Magnesium for Health
By Barbara Bourke and Walter Last
"Magnesium is nothing short of a miracle mineral in its
healing effect on a wide range of diseases as well as in its ability to rejuvenate the aging body. We know that it
is essential for many enzyme reactions, especially in regard to cellular energy production, for the health of the
brain and nervous system and also for healthy teeth and bones. However, it may come as a surprise that in the form
of magnesium chloride it is also an impressive infection fighter.
The above statement by Walter Last (1) is no
exaggeration in summarising the overriding importance of magnesium for our health. It is doubly true because the
magnesium intake with our food has greatly declined due to the use of inorganic fertilisers with an oversupply of
calcium, and also because the medical profession overemphasises our need for a high calcium intake and excessive
calcium supplementation at the expense of magnesium.
While calcium and magnesium work together in the body, they
are also opposites in their effects on our metabolism. This is largely due to the activity of the parathyroid
glands which try to keep the combined product of calcium and magnesium in our blood steady and balanced against
phosphorus. If magnesium levels are low then calcium levels need to rise to remain in balance.
Where does this extra calcium come from? From the bones and
teeth of course! This is even more of a problem when the parathyroids are chronically overstimulated, usually
combined with an underactive thyroid. This is a common situation with the presence of Candidiasis, mercury fillings
and root canal fillings; all appear to depress thyroid functions and overstimulate the parathyroids. What does the
body do with the excess calcium in the blood? It dumps it into tissue wherever there is some chronic inflammation.
This leads, for instance, to the calcification of joints as in arthritis, to the calcification of ovaries and other
glands resulting in declining hormone production, while calcifying kidneys eventually require dialysis, and
calcifications in breast tissue, especially the milk ducts, lead to unnecessary mastectomies and other invasive
Magnesium for Healthy Bones and
Medical authorities claim that the widespread incidence of
osteoporosis and tooth decay in western countries can be prevented with a high calcium intake. However, published
evidence reveals that the opposite is true. Asian and African populations with a very low intake of about 300mg of
calcium daily have very little osteoporosis. Bantu women with an intake of 200 to 300mg of calcium daily have the
lowest incidence of osteoporosis in the world. In western countries with a high intake of dairy products the
average calcium intake is about 1000mg. The higher the calcium intake, especially in the form of cows' milk
products (except butter) the higher the incidence of osteoporosis.
Calcium, magnesium and phosphorus levels are kept in a
seesaw balance by the parathyroid hormones. If calcium goes up, magnesium goes down and vice versa. With a low
magnesium intake, calcium goes out of the bones to increase tissue levels, while a high magnesium intake causes
calcium to go out of the tissues into the bones. A high phosphorus intake without a high calcium or magnesium
intake causes calcium to leach from the bones and leave the body with the urine. A high phosphorus intake with high
calcium and magnesium leads to bone mineralization.
Dr Lewis B. Barnett, an orthopaedic surgeon practised in
two different U.S. Counties with very different soil and water mineral levels. In
The same applies for healthy teeth. In a New Zealand study
it was found that caries-resistant teeth had on average twice the amount of magnesium as caries-prone teeth. The
average concentration of magnesium phosphate in bones is given as about 1%, in teeth about 1.5%, in elephant tusks
2% and in the teeth of carnivorous animals made to crush bones it is 5%. In regard to the strength of bones and
teeth think of calcium as chalk and of magnesium as superglue. The magnesium superglue binds and transforms the
chalk into superior bones and teeth
One patient reported to Walter Last "My Doctor
rang Friday afternoon re my Bone Density Scan and wanted to know what I have been doing over the last two years. I
asked why, and she said by looking at the 2005 and 2006 Scans, the 2008 Scan had improved, she couldn't believe it,
and said normally when you are in the Osteoporosis range, you don't come out of it" (10). That doctor was actually
saying that she knew the accepted treatment of high calcium supplementation does not work, but they use it
anyway. This patient had reversed the medical treatment by lowering calcium and greatly increasing magnesium
intake (in addition to boron).
Magnesium Absorption and Dosage
A solution to this problem is to lower calcium levels in
the blood by keeping up a high intake of magnesium. However, any excess magnesium is quickly lost with the urine.
Therefore, to keep calcium in the bones and teeth rather than around the joints and in the soft tissue, we need a
steady supply of magnesium. Traditionally magnesium in our diet has been mainly in ionic form and has been
converted in the stomach into magnesium chloride, or it is bound to protein and especially chlorophyll, and then it
is also broken down and ends up for absorption as magnesium chloride or chelated magnesium. Therefore when
supplementing we may as well use magnesium chloride directly instead of magnesium oxide or hydroxide and other
forms that require additional hydrochloric acid.
