Magnesium

Magnesium seems to be involved in several hundred enzyme pathways,

all essential for optimum health. Not surprisingly, therefore,

a lack of magnesium can lead to a great diversity of symptoms.

Many of magnesium’s important functions are connected with

the nervous system. Lack of magnesium causes a state of over

excitability, with twitching, tremors, anxiety, hyperactivity,

cramps, convulsions and insomnia. Because it counters such

symptoms, magnesium has been christened ‘Nature’s tranquillizer’.

Correction of some of these symptoms due to magnesium deficiency

may be vital to the allergic patient, who may mis-assign them

to am allergy.

Paradoxically, a lack of magnesium is a major factor in fatigue

(a depressed, rather than excited state). This is almost certainly

because magnesium is essential for phase I xenobiotic detoxification

pathways. Lack of it can lead to an increase in unwanted metabolites

such as chloral hydrate (‘Mickey Finn’, giving rise to a ‘spacey’

and tired feeling.

Another mechanism that could implicate magnesium in fatigue

is that it is vital for splitting adenosine triphosphate (the

body’s principal energy-carrier molecule) into adenosine diphosphate.

Without magnesium, this tissue energy is not bio-available.

A lack of magnesium can also lead to raised blood-pressure

and heart abnormalities. PMT seems to benefit greatly from

magnesium supplementation, probably because it is needed in

metabolizing essential fatty acids. So does musculoskeletal

pain; magnesium can be a great help to backache sufferers.

Despite its importance, there is no known test to substantiate

how much magnesium is that the average diet provides only about

40 per cent of even the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA)!

Soils are depleted of magnesium due to acid rain; food processing

removes a great deal of magnesium and high phosphates in the

diet interfere with its absorption (colas and other fizzy drinks

are high in phosphates).

Those especially at risk are alcohol drinkers, individuals

with inflammatory gut disease, whether due to infection or

allergies, and joggers and health buffs, who sweat a great

deal. Overdoing it in the gym, without supplementing magnesium,

may not be so healthy.

Orthomolecular levels: 200 to 400 mg daily. Care may be needed

in supplementations as it can lead to diarrhoea and a worsening

in magnesium status, due to a loss of electrolytes from the

colon.

MAGNESIUM STATUS TEST

Dr Sherry Rogers of Syracuse, New York has devised a test to

check for magnesium status in individuals. The test presupposes

that the body retains magnesium if it needs it. Hence sharply

excreted magnesium indicates a plentiful supply within the

body. However, one cannot rely similarly on a low magnesium

excretion – that may mean deficiency or that the patient

is not absorbing it from the gut. Clinical judgement by the

physician is required.

Urine samples are taken over a 24-hour period, to measure

a baseline level of magnesium.

The individual is dosed with magnesium chloride tablets, 62

mg (two tablets) three times a day (372 mg daily).

After 48 hours a second urine sample is taken. The patient

can report subjective changes (i.e. feelings of any improvement)

at this time.

Percentages are found by dividing the baseline magnesium by

the second level. Results of over 50 per cent suggest the person

is absorbing magnesium poorly or that the magnesium is being

retained because the patient is deficient.

Intravenous Magnesium

If the patient’s status warrants it, intravenous administration

of magnesium may be recommended by a physician. One gram is

administered in a 2-ml saline shot, given slowly into a vein

in the arm. We call this a magnesium “push”. A recent

article in the Lancet by leading clinical ecologists demonstrated

conclusively that magnesium injections were beneficial for

ME sufferers, confirming what clinical ecologists have been

saying for years.

By the way, clinical ecologists in the know like to give each

other magnesium IV for backache!

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