Mar 19, 2010

Posted by in Blog, Nutrition, Supplements | 1 Comment

Magical Magnesium

Magical Magnesium

Magical Magnesium

Ten years ago, as a formulator, I formulated my first Cal/Mag product.  The rest of the industry was doing a 2 to 1 ratio, and as I research, as well as what I found clinically, I found that with a 1 to 1 ratio, many people would feel so much better.  As people used this I found that they saw great results. (It is interesting to note that 5 years later the industry is now doing a 1 to 1 ratio)  Later, as I worked clinically, I found that many people need magnesium far more than calcium.  If we have enough calcium in our diet, by taking a magnesium supplement they do great, and find they don’t need the calcium unless they suffer from a bone disease.

If you are a person that is suffering from leg cramps, restless leg syndrome, heart palpitations, you may benefit from a Magnesium supplement.  You want to be careful of what type of magnesium that you are using.  All are not created equally.  I only use amino acid chelated minerals.  The reason is these minerals are bound to an amino acid instead of a cell salt which requires other minerals to use them.  With the AAC magnesium, research shows that it’s absorption is more bio-available.  With minerals any thing you don’t use is stored in the weaker parts of our bodies.  You don’t pea them out like you do vitamins.  You want to be careful when you choose a mineral.

Why is Magnesium so important? It is involved in more than 300 essential metabolic reactions.  Magnesium plays important roles in the structure and the function of the human body. The adult human body contains about 25 grams of magnesium. Over 60% of all the magnesium in the body is found in the skeleton, about 27% is found in muscle, 6% to 7% is found in other cells, and less than 1% is found outside of cells.

The metabolism of carbohydrates and fats to produce energy requires numerous magnesium-dependent chemical reactions. ATP, the molecule that provides energy for almost all metabolic processes, exists primarily as a complex with magnesium.

Magnesium is a vital catalyst in enzyme activity.  Several enzymes participating in the synthesis of carbohydrates and fats, require magnesium for their activity. Glutathione (which is important for good liver detoxification), an important antioxidant, requires magnesium for its synthesis.

Magnesium plays a structural role in bone, cell membranes, chromosomes , and is required for the active transport of ions like potassium and calcium across cell membranes.  It helps prevent calcification of soft tissue.  It also plays a role in carbohydrate and mineral metabolism.

Early signs of magnesium deficiency include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and weakness. As magnesium deficiency worsens, numbness, tingling, muscle contractions and cramps, seizures (sudden changes in behaviors caused by excessive electrical activity in the brain), personality changes, abnormal heart rhythms, and coronary spasms can occur. Severe magnesium deficiency can result in low levels of calcium in the blood (hypocalcemia). Magnesium deficiency is also associated with low levels of potassium in the blood (hypokalemia).

Many of these symptoms are general and can result from a variety of medical conditions other than magnesium deficiency. It is important to have a physician evaluate health complaints and problems so that appropriate care can be given.

Eating a wide variety of legumes, nuts, whole grains, and vegetables will help you meet your daily dietary need for magnesium. Selected food sources of magnesium are listed in Table 1.