Magnesium chloride also has another advantage: it provides
ions of magnesium and chloride which are both required to stimulate the activity of digestive enzymes and for
producing hydrochloric acid in the stomach. Magnesium sulphate, also known as Epsom salts, is poorly absorbed and
therefore attracts water in the colon and functions as a laxative.
In nature, and if grown in mineral-rich soils, magnesium is
also bound to fruit acids, such as citric acid, and is easily absorbed in this form. While most forms of magnesium
have a good bioavailability, chelates with amino acids and magnesium bound to fruit acids also have a beneficial
alkalising effect on the body. The efficiency of magnesium absorption varies inversely with quantity of
magnesium intake. Magnesium is absorbed into the body primarily from the ileum of the small intestine. When
consuming the RDI (Recommended Dietary Intake) of magnesium, which is between 360 and 410mg a day, we absorb
approximately 50% of magnesium, but when ingesting sub-optimal quantities we may absorb as much as 75%. Absorption
decreases rapidly when more than 200mg is consumed at one time, therefore the importance of taking magnesium in
divided doses throughout the day.
Magnesium chloride is salty-bitter. To get used to it,
dissolve some in water and start mixing only a few drops with your meal. Gradually over several weeks or months
increase it to a teaspoon of concentrated solution daily divided between meals. Alternatively you may drink it very
diluted during a meal. This provides about 500mg of magnesium daily. With signs of increased requirements, such as
stress, advancing age, cardiovascular problems and other signs of calcification up to1000mg are recommended by
health practitioners. The intestinal absorption of magnesium declines with aging and the presence of
gastrointestinal disorders, and especially with dysbiosis caused by antibiotics and other medical drugs. Excessive
loss of magnesium in urine can also be a side effect of some medical drugs. (4) A study shows that over two-thirds
of Americans do not consume even the low level of the RDI of magnesium, and 19% use less than one-half of this (3).
It is obvious that conditions are not much better in Australia. It may take up to 3 month or longer of oral
magnesium supplementation to replenish intracellular magnesium status, and according to Dr. Norm Shealy it can take
up to a year. (9)
Magnesium Oil in Transdermal Therapy
All these problems make it more attractive to use magnesium
chloride transdermally (absorption through the skin), and so bypassing the digestive system with the need for
hydrochloric acid and a well functioning digestive tract.
Magnesium chloride consists of 11.8% magnesium bound to
88.2% chloride. It is produced through evaporation from saline waters, mainly sea water and the Dead Sea. After
removal of sodium chloride the "bittern" remain containing mainly magnesium chloride and magnesium sulphate. (2).
Chloride is much less bitter than sulphate. In the dry form magnesium chloride is usually sold hydrated with 6
molecules of water (hexahydrate) for each unit of magnesium with 2 chloride ions (MgCl2), and consists of white
hygroscopic (water-attracting) flakes. This affinity to water leads itself to be used as a product called
"Magnesium Oil", which can be applied to the skin as a transdermal magnesium therapy. It is not oil in the true
sense, but has the feel of oil when rubbed on the skin.
Rejuvenation by ingesting more magnesium is a slow process,
especially as the amount of magnesium that we can take is limited by its laxative effect and the need to keep it in
a reasonable balance with the calcium and phosphorus intake. The other problem is that spastic muscles have a poor
blood and lymph circulation, which makes it difficult for the ingested magnesium to dissolve and flush out the
tissue and joint calcifications. This then calls for the use of magnesium oil.
We can greatly speed up the rejuvenation process by
increasing the circulation through permanently contracted muscles as with deep tissue massage using magnesium oil,
or using it as hot packs or just for frequent rubs. However, one needs to be careful with sensitive skin as it may
sting for a while. In this case best dilute it to an acceptable level. If rubbed on in a rather diluted form it may
gradually disappear into the skin, but in concentrated form it just remains sticky and needs to be washed or
showered off after some time. However, with many conditions, such as arthritis and other forms of stiffness and
pain it can be good to put on some old cloths and keep it on overnight.
Antimicrobial Action of Magnesium
We can see here that magnesium is a great infection fighter
as well, which none of the other magnesium combination can claim to be.
