Magnesium (Mg) is necessary for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body. An adult body contains about 25 grams magnesium. Over 60% of all the magnesium in the body is found in the skeleton, approximately 27% is found in muscle. Less than 1% of total magnesium is in blood serum, and these levels are kept under tight control. Magnesium is absorbed by the small intestine, and is eliminated through renal excretion and perspiration.
Some gastrointestinal diseases, diabetes, pancreatitis, kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, and taking diuretics can lead to deficiencies. Too much coffee, or salt, as well as heavy menstrual periods, excessive sweating, and prolonged stress can lower magnesium levels. Magnesium deficiency also associated to a host of medical conditions, including alcohol abuse, prolonged use of antibiotics, anorexia nervosa, and excessive use of H-2 receptor antagonists such as Zantac or Tagamet. Deficiencies of magnesium can cause nausea and vomiting, irritability, anxiety, insomnia, numbness, tingling, restless leg syndrome, weakness, poor nail growth, abnormal heart rhythms, coronary spasms, confusion, muscle spasm, and hyperventilation.
Foods Containing Magnesium
Rich sources of magnesium include tofu, legumes, whole grains, green leafy vegetables, spinach, Swiss chard, beet greens, navy beans, kidney beans, green beans, soy beans, baked potatoes (with skin), halibut, tempeh, wheat bran, whole wheat flour, soybean flour, cashews, Brazil nuts, almonds, pumpkin and squash seeds, black walnuts, pine nuts, cocoa powder, agar seaweed, poppy seed and cumin seed. Because magnesium is part of chlorophyll, the green pigment in plants, green leafy vegetables are rich in magnesium. The magnesium content of refined foods is generally low. Brown rice loses 80% of its magnesium content when refined into white rice. Also, boiling vegetables causes a 50% magnesium content loss. Hard water is a good source of magnesium. A number of research have found reduction mortality from cardiovascular diseases in populations who routinely consume hard water.
Magnesium Benefits and Studies
This mineral plays an important role in many biological processes. Magnesium is especially crucial for the heart, kidneys, and muscles; it also helps regulate other minerals, such as potassium, zinc, and copper, as well as vitamin D within the body.
Magnesium is important to heart health. Because magnesium can improve energy production within the heart and dilate the coronary arteries, adequate magnesium status will protect against angina, arrhythmias, congestive heart failure, enlarged heart, hypertension, intermittent claudication mitral valve prolapse, stroke. Intravenous magnesium treatment is used in Europe to reduce the damage from a heart attack. Magnesium helps protect a normal heart rhythm and is occasionally given intravenously in the hospital to reduce the chance of atrial fibrillation and cardiac arrhythmia. One study found that taking magnesium orotate for a year reduced symptoms and improved survival rates compared to placebo in patients with congestive heart failure. Researchers have theorized that magnesium protects the surviving heart muscle cells from the toxic impacts that result when oxygen-rich blood reaches the cells that were damaged by the heart attack. Injections of magnesium at the time of a heart attack reduced deaths by a fourth in a study of more than 2,300 patients, British scientists reported. The magnesium injections also reduced by 25% the incidence of heart failure among patients during their stay in a coronary care unit after a heart attack, the scientists reported in The Lancet.
A prospective study tracked 88,375 female nurses to determine whether serum magnesium levels measured early in the study and magnesium intakes from food and supplements assessed every 2 to 4 years were linked with sudden cardiac death over 26 years of follow-up. Women in the highest compared with the lowest quartile of ingested and plasma magnesium concentrations had a 34% and 77% fewer risk of sudden cardiac death, respectively. A review reported online on May 2013 in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition adds evidence to a preventive effect for magnesium against the risk of cardiovascular disease, including fatal ischemic heart disease. Analysis of the studies that assessed the effects of serum magnesium found a 30% fewer risk of cardiovascular disease in association with each 0.2 micromole per liter increase in the mineral, as well as trends toward lower ischemic heart disease and fatal ischemic heart disease risk. Also, there was a 22% lower risk of ischemic heart disease with each 200 mg per day increase in magnesium intake. The authors of a meta-analysis of 22 studies with 1,173 normotensive and hypertensive adults concluded magnesium supplement for 3–24 weeks dropped systolic blood pressure by 3–4 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure by 2–3 mmHg. A clinical study of more than 8,500 women found that a higher intake of dietary magnesium may reduce the development of high blood pressure in women.
