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Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body and is essential to good health. Magnesium, atomic number twelve, is an element essential for normal function of the nervous and cardiovascular systems. Unfortunately, magnesium deficiency is one of the most common nutritional problems in the industrialized world today. This deficiency is the result of agricultural practices, food preparation techniques, and dietary trends. The current Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for the US is 6 mg/Kg/day, which translates to 420 mg for a 70 Kg man. Despite this it has been estimated that adults average much less than this requirement. The health implications are nothing short of catastrophic.

Magnesium is necessary for the metabolism of carbohydrates,
fats and amino acids. It is essential for the functions of muscles
and nerves and for the formation of bones and teeth.
Generally it counteracts and regulates the influence of calcium.

There are basically two classes of minerals: micronutrients, which are only needed in trace amounts and macronutrients, of which we need fairly significant amounts. Most people are aware that we need calcium, iron, phosphorus, zinc, in relatively large quantities. Unfortunately, the conventional medical paradigm in the United States has not realized the importance of magnesium. Magnesium supplementation is dramatically under utilized by conventional physicians. Though Mg deficiency is common, it is usually not looked for, and therefore, not found or corrected. In most industrialized countries, magnesium intake has decreased over time and is now marginal in the entire population.[i]

When 1,033 hospitalized patients were studied, over 54%
were low in magnesium. What was worse is that 90% of the
doctors never even thought of ordering a magnesium test.[ii]
Journal of the AMA

There are over 200 published clinical studies[iii] documenting the need for magnesium and many examples of miraculous “cures” from the use of this common mineral. Even DAN (Defeat Autism Now) doctors underestimate autistic children’s needs recommending only 50 milligrams twice a day in oral form. Not much of that is going to get into the children’s blood and cells because oral administration of magnesium is not absorbed readily and is made less available because of all the problems in these kids’ GI systems. Professor Gilbert LeLord of France published six studies evaluating the use of vitamin B6 with magnesium, on autistic children and adults. Their studies typically used as much as 500 milligrams of magnesium with more than satisfactory results.

According to Dr. Norman Shealy oral magnesium supplementation takes between 6 to 12 months to restore intracellular levels whereas a transdermally applied magnesium lotion with 25% magnesium chloride restores intracellular levels within 4 to 6 weeks. Some nutritional experts now believe that 750 milligrams of magnesium supplement per day is a more physiologic[iv] recommendation but to take that much orally might upset the digestive system, cause diarrhea, and end up not being properly absorbed.

Good sources of magnesium include whole grains, nuts, peanut butter, cottonseed, peanut and soybean flours, green leafy vegetables and spices. It's better to get magnesium from foods rather than supplements because high doses have a laxative effect--the body's way of preventing toxic levels. But unfortunately we have to come to terms with the fact that the food values of magnesium have been dropping over the last fifty years making it extremely difficult to receive all we need from foods. The International Medical Veritas Association recommends a system of transdermal magnesium therapy that bypasses the problems evident with oral magnesium supplementation. (See treatment recommendations)

Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body and is essential to good health. Approximately 50% of total body magnesium is found in bone. The other half is found predominantly inside cells of body tissues and organs. Only 1% of magnesium is found in blood, but the body works very hard to keep blood levels of magnesium constant. Magnesium is the single most important mineral for maintaining proper electrical balance and facilitating smooth metabolism in the cells. One of the major properties of magnesium is that of stabilizing membranes. Magnesium has a stabilizing effect not only for the cell membrane but also for various subcellular organelles.

Magnesium deficiency can affect virtually every system of the body.
Unfortunately, Mg absorption and elimination depend on a very large
number of variables, at least one of which often goes awry, leading
to a Mg deficiency that can present with many signs and symptoms.