The first prominent researcher to investigate and promote
the antibiotic effects of magnesium was a French surgeon, Prof. Pierre Delbet MD. In 1915 he was looking for a
solution to cleanse wounds of soldiers, because he found that traditionally used antiseptics actually damaged
tissues and encouraged infections instead of preventing them. In all his tests magnesium chloride solution was by
far the best. Not only was it harmless for tissues, but it also greatly increased leucocyte activity and
phagocytosis, the destruction of microbes (5).
Later Prof. Delbet also performed experiments with the
internal applications of magnesium chloride and found it to be a powerful immune-stimulant. In his experiments
phagocytosis increased by up to 333%. This means after magnesium chloride intake the same number of white blood
cells destroyed up to three times more microbes than before (5).
Gradually Prof. Delbet found magnesium chloride to be
beneficial in a wide range of diseases. These included diseases of the digestive tract such as colitis and gall
bladder problems, Parkinson's disease, tremors and muscle cramps; acne, eczema, psoriasis, warts and itching skin;
impotence, prostatic hypertrophy, cerebral and circulatory problems; asthma, hay fever, urticaria and anaphylactic
reactions. Hair and nails became stronger and healthier and patients had more energy (5).
Prof. Delbet also found a very good preventative effect on
cancer and cured precancerous conditions such as leukoplasia, hyperkeratosis and chronic mastitis. Epidemiological
studies confirmed that regions with magnesium-rich soil had less cancer than those with low magnesium levels.
Researchers at the Lille Pasteur Institute found in a prospective study with over 4,000 men over an 18-year follow
up period that high levels of magnesium were associated with a 50% decrease in cancer mortality, and a 40% decrease
in cardiovascular and all-cause mortality (5).
Prof. Delbet used to give magnesium chloride solution
routinely to his patients with infections and for several days before any planned surgery and was surprised by many
of these patients experiencing euphoria and bursts of energy. Magnesium chloride supposedly has a specific action
on the tetanus virus and its effects on the body. It even seems to be protective against snakebites. Guinea pigs
did not die after normally lethal injections of snake venom and a rabbit survived a poisonous snakebite when given
magnesium chloride solution (5).
Another French doctor, A. Neveu, cured several diphtheria
patients with magnesium chloride within two days. He also published 15 cases of poliomyelitis that were cured
within days if treatment was started immediately or within months if paralysis had already progressed. Neveu also
found magnesium chloride effective with asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia and emphysema; pharyngitis, tonsillitis,
hoarseness, common cold, influenza, whooping cough, measles, rubella, mumps, scarlet fever; poisoning,
gastroenteritis, boils, abscesses, whitlow, infected wounds and osteomyelitis (5).
In more recent years Dr Vergini and others have confirmed
these earlier results and have added more diseases to the list of successful uses: acute asthma attacks, shock,
tetanus, herpes zoster, acute and chronic conjunctivitis, optic neuritis, rheumatic diseases, many allergic
diseases, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and beneficial effects in cancer therapy. In all of these cases magnesium
chloride had been used and gave much better results than other magnesium compounds. (5)
Magnesium for Nerves.
Magnesium has a calming effect on the nervous system. With
this, it is frequently used to promote good sleep. But more importantly, it can be used to calm irritated and
over-excited nerves. This is especially useful with epileptic seizures, convulsions in pregnant women and the
'shakes' in alcoholism. Magnesium levels are generally low in alcoholics, contributing or causing many of their
health problems. If magnesium levels are low, the nerves lose control over muscle activity, respiration and mental
processes. Nervous fatigue, tics and twitches, tremors, irritability, hypersensitivity, muscle spasms,
restlessness, anxiety, confusion, disorientation and irregular heartbeat all respond to increased magnesium levels.
A common phenomenon of magnesium deficiency is a sharp muscle reaction to an unexpected loud noise. 'Memory pills'
have been marketed that consist mainly of magnesium (9).
Sleep in magnesium deficiency is restless, agitated and
disturbed by frequent nighttime awakenings. However, all forms of magnesium are not equally effective. In a study
of more than 200 patients, Dr. W. Davis used magnesium chloride as a possible means of combating insomnia. The
researcher reported that sleep was induced rapidly, was uninterrupted, and that waking tiredness disappeared in
ninety-nine percent of the patients. In addition, anxiety and tension diminished during the day. (8).
Many of the symptoms of Parkinson's disease can be overcome
with high magnesium supplementation, shaking can be prevented and rigidity eased. With preeclampsia pregnant women
may develop convulsions, nausea, dizziness and headaches. In hospitals this is treated with magnesium infusions.
Because of its strong relaxing effect, magnesium helps not only to have a better sleep but is also useful in
overcoming headaches and migraines. Even the number of suicides is linked to magnesium deficiency: the lower the
magnesium content in soil and water in a given region the higher the rates of suicides (9).
