I was asked to write The Magnesium Miracle for Random House in 1999 and it wasn’t long into my research before I realized my nightly Charlie horse leg cramps, heart palpitations, insomnia, and neck and back muscle spasms were due to magnesium deficiency. When I began to supplement with magnesium I noticed my symptoms started to subside. It was the beginning of my very own miracle.
Magnesium is necessary for the activation and proper function of 1,000 enzyme systems in the body. It catalyzes most of the chemical reactions in the body. It synthesizes protein; stabilizes RNA and DNA; transmits nerve signals; relaxes muscles – whereas calcium contracts muscles. Six of the 8 steps to make energy (ATP) in the mitochondrial Krebs Cycle require magnesium yet it’s often dismissed as just a laxative. It’s also dismissed because there is no readily available lab test to find out how much magnesium is in your cells.
Mitochondrial dysfunction is a hot topic with researchers drilling down into these digestive organelles that make ATP to find out why they aren’t working. I say, if you saturate your mitochondria with enough magnesium to do their job – the whole system revs up and begins working more efficiently.
These impressive facts make magnesium the main building block for the body and the primary nutrient that your patients require. Magnesium paves the way for most biochemical functions in the body and works synergistically with most other minerals and vitamins. As a matter of fact, if you are able to saturate the body with enough magnesium, up to 65 different disease conditions may be eliminated, because they were created by magnesium deficiency in the first place.
Here are some of the health conditions that have been proven through evidence-based science to be magnesium deficiency related:
Dr. James DiNicolantonio’s abstract for “Subclinical Magnesium Deficiency: A Principal Driver of Cardiovascular Disease and A Public Health Crisis” describes the reasons we are in the midst of a magnesium deficiency public health crisis. He also mentions why magnesium deficiency goes undiagnosed and untreated.
Because serum magnesium does not reflect intracellular magnesium, the latter making up more than 99% of total body magnesium, most cases of magnesium deficiency are undiagnosed. Furthermore, because of chronic diseases, medications, decreases in food crop magnesium contents, and the availability of refined and processed foods, the vast majority of people in modern societies are at risk for magnesium deficiency.
Certain individuals will need to supplement with magnesium in order to prevent suboptimal magnesium deficiency, especially if trying to obtain an optimal magnesium status to prevent chronic disease.
Subclinical magnesium deficiency increases the risk of numerous types of cardiovascular disease, costs nations around the world an incalculable amount of healthcare costs and suffering, and should be considered a public health crisis. That an easy, cost-effective strategy exists to prevent and treat subclinical magnesium deficiency should provide an urgent call to action.
DiNicolantonio JJ, O’Keefe JH, Wilson W. “Subclinical magnesium deficiency: a principal driver of cardiovascular disease and a public health crisis.” Open Heart 2018;5.
Medicine recognizes magnesium deficiency as one of the signs of diabetes for the following reasons:
- Magnesium is necessary to make and secrete insulin.
- Magnesium facilitates carbohydrate metabolism;
- Magnesium allows insulin to transfer glucose into cells. Otherwise, glucose and insulin build up in the blood causing various types of tissue damage.
- Tyrosine kinase, an enzyme that allows glucose entry into the cell (along with insulin) is magnesium-dependent.
- Seven of the ten enzymes needed to metabolize glucose in the process called glycolysis are also magnesium-dependent.
One of the major reasons the cells don’t respond to insulin is lack of magnesium.[i] Studies do show that chronic insulin resistance in patients with type 2 diabetes is associated with a reduction of magnesium because magnesium is necessary to allow glucose to enter cells.[ii] Studies also confirm that when insulin is released from the pancreas, magnesium in the cell normally responds and opens the cell to allow entry of glucose, but in the case of magnesium deficiency combined with insulin resistance the normal mechanisms just don’t work.[iii] However, the higher the levels of magnesium in the body the greater the sensitivity of the cells to insulin and the possibility of reversing the problem.[iv]
i. Humphries S et al., “Low dietary magnesium is associated with insulin resistance in a sample of young, non-diabetic Black Americans.” Am J Hypertens, vol. 12, no. 8, pt. 1, pp. 747–756, 1999.
ii. Alzaid AA et al., “Effects of insulin on plasma magnesium in noninsulin dependent diabetes mellitus: evidence for insulin resistance.” J Clin Endocrinol Metab, vol. 80, no. 4, pp. 1376–1381, 1995.
iii. Barbagallo M et al., “Altered cellular magnesium responsiveness to hyperglycemia in hypertensive subjects.” Hypertension, vol. 38, no. 3, pt. 2, pp. 612–615, 2001.
iv. Dominguez LJ et al., “Magnesium responsiveness to insulin and insulin-like growth factor I in erythrocytes from normotensive and hypertensive subjects.” J Clin Endocrinol Metab, vol. 83, no. 12, pp. 4402–4407, 1998.
