When it comes to the importance of magnesium to your health, I never run out of good things to say.
It’s important to literally hundreds of your body’s processes – but everything from stress to poor diet can send our magnesium levels crashing.
Last month I told you how important magnesium is to protecting your heart and warding off a potentially deadly heart attack.
But the wonders of this mighty mineral don’t stop there.
In fact, if you’ve been suffering from a condition like asthma, fibromyalgia or even panic attacks for years, a healthy dose of magnesium may just be the answer to your prayers.
Anything that involves relaxation of nerves or muscles… anything requiring cell energy… and most production of hormones and enzymes require this very special mineral.
Magnesium can help you breathe easy again
Magnesium controls the stimulation and relaxation of nerve and muscle cells. And so it can be incredibly effective in treating conditions and symptoms caused by too much activity on the part of your muscles and/or nerves. And that includes asthma.
During one of those dreaded asthma ‘attacks’ – when you’re wheezing and feel like you can’t breathe at all – the tubes leading to your lungs are in spasm (from smooth muscle hyperactivity), making it difficult to blow air out of your body.
Multiple studies have shown the benefit of magnesium in treating asthma in both children and adults. It seems that the more severe the asthmatic attack, and the earlier magnesium treatment is initiated, the more beneficial the magnesium infusion is in reversing symptoms.
One study actually measured the effects of IV magnesium versus the common inhaler (bronchodilator ipratropium bromide, a so-called ‘beta-agonist’ sold under the brand name Atrovent). There was no statistical difference between the two in any of the metrics studied – including hospital admission rates, deaths, arterial blood gases, etc.
And yet, despite its remarkable safety record, IV magnesium is rarely used in hospitals – even though the alternative, beta-agonists, have been linked to serious heart problems.
Watch fibromyalgia pain vanish
Another illness that is improved with magnesium treatment is fibromyalgia, a condition that makes you feel fatigued, disturbs your sleep, and twists your muscles into knots.
Since the 1980s, I’ve given hundreds of patients with this disabling condition over 10,000 IV magnesium drips, and I’m convinced that most of these patients got relief from their pain and fatigue.
Even oral magnesium has been shown to improve fibromyalgia symptoms.
In one study of fibromyalgia patients, oral magnesium citrate was significantly effective in improving their symptoms AND their mood.
A magic mineral that can calm down your brain
But the use of magnesium that I’m most excited about has to do with anxiety and panic disorder.
I’ve already told you that magnesium can be helpful in any condition of overstimulated muscles or nerves. And that’s exactly what’s happening when you’re feeling anxious or having a panic attack.
There is some evidence that these patients have depleted body stores of magnesium – and I can tell you that magnesium has worked wonders for many of my patients.
In my office – particularly if anxiety is the issue – we use something we call the ‘AIM’ treatment. That includes weekly infusions of magnesium and inositol, combined with acupuncture with needles in the ear, which is known to help anxiety. We’ve found that our patients experience significant improvements in their anxiety and well-being after just six weeks of treatment.
Get the magnesium that’s right for you
Considering how safe it is, I’ve never understood why IV magnesium isn’t used more in today’s doctor surgeries and A&E departments.
Unfortunately, you can only get IV magnesium from a medical professional, but oral magnesium supplements are available without a prescription and at your local health food store or vitamin shop. However, not all forms of magnesium are created equal – so weigh your options and choose the one that’s best for you.
Magnesium hydroxide, better known as Milk of Magnesia, is used to relieve constipation – and, if you’re not backed up, it can irritate your digestive tract.
Magnesium oxide and magnesium sulphate are the least expensive, but your body doesn’t absorb these inorganic salts of magnesium as well as they do organic salts of magnesium like lactate, citrate, aspartate, and gluconate, which are much more ‘bioavailable’.
One study showed that magnesium lactate and magnesium aspartate had the highest bioavailability, while another gave that distinction to magnesium gluconate. You really can’t go wrong with any of them.
Magnesium glycinate is also very available, and magnesium salicylate – which contains a compound related to aspirin – has been used effectively for muscular aches and pains for decades, under the name of Doan’s Pills.
I generally customise the magnesium treatment depending on the patients’ circumstances and sensitivities, for example:
- magnesium citrate if the patient is constipated and has muscle spasms or nerve overstimulation.
- magnesium malate if the patient is lethargic or has fibromyalgia (since there is some research suggesting that the malate portion is helpful in generating cellular energy).
- magnesium glycinate if absorption is a problem.
Otherwise, we use magnesium gluconate or lactate.
But since taking magnesium by mouth doesn’t always do the trick, whenever we need to go to higher doses – and your body does need A LOT of this mineral – we rely on IV magnesium infusions.
Talk to your own doctor about the best way for you to incorporate magnesium into your nutritional and overall health regimen.
Dr. Glenn S. Rothfeld
Nutrition & Healing
Vol. 10, Issue 3 • March 2016
Full references and citations for this article are available in the downloadable PDF version of the monthly Nutrition and Healing issue in which this article appears.