Magnesium - Why Do You Need It?

Many of us remember magnesium from our school chemistry labs where it was part of an experiment. We had to burn magnesium ribbon and watch for "A bright white light" and then we had to write up our findings in our exercise books and draw a diagram.

Well, little did we know how much the human body needs magnesium, and that it was not just the symbol Mg on the periodic table.

It is an extremely important and much needed trace mineral, the 4th most abundant in the body and is not only found in our bones and teeth, but also in our red blood cells.

We have discussed on this website how much nutrient deficiencies affect our health and indeed, magnesium was recommended to me over a year ago by one of our well known private thyroid doctors; however, at the time, I did not think too much about how important it was given that I had been recommended such a cornucopia of nutritional supplements at the time. I was struggling to understand how they all would fit into my day; this for the adrenals and that for the thyroid and this for the liver and that for fibro pain and "don't take these if you have an autoimmune disease" etc etc. It was hard to take in.

Time and time again we are told how our present modern diets are actually destroying us and yet we continue to choose to ignore this important fact. Our diets actually have precious little nutritional value at all if indeed any, unless we are eating organic food and making sure that we do not eat anything with additives, preservatives, colourings etc and making sure we are eating plenty of organic fruit and vegetables.

It has also been explained that taking nutritional supplements will not count for much if they are purely synthetic. What is the point, after all, of fuelling a synthetic diet with synthetic vitamin and mineral pills, then wondering why we are just NOT feeling any better at all and in some cases we are actually worse off?

What part of this do we not understand and why do we continue to put our hand in the fire after being told so many times not to?

Lack of important nutrients are making us ill - period. Our bodies NEED these nutrients and magnesium is one of them.

Over a period of time this amounts to a huge deficit and we are fuelling illness within the human race by ignoring the obvious.

Of course pharmaceutical companies and other giants would keep us ill so that they can continue to make money therefore nutritional supplements as a way of becoming well will always be discredited.

They would prefer us to continue to take steroids, pain killers, stains and antidepressants with our doctors as their frontline salespeople.

So what does all this have to do with magnesium???

Well, magnesium can actually help prevent many illnesses and certainly help in the management of chronic illness. It is a necessary nutrient and deficiency causes many diseases. Since our diets are so depleted, we are more than likely to be deficient to a certain degree.


Almost 80% of the western world are deficient to a lesser or greater degree.

Magnesium deficiency is extremely common

Chronic deficiency results in death due to illnesses brought about by this deficiency

Common conditions such as mitral valve prolapse, migraines, attention deficit disorder, fibromyalgia, asthma, calcification of soft tissue including heart valve and allergies have all been linked to a magnesium deficiency,

Low energy: Magnesium plays an important part in the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats

Fatigue: Research shows that persistent magnesium deficiency lead to (CFS) chronic fatigue syndrome. When we are deficient, our bodily functions slow down at cellular level causing the body to become sluggish until, eventually fatigue sets in.

A path-breaking study (The Lancet, March 1991) by Cox, Campbell and Dowson of the Centre for the Study of Complementary Medicine in Southampton, UK, recorded that many patients with CFS have low red blood cell magnesium levels—a more accurate measure of magnesium status than routine blood analysis—and their condition may improve with magnesium supplements. They injected magnesium sulfate in a double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 32 patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. Fifteen patients, randomly chosen, received magnesium sulfate intramuscularly once a week for six weeks while the remaining 17 received injected water. Patients treated with magnesium showed better energy levels and better handling of emotions.

PMS: Carolyn Dean, MD, North Dakota, states that one of the 22 conditions magnesium deficiency may trigger or cause, is hormonal imbalance leading to premenstrual syndrome (PMS); dysmenorrhoea (cramping pain during menses); infertility; premature contractions, preeclampsia and eclampsia in pregnancy. The fact that cellular magnesium levels in women with PMS are found to be significantly lower than in women who do not suffer PMS resonates the inferences of these studies

Insomnia: "In a study of more than 200 patients, Dr W.H Davis of the University of Pretoria tested magnesium as a possible means of combating insomnia. 99 percent of the patients on magnesium supplementation reported that sleep was induced rapidly and was uninterrupted. Waking tiredness disappeared, and anxiety and tension diminished during the day." In this 12 month study patients took 8 tablets of 250mg magnesium chloride with no ill effects. Magnesium counteracts the destructive effects of raised cortisol a stress hormone produced by the adrenal glands which interferes with sleep as, at night, cortisol levels are not meant to be raised.

