Heart attacks are the nation's single leading cause of death, all this despite all the advances modem medicine has made in the last two decades.
Osteoporosis and diabetes are rampant illnesses. Millions of Americans are battling anxiety and depression. At least ten percent cope with allergies, either to foods or to substances in the environment.
Magnesium is critical to heart health; it is essential for the heart muscle to function and orchestrates the complex process which keeps the heart beating with smooth regularity. Magnesium allows arterial muscular tissue to relax. A severe lack of magnesium can precipitate muscular spasm, a catastrophic event when a coronary artery supplying the heart muscle with oxygen clamps shut without warning.
It would probably surprise most of us to learn that 25% of all heart attacks occur in people with clean coronary arteries - arteries free of the plaque buildup generally associated with our number one killer. Even more important are numerous studies showing that people who die suddenly from ischemic heart disease, and oxygen-starved heart, often have tissues severely deficient in magnesium.
Our body cannot assimilate calcium without sufficient magnesium which is why so many people suffer from "hardening of the arteries" and arthritis - it is all a magnesium deficiency situation and so easily corrected using Mother Nature and not some harmful drug.
The millions of women suffering osteoporosis are not being told the facts about minerals and bone health. Ignoring magnesium while overemphasizing calcium not only fails to address the total bone nutrition picture, it may contribute to the problem of bone deterioration! Magnesium is needed for calcium to be incorporated into bone tissue - when magnesium is lacking, an excess of calcium builds up in the soft tissue causing additional unwanted problems.
If this occurs in the muscular tissue surrounding a coronary artery, which feeds the heart with blood and oxygen, the result can be sudden death. For this reason, people with signs of coronary artery disease are frequently placed on "calcium channel blockers" - drugs which slow the influx of calcium into the cells. But the cells need calcium! In the right amount and at the right time!
Cells cannot contract properly without it. Calcium channel blockers leave the arteries in a more or less dilated state. In fact, common side effects of these drugs include symptoms such as dizziness which are due to this unnatural state.
The solution is to maintain the normal flux of calcium in and out of the cells, and magnesium is the key. Magnesium is described as "Nature's calcium blocker," in an editorial written by leading heart disease researchers (American Heart Journal.)
How many lives could be spared if this message were to get the attention it deserves? Are we well nourished in magnesium with our current diet? Unfortunately, the answer is - not well enough!
The majority of our population is not getting calcium and magnesium in the right ratio, meaning too much calcium is being consumed relative to magnesium. When it's noted that many Americans are on calorie-restrictive diets, the magnesium message becomes still more urgent.
What is more, the RDA on magnesium needs to be re-evaluated. First, the RDA assumes that 50 percent of all magnesium consumed is absorbed. According to current research this is not so. Studies with subjects on controlled diets indicated that as little as 24 percent of magnesium eaten is absorbed. In self-selected diets where people are free to choose their own foods, as little as 16 percent of all magnesium is absorbed.
Secondly, the RDA also assumes that there is no excessive urinary loss of magnesium. Again, for many people this may not be true.
Diabetes (also on the rise), coffee consumption, commonly used medications, excessive psychological stress, sweat loss during exercise and working in the heat, breast-feeding and an overactive thyroid, all deplete magnesium from the body.
And we wonder why heart disease is the number one killer in this country - and rising? Most people don't realize that our modern diet has changed drastically over the last 50 years, and not for the better. We eat less magnesium-rich foods than we did in the past when the rate of heart disease was much lower. What's so ironic about this is that we are now considered to be more of a "health conscious" society than ever before.
More and more authorities are making the case for more magnesium in the diet, particularly magnesium that is easily and completely assimilated by the body such as ionized magnesium.
This page was first uploaded to The Magnesium Web Site on November 22, 2002