Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Magnesium: Putting Some Spark In Your Heart !

Magnesium is essential to human nutrition. It is required for a wide range of biological functions, such as muscle contraction and relaxation, immune function, DNA, RNA and protein synthesis, regulation of vascular tone, insulin signalling and energy production. Unfortunately it has been found that most people have magnesium deficiency. In my practice, supplemental magnesium is central to many of my treatment protocols. As a natural healing spinal specialist, I see the benefits magnesium offers in the treatment of conditions that involve the nervous system or are driven by stress, fatigue, blood sugar irregularities and muscular spasm or tension.

The role of magnesium in regulating muscular activity is one means by which magnesium can influence the cardiovascular system. Another is that, as an activator of the sodium/potassium ATPase, magnesium plays an important role in the cardiac electrophysiology. This aspect of magnesium physiology has been the subject of a recently published study examining the relationship between magnesium and Sudden Cardiac Death (SCD). In one of the largest studies of its kind the research was conducted with 121,700 female nurses aged 30 to 55 years at a baseline in 1976 and followed through to 2005. Detailed information on lifestyle habits, medical history and dietary information (with magnesium intake calculated by each food consumed including any supplements taken) and blood tests.

The researchers found that both higher intakes and higher plasma levels of magnesium are significantly related to a lower risk of SCD. Plasma concentrations were significantly lower in those who suffered SCD than those who did not. The results showed a 66% reduction in the risk in those with the highest serum levels of magnesium relative to the lowest. Strangely, most people who die of SCD are not recognized as being at high risk. It's reported that 55% of men and 68% of women have no clinically recognized heart disease before sudden death hits them. This lack of overt warning signs can create difficulty in taking preventative action in such patients. That is why more needs to be done to highlight the prevalence of magnesium deficiency in the general population.

The Way I See It....guarding against magnesium insufficiency is essential for healthy physiology. As Practitioners we see the benefits of prescribing magnesium for patients with overt signs. Those who show no such signs get evaluated through a dietary consultation that usually exposes some malnutrition in the magnesium laden foods. The statistics tell the story; many people do not achieve the recommended daily magnesium intake and put themselves at higher risk for SCD. So, either way, we follow the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council's recommended dietary intake for magnesium for adults, which is 310 to 420 mg/day, depending on age and sex. Supplementation will add a broad range benefit for so many physiological functions the body needs for its health and your wellbeing.

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