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Magnesium: The most powerful relaxation mineral available...

Posted Sep 17 2008 12:06am 7 Comments

A deficiency in this critical nutrient makes you are twice as likely to die as other people, according to a study published in the journal "Critical Care."

It also accounts for a long list of symptoms and diseases -- which are easily helped and often cured by adding this nutrient.

In fact, in my practice, this nutrient is one of my secret weapons against illness.

Yet up to half of Americans are deficient in this nutrient and don't know it.

What is it?

I'm talking about magnesium. 

It is an antidote to stress and the most powerful relaxation mineral.

I find it very funny that more doctors aren't clued in to the benefits of magnesium, because we use it all the time in conventional medicine.

But we never stop to think about why or how important it is to our general health or why it helps our bodies function better.

I remember using magnesium when I worked in the emergency room. It was a critical "medication" on the crash cart. If someone was dying of a life-threatening arrhythmia (or irregular heart beat), we used intravenous magnesium.

If someone was constipated or needed to prepare for colonoscopy, we gave them milk of magnesia or a green bottle of liquid magnesium citrate, which emptied their bowels.

If pregnant women came in with pre-term labor, or high blood pressure of pregnancy (pre-eclampsia) or seizures, we gave them continuous high doses of intravenous magnesium.

But you don't have to be in the hospital to benefit from getting more magnesium.

Think of magnesium as the relaxation mineral.

Anything that is tight, irritable, crampy, and stiff -- whether it is a body part or an even a mood -- is a sign of magnesium deficiency.


Well, this critical mineral is responsible for over 300 enzyme reactions and is found in all of your tissues -- but mainly, bone, muscle, and brain. 

It is necessary for your cells to make energy, for many different chemical pumps to work, to stabilize membranes, and to help muscles relax.

The list of conditions that are found related to magnesium deficiency is very long. 

In fact, there are over 3,500 medical references on magnesium deficiency!

But this mineral is mostly ignored because it is not a drug, even though it is MORE powerful than drugs in many cases. That's why we use it in the hospital for life-threatening and emergency situations like seizures and heart failure.

You might be magnesium deficient if you have any of the following symptoms:

* muscle cramps or twitches
* insomnia
* irritability
* sensitivity to loud noises
* anxiety
* autism
* palpitations
* angina
* constipation
* anal spasms
* headaches
* migraines
* fibromyalgia
* chronic fatigue
* asthma
* kidney stones
* diabetes
* obesity
* osteoporosis
* high blood pressure
* menstrual cramps
* irritable bladder
* irritable bowel syndrome
* reflux
* trouble swallowing

Magnesium deficiency has even has been linked to inflammation in the body and higher CRP levels.

So how bad is this problem?

In our society, it's huge. 

By conservative standards of measurement (blood, or serum, magnesium levels), 65 percent of people admitted to the intensive care unit -- and about 15 percent of the general population -- have magnesium deficiency. 

But this seriously underestimates the problem, because a serum magnesium level is the LEAST sensitive way to detect a drop in your total body magnesium level. 

So rates of magnesium deficiency could be even higher!

Why are we so deficient?

The answer is simple: Many of us eat a diet that contains practically no magnesium -- a highly processed, refined diet that is based mostly on white flour, meat, and dairy (all of which have no magnesium).

When was the last time you had a good dose of sea vegetables (seaweed), nuts, greens, and beans? If you are like most Americans, your nut consumption mostly comes from peanut butter, and mostly in chocolate peanut butter cups. 

Our processed diet contains almost no magnesium. 

It is also often poorly absorbed and easily lost from our bodies. 

A recent scientific review of magnesium concluded, "It is highly regrettable that the deficiency of such an inexpensive, low-toxicity nutrient results in diseases that cause incalculable suffering and expense throughout the world." (Med Hypotheses 2001 Feb; 56(2): 163-70) 

To absorb magnesium we need a lot of it in our diet, plus enough vitamins B6 and D and selenium to get the job done. 

Moreover, much of modern life conspires to help us lose whatever magnesium we get in our diet. 

Magnesium levels are decreased by excess alcohol, salt, coffee, phosphoric acid in colas, profuse sweating, prolonged or intense stress, chronic diarrhea, excessive menstruation, diuretics (water pills), antibiotics and other drugs, and some intestinal parasites. 

In fact, in one study in Kosovo, people under chronic war stress lost large amounts of magnesium in their urine.

It is difficult to measure and hard to study, but magnesium deficiency accounts for untold suffering -- and is simple to correct. 

So if you suffer from any of the symptoms I mentioned or have any of the diseases I noted, don't worry -- it is an easy fix!!

Here's how.

