Magnesium is an essential mineral for staying healthy and is required for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body. Multiple health benefits of magnesium include transmission of nerve impulses, body temperature regulation, detoxification, energy production, and the formation of healthy bones and teeth.
By Dr. Mercola
Magnesium is perhaps one of the most overlooked minerals. This is especially important because, an estimated 80 percent of Americans are deficient in it. The health consequences of deficiency can be quite significant, and can be aggravated by mmany, if not most, drug tfetreatments.
In the featured video, Carolyn Dean, a medical and naturopathic doctor, discusses the importance of this mineral.
Dr. Dean was the lead author on the seminal paper “Death by Medicine” back in 2003, showing that modern medicine is in fact one of the leading causes of death in the United States. She also authored the book Death by Modern Medicine.
Last year, she was awarded the Arrhythmia Alliance Outstanding Medical Contribution to Cardiac Rhythm Management Services Award 2012. It was given by the Heart Rhythm Society of the UK, which is a major allopathic organization.
Dr. Dean has studied and written about magnesium for about 15 years. In January, 2003, she published the first edition of The Magnesium Miracle, and she’s currently working on the third edition of this book.
“What I want to convey today is the importance of magnesium, how you can get it, how you can know how much you require in your body, and the incredible benefits from using this simple mineral,” she says.
Magnesium—One of Your Most Important Minerals
Magnesium is a crucially important mineral for optimal health, performing a wide array of biological functions, including but not limited to:
- 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
- It’s also a precursor for neurotransmitters like serotonin
As mentioned, few people get enough magnesium in their diet these days. Meanwhile, calcium tends to be overutilized and taken in high quantities. This can cause more harm than good, as it’s very important to have a proper balance between these two minerals.
If you have too much calcium and not enough magnesium, your muscles will tend to go into spasm, and this has consequences for your heart in particular.
“What happens is, the muscle and nerve function that magnesium is responsible for is diminished. If you don’t have enough magnesium, your muscles go into spasm. Calcium causes muscle to contract. If you had a balance, the muscles would do their thing. They’d relax, contract, and create their activity,” she explains.
Magnesium is perhaps critical for heart health, as excessive amounts of calcium without the counterbalance of magnesium can lead to a heart attack and sudden death. According to Dr. Dean, your heart has the highest amount of magnesium in your body, specifically in your left ventricle. With insufficient amounts of magnesium, your heart simply cannot function properly.
Pay Attention to Your Calcium-Magnesium Ratio
Over the past 30 years, women have been told to take supplemental calcium to avoid osteoporosis. Many foods have also been fortified with extra calcium to prevent calcium deficiency among the general population. Despite such measures, osteoporosis has continued to climb.
“I’ve heard statistics like a 700 percent rise in osteoporosis in a 10-year period, even while taking all this calcium,” Dr. Dean says.
“The myth that’s been created about calcium is that we need twice as much calcium as we do magnesium. Most of the supplements reflect this. We’ve got a situation where people are taking 1,200 to 1,500 milligrams of calcium and maybe a few hundred milligrams of magnesium.
The 2:1 ratio—that was a mistake; a mistaken translation from French researcher Jean Durlach, who said never ever go beyond two parts calcium to one part magnesium in your food, water, or supplement intake combined.”
This was misinterpreted as meaning a 2:1 ratio was an appropriate ratio, which it’s not. A more appropriate ratio of calcium to magnesium is 1:1.