I estimate that magnesium deficiency causes up to about 20% of all human disease, from heart and blood pressure disturbances to neurological/mental problems and much more. (Refer to the list of symptoms of magnesium deficiency later in this chapter.)Estimates of how many people are magnesium deficient in industrialized countries range as high as 88%!Why don’t doctors know this or test for this? Because the adult human body contains about 25 grams of magnesium, 60% in the bones and about 40% in the soft tissues. Only 1% is found in the blood and it is tightly regulated. Anytime you need more blood magnesium it is taken from the bones or soft tissues and the blood level remains relatively constant. If the blood magnesium gets out of whack just a little bit you will immediately know it due to fainting, dizziness, falls, panic attacks, abnormal heart rhythms, heart palpitations, large blood pressure changes, cramps, and many more-see belowBecause blood magnesium is tightly controlled, there is no good or easy blood test for magnesium deficiency. So almost no doctor knows the level of magnesium in your body. There are more difficult tests like “inject and collect” which means you get a large injection of magnesium solution and then you have to collect your urine for 24 hours and see how much magnesium flows through with your urine. If nothing comes out in your urine, you are very magnesium deficient! I bet almost anyone reading this has never had this test. That is why 80%+ of us can be magnesium deficient and the doctors have no clue!The most practical way to determine if you are magnesium deficient is to look at the long list of symptoms and if you have one some or many of them it points towards magnesium deficiency. Many people taking a daily magnesium supplement may still be magnesium deficient as it is a very difficult deficiency to correct! Also, the older you are the harder it is to absorb magnesium and thus the elderly are at more risk of magnesium deficiency diseases than younger demographics.How did we all become so magnesium deficient? “Modern” farming practices that are designed to grow big healthy-looking fruits and vegetables quickly without regard to their nutritional content have caused almost all foods produced today to be very low in magnesium compared to times past.According to nutrition experts, the magnesium content of foods has been declining dramatically since preindustrial times and continues at an accelerated rate. In 2004, the Journal of the American College of Nutrition released a study which compared nutrient content of crops at that time with 1950 levels. Declines were found as high as 40%. Dr. Donald Davis, who conducted the study, describes the last 50 years in farming as being a period where farmers were looking for new varieties of fruits, crops and vegetables that provide pest resistance, higher yields, and greater flexibility in what climates they can be grown in. But the main push was for higher yields which leads to crops that grow big very quickly which reduces the amount of nutrients they can absorb from the soil.Just looking at the food tables from the USDA in the US and the Food Standards Agency in the UK you find large declines in magnesium up until the 1990’s and it has only gotten worse since then:
|Magnesium Content||Percentage DeclineU.S. 1963 – 1992||Percentage DeclineU.K. 1936-1997|
|Avg. decline for fruits & vegetables studied||21%||35%|
Declines in magnesium affects more than just fruits and vegetables. A study in Nutrition and Health examined average nutritional content of foods across food categories in the UK:From 1940 to 1991 magnesium in-Vegetables declined by 24%· Fruit declined by 17%.· Meat declined by 15%.· Cheeses declined by 26%.And these are old studies – the decline in magnesium continues to this day!In addition to reduced absorption of magnesium by plants, another major probable cause of widespread magnesium deficiency is the declining magnesium content of soils around the modern world. This is caused by using fertilizers as a substitute for the traditional practice of crop rotation. Thus, you get the same crop every year from the same land, taking specific minerals like magnesium out of the soil year after year. And because farm fertilizers are not regulated for required additives, farmers simply choose the cheapest fertilizers without regard to mineral content.For example, many farmers use the potassium fertilizer potash which is easily, and quickly absorbed by plants, but this reduces the amount of magnesium and calcium absorbed. Modern nitrogen fertilizers give us bigger produce, but with fewer nutrients.Agricultural expert Charles Benbrook, Ph.D., recently explained the phenomenon:“High nitrogen levels make plants grow fast and bulk up with carbohydrates and water. While the fruits these plants produce may be big, they suffer in nutritional quality. The farmers prosper under this system, but the consumer suffers by paying more for bigger, better looking but vitamin and mineral deficient produce.”So, the final