Dr Thanh-Tam Pham - 01/01/2022
This is a summary of the book “ Magnificent Magnesium: Your Essential Key to a Healthy Heart and More by Dr Dennis Goodman, MD.
Magnesium plays many roles in the body, being a co-factor in about 80% of the body’s metabolic processes.
● Magnesium is a cofactor for ATP (adenosine triphosphate) which plays a major role in energy metabolism converting proteins, carbohydrates and fats into energy.
● It is a cofactor for the enzymes assisting in the repair of DNA and RNA, playing a stabilizing role
● It is a cofactor for vitamin C, activating the most important antioxidant nutrients for the support of the immune system.
● Magnesium is also a cofactor for many other nutrients including zinc, potassium, B vitamins, copper, calcium and vitamin D.
● Magnesium is a cofactor for certain hormones such as activates enzymes that convert cholesterol into the sex and stress hormones.
● Magnesium plays a vital role in protecting against heart disease including heart attacks, stroke, hypertension and arrhythmias. Magnesium ensures proper levels of energy and also activates cardiac enzymes to help dilate blood vessels and prevent abnormal blood clots and calcium deposits in blood vessels.
● Magnesium is essential for the proper functioning and relaxation of the body’s muscles, preventing muscles cramps, protects muscles from being injured as the result of calcium buildup.
● Magnesium acts as a gatekeeper for the cell by modulating the permeability of the cell membrane. Because of its role in regulating ion exchange in nerve cells, it helps to optimize nerve impulse transmission.
● Magnesium aids in detoxification protecting cells from accumulating environmental toxins such as lead, aluminium and mercury. It also acts as a cofactor in the synthesis of glutathione a powerful antioxidant that protects against free radical damage and toxicity.
● Recent studies have shown that magnesium is important for the production and activation of white blood cells vital for the body’s immune response.
● Magnesium is essential for healthy bones and teeth. Because of its capacity as a calcium blocker, magnesium prevents unhealthy calcium buildup inside the kidneys and the formation of calcium oxalate stones.
● Magnesium regulates blood sugar levels, involves in insulin production and uptake, low levels of magnesium may contribute to insulin resistance and diabetes type 2.
More that 8 out of 10 persons in USA are deficient in Magnesium.
● Stress is the most important factor. It depletes the body of magnesium, subsequently deficiency causes cellular energy loss, which in turn causes disease. Acute stress is a basic survival mechanism but chronic stress results in a continuous release of stress hormones, depleting the magnesium stores.
● Food supply: modern day farming methods have severely depleted our soil mineral content by forgoing rotation of crops, use chemical fertilizers, pesticides… Moreover, by the time fruits and vegetables reach the market, they are usually laced with preservatives or other additives that can harm us. Depleted mineral supplies in cropland means reduced levels of all nutrients in the crops.
● Poor daily diet: The standard diet now is based around processed foods full of fats, simple carbohydrates, sugar, artificial sweeteners and food additives.
● Various popular beverages can also deplete magnesium such as soda, due to its phosphoric acid content and commercial sports drinks due to the high fructose corn syrup and other additives. Alcohol, coffee and other caffeinated drinks affect the magnesium stores due to their diuretic effects.
● Calcium and vitamin D Supplements: magnesium is a cofactor of calcium and vitamin D. The more vitamin D we take, the more magnesium be used to keep the vitamin D activated, depleting critical magnesium stores.
● Pharmaceutical drugs: many drugs can seriously deplete the body’s magnesium stores such as PPIs proton pump inhibitors including Nexium, somac…, antacids, antibiotics, antivirals, blood pressure drugs like ACE inhibitors, AII antagonists, CNS stimulants like Ritalin, corticosteroids like prednisolone, oral contraceptive pills, osteoporosis medication, sulfonamides…
● Diarrhea and other gastrointestinal problems, poor absorption, inflammatory bowel disease, coeliac disease. Magnesium can help prevent and reverse leaky gut .
Common warning signs of magnesium deficiency:
● Back and/or neck pain
● Impaired coordination
● Involuntary eye movements
● Muscle cramps
● Muscle tension or weakness
● Muscle tremors
● Fatigue or low energy
● Migraine, cluster headaches
● Other signs include feelings of anxiety, irritability, hyperactivity, memory problems, impaired cognitive functions, menstrual cramps, premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and unexplained respiratory problems especially asthma.
The Cardiovascular System
The heart works to pump blood throughout the body providing it with oxygen and nutrients while simultaneously remove waste products such as carbon dioxide. If all the body’s blood vessels were stretched out end to end, they would make a continuous chain about 60,000 miles long- that’s more than twice the circumference of the earth! It is more amazing that the heart moves approximately 5.6 liters of blood through this entire network an average of 3 times every minute of our life (once every 20 seconds).
The heart beats an average of 103,000times per day every day of our life. That equates to approximately 37.6 million times a year and 26 billion times over a seventy yearlong lifespan.
