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Magnesium is second only to potassium in terms of a concentration in individual cells of the body. Functions of magnesium are primarily related to its ability to activate many enzymes.

Magnesium deficiency is extremely common in Americans, especially the elderly and women during the premenstrual period. Such a deficit often occurs on the background of the effects of factors that reduce magnesium absorption or increase its secretion, namely, the administration of large doses of calcium, alcohol, surgery, diuretics, liver and kidney, and oral contraceptives.

Among the signs and symptoms of magnesium deficiency include fatigue, confusion, irritability, weakness, violation the normal functioning of the heart, problems with nerve conduction and muscle contraction, cramps, loss of appetite, insomnia and predisposition to stress.

Below are ten major diseases, the treatment which uses magnesium:

Asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

Magnesium promotes relaxation of bronchial smooth muscle, causing the Airways open and breathing easier. Intravenous magnesium is proven and approved for use in hospitals, a measure that allows to remove an acute attack of asthma, and to mitigate the acute flares of COPD. Unfortunately, long-term oral supplementation with magnesium as a treatment for asthma or COPD has not been fully investigated.

Syndrome attention deficit disorder (add)

Magnesium deficiency may play a role in the emergence of add, because research shows that many children with add have low levels of magnesium. In a preliminary study, magnesium has reduced hyperactivity in children with add combined with hyperactivity. In the study, 50 children with add and low levels of magnesium (which was defined as the levels of magnesium in red blood cells, hair, and serum) received 200 mg of magnesium per day for six months. Compared with 25 other children with add and magnesium deficiency in children who received supplementation with magnesium, there was a significant reduction in the frequency of hyperactive behavior.

Cardiovascular disease

Magnesium is absolutely necessary for the proper functioning of the heart. The role of magnesium in preventing heart disease and strokes is well established. In addition, there is a considerable amount of scientific evidence that the additional intake of magnesium is effective in the treatment of a wide range of cardiovascular diseases, namely:


It has been proven that the additional administration of magnesium in the body (in most of the studies used intravenous administration) is useful in the treatment of angina because it causes spasm of the coronary artery or atherosclerosis. Beneficial effects of magnesium in the treatment of angina is related to its ability to improve energy production in heart and to expand coronary arteries, which leads to ensure the delivery of a greater volume of oxygen to the heart, reduction in peripheral vascular resistance, which reduces the load on the heart, prevent accumulation of platelets and blood clots, and improve heart rate.

Cardiac arrhythmia

Information about the usefulness of magnesium in the treatment of arrhythmias was obtained in 1935. More than sixty years later, there have been many double-blind studies showing that magnesium is useful in many types of arrhythmias, including atrial fibrillation, premature ventricular contraction, ventricular tachycardia and severe types of ventricular arrhythmias.

Congestive heart failure

Congestive heart failure (CHF) is the inability of the heart to efficiently pump blood. CHF most often occurs because of long term effects of high blood pressure, disturbances of work of a heart valve or cardiomyopathy. Levels of magnesium, appears to be directly associated with indicators of survival in such situations. In one study, 1 – and 2-year levels of survival in patients with CHF and normal levels of magnesium were respectively 71% and 61% compared with 45% and 42% in patients with lower levels of magnesium. In addition to the treatment of CHF, the additional administration of magnesium in the body also prevents the depletion of magnesium caused by traditional drug therapy for CHF based on the use of digitalis, diuretics and vasodilators (beta blockers, calcium channel blockers, etc.).

High blood pressure

In demographic research generated a substantial body of evidence confirming that a high intake of magnesium leads to a decrease in blood pressure. Based on this evidence, researchers have begun to explore the possibility of using magnesium supplements to treat high blood pressure. The results obtained at the end of double-blind studies, have been mixed. Some of researches showed very good effect of lowering blood pressure, and in other studies such an effect has been identified. It seems that magnesium is most useful when a person takes a diuretic or has a high level of renin is secreted by the kidney enzyme, which ultimately leads to the formation of angiotensin and the release of aldosterone. These compounds cause a reduction of blood vessels and increased blood pressure. The degree of reduction of blood pressure when taking magnesium, as a rule, is rather modest (i.e. less than 10 mm Hg. article systolic and diastolic blood pressure).


It is known that magnesium plays a key role in the secretion and effects of insulin. Several studies of patients with diabetes or impaired glucose tolerance have shown that magnesium is useful in the treatment of these diseases. Magnesium supplements (usually 400 to 500 mg per day) improves insulin response and its impact, improve glucose tolerance and membrane fluidity of red blood cells. In addition, levels of magnesium are usually low in diabetics and lowest in those with severe retinopathy. Diabetics have a higher need for magnesium, so they need to take appropriate food supplements to its satisfaction.