conclusion we can take away from all this is- YOU CANNOT GET ENOUGH MAGENSIUM FROMA MODERN DIET ALONE!EVERYONE MUST SUPPLEMENT WITH MAGNESIUM EVERYDAY!What happens when you are magnesium deficient?Magnesium Deficiency Symptoms and DiseasesA magnesium deficiency can affect virtually every system of the body.Early signs–Leg cramps-Foot pain-Muscle twitching-Constipation-Fatigue-extreme-Weakness-Insomnia-Numbness-Tingles-Personality changes (Mag deficient people may seem tense)-Abnormal heart rhythms-Panic attacks-Heart palpitations-Heart arrhythmias-Fainting, dizziness, & falls (vertigo)-High blood pressure -Large blood pressure changes-Angina due to coronary artery spasms -Coronary spasms Longer Term Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency-Type II (adult onset) diabetes-Muscle tension/soreness,-Back pain-Neck pain-Tension headaches-Migraine headaches-TMJ (jaw joint dysfunction)-Chest tightness-Frozen Shoulder (see my story at the end of the boron chapter)-Tendonitis-Calcifications-Loss of appetite (similar to hypercalcemia symptoms)-Nausea (similar to hypercalcemia symptoms)-Vomiting (similar to hypercalcemia symptoms)-Breathing difficulties -as if you can’t breathe deeply-Sighing a lot-Chronic fatigue syndrome (my addition)-Hypertension-Hypothyroidism (Your body needs iodine & magnesium to make T4)-Depressed immune response-Urinary spasms-Menstrual cramps-Swallowing difficulty-Lump in the throat-often caused by consuming sugar-Odd sensations, buzzes, nerve vibrations-Salt craving-Swelling of legs and ankles after sitting long periods of sitting-Carbohydrate craving especially chocolate-Carbohydrate intolerance-Poor digestion-Breast tenderness-Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)-Cataracts-Hearing loss-Atrial Fibrillation-Heart failure-Myocardial infarction-Sudden cardiac death-Stroke Mental Issues Caused by Magnesium Deficiency-Photophobia (hard to adjust to bright lights)-Noise sensitivity-Anxiety-Insomnia-Panic attacks-Personality changes (Mag deficient people appear tense)-Hyperactivity /restlessness / constant movement-Irritability-Hypothyroidism (magnesium is required to make T4)-Agoraphobia (fear of places/situations that might cause you to panic)-Premenstrual irritability (PMS)-Hyperexcitable-Apprehensive-Belligerent-Clouded thinking-Psychotic behavior-Confusion-Disorientation-Depression-Terrifying hallucinations from delirium tremens-Tantrums (consider if increasing magnesium deficiency in the population as a possible cause of mental changes that lead to mass shootings?) Long Term Skeletal Consequences of Magnesium Deficiency-Calcification of organs-Tooth decay-Poor bone development-Osteoporosis-Slow healing of broken or fractured bones Extreme Consequences of Magnesium Deficiency-Seizures,-Mitral valve prolapse-Cachexia (more on this shortly) Be aware that not all of the symptoms need to be present to be diagnosed with a magnesium deficiency; but many often occur together. For example, people with mitral valve prolapse frequently have palpitations, arrhythmias, anxiety, PMS, and panic attacks. Magnesium deficient people usually seem tense.And When Blood Levels Get Too Low(Remember these when we examined High Dose Vitamin D3 induced magnesium deficiency symptoms?)****Although rare, in general, these are the magnesium deficiency symptoms I have heard about most frequently when some people start taking high dose Vitamin D3.****-Fainting-Dizziness-Falls-Abnormal heart rhythm-Insomnia-Panic attacks-Palpitations-Heart arrhythmias-Extreme fatigue-Insomnia-Blood pressure changes And in rare cases- extreme confusion or hallucinations.Every cell in your body requires magnesium to function. It is involved in hundreds of reactions involving the cell. It is also required in the production of proteins, and for the use of sugars and fats for energy. Magnesium is also essential for detoxification reactions. Magnesium deficiency affects every cell in your body in a very negative way. Doctors prescribe tranquilizers to millions every year simply to treat symptoms of magnesium deficiency such as anxiety, irritability, and unease.The brain is highly affected by magnesium deficiency.Anxiety, anger, panic attacks, confusion, irritability, tantrums, and even terrifying hallucinations can be caused by magnesium deficiency.(Could the increasing scourge of mass shootings plaguing the US be related to increasing rates of magnesium deficiency amongst the population? I think a great study would be to determine the magnesium content of tissue samples from mass shooters).Calcium is lost in the urine while magnesium deficient; this lack of magnesium can cause osteoporosis, tooth decay, bone synthesis problems, and impaired healing of fractures and breaks.When taken with Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), magnesium helps to dissolve calcium kidney stones.It is quite likely that magnesium is the main cause of atrial fibrillation. In one Canadian study it was found that intravenous magnesium corrected patients’ heart rhythms in 84% of the cases.