The heart depends on electrolytes in order to generate and conduct electrical signals. An electrical signal, or action potential, is generated when ions on the outside of the cell (calcium and sodium) pass through their respective channels and switch places with ions on the inside of the cell (potassium and magnesium) creating an electrical imbalance. When the cardiac muscle receives a signal, the channel opens up and calcium ions flood the interior of the cell and with ATP enabling the chemical reaction that allow the muscle fibers to contract. As soon as the muscle fibers contract, magnesium enters the cell forcing the calcium back out and the cell relax.
How does heart disease develop?
Over the last 20 years, it is commonly believed that heart disease is caused by atherosclerosis- a chronic inflammation, producing clots that can block arteries and cause heart attack or stroke. To treat heart disease, doctors most frequently advised lifestyle changes quit smoking, maintain proper weight, exercises, reduce stressors and treat high cholesterol with statins. Why some people with normal cholesterol die of heart attacks? Is there another potential cause or a missing link?
The Starved Heart Model:
Without food, the body begins to degenerate and we can starve to death.
Similarly, when the heart is deprived of the energy it needs to keep blood flowing through the system, it also stops working and begins to die. The heart needs ATP for energy, and in order for ATP to be used by the body, it must be bound to magnesium. Deprived of magnesium (usually as the result of stress), the heart cannot produce enough energy; and without energy, the heart, arteries and veins quickly begin to deteriorate leading to heart cell death. Research shows that by maintaining optimal levels of magnesium, we can protect against heart disease, preventing and decreasing risks of heart attacks, stroke and high blood pressure.
Electrolyte imbalance. One of magnesium ‘s most critical jobs is to regulate calcium. At the cellular level, magnesium acts act as a sort of gatekeeper, making sure that excess calcium doesn’t enter the interior of the cells. Magnesium acts as a natural calcium blocker. If magnesium isn’t available, calcium floods the cells, creating an electrolyte imbalance that can induce several serious heart conditions, including arrhythmia, angina, premature ventricular contraction and hypertension.
Outside the cells, magnesium also helps regulate calcium otherwise calcium accumulates and migrates to areas of the body where it does not belong including the arteries contributing to atherosclerosis.
Magnesium’s other Health Benefits
● Obesity, Diabetes and Metabolic syndrome: while magnesium is not the sole cause of these conditions, it certainly plays a major role in their development and progression.
Magnesium helps regulate cortisol, effectively buffering the effects of stress and limiting the toll it takes on the body and brain.
● Asthma: magnesium helps to keep the respiratory muscles relaxed and dilated, facilitating breathing. Magnesium has shown to reduce histamine and inflammation levels in the lungs and overall respiratory system, thus helping to prevent the recurrence of asthma. Magnesium is administered intravenously in hospitals to treat the symptoms of life-threatening, drug resistant asthma attacks.
● Chronic fatigue and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
● Chronic pain: back, neck, shoulder pain, arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, soft tissues injuries.
● Fibromyalgia: fatigue, depression, deep and widespread muscle pain, presence of tender points
● Headache and migraine
● Gastrointestinal problems. Magnesium plays an important role in preventing leaky gut syndrome.
● Heavy metal toxicity
● Kidney stones. Calcium Oxalate crystal growth inhibitors are citrate, vitamin B6 and magnesium- B6 is effective for regulating the liver’s production of oxalate. B6 is a cofactor of magnesium.
● Premenstrual symptom
● Sleep disorders. Without magnesium, the body simply can’t produce or regulate the hormones cortisol and melatonin to carry out its natural sleep cycle. In addition, magnesium has been shown to help symptoms of sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome.
How to take magnesium
Blood tests: Magnesium red blood cell (RBC-Mg) is more accurate than free magnesium level. RBC-Mg under 5.5mg/dl indicates deficiency.
Magnesium is a key component of chlorophyll so green vegetables are good sources broccoli, kale, parsley, spinach, asparagus, Swiss chard, collard greens, mustard greens, beet greens. Also nuts, legumes (beans) various seeds like flaxseed, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, coriander, cumin, fennel seed, dried parsley.
Types of magnesium supplements:
● General use: magnesium chloride (applied directly to skin of foot bath)
Magnesium glycinate , magnesium malate
● Brain health: Magnesium threonate, magnesium biglycinate, magnesium orotate
● Gastrointestinal health: magnesium citrate and magnesium lactate. Milk of magnesia (liquid magnesium oxide) is frequently used in constipation.
● Heart health: magnesium taurate, magnesium malate
● Joint and muscle health: most oral forms help and prevent joint and muscle pain. Topical application of magnesium oil (magnesium chloride) and Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) baths are also excellent for relieving joint and muscle pain.
Certain forms of magnesium are more bioavailable such as magnesium malate, magnesium glycinate and magnesium taurate- are recommended by most health care providers.
Magnesium oxide and magnesium chloride are less bioavailable but are most commonly used.
Cofactors: to maximize magnesium absorption, we should take it with vitamin B6 a cofactor of magnesium and enhance its bioavailability. Try the active form of B6, known as pyridoxal-5’-phosphate or P-5-P which can be used by the body immediately.
When to take supplements: at meal time with food or at evenly spaced intervals throughout the day.