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Magnesium to the Rescue

Posted Mar 16 2009 3:42pm 1 Comment
By Dr. Christine Gonzalez (PharmD, CHC)

After I recently ran out of my daily magnesium (plus calcium) supplement, I was quickly reminded why I take it. A couple of restless nights and episodes of muscle cramps were enough for me to get the hint. According to Dr. Alan Gaby, a pioneer in the alternative medicine movement, "Magnesium deficiency is one of the most common nutritional problems in the industrialized world today...” Not surprisingly, there is evidence to support magnesium’s role in improving such health conditions as anxiety and panic attacks, asthma, constipation, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, insomnia, migraines, muscle cramps, and osteoporosis.

Part of the reason we may not be getting enough magnesium today can be attributed to poor soil quality and the poor diet of most Americans -- one that is full of overly refined and processed foods. Some foods that are especially high in magnesium include seaweed, halibut, cooked spinach, pumpkin and squash seeds, black beans, okra, and unsweetened dark chocolate. Magnesium supplements are available in many forms such as chelated (glycinate) and non-chelated (chloride, gluconate, and oxide). In chelated forms, the magnesium is usually attached to an amino acid to improve the absorption and decrease irritation to your intestinal tract compared to the non-chelated forms.

While severe magnesium deficiency is uncommon, many people do have symptoms resulting from low magnesium intake. I can personally attest to the benefits I have experienced since increasing my intake through a combination of food and supplement. Keep in mind that magnesium can interact with certain medications, worsen heart disease or kidney problems, and high doses can cause diarrhea. Many experts also recommend that you aim for a calcium-to-magnesium intake ratio of about 2:1. I’d be interested in hearing any stories of improved health from increasing your magnesium intake...

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Comments (1)
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Magnesium is so important for so many process (is a component of more than 300 different enzymes in the body. Sleep, maintenance of metabolic rate, hydration, liver detoxing, processing of nutrients, avoidance of cramp, its benefits form a long list...

 However, I would not recommend a 2:1 ratio of calcium to magnesium. 1:1 is a closer match to that we have evolved on and is shown to have positive effects in terms of brain protection from excitotoxins etc and bone density. Also, magnesium oxide is hardly absorbed at all in the body so should not be used as a supplement.

 Marek - West London Nutritionist and Personal Trainer

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