By 2012, Dr. Alexander Mauskop had sufficient clinical success and had published enough about treating migraine with magnesium to title his paper “Why All Migraine Patients Should Be Treated with Magnesium.”[v] Dr. Mauskop stated that “all migraine sufferers should receive a therapeutic trial of magnesium supplementation.” He explains, “A multitude of studies have proven the presence of magnesium deficiency in migraine patients.”
Mauskop A, “Why all migraine patients should be treated with magnesium.” J Neural Transm vol. 119, pp. 575–579, 2012.)
- Magnesium is just as important as calcium to prevent and treat osteoporosis.
- Magnesium keeps calcium dissolved in the blood so it will not form kidney stones or precipitate in soft tissues of the body.
- Taking calcium for osteoporosis (without magnesium) can promote kidney stones.
A 2014 meta-analysis confirmed the association between Serum Magnesium levels and postmenopausal osteoporosis. Seven studies involving 1,349 postmenopausal women were identified. Overall, postmenopausal osteoporotic women had lower serum levels of magnesium than the healthy controls. The same association was found for women below the age of 60 and above 60. The investigators concluded that low Serum Magnesium seems to be a risk factor for osteoporosis among the postmenopausal group.
Zheng J, et al. Association between serum level of magnesium and postmenopausal osteoporosis: a meta-analysis. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2014 Jun;159(1-3):8-14.
The following is an excerpt from my book, The Magnesium Miracle (2017) It describes a study published in 2014 on Atherogenesis, Cardiovascular Disease, and Aging. The senior authors of the paper are world-renowned magnesium researchers Drs. Burton and Bella Altura who say:
We believe in view of the current report, and other works recently published by our labs, prolonged magnesium deficiency should be categorized as another epigenetic mechanism.
By epigenetic mechanism they mean that telomerase is not being affected by some factor inherit in our genes and chromosomes but by an outside “switch”. That outside switch is magnesium. Epigenetics is the study of cellular or genetic variations that result from external or environmental factors that switch genes on and off and affect how cells express genes. It’s great news that magnesium has the ability to positively affect on genes, and keep our telomeres where they belong at the end of chromosomes.
In The Magnesium Miracle book, I provide direct quotes from the Alturas’ paper because I want readers to understand the incredible value of magnesium in all tissues, in all cells, in all our mitochondria, and in our RNA and DNA. Also I note that the Alturas mention several times that magnesium should be measured properly with Ionized Magnesium technology.
Aging and Magnesium Deficiency
Aging is now agreed to be critical in the etiology of metabolic decline in most subjects as they close-in on their 65th birthday. Many subjects at 65 years of age show signs of metabolic decline, atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases, and often type 2 diabetes, which eventually contribute to congestive heart failure by their 75th-85th year. It is, thus, of considerable interest, here, to remind the reader that all of these attributes have been associated, both experimentally and clinically, with the presence of Mg-deficient states where they have been looked for and measured properly. The aging process is also associated with an increase in the levels of proinflammatory cytokines in tissues and cells all present in Mg-deficient animals, tissues, and different cell types.
Shah NC, et al. Short-term Magnesium Deficiency Downregulates Telomerase, Upregulates Neutral Sphingomyelinase and Induces Oxidative DNA Damage in Cardiovascular Tissues: Relevance to Atherogenesis, Cardiovascular Diseases and Aging. Int J Clin Exp Med. 2014; 7(3): 497–514.
I turn to The Magnesium Miracle again to describe the importance of magnesium in defeating stress.
Magnesium supports our adrenal glands, which are overworked by stress leading to combined magnesium deficiency symptoms and adrenal exhaustion symptoms of anxiety, depression, muscle weakness, fatigue, eye twitches, insomnia, anorexia, apathy, apprehension, poor memory, confusion, anger, nervousness, and rapid pulse.
