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Updated on November 30, 2007

Magnesium is an important mineral- that most of us are not getting enough of in our diets.

In our stressful, "hurry up-get it done yesterday" lifestyles, we tend to eat a lot of processed convenience foods. As a general rule, the more the processing, the less magnesium remains.

Magnesium is found in whole grains, nuts, leafy green vegetables, seafood, sunflower seeds, and meats.

The recommended daily allowance is somewhat lower than what the experts recommend as optimal. Adults should take 500 milligrams of magnesium , Children should have 250 to 500 milligrams per day. Magnesium should be taken with meals.

Magnesium is helpful in preventing and treating fatigue. Magnesium is one of the supplements strongly recommended to those with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Studies have shown that people with CFS tend to have lower blood serum levels of magnesium than people who do not suffer from CFS.

Magnesium is also showing much promise in the prevention and treatment of hypertension (high blood pressure) and prevention of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). A study over four years with 58,000 women taking calcium and magnesium supplements was done with amazing results. The women took 800 milligrams calcium and 300 milligrams and they reduced their chances of developing hypertension by approximately 33 percent.

Some chronic migraine headache sufferers have had good results in migraine prevention when supplementing with magnesium.

Fibromyalgia sufferers are encouraged to take magnesium and calcium together (generally Naturopathic Physicians and Nutritionists will usually order up to 1,000 milligrams of magnesium per day divided in 3 doses with meals). This combo of Cal/Mag works to relax the sore-tight muscles, thus providing much needed relief.

Another benefit of a calcium/magnesium combo....the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis. Experts say that magnesium is every bit as important to bone health as calcium alone. 1,000 milligrams per day-again divided doses with meals is best.

Magnesium promotes relaxed bronchial muscles. Very important for asthmatics. Oral magnesium is wonderful for prevention of attacks, but know that if you are having an acute attack, popping some magnesium is not going to do anything. I.V. magnesium is used occasionally on acute asthmatic attacks.

Magnesium has also been used to prevent kidney stones, cardiac arrhythmias, and PMS.

A very versatile mineral indeed.

A common side effect of magnesium supplementation is diarrhea or loose stools. Usually this is from too high a dose, but some people can just have more sensitive systems. Try backing off on the dose and try very slowly increasing to see if you can tolerate the gradual build up. Forms that are best tolerated are magnesium glycinate and magnesium citrate.

Those with kidney disease and heart disease should speak with their physician before starting a magnesium supplement program. Everyone should tell their pharmacist when starting any supplement, just in case their may be drug interactions.


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    • Tom Higgins profile image

      Tom Higgins 10 years ago

      This reminds me of high school chemistry class :) "Mg 2+"