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Magnesium deficiency

Hospital Laboratory Testing Fails to Detect Most Magnesium Deficiencies

Wednesday, August 05, 2009 by: Kerri Knox, RN
Tags: magnesium deficiency, health news, Natural News

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(NewsTarget) Routine laboratory tests in a hospital or doctor's office often include a Serum Magnesium Level. But the vast majority of magnesium in the body is not IN the bloodstream but in the cells and the fluid surrounding the cells. Our blood has an amazing ability to keep a balanced magnesium level at all times, and therefore is the last storage area of magnesium in the body. So when a hospital test shows a magnesium deficiency, then it's likely to already be severe and dangerous- with up to 99% of the body's magnesium having already been depleted.

Magnesium is the second most abundant ion inside of cells and, along with calcium, is critical in regulating the electrical activity of the body, including ALL muscle contractions, heart beats and brain activity. Magnesium is also a crucial factor in over 300 enzymatic reactions that require the mineral to be replaced continually. Hospitals and doctors' offices often check a magnesium level when a patient has certain medical conditions such as heart or kidney problems. When these blood tests come back normal, doctors are assured that their patient has plenty of magnesium and the doctor does no further investigation regarding the magnesium status of their patient. The problem is that magnesium is not IN the bloodstream in large amounts. In fact, 99% of the magnesium in the body is inside of cells and in the fluid around the cells; only 1% of the body's total store of magnesium is in the blood, making blood testing a near worthless enterprise that only catches the most severe and dangerous magnesium deficiencies.

"A serum magnesium test is actually worse than ineffective, because a test
result that is within normal limits lends a false sense of security about the
status of the mineral in the body. It also explains why doctors don't recognize
magnesium