Magnesium is a crucially important mineral for optimal health, performing a wide array of biological functions, including activating muscles and nerves, creating energy in your body by activating adenosine triphosphate (ATP), helping digest proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, serving as a building block for RNA and DNA synthesis, and it’s also a precursor for neurotransmitters like serotonin.
Given the fact that many people are deficient in this nutrient – aggravated by many, if not most, pharmaceutical drugs – getting the right amount of this essential mineral at the right ratio in conjunction with calcium, vitamin D and K2, is vital for optimum health.
Getting magnesium right
According to Dr. Carolyn Dean, a medical and naturopathic doctor (recently awarded the Arrhythmia Alliance Outstanding Medical Contribution to Cardiac Rhythm Management Services Award), the generally accepted calcium/magnesium ratio of 2:1 is incorrect and should instead be 1:1.
Dr. Dean explains that it is critical for heart health and having too much calcium and not enough magnesium (as a result of an incorrect ratio and over-supplementing with calcium), can cause your muscles to go into spasm, which can lead to a heart attack and sudden death.
Balancing these two essential minerals with vitamin D and K2 is important. These four nutrients work synergistically and an imbalance between these nutrients is why calcium supplements have been associated with increased risk of heart attacks and stroke, and why some people experience vitamin D toxicity.
To complicate matters even further, magnesium comes in several different forms and some of these are inferior and frankly a waste of money when taken as a supplement.
The reason for the wide variety of supplements on the market is because the magnesium must be bound to another substance. There’s no such thing as a 100 per cent magnesium compound supplement (except pico-ionic magnesium). The binding substance used in any given supplement can affect the absorption and bioavailability of the mineral.
The cheapest source is magnesium oxide, which has a mere four per cent absorption rate in the body. The remaining 96 per cent passes through your intestines, which is why magnesium oxide tends to have a laxative effect. Other forms include magnesium chloride or lactate, carbonate, citrate, magnesium sulphate/hydroxide (milk of magnesia) and taurate.
None of the above is as effective as magnesium glycinate – a chelated form that has the highest levels of absorption and bioavailability. It is typically recommended by alternative health practitioners for those who are trying to correct a magnesium deficiency.
Magnesium threonate is a newer, emerging form that appears promising, primarily due to its superior ability to penetrate the mitochondrial membrane.
Besides taking a supplement, another way to improve your levels this essential mineral is to take regular Epsom salt baths or foot baths. Epsom salt is a magnesium sulphate that can absorb into your body through your skin. Magnesium oil (from magnesium chloride) can also be used for topical application and absorption.
So, as you can see, fixing a magnesium deficiency is not as simple as popping the nearest supplement you can lay your hands on. This is why it’s important to work closely with a doctor qualified in alternative medicine to determine the right ratio of calcium, magnesium, vitamin D and vitamin K2 to ensure that you get the maximum benefit from these powerful nutrients.
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Magnesium – The Missing Link to Better Health, published online 08.12.13, articles.mercola.com
Death by Medicine, by Gary Null PhD, Carolyn Dean MD ND, Martin Feldman MD, Debora Rasio MD, Dorothy Smith PhD, webdc.com/pdfs/deathbymedicine.pdf