Magnesium may reduce stroke risk. In a meta-analysis of 7 prospective trials with a total of 241,378 people, an additional 100 mg/day magnesium in the diet was associated with an 8% decreased risk of total stroke, particularly ischemic rather than hemorrhagic stroke. For the research, Swedish researchers from the Karolinska Institute reviewed data from seven previously published studies of magnesium intake and stroke. The average magnesium intake of all study people ranged from 242 milligrams a day up to 471 mg daily. The research demonstrated that participants who had higher amounts of magnesium in their diets had a lower risk for stroke. “Dietary magnesium intake is inversely associated with risk of stroke, specifically ischemic stroke,” said lead author Susanna Larsson, a professor at the Karolinska Institute.
Preeclampsia and Eclampsia
Preeclampsia-eclampsia is a disease that is unique to pregnancy and may occur anytime after 20 weeks of pregnancy through 6 weeks following birth. Preeclampsia and related hypertensive disorders of pregnancy impact 5-8% of all births in the United States. About 5% of women with preeclampsia go on to develop eclampsia, which is a important cause of maternal death. Magnesium, given in the hospital intravenously, is the therapy of choice to prevent or treat seizures linked with eclampsia or to prevent complications from preeclampsia. Magnesium sulfate helps prevent the occurrence of seizures in women with severe preeclampsia and decreases seizures in women with eclampsia. Magnesium is believed to relieve cerebral blood vessel spasm, increasing blood flow to the brain.
To prevent osteoporosis, it is important to get enough magnesium, calcium, and vitamin D.Magnesium is involved in bone formation and influences the activities of osteoblasts and osteoclasts. Also affects the concentrations of both parathyroid hormone and the active form of vitamin D, which are major regulators of bone homeostasis. In a two-year open, controlled trial, 22 out of a group of 31 postmenopausal women who took daily magnesium supplementation demonstrated gains in bone density. A study of over 900 elderly men and women found higher dietary magnesium intakes were linked with increased bone mineral density at the hip in both men and women. One short-term study found that 290 mg/day magnesium citrate for 30 days in 20 postmenopausal women with osteoporosis suppressed bone turnover compared with placebo, suggesting that bone loss decreased. A 2006 study by The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found that teenage girls who were provided with a daily intake of 300 milligrams of magnesium demonstrated a higher, healthier level of bone mineral content than those who were given a placebo
Some studies have showed that getting insufficient amounts of magnesium increases the risk of metabolic syndrome, type 1 and type 2 diabetes, and the development of diabetes complications. Between 25% and 38% of diabetics have been found to have decreased serum levels of magnesium. Swedish researchers reviewed the published studies that looked at magnesium and risk of diabetes and found that for every 100 mg increase in daily intake of magnesium, there was a 15% decrease in the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. A study in 63 participants with type 2 diabetes and hypomagnesemia found that those taking an oral magnesium chloride solution for 16 weeks had improved measures of insulin sensitivity and glycemic control compared to those taking a placebo. In a meta analysis of 13 cohort studies, 536,318 people, and 24,516 cases of diabetes, increased magnesium intake was found to be significantly inversely associated with type 2 diabetes.
Magnesium is one of the most important mineral in the human body, connected with brain biochemistry and the fluidity of neuronal membrane. A deficiency of magnesium magnifies stress and depression. Cerebral spinal fluid magnesium has been found low in treatment-resistant suicidal depression and in individuals that have attempted suicide. One study in elderly type II diabetic individuals with newly diagnosed depression and low serum magnesium levels has noted that 450mg Magnesium Chloride daily for 12 weeks duration was equally effectual as 50mg imipramine for reducing depressive symptoms.
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
PMS involves many different symptoms lasting a few days to weeks prior to the onset of menses. Reduced magnesium levels have been reported in women affected by PMS. Researches indicate that magnesium may help relieve symptoms linked with PMS, insomnia, bloating, leg swelling, and breast tenderness. A study reported in a 2007 edition of the journal Clinical Drug Investigation, investigated the efficacy of 250 mg of modified-release magnesium tablets for the therapy of premenstrual syndrome. After 3 months of assessment in women ages 18 to 45 suffering from PMS, the study concluded that magnesium is effectual at reducing PMS symptoms. Magnesium and vitamin B6 are particularly beneficial for breast pain, water retention, tension headaches, cravings, anxiety and depression. A 2000 study reported in the Journal of “Women’s Health and Gender-Based Medicine” found that the combination of vitamin B6 and magnesium can provide better improvements in premenstrual syndrome symptoms than either of the supplements. The results of the study demonstrated that the combination of magnesium and vitamin B6 produced a noticeable synergistic effect that lead to improvements in anxiety-related PMS symptoms.
Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, memory, sleep, and mood issues. Fibromyalgia and magnesium deficiency have a direct relation according to new research. A clinical trial of 24 participants with fibromyalgia found that a proprietary tablet containing both magnesium and malic acid improved pain and tenderness associated with fibromyalgia when taken for at least two months. The clinical study of the effects of malic acid and magnesium on fibromyalgia sufferers was reported in the Journal of Nutritional Medicine and used 15 fibromyalgia patients aged from 32 to 60 as participants. These participants received a dose of 300 to 600 mg of magnesium and 1,200 to 2,400 mg of malic acid over a period of 4 to 8 weeks. Every single case found important improvements in the levels of pain in tender points.
People who suffer from recurrent migraine headaches have lower intracellular magnesium levels than people who do not experience migraines. Two placebo controlled studies have showed decreases in the frequency of migraine headaches after supplementation with 600 mg/day of magnesium. Some researchers suggest combining magnesium with the herb feverfew along with riboflavin (vitamin B2) may be beneficial when you have a headache. A study in 86 children with frequent migraine headaches found that oral magnesium oxide reduced headache frequency over the 16-week intervention. Researchers at Erciyes University in Turkey reported participants taking 600 mg of magnesium citrate daily for 3 months experienced less severe and less frequent migraine attacks compared with those who took a placebo group, according to study published in the June 2008 edition of Magnesium Research. In another study, participants who took magnesium reduce the frequency of attacks by 41 %, compared to 15 % in those who took placebo. In an article published in the March 2009 edition of the journal “Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics”, scientists at The New York Headache Center offered compelling evidence supporting the use of magnesium as a simple, inexpensive, safe and well-tolerated option for the prevention and therapy of migraine headaches. Magnesium and Migraines
Magnesium was found to improve attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms in some children. Magnesium insufficiency may be more common in children with diagnosed ADHD, with one study of 116 children noting a deficiency rate of 95%. In a study of 75 magnesium-deficient children with ADHD, those who received magnesium supplementation demonstrated an improvement in behavior compared to those who did not receive the supplementation. The scientists reported a study examining the effects of magnesium preparations in ADHD children. This study involved 50 attention deficit hyperactivity disorder children between the ages of 7 and 12 whose serums, red blood cells and hair were deficient in magnesium. In the period of six months those examined regularly took magnesium in a dose of 200 mg/day. The results demonstrated that the children receiving magnesium preparations were no longer deficient in the mineral and demonstrated the most important decrease in hyperactivity and a general improvement in other symptoms of ADHD. A 2004 study done by French scientists reported in “Journal of the American College of Nutrition” investigated the effects of combining magnesium and vitamin B12 supplements for treating ADHD children. The children were given vitamin B12 and magnesium daily for six months. At the end of the study period, normal red blood cells magnesium levels were reported in all 52 children as well as improvements in ADHD symptoms.
Scientific findings demonstrates that intravenous magnesium infusion is an effective therapy for severe, acute asthma. Magnesium sulfate has been considered as an adjunct treatment for severe and life-threatening asthma exacerbation. A population based study of more than 2,500 children 11 – 19 years of age found that low dietary magnesium intake may be linked with risk of asthma. Magnesium sulfate, causes a noticeable widening of bronchi, a process called bronchodilation, according to an article reported in the Feb 1990 edition of Chest. One study in 38 patients, who did not respond to initial therapy in the emergency room, found improved lung function and decreased likelihood of hospitalization when IV magnesium sulfate was infused compared to a placebo. In a German study of 81 migraine patients reported in the journal Cephalalgia, 42% of the participants taking oral magnesium reduced both the duration and intensity of their migraine attacks. A meta-analysis of 5 randomized placebo-controlled studies, involving 182 children with severe asthma, found that IV infusion of magnesium sulfate was associated with a 71% diminution in the need for hospitalization. A systematic review of seven randomized, controlled studies concluded that IV magnesium sulfate is useful in individuals with severe, acute asthma.