Magnesium is an essential mineral that has always been treated like a second class citizen. Doctors and individuals are always talking about the more favored mineral, calcium. Although adequate calcium intake is especially important, adequate magnesium supplementation is important too.
Magnesium is primarily found within our cells with about 60% of magnesium found within bone cells and about 25% found within muscle. Magnesium is required for cellular energy production. Most adults in this country consume far too little amounts of magnesium. Just read the labels of the food you are eating, what is the magnesium level? In most cases, it is zero to just a few percent of the daily value. It is estimated that the average healthy adult in the United States takes in approximately 150 mg to 260 mg of magnesium per day.
The RDA (now called DV – daily value) for magnesium for an adult male is 350 mg. Keep in mind that the DV is the minimum daily requirement for the most basic needs but in many examples does not provide optimal health or prevent common diseases such as heart disease. Unfortunately, because our food selection and the way our food is grown and processed we consume far too inadequate amounts of this very important mineral. Magnesium deficiency, although not readily diagnosed, is extremely common in this country.
The beneficial effects of magnesium are numerous. It was reported in the March edition of the prestigious American Journal of Cardiology that patients with known coronary artery disease who were given magnesium not only improved exercise tolerance, but also reduced exercise induced chest pain, while improving quality of life. In this study, 187 men and women with known coronary disease were recruited from the United States, Israel and Austria. The individuals randomly received either 365 mg of magnesium daily in two doses or placebo for a period of six months. No other changes were made in medication or diet. At the end of the study, those individuals receiving magnesium had a 14% improvement in exercise endurance compared to placebo group who experienced no change. Also, 21% of the placebo group reported chest pain induced by exercise after six months while only 8% in the magnesium group reported this symptom. From another perspective, magnesium reduced exercise induced chest pain by about 65%. The magnesium users reported overall less pain and greater improvement in their condition, which contributed to an improved quality of life.
This is but one of many studies demonstrating the usefulness of magnesium. As it turns out, many migraine sufferers have a magnesium deficiency. This is not readily diagnosed since magnesium is primarily intracellular and the magnesium blood level is an extracellular test. In one study published last year, magnesium sulfate showed statistical significance compared to placebo in treatment of migrainous aura. I routinely put my young migraine sufferers on magnesium supplementation.
Magnesium has also shown benefit for asthma and chronic obstructive lung disease, acute myocardial infarction, cardiac arrhythmias, high blood pressure, diabetes, fatigue and fibromyalgia, osteoporosis, pregnancy and amazingly even hearing loss.
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