To say that magnesium is important in health and medicine is to underestimate the case for it is needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body. Mg is extremely important for the metabolism of Ca, K, P, Zn, Cu, Fe, Na, Pb, Cd, HCl, acetylcholine, and nitric oxide (NO), for many enzymes, for the intracellular homeostasis and for activation of thiamine and therefore, for a very wide gamut of critical body functions. Magnesium is a particularly crucial element for mediating the vital functions of the nervous and endocrine systems; it helps maintain normal muscle and nerve functions, keeps heart rhythm steady, supports a healthy immune system, and keeps bones strong. Magnesium also helps regulate blood sugar levels, promotes normal blood pressure, and is known to be involved in energy metabolism and protein synthesis. In the nucleus more than half the magnesium is closely associated with nucleic acids and mononucleotides. Magnesium is necessary for the physical integrity of the double helix of DNA, which carries genetic information and the code for specific proteins.

Enzymes are protein molecules that stimulate every
chemical reaction in the body. Magnesium is
required to make hundreds of these enzymes work.
Dr. Carolyn Dean

According to Dr. Carolyn Dean, “Of the 325 magnesium-dependent enzymes[v], the most important enzyme reaction involves the creation of energy by activating adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the fundamental energy storage molecule of the body. ATP may be what the Chinese refer to as qi, or life force. Magnesium is required for the body to produce and store energy. Without magnesium there is no energy, no movement, no life.” Magnesium is necessary for the synthesis of various compounds that have energy-rich bonds of any type.[vi] The formation of energy-rich bonds that require Mg2+ constitutes the necessary basis for all cellular activities. This alone establishes the critical biologic importance of magnesium. Thus fatigue is often reduced with magnesium (and potassium) supplementation. The many enzyme systems that require magnesium help restore normal energy levels.

The toxic effect of fluoride ions plays a key role in acute
Mg deficiency. Fluoride ion clearly interferes with the biological
activity of magnesium ions. In general, fluoride
magnesium interactions decrease enzymatic activity.[vii]

Dr. Dean is the author of The Miracle of Magnesium and she and many other doctors and researchers are clear that “magnesium deficiency is a significant factor -- often the major factor -- in many severe illnesses including heart attacks and other forms of heart disease, asthma, anxiety and panic attacks, depression, fatigue, diabetes, migraines and other headaches, osteoporosis, insomnia, and most cases of muscular problems.” Dr. Steven Johnson puts it better. “The range of pathologies associated with Mg deficiency is staggering: hypertension (cardiovascular disease, kidney and liver damage, etc.), peroxynitrite damage (migraine, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, Alzheimer's disease, etc.), recurrent bacterial infection due to low levels of nitric oxide in the cavities (sinuses, vagina, middle ear, lungs, throat, etc.), fungal infections due to a depressed immune system, thiamine deactivation (low gastric acid, behavioral disorders, etc.), premenstrual syndrome, Ca deficiency (osteoporosis, mood swings, etc.), tooth cavities, hearing loss, diabetes type II, cramps, muscle weakness, impotence, aggression, fibromas, K deficiency (arrhythmia, hypertension, some forms of cancer), Fe accumulation, etc.”

Calcium and magnesium are opposites in their effects on our
body structure. As a general rule, the softer our body structure
the more we need calcium, while the more rigid and inflexible
it is, the less calcium and the more magnesium we need.

Magnesium is essential in regulating central nervous system excitability. Magnesium-deficiency may also cause aggressive behavior, [viii] depression, or suicide.[ix] Magnesium calms the brain and people do not need to become severely deficient in magnesium for the brain to become hyperactive. One study[x] confirmed earlier reports that a marginal magnesium intake overexcites the brain's neurons and results in less coherence--creating cacophony rather than symphony--according to electroencephalogram (EEG) measurements.[xi] During half of the six-month study, 13 women consumed 115 milligrams of magnesium daily--or about 40 percent of the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA). During the other half, they got 315 mg daily--a little more than the 280 mg recommended for women. After only six weeks on the marginal intake, EEG readings showed significant differences in brain function.

Magnesium exists in the body either as active ions or as
inactive complexes bound to proteins or other substances.

Minerals in general rule over other nutrients because vitamins, enzymes and amino acids, as well as fats and carbohydrates, require them for activity. There are 17 minerals that are considered essential in human nutrition and if there is a shortage of just one the balance of the entire system can be upset. A deficiency of a single mineral can negatively impact the entire chain of life, rendering other nutrients ineffective and useless. Magnesium is one of the key minerals that we need in relatively large quantities. The recommended daily requirement of magnesium in the diet of human beings is between 280 and 350 mg per day, although some studies have shown a daily requirement of as much as 500 mg per day or more, depending on the body weight of the individual.