Most people assume that if they are magnesium deficient that they can simply take a daily magnesium supplement and reverse the deficiency. This is not true in many cases.Because 99% of your magnesium is located in your bones and soft tissues, and magnesium supplements enter your blood then leave through your urine. It can take a long, long time to reverse the magnesium deficits in your bones and soft tissues. In fact, Dr, Carolyn Dean the author of the Magnesium Miracle notes that it can take a YEAR OR MORE to build up the magnesium content of your bone and muscles (which includes your heart).Subclinical magnesium deficiency: a principal driver of cardiovascular disease and a public health crisisJames J DiNicolantonio,1James H O’Keefe,1 and William Wilson2Abstract: 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. Most people should supplement with magnesium in order to prevent chronic disease. Subclinical magnesium deficiency should be considered a public health crisis. The typical adult human body contains around 25 grams (25,000 mg) of magnesium. Magnesium is necessary for the functioning of over 300 enzymes in humans. 90% of total body magnesium resides in the bones and muscles.Blood magnesium is mainly controlled by the kidneys, excess magnesium is excreted. The body corrects blood-magnesium shortages by taking magnesium from bones and soft tissues in order to keep blood magnesium constant. Thus, a normal blood magnesium level does not rule out magnesium deficiency, which causes osteoporosis, mental diseases and issues, heart problems and the huge laundry list of conditions which you have just reviewed. In order to cure many chronic diseases and conditions we need to simply reverse magnesium deficiency. The alternative is to endlessly continue treating chronic and acute illnesses.One expert has argued that a typical Western diet may provide enough magnesium to avoid an obvious magnesium deficiency, but it is unlikely to maintain high enough magnesium levels to reduce the risk of the long list of magnesium deficiency associated diseases. Studies have shown that at least 300 mg magnesium must be supplemented to establish significantly increased serum magnesium to lower their risk of developing many chronic diseases. So, while the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for magnesium (between 300 and 420 mg/day for most people) may prevent obvious magnesium deficiency, it is unlikely to prevent long term chronic conditions or deadly diseases.For example, among apparently healthy university students in Brazil, 42% were found to have magnesium deficiency. The average magnesium intake was only around 215 mg/day.Doctors use reference ranges to determine what is “normal” for various nutrients, hormones and vitamins. The assumption behind using these reference ranges is that the overall population has a healthy amount of substance in their blood on average. In the case of magnesium this is just not true. In fact, up to 88% of the population is now believed to be magnesium deficient. So, when your doctor shows you that you have a “normal” blood magnesium level, yes you do- but you are still bone and tissue-deficient just like almost everyone else!! If your blood magnesium is low according to the doctor’s tests -look out! That means you are almost certainly very deficient in your tissues. Also, the blood test is a barely reliable guide at all! The magnesium content of the plasma is an unreliable guide to body stores: muscle is a more accurate guide to the body content of magnesium. If you want a truly accurate test of your magnesium levels – get a muscle biopsy- ouch!Another study highlighting the discrepancy between serum and body magnesium levels concluded: ‘Although blood-K (K here = potassium) and blood-Mg values in patients receiving long-term treatment for hypertension or heart disease usually are normal, muscle-Mg and muscle-K are deficient in about 50% of these patients.If you really want an accurate idea of the magnesium levels in your body, the muscle biopsy method is fast and accurate. Another way to test for Mg deficiency is the inject magnesium and collect the urine for 24 hours. No magnesium excretion = deficiency. Another accurate test for Magnesium deficiency is the oral load test:Cas Lek Cesk. 1993 Oct 11;132(19):587-9.[The oral magnesium loading test for detecting possible magnesium deficiency].