Elderly people in the United States represent an emerging high risk group for nutritional deficiencies. A magnesium deficit in the elderly can occur due to inadequate nutrient intakes, multiple drug use, altered gastrointestinal function and/or frequent urination. Magnesium has been targeted as a risk factor for elderly people and has been implicated in the aging process.
Aging in our industrialized society is associated with high blood pressure, heart disease, reduced insulin sensitivity and Type 2 diabetes, among other degenerative diseases. Most of us don’t know that aging is also associated with an imbalance in the levels of calcium and magnesium and dozens of other minerals almost identical with those found in people with heart disease and diabetes. Clinical studies thoroughly document the fact that people with insulin resistance (a characteristic of Type 2 diabetes) have too much calcium and too little magnesium in their cells. Interestingly, these same effects are seen as the results of “normal” aging. That fact suggests that the disturbance of calcium and magnesium ions in the cells might be the missing link for the multiple diseases associated with aging. Other clinical research shows magnesium deficiency may increase our susceptibility to heart disease and accelerate the debility of aging.
One study of nursing home residents linked low magnesium levels and two conditions that commonly plague the elderly: diabetes and calf cramps. And another study showed that people who reached the age of 100 had higher total body magnesium levels-and lower calcium levels-than the average person.
The human body’s ability to absorb magnesium declines with age, so elderly people who do not eat an adequate diet and those who use prescription drugs that deplete the body’s magnesium are at risk. (Studies show that the average senior citizen takes six to eight prescription medications a day!) Antacids, taken by many older people to cover up symptoms of a poor diet, is a strong brew of calcium and aluminum that depletes magnesium and adds to the neurological burden of the elderly.
Several studies show that severe neurological problems result from extremely low levels of magnesium in the brain that can be caused by the chronic use of diuretics, which millions of people use to control high blood pressure. A diuretic, usually the first line treatment for high blood pressure specifically drains potassium as well as magnesium from the body. Most doctors prescribe potassium to replace the loss but forget about magnesium.
Tonight on LIVE with Dr Carolyn Dean we’ll be talking about how to help our elderly parents and family members with great mineral supplementation as well as a great exchange with Dr. Dean and Denise about her withdrawal from gabapentin and pristiq in hour 2.
Listen to the archive:
Hour One – right click to download
Hour Two – right click to download
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