Hidden deficiency of magnesium can lead to chronic fatigue and symptoms similar to chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Low level of red blood cells in the blood, which is a more accurate indicator of the level of magnesium than the usual analysis of blood was discovered in many patients with chronic fatigue and CFS. Double-blind study of people with CFS showed that the additional intake of magnesium significantly increased energy levels, improved emotional state and reduce pain. These later studies confirm the findings in the 1960-ies of the clinical trials patients suffering chronic fatigue. In these earlier studies used oral ingestion of magnesium aspartate and potassium and it was found that 75-91% of the nearly 3000 patients studied experience less fatigue during treatment with magnesium and potassium aspartates. In contrast, the number of patients reacted to placebo, was 9-26%. A beneficial effect was usually observed only after 4-5 days, but sometimes for its manifestation was required 10 days. Patients usually continued treatment for 4-6 weeks.


Fibromyalgia is a condition that was recently recognized disease and considered to be a common cause of chronic muscle skeletal pain and fatigue. One study showed that daily supplementation of 300-600 mg of magnesium (in the form of malic acid and magnesium) resulted in a significant reduction in the number of pain points and severity of pain in them.

Kidney stones

Magnesium increases the solubility of calcium in the urine and thereby prevents the formation of kidney stones. The introduction of additives to magnesium in the diet has demonstrated significant effect in preventing recurrences of kidney stones. However, when used in combination with vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), there is an even greater effect.

Migraine and tension headache

There is considerable evidence that low levels of magnesium cause migraines and tension headaches. Double-blind studies have shown that taking magnesium supplements people with a low level of this element brought excellent results.

Pregnancy (toxemia, premature delivery and other complications)

During pregnancy the need for magnesium increases, which is reflected in the increase of the RDA from 280 to 350 mg per day. Magnesium deficiency during pregnancy is associated with preeclampsia (a serious complication of pregnancy associated with high blood pressure, fluid retention and protein loss in the urine), premature birth and slow fetal growth. It was also proven that the introduction in the diet of pregnant women extra magnesium, taken orally, significantly reduced the incidence of such complications.

Premenstrual syndrome

It is suggested that magnesium deficiency is a causal factor in premenstrual syndrome. Although, it has been proven that supplementation with magnesium are effective on their own, even better results can be achieved by combining them with the intake of vitamin B6 and other nutrients. The results of several studies showed that patients with PMS while taking multivitamin and mineral supplements with high doses of magnesium and vitamin B6 experience significant relief of PMS symptoms. During the research of only one magnesium the symptoms of PMS is not attenuated to the same extent.

Available forms

Magnesium is available in several different forms. Absorption studies indicate that magnesium is easily absorbed orally, especially when it is associated with citrate, and glycine, aspartate and malate. Inorganic forms of magnesium such as the chloride, oxide and carbonate of magnesium, is usually well absorbed, but more likely to cause diarrhea at higher doses.

Cautions and warnings

If you suffer from serious heart failure or kidney disease, consult your doctor before taking any supplements with magnesium.

Possible side effects

In General, magnesium is very well tolerated. Magnesium supplements can sometimes cause diarrhea. In particular, we are talking about magnesium sulfate (Epsom salts), epoxide and magnesium chloride.

Interactions with drugs

There are many drugs that seem to have an adverse impact on the level of magnesium in the body. Most notable are many diuretics, insulin and digitalis.

Interaction with food:

Magnesium actively interacts with calcium, potassium and other minerals. High dosages of other minerals reduce the intake of magnesium and Vice versa. High intake of calcium and dairy products fortified with vitamin D reducing absorption of magnesium. Vitamin B6 works together with magnesium in many enzyme systems.

The usual dosage

The usual recommendation of magnesium is a supplementation according to the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of 350 mg per day for adult males and 280 mg per day for adult women. Many nutrition experts believe that the ideal intake of magnesium should be based on body weight (6 mg per 1 kg of body weight). For a person weighing 50 kg, the recommended intake is 300 mg for a person weighing 70 kg 420 mg for a person weighing 91 kg to 540 mg.


Usually the overdose leads to diarrhea. In case of accidental overdose, do the following: If the victim loses consciousness or is he having convulsions, immediately call an ambulance. If you’re taking the victim to the emergency room, be sure to bring a bottle or container of the product that caused her disease condition. If the person is conscious, call the local poison control center or health worker. Poison control center may suggest to induce vomiting with syrup meadowsweet (available without prescription in any pharmacy). Do NOT INDUCE vomiting, unless you receive specific instructions to do so.

This article was written by Dr. Michael Murray, one of the leading authorities in the field of natural medicine. Over the past 35 years, Dr. Murray has been compiling a massive database of original scientific studies of the medical literature. He has personally collected over 65000 articles from the scientific literature that provide convincing evidence of the effectiveness of diet, vitamins, minerals, herbs and other natural ways of maintaining health and treating disease. It is from this constantly expanding database that Dr. Murray provides the answers on health and treatment on the website DoctorMurray.com. Visit the iHerb page of Dr. Murray by clicking here.


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