[Article in Czech]Vizinová H1, Bártek J, Jirka Z, Steidl L.Klinika tĕlovýchovného lékarství FN v Olomouci.AbstractIn 26 top sportsmen (volleyball players, rower) aged 15-18 years the serum magnesium level and urinary Mg excretion before and after oral administration of 5g Mg lactate was assessed (oral magnesium load test). In 11 sportsmen (42.3%) a low percentage of excretion of administered Mg was found, suggesting magnesium deficiency, irrespective of the basal serum Mg levels. After subsequent 10-day Mg supplementation 6 volleyball players responded by a markedly lower retention after an identical Mg load, again without marked changes of the serum Mg level. The authors consider the magnesium load test a more sensitive indicator of latent Mg deficiency than the serum Mg level which is maintained at a relatively stable level and declines only in severe deficiency. The test assumes normal renal function and intestinal absorption.One study found that 10 out of 11 apparently healthy women were magnesium-deficient based on the oral magnesium load test. The most dramatic change that has occurred since the early 1900s until now regarding phosphate, calcium and magnesium in foods has been a reduction in magnesium intake, going from around 500 mg/day to an average of 250 mg/dayThe prevalence and incidence of type 2 diabetes in the United States increased sharply between 1994 and 2001. One study noticed a 3.25X increased risk of diabetes when plasma magnesium levels <0.863 mmol/L (despite 0.75 mmol/L being considered a ‘normal’ level). Thus, magnesium deficiency likely increases the risk of diabetes and may even be its cause. Although low D3 levels have been implicated as well. Type Ii diabetes is likely caused by the one-two punch of low D3 and magnesium.Dietary aluminum may also lead to a magnesium deficit by reducing the absorption of magnesium by approximately 80%, reducing magnesium retention by 40% and causing less magnesium to be deposited in the bone. Aluminum is everywhere in society such as in tea, spinach, aluminum pots and pans, various medications, deodorant, baking powder, processed cheeses, potatoes, etc. A Vitamin B6-deficient diet can also lead to a magnesium deficiency due to increased magnesium excretion.Another study found that young women may be losing magnesium despite consuming 350 mg of magnesium per day. Other data have found negative magnesium balance in men with osteoporosis or mental illness consuming 240 mg/day of magnesium. Another study noted negative magnesium balance (−122 mg) in those consuming 322 mg/day of magnesium with a high-fiber diet.Older people are at higher risk of magnesium deficiency due to low intake and also due to having higher rates of diseases that exacerbate magnesium deficiency. Aging also reduces magnesium absorption in the gut.Geriatric Nephrology and Urology 4:101-111, 1994. Review article Magnesium metabolism and perturbations in the elderlyAbstract: It is generally accepted that magnesium requirements increase in the elderly. Multiple reasons for this exist. In the elderly, magnesium intake tends to be low, intestinal absorption is frequently diminished, and urinary output is often enhanced. As a result, the magnesium status of aging subjects is likely to be deficient. Because magnesium plays important roles in arterial structure and function by maintaining endothelial and platelet integrity, a deficiency can increase progression of arteriosclerosis, hypertension, and cardiac complications, including dysrhythmias. Magnesium inhibits pathological calcification, and a deficiency can contribute to formation of calcium kidney stones. The element’s role in calcium metabolism (improving utilization) and bone matrix formation (maintaining bone elasticity) might be important in preventing osteoporosis and brittle bones.Magnesium deficiency-CausesNumerous factors can lead to magnesium deficiency, such as kidney failure, alcohol consumptionand absorption issues (magnesium is absorbed in the small intestine and in the colon, thus, patients with intestinal or colon damage such as Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, celiac disease, gastroenteritis, ulcerative colitis, resection of the small intestine, ileostomy may have magnesium deficiency). Renal tubular acidosis, diabetic acidosis, prolonged diuresis, acute pancreatitis, hyperparathyroidism and primary aldosteronism can also lead to magnesium deficiency. A review of 5500 patients found that magnesium levels were significantly lower in patients with metabolic syndrome versus controls. The intravenous magnesium tolerance test showed that children with type 1 diabetes have intracellular magnesium deficiency.Supplementing with calcium can lead to magnesium deficiency due to competitive inhibition for absorption, and over supplementing with Vitamin D may lead to magnesium deficiency via excessive calcium absorption which increases the risk of arterial calcification. (This risk can be reduced or eliminated with concomitant supplementation of large doses of Vitamin K2 and magnesium) . Use of diuretics and other medications can also lead to magnesium deficiency.
Magnesium Deficiency-Related CachexiaWhat is cachexia? It is defined as … the weakness and wasting of the body due to severe chronic illness. Some call it the final illness.