Osteoporosis: We have always been told that it is important to take calcium supplements to prevent osteoporosis

However magnesium is equally important and indeed is needed with calcium in order for bones to be strong. Magnesium deficiency affects calcium metabolism, so on its own, calcium can actually be detrimental.

Muscle Spasms, muscle tension and muscle cramps

Muscle twitches, leg cramps or any kind of cramps, spasms and muscle tension are an important indicator of magnesium deficiency as magnesium is required for the correct relaxation of muscles. Magnesium is actually lost through body fluids such as sweat, so many athletes who are magnesium deficient will experience cramping. This can be corrected through magnesium supplementation.

I have actually suffered with painful leg cramps even to the point of walking the floor in agony since my teenage years for many nights as well as severe period cramps. My father also suffered interminably with leg and muscle cramps. It has also come to my attention that Emphysema (COPD) or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease can be caused by a magnesium deficiency. My father died of this disease. Say no more

Allergies and chemical sensitivities

In experiments those with a magnesium deficiency also had allergies. Magnesium is needed by the body for the reduction of histamine levels, therefore a deficiency would prevent this. Those with raised histamine levels also have a raised white cell count. Many things raise histamine levels including IBS, so you can see the bigger picture here. Allergies are a result of raised histamine levels. Magnesium deficiency has been implicated in allergies, including skin allergies and raised histamine levels as well as raised white cell counts have been noted as features of many chronic disorders. Those with chemical sensitivities also commonly have other conditions linked to magnesium deficiency such as allergies, fibromyalgia, mitral valve prolapse and anxiety disorders amongst others.

Those with the above conditions may also have temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), which has been linked to abnormalities of hyaluronic acid.Hyaluronic acid is dependent upon magnesium for its synthesis.

Headaches and migraines

Many people who suffer with tension headaches also have a magnesium deficiency since magnesium is needed for the relaxation of muscles.

Numerous studies show that migraine is also linked to magnesium deficiency and indeed studies have shown that migriane patients wre twice as likely to also suffer from mitral valve prolapse. Mitral valve prolapse is also linked to magnesium deficiency. There is also a link between anxiety disorders and migraine. Anxiety disorders are also linked with magnesium deficiency. People with many chronic disorders, especially the connective tissue disorders, commonly have mitral valve prolapse and studies show they always have hyaluronic acid abnormalities. hyaluronic acid depends on magnesium for its synthesis.

A study from Harvard Medical School found that migraine sufferers 'have increased risk of heart attacks and strokes'. Yet other studies have found that magnesium may help to prevent death from heart attacks. So perhaps instead of concluding that migraine sufferers have an increased risk of strokes, a more logical and holistic way of looking at these types of studies would be to hypothesize that people with inadequate magnesium levels are at higher risk for migraine headaches, heart attacks and strokes. Part of the reason for this common link may be that magnesium is known for relaxing and dilating blood vessels.

Abnormal Heart Rhythmn: Magnesium is important for cardio vascular health. Magnesium is a muscle relaxant so has a positive effect on blood pressure. Evidence suggests that low magnesium levels are contra indicated for abnormal heart rhythms. The DASH study (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) suggests that high blood pressure can be significantly lowered by consuming a diet high in magnesium, potassium and calcium.

Nervousness and anxiety: Magnesium regulates nerve cell function. It is an essential nutrient for the correct functioning of the nervous system. It is therefore obvious that any deficiency will affect this as without magnesium the nerve cells can not give or receive messages causing heightened sensitivity to stimuli.

Noises seem excessively loud, lights can appear to be too bright, emotional reactions will be exaggerated, and the affected person will generally be on edge. The brain may also be too stimulated to sleep. Magnesium supplements have a sedative effect on the nervous system and provide relief.


It is interesting to note that Thyroid Disease sufferers also have many of the above conditions

Page to be continued