In addition to being the most essential mineral in our cellular energy production, magnesium is also needed for the ingested B-vitamins to become metabolically active. Magnesium is also essential for the synthesis of nucleic acids, for cell division to occur, for DNA and RNA synthesis of our genetic material, for protein as well as fatty acid synthesis.

Virtually no one is promoting magnesium as a lifesaving mineral.
                                                                        Life Extension


[i] Galan, P., Preziosi, P., Durlach, V., Valeix, P., Ribas, L., Bouzid, D., Favier, A. & Hercberg, S. (1997) Dietary magnesium intake in a French adult population. Magnes. Res. 10:321-328.[Medline]

[ii] June 13, 1990


[iv] Means relating to a persons healthy or normal functioning

[v] Enzymes of carbohydrate metabolism glucokinase, hexokinase, galactokinase, phosphorylase phosphatase, phosphorylase kinase, phosphoglucomutase, 6-phosphofructokinase aldolase, triokinase, fructose-1,6-bisphosphatase, glucose-6-phosphatase, glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase, transketolase, phosphoglycerate kinase, phosphoryl glycerylmutase, enolase, pyruvate kinase, thiamine-pyrophosphate kinase, pyruvate decarboxylase, glycerokinase, glycerophosphatase, various pentoside kinases that activate B vitamins. Enzymes of nucleic acid and protein metabolism: RNA polymerase which allows the synthesis of RNA and especially that of messenger RNA which, associated with post-ribosomal factors of initiation and elongation and with polyamines, codes for amino acids to produce specific proteins; DNA polymerase which allows the reconstitution and recombination of DNA, ornithine carbamyl transferase, glutamine synthetase, carbamate kinase, argininosuccinate synthetase, creatine kinase, insulinase, leucine aminopeptidase which appears to be similar to hypertensinase. Enzymes of lipid metabolism acetylcoenzyme A synthetase, acylco A synthetase, beta-ketothiolase, diglyceride kinase, phosphatidate phosphatase, mevalonate kinase, phosphomevalonate kinase, lecithin-cholesterol-acyl transferase (LCAT).

[vi] The phosphoric anhydride bond that is found mainly in ATP or adenosine triphosphate, "the main fuel of life" (13), but also in GTP (guanosine triphosphate) as well as in other nucleoside triphosphates such as UTP (uridine triphosphate), CTP (cytosine triphosphate) and ITP (inosine triphosphate). It is also found in the phosphoamide bond of phosphocreatine, the phosphoenol bond of phosphoenolpyruvic acid, the mixed anhydride bond of 1,3-diphosphoglyceric acid and in the bond between an acid and a thiol group as in acyl coenzyme A or succinyl coenzyme A.

[vii] A Machoy-Mokrzynska. Fluoride_Magnesium Interaction. Fluoride (J. of the International Society for Fluoride Research), Vol. 28 No. 4; November, 1995, pp 175-177  Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Pomeranian Medical Academy, Szczecin, Poland.

[viii] Bernard Rimland. While no patient has been cured with the vitamin B6 and magnesium treatment, there have been many instances where remarkable improvement has been achieved. In one such case an 18-year-old autistic patient was about to be evicted from the third mental hospital in his city. Even massive amounts of drugs had no effect on him, and he was considered too violent and assaultative to be kept in the hospital. The psychiatrist tried the B6/magnesium approach as a last resort. The young man calmed down very quickly. The psychiatrist reported at a meeting that she had recently visited the family and had found the young man to now be a pleasant and easy-going young autistic person who sang and played his guitar for her.

[ix] C. M. Banki, M. Arato and C. D. Kilts. Aminergic studies and cerebrospinal fluid cations in suicide. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Vol 487, Issue 1 221-230, Copyright © 1986 by New York Academy of Sciences

[x] This is the first experimental study in which magnesium intakes were tightly controlled and EEG measurements were analyzed by computer so they could be statistically compared.