Epilepsy is marked by abnormally low magnesium levels in
the blood, spinal fluid and brain, causing hyperexcitability in regions of the brain. There are many reported
causes of epilepsy greatly improving or disappearing with magnesium supplementation. In a trial with 30 epileptics
450mg of magnesium supplied daily successfully controlled seizures. Another study found that the lower the
magnesium blood levels the more severe was the epilepsy.
Magnesium works best combined with vitamin B6 and zinc. In
sufficient concentrations, magnesium inhibits convulsions by limiting or slowing the spread of the electric
discharge from an isolated group of brain cells to the rest of the brain. Even the initial burst of firing nerve
cells that starts an epileptic attack can be suppressed with magnesium (9).
Magnesium for Rejuvenation
Calcium and magnesium are opposites in their effects on our
body structure. As a general rule, the softer our body structure the more we need calcium, while the more rigid and
inflexible it is, the less calcium and the more magnesium we need. Magnesium can everse the age-related
degenerative calcification of our body structure and with this help us to rejuvenate. Young women, children
and most of all babies have soft body structures and smooth skin with low calcium and high magnesium levels in
their cells and soft tissues. They generally need high calcium intakes. This is the biochemistry of youth. As we
age and most pronounced in old men and post-menopausal women, we become more and more inflexible.
The arteries harden to cause arteriosclerosis, the skeletal
system calcifies to cause rigidity with fusion of the spine and joints, kidneys and other organs and glands
increasingly calcify and harden with stone formation, calcification in the eyes causes cataracts and even the skin
hardens, becoming tough and wrinkled. In this way calcium is in the same league as oxygen and free radicals, while
magnesium works together with hydrogen and the antioxidants to keep our body structure soft.
While a higher magnesium intake is beneficial for most
individuals, those with low blood pressure usually require more calcium in addition. Normal blood pressure is about
120/80; the lower it is the higher should be the daily intake of calcium. While those with high blood pressure may
benefit from ingesting up to twice as much magnesium as calcium, those with low blood pressure may take twice as
much calcium as magnesium, but both minerals in relatively high amounts. Those with low blood pressure and a
tendency towards inflammations may also reduce their intake of phosphorus.
A gynaecologist reported that some of the first organs to
calcify are the ovaries, leading to pre-menstrual tension. When he put his patients on a high magnesium intake
their PMT vanished and they felt and looked much younger. Most of these women said that they lost weight, increased
their energy, felt less depressed and enjoyed sex again much more than before. For men it is equally beneficial for
problems arising from an enlarged prostate gland. Symptoms commonly improve after a period of supplementation with
magnesium chloride (11).
Other Health Benefits
We see how essential magnesium is to the normal function of
the cardiovascular and nervous system as well as in over 300 enzyme reactions and in energy
production. In The lists of
the health benefits magnesium exerts on the different body systems and this long. Many of them already
mentioned here and includes, the cardiovascular and nervous system, and energy production followed by
digestive, respiratory, excretory, lymphatic/immune, musculoskeletal, respiratory and reproductive system, not to
mention it positive influence on metabolism like weight, blood sugar and cholesterol control. It is needed for
protein, starch and fat metabolism and is important in liver, thyroid and parathyroid function, even hearing,
vision and oral health are listed. Pathologies associated with magnesium deficiencies are staggering:
Hypertension and other cardiovascular diseases, kidney and liver damage, migraine, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma,
Alzheimer's disease, recurrent bacterial infections, fungal infections, premenstrual syndrome, calcium and
potassium deficiency, diabetes, cramps, muscle weakness, impotence, aggression, fibromas, hearing loss and iron
accumulation (1). Increased magnesium helps to prevent or dissolve kidney stones and gall bladder
stones. Activation of digestive enzymes and bile production as well as improving a healthy intestinal flora are
factors that make magnesium chloride beneficial in normalising our digestive processes, reducing digestive
discomfort, bloating and offensive stool odours. It actually reduces all offensive body odours, including underarm
and foot odour. This may explain why chlorophyll is generally very effective in reducing body odour, it is high in
Caution: Magnesium supplementation should be avoided with
severe kidney problems (severe renal insufficiency when on dialysis), and also with myasthenia gravis. Be careful
with severe adrenal weakness or with low blood pressure. Too much magnesium can cause muscle weakness, if this
happens temporarily use more calcium.
References are available on request
Copyright © 2009 Barbara Bourke and Walter Last. All rights