magnesium levels. Every cell in the body bathes and feeds in it and even DHEA levels are increased naturally”
– Dr. Norman Shealy

Why transdermal application is better than oral supplementation: Oral magnesium supplements tend to be less well absorbed with absorption being about 40% of the dose given. Magnesium absorption can also be hindered by digestive enzymes and stomach acid. In some people oral supplementation can lead to gastro-intestinal upsets due to its laxative effect. Oral magnesium supplements will over time raise magnesium levels but it takes much longer than when applied transdermal as a liquid spray.

Oral supplementation is best taken in the form of magnesium citrate or biglycinate.

Therapeutic Epsom salt baths – Epsom salts is the common name for magnesium sulphate, a naturally occurring compound of magnesium, sulphur and oxygen with the chemical formula MgSO4. In its hydrated form the pH is 6.0. Epsom salts are commonly used as a bath salt or part of a bath salt mix. Soaking in a therapeutic bath containing 2 cups of Epsom salts soothes mind, body and soul, eases muscular aches, pains and cramps, treats inflammation, heals eczema (many testimonials to be found at earthclinic.com), wounds and other skin problems, detoxifies the body (due to the sulphur content) and raises magnesium levels. Epsom salt baths are also very calming and relaxing as the magnesium helps to raise serotonin, the feel-good neurotransmitter. Perfect for those who are stressed and anxious and particularly helpful for insomniacs. Also a great way to calm hyperactive children and prepare them for bed!

Standard dose for a therapeutic bath:

Adults – 2 cups, 2 – 3 times weekly

Children: 1/2 – 1 cup depending on depth of bath, twice weekly

All sports people should know about Epsom salts as the magnesium it contains helps to soothe strained, aching muscles, swelling and bruising and puts back the magnesium lost through perspiration. A magnesium liquid spray used a few times a day will further provide relief from bruising, swelling and pain. For aching feet have a foot bath – ½ cup Epsom salts in a small bucket or basin.

The sulphate component of Epsom salts aids detoxification. This is an important benefit as we are all in need of ridding our bodies of toxins, chemicals and heavy metals that are increasingly more prevalent in our environment and our food. Sulphates also form proteins in brain tissue and the joints.

Children with autism are often deficient in sulphate because they excrete it via the urine so readily. Thus Epsom salt baths would be of great value in replacing their sulphate stores – crucial for detoxification of heavy metals which autistic children are particularly prone to accumulate because of their low sulphate stores.

For more on the benefits and uses on Epsom salts, read my full article here:

Epsom salts – a simple remedy for your health, home and garden

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 Health Disclaimer: The content of this article is provided for your information only and may not be construed as medical advice or instruction. No action or inaction should be taken based solely on the contents of this information; instead, readers should consult appropriate health professionals on any matter relating to their health and wellbeing.

The information and opinions expressed here are believed to be accurate, based on the best judgement available to the author, and readers who fail to consult with appropriate health authorities assume the risk of any injuries. 

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