Table 1: Selected food sources of magnesium

FOOD Milligrams (mg) %DV*
Halibut, cooked, 3 ounces 90 20
Almonds, dry roasted, 1 ounce 80 20
Cashews, dry roasted, 1 ounce 75 20
Soybeans, mature, cooked, ½ cup 75 20
Spinach, frozen, cooked, ½ cup 75 20
Nuts, mixed, dry roasted, 1 ounce 65 15
Cereal, shredded wheat, 2 rectangular biscuits 55 15
Oatmeal, instant, fortified, prepared w/ water, 1 cup 55 15
Potato, baked w/ skin, 1 medium 50 15
Peanuts, dry roasted, 1 ounce 50 15
Peanut butter, smooth, 2 Tablespoons 50 15
Wheat Bran, crude, 2 Tablespoons 45 10
Blackeyed Peas, cooked, ½ cup 45 10
Yogurt, plain, skim milk, 8 fluid ounces 45 10
Bran Flakes, ½ cup 40 10
Vegetarian Baked Beans, ½ cup 40 10
Rice, brown, long-grained, cooked, ½ cup 40 10
Lentils, mature seeds, cooked, ½ cup 35 8
Avocado, California, ½ cup pureed 35 8
Kidney Beans, canned, ½ cup 35 8
Pinto Beans, cooked, ½ cup 35 8
Wheat Germ, crude, 2 Tablespoons 35 8
Chocolate milk, 1 cup 33 8
Banana, raw, 1 medium 30 8
Milk Chocolate candy bar, 1.5 ounce bar 28 8
Milk, reduced fat (2%) or fat free, 1 cup 27 8
Bread, whole wheat, commercially prepared, 1 slice 25 6
Raisins, seedless, ½ cup packed 25 6
Whole Milk, 1 cup 24 6
Chocolate Pudding, 4 ounce ready-to-eat portion 24 6

Who may need extra magnesium?

Magnesium supplementation may be indicated when a specific health problem or condition causes an excessive loss of magnesium or limits magnesium absorption.

Some medicines may result in magnesium deficiency, including certain diuretics, antibiotics, and medications used to treat cancer (anti-neoplastic medication).   Examples of these medications are:

Diuretics: Lasix, Bumex, Edecrin, and hydrochlorothiazide

Antibiotics: Gentamicin, and Amphotericin

Anti-neoplastic medication: Cisplatin

Individuals with poorly-controlled diabetes may benefit from magnesium supplements because of increased magnesium loss in urine associated with hyperglycemia.

Magnesium supplementation may be indicated for persons with alcoholism. Low blood levels of magnesium occur in 30% to 60% of alcoholics, and in nearly 90% of patients experiencing alcohol withdrawal. Anyone who substitutes alcohol for food will usually have significantly lower magnesium intakes.

Individuals with chronic malabsorptive problems such as Crohn’s disease, gluten sensitive enteropathy, regional enteritis, and intestinal surgery may lose magnesium through diarrhea and fat malabsorption . Individuals with these conditions may need supplemental magnesium.

Individuals with chronically low blood levels of potassium and calcium may have an underlying problem with magnesium deficiency. Magnesium supplements may help correct the potassium and calcium deficiencies.

Older adults are at increased risk for magnesium deficiency. The 1999-2000 and 1998-94 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys suggest that older adults have lower dietary intakes of magnesium than younger adults.  In addition, magnesium absorption decreases and renal excretion of magnesium increases in older adults. Seniors are also more likely to be taking drugs that interact with magnesium. This combination of factors places older adults at risk for magnesium deficiency. It is very important for older adults to get recommended amounts of dietary magnesium.

I have also found people that struggle with constipation, fibromyalgia and a lot of body builders( because they are so acidic) do well on a magnesium supplement.

Common and important magnesium/drug interactions

Drug Potential Interactio
Loop and thiazide diuretics (e.g. lasix, bumex, edecrin, and hydrochlorthiazide
Anti-neoplastic drugs (e.g. cisplatin)
Antibiotics (e.g. gentamicin and amphotericin)
These drugs may increase the loss of magnesium in urine. Thus, taking these medications for long periods of time may contribute to magnesium depletion.
Tetracycline antibiotics Magnesium binds tetracycline in the gut and decreases the absorption of tetracycline.
Magnesium-containing antacids and laxatives Many antacids and laxatives contain magnesium. When frequently taken in large doses, these drugs can inadvertently lead to excessive magnesium consumption and hypermagnesemia, which refers to elevated levels of magnesium in blood.

Too much of anything is bad.  It is about creating balance in the body.


Signs of excess magnesium can be similar to magnesium deficiency and include changes in mental status, nausea, diarrhea, appetite loss, muscle weakness, difficulty breathing, extremely low blood pressure, and irregular heartbeat.

You can always have your doctor test you to see what your levels are so you don’t have to little or too much.