==>  Stop draining your body of magnesium.

* Limit coffee, colas, salt, sugar and alcohol

* Learn how to practice active relaxation

* Check with your doctor if your medication is causing magnesium loss (many high blood pressure drugs or diuretics cause loss of magnesium)

==>  Eat foods high in magnesium.

* These include kelp, wheat bran, wheat germ, almonds, cashews, buckwheat, brazil nuts, dulse, filberts, millet, pecans, walnuts, rye, tofu, soy beans, brown rice, figs, dates, collard greens, shrimp, avocado, parsley, beans, barley, dandelion greens,  and garlic

==>  Take magnesium supplements.

* The RDA (the minimum amount needed) for magnesium is about 300 mg a day.  Most of us get far less than 200 mg

* Some may need much more depending on their condition

* Most people benefit from 400 to 1,000 mg a day

* The most absorbable forms are magnesium citrate, glycinate taurate, or aspartate, although magnesium bound to Kreb cycle chelates (malate, succinate, fumarate) are also good

* Avoid magnesium carbonate, sulfate, gluconate, and oxide.  They are poorly absorbed (and the cheapest and most common forms found in supplements)

* Side effects from too much magnesium include diarrhea, which can be avoided if you switch to magnesium glycinate

* Most minerals are best taken as a team with other minerals in a multi-mineral formula

* Taking a hot bath with Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) is a good way to absorb and get much needed magnesium

* People with kidney disease or severe heart disease should take magnesium only under a doctor's supervision

So if you're coping with the symptoms here, relax! Magnesium is truly a miracle mineral.

Now I'd like to hear from you...

Do you suffer from any of the symptoms I've mentioned?

Do you currently take a magnesium supplement? What results have you noticed?

Which of the tips mentioned above do you plan to try?

Please click on the Add a Comment button below to share your thoughts.

To your good health,

Mark Hyman, M.D.

Comments (7)
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I found your article in my search for info on magnesium rich foods.  My 3 year old daughter is extremely sensitive to loud or high pitch sounds.  At preschool she will hide under the desk with her hands over her ears when all of the kids are playing because it is just too painful for her.  Any unexpected loud sound will result in a complete meltdown.  Her pediatrician said  there is nothing we can do about it. My husband suffers from the same problem.  I am so excited to learn there may be something as simple as altering our diet that may help both of them.  Additionally, I am being treated for IBS which is in your list of symptoms.  If magnesium can relieve those symptoms as well as PMS and menstrual cramps our entire family will be forever grateful.  Sincerely, D James

Thanks for the info.  I am 31 weeks pregant, and just started having some preterm labor signs.  A friend told me I should take some Magnesium pills, now I better understand why.

 Thank you,



I'm currently 33 years old, and have have Hypothyroidism for over 10 years now. Therefore I suffer from Edema, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, bouts of Insomnia, Fibromyalgia, Irritable Bowel Syndrome  and Obsesity just to naqme a few due to my levels constantly being well below normal. I take a lot of vitamin supplements, as well as B-12 injections, and high doses of Vitamin D, which are my greatest deficincies because of my thryoid levels. It has never been sugggested to me to take Magnesium, which I would definitely want to add to my regimen via my Endo's approval of course.

I have been searching for ways to alleviate the pains, fatigue, swelling, and all of the above and if it would help even a little. Thank you for taking the time to put this information out here, as I'm sure I'm not the only one who suffers from these ailments, if not more. Again thank you so much for your insight, and taking the time. On my behalf it's greatly appreciated. Please keep up the knowledge and training regardless the subject/disease/infection etc... people can truly learn from your wisdom. 


Oh, this is a wonderful article. Wish that I had a doctor like you. 


Speaking of mg, have you done the EXA Test?

 I asked a doctor once about this test, and he told me, My blood test is just fine.  

He wouldn't even listen to me about it, and this is a noninvasive test.

One more thing, I take mg malate that has B6 and folic acid in it.  It has a time-release formula to it, therefore, I don't get the diarrhea effect.  My husband and I have been taking it since late May or June of 2007. I personally wouldn't do without it, if I can help it.  I consider it a miracle nutrient since it basically has helped my back so much. Before I started taking it, I suffered low-back pain since my mid-20s. I'm now 57. My back was constantly going out to where I couldn't get out of bed. Right after I started taking it, no more going out on me.
Thank goodness, my posts are here.  I must have been at the wrong spot, I guess.
Well, I'm exicited here because this is one doctor, besides Dr. Blaylock, and Dr. Carolyn Dean who has the magnesium importance down. This article is just wonderful, and it gives me hope that there are other doctors out there that have this understanding as well.
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