The Health Benefits of Magnesium

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Filed Under: Nutritional Support, Nutrient Guide
Last Reviewed 02/16/2014

The Health Benefits of Magnesium

Magnesium is one of the most potent, versatile and safe therapies available. Yet this mineral is woefully underused in American medicine. Here are just a few examples of the health benefits of miraculous magnesium.

Magnesium Lowers Blood Pressure

In one recent study, Korean researchers evaluated the health benefits of magnesium on blood pressure. They found that among the study participants with hypertension, those who took 300 mg of supplemental magnesium daily for three months had marked reductions in blood pressure compared to those who took a placebo pill. Systolic/diastolic pressures fell 17.1/6.7 mmHg in the magnesium group and 3.4/0.8 in the placebo group.

Results might have been even more significant with higher doses. A meta-analysis involving 20 randomized clinical trials revealed that for each 240 mg increase in magnesium intake, systolic/diastolic pressures dropped by an average of 4.3/2.3 mmHg. Why is this important? Because whenever systolic pressure decreases by 20 points and diastolic pressure falls 10 points, your risk of having a stroke or developing heart disease is cut in half!

Magnesium Prevents Diabetes and Its Complications

Anyone concerned about diabetes should also be taking magnesium. Swedish scientists reviewed the published studies that looked at health benefits of magnesium and risk of diabetes and found that for every 100 mg increase in daily intake of magnesium, there was a 15 percent decrease in the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

The health benefits of magnesium supplements is even more important if you already have diabetes. Diabetes is a nutritional wasting disease. When blood sugar is high, it becomes a powerful diuretic that leads to increased urination. Unfortunately, this results in losses of virtually all water-soluble nutrients, leading to deficiencies in a number of vitamins and minerals—including magnesium.

This is problematic because low magnesium levels not only make controlling blood sugar more difficult but also increase risk of diabetic complications. For example, studies show that individuals with the lowest levels of magnesium are the most likely to have severe diabetic retinopathy. As you can see, shoring up on magnesium is absolutely critical for people with diabetes or metabolic syndrome.

Magnesium Improves Sleep and Endurance

This mineral is also helpful for more run-of-the-mill problems. One of my patients, Elizabeth, had a long history of insomnia. Her busy mind made sleep elusive. She wanted to try something safe and natural that wouldn’t leave her with the groggy “hangover” that many sleep aids cause, so I suggested she try magnesium citrate half an hour before bedtime.

It changed her life. “Before I started following Dr. Whitaker’s advice, I would lie awake with my mind going a mile a minute. But now, I sleep like a baby and wake up feeling rejuvenated and refreshed.”

At the opposite end of the spectrum, health benefits of magnesium include improved energy and endurance. Both intravenous (IV) and injected magnesium have been successfully used to treat chronic fatigue, and we often give magnesium shots to patients complaining of low energy. These injections, which patients can learn to give themselves, often result in significant increases in energy and vitality.

Give Magnesium a Try

Do you have migraine headaches? Oral magnesium helps reduce their frequency and severity. Are you prone to kidney stones? Magnesium and Vitamin B6 cut recurrences by 92 percent in one study. How about muscle spasms, cramps or twitches? Magnesium will probably help. The health benefits of magnesium supplements even include relieving constipation and back pain.

If you have any of the conditions mentioned above, give magnesium a try or talk to your doctor about injections or IV infusions (which, in addition to treating chronic fatigue, are especially helpful for halting asthma attacks, smoothing out arrhythmias, and saving lives after a heart attack).

How to Use Magnesium Supplements

  • The suggested dose of oral magnesium is 500–1,000 mg daily. It comes in several forms (citrate, aspartate, etc.) and all are acceptable. For nighttime use, I recommend a rapidly bioavailable, powdered form of magnesium citrate called Magna-Calm. To use, dissolve in water and drink approximately 30 minutes before bedtime.

  • Large amounts of magnesium can cause diarrhea. To avoid this potential side effect, build up your dose gradually.

  • To learn more about the therapeutic health benefits of magnesium, read The Magnesium Factor by Mildred Seelig, M.D., available in bookstores and from various online retailers.

  • If you’re interested in receiving IV magnesium or magnesium injections at the Whitaker Wellness Institute, call (800) 488-1500.

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