How do we graduate from being a calm person in control of our nervous system to an anxious, fearful individual? I think it’s due to a gradual but chronic decrease in magnesium reserves. When the body is stressed – and it can be for a dozen different reasons, our magnesium reserves dump this crucial mineral into our blood stream and we immediately become one of those people blessed with the ability to cope. We are both calm and alert. Our friends and relatives think it’s just who we are but it’s really how much magnesium we have in reserve.
If the stress continues and we don’t rest or replace our magnesium between episodes, our magnesium stores become depleted. Then, when you are faced with the next stressor, your stress hormones (adrenalin and cortisol) don’t activate your magnesium reserves with a calming effect. Instead, adrenalin revs up your heart rate, elevates your blood pressure, and tenses your muscles in a fight or flight reaction.
One of the early studies on stress and magnesium identified the Type A personality as requiring magnesium.
Henrotte JG, “Type A behavior and magnesium metabolism.” Magnesium, vol. 5, pp. 201–210, 1986.
Prolonged psychological stress raises adrenaline, the stress hormone, which depletes magnesium.
Cernak I et al., “Alterations in magnesium and oxidative status during chronic emotional stress.” Magnes Res, vol. 13, no. 1, pp. 29–36, 2000.
In The Magnesium Miracle I wrote that:
Insufficient magnesium and the relative excess of calcium will cause sustained nerve excitation in any nerve cells in the body. Magnesium alleviates the following nerve disturbances that can occur: Burning pain, Muscle weakness, Numbness, Paralysis. Pins-and-needles, sensations, Seizures and convulsions, Skin sensitivity, Tingling, Twitching, Vertigo, Confusion
I have seen reversal of these symptoms in my patients and my customers. In The Magnesium Miracle, I present a case history of neuritis.
The following is a small sample of the available literature showing the interest in diabetes and a review of the importance of magnesium in treating migraine headaches.
Zhang Q, et al. Low serum phosphate and magnesium levels are associated with peripheral neuropathy in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2018 Dec;146:1-7.
Razzaghi R. Magnesium Supplementation and the Effects on Wound Healing and Metabolic Status in Patients with Diabetic Foot Ulcer: a Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2018 Feb;181(2):207-215.
Mauskop A, Varughese J. Why All Migraine Patients Should Be Treated with Magnesium. J Neural Transm (Vienna). 2012 May;119(5):575-9.
I tell people if you would like even more clinical evidence for the importance of magnesium in neurological disorders they should print up a copy of the free online book Magnesium in the Central Nervous System. The book has 24 chapters covering the normal brain; neurological disease; and psychiatric disease.
A miracle can be considered an extraordinary event that brings very welcome consequences! How absolutely welcome would it be to improve the health outcomes for every individual who suffers from these conditions as a result of magnesium deficiency? My life’s work continues to culminate with and focus on educating the public and practitioners about the role of magnesium in the body and encourage those who have experienced their own magnesium miracle to join me in this effort!
With that in mind, I invite your to join me, and my vibrant, vivacious audience for tonight’s weekly live radio show. We will be talking about The Magnesium Miracle along with a wide range of health topics and safe solutions. You will love hearing the beneficial interactions with callers and hosts alike including the body/mind connection, identifying the ‘conflict’ in the ‘conflict basis’ of disease and much more!!
[i] Humphries S et al., “Low dietary magnesium is associated with insulin resistance in a sample of young, non-diabetic Black Americans.” Am J Hypertens, vol. 12, no. 8, pt. 1, pp. 747–756, 1999.
[ii] Alzaid AA et al., “Effects of insulin on plasma magnesium in noninsulin dependent diabetes mellitus: evidence for insulin resistance.” J Clin Endocrinol Metab, vol. 80, no. 4, pp. 1376–1381, 1995.
[iii] Barbagallo M et al., “Altered cellular magnesium responsiveness to hyperglycemia in hypertensive subjects.” Hypertension, vol. 38, no. 3, pt. 2, pp. 612–615, 2001.
[iv] Dominguez LJ et al., “Magnesium responsiveness to insulin and insulin-like growth factor I in erythrocytes from normotensive and hypertensive subjects.” J Clin Endocrinol Metab, vol. 83, no. 12, pp. 4402–4407, 1998.
[v] Mauskop A, “Why all migraine patients should be treated with magnesium.” J Neural Transm vol. 119, pp. 575–579, 2012.