You probably know what it is if I describe it as you see it in real life. Have you ever had a relative who was dying of cancer or old age? When they are getting towards the end, they just lose the desire to eat, and just start losing weight no matter what treatment you give them to try and stimulate their appetite Eventually they just waste away to nothing. This happens as well to people with various chronic diseases that become terminal. Doctors have tried many things to boost the appetite: medical marijuana, appetite stimulants, thalidomide, cytokine inhibitors, steroids, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, branched-chain amino acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and ant serotoninergic drugs. Nothing has worked very well; progesterone has helped some, but about 50% of cancer patients actually die from cachexia and not the cancer!Among critically ill postoperative patients, many were found to have magnesium deficiency based on ionized magnesium levels in red blood cells. In one study of patients from a medical intensive care unit (ICU), 65% had low magnesium levels. The author concluded: ‘The prevalence of Mg deficiency in critically ill patients may be even higher than 65%, and may lead to hypocalcemia, cardiac arrhythmias and other symptoms of Mg deficiency’. From: Geriatric cachexia: a role for magnesium deficiency as well as for cytokines? Joan L CaddellThe American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 71, Issue 3, March 2000, Pages 851–852, https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/71.3.851Published: 01 March 2000Joan Caddell writes…“Thank you for publishing the fine review of geriatric cachexia by Yeh and Schuster (1). They stated that prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) and the proinflammatory cytokines interleukin 1 (IL-1), IL-6, and tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α) are involved in biological processes related to the disorder. They implicated oxygen free radicals in the pathogenesis of cachexia by noting that TNF-α increases protein oxidation and that cachectic patients often experience a loss in body protein and an accelerated mobilization and oxidation of energy substrates. Cytokines have complex roles in the cause of cachexia because they rarely act alone, usually acting in conjunction with other cytokines (1), prostaglandins (1), or oxygen free radicals (2). Cytokines may inhibit feeding by causing nausea and vomiting and decreased gastric motility and gastric emptying (1).Geriatric cachexia is associated with anorexia, involuntary weight loss, infections, decubitus ulcers, malnutrition, cognitive and psychiatric disorders, and even death (1). Yeh and Schuster stated that, of these conditions, only malnutrition is amenable to medical intervention. I propose that magnesium replacement therapy be considered as a therapy in geriatric cachectic patients found to be magnesium deficient.Several mediators associated with the pathogenesis of cachexia are increased in magnesium deficiency (1). These include the inflammatory cytokines IL-1, IL-6, and TNF-α (2); PGE2 (6); and oxygen free radicals (2). In magnesium deficiency, not only are free radical concentrations higher than normal, but tissue concentrations of the antioxidants Vitamin E, ascorbate, and glutathione are lower than normal; thus, endogenous antioxidant capacity is reduced, predisposing magnesium-deficient tissues to subsequent oxidative stress (2). The cytokine substance P, which increases early in magnesium deficiency, may lead to oxidative injury and appetite suppression, possibly contributing to the reduced food intake and weight loss that characteristically occur in experimental animals within 2 wk of dietary magnesium restriction (2).”Alcohol consumption and cancer both deplete magnesium, and I suspect that the rapid excretion of magnesium while drinking may be the reason excessive alcohol consumption can cause dizziness and black outs and falls. Possibly supplementing with magnesium while drinking might prevent these side effects. Please see the graph that follows that shows how alcohol consumption reduces magnesium levels that is mostly reversed with concurrent magnesium administration.
What are good ways to boost your magnesium levels? Taking a supplement twice a day might be a good start. I have been taking one of www.lef.org’s extended release magnesium 250 mg every day along with 144 mg magnesium threonate in the evening. You can also purchase bottles of magnesium oil spray for about $10. I spray about 10 squirts on my shoulders and arms everyday after I get out of the shower. The oil is something similar to Theramax which is being advertised to stop muscle cramps all over TV. Theramax is primarily a magnesium sulfate spray where if you spray it on your cramped muscle you get relief. For extreme situations there is available a micronized magnesium liquid that you can sip throughout the day to boost your magnesium levels. And finally, even though our foods have less and less magnesium in them, you can still add more of the highest magnesium containing foods to your diet to get your diet pointed in the right direction.Magnesium Rich Foods:
Almonds, Avocado, Bananas, Black beans, Bran or Shredded Wheat cereal, Brown rice, Cashews, Edamame, Kidney beans, Oatmeal, Peanut butter, Peanuts, Potato with skin, Pumpkin, Raisins, Soymilk, Spinach, Whole grain bread. Also, buying organic increases the chances that you will be getting a higher magnesium content in your foods (Note-You will later see this was too low for me!)At this point we have probably figured out the cause of and how to prevent about 95% of the modern-day common diseases known to man. This can be done simply by making sure you have plenty of Vitamin D3 and magnesium in your system.However, there is one more main culprit that leads to a few more diseases, some of them deadly, and is caused by another deficiency in our diet. I am talking about widespread Vitamin K2 deficiency which we will tackle in the next Chapter.So, you are going to supplement with much higher amounts of magnesium? It would be good to know and look for any of these symptoms of taking too much magnesium: Diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, lethargy, muscle weakness, abnormal electrical conduction in the heart, low blood pressure, urine retention, respiratory distress, cardiac arrest. The good news is the first symptom is diarrhea so if you just increase your dosing in a measured manner, and listen to your body and use diarrhea as an initial warning sign of taking too much magnesium there is almost no chance you will progress to the other symptoms.
If you liked this chapter you will Definitely want to read the chapters on Vitamin D3, Vitamin K2, Boron, Zinc, and Vitamin A ! D3 is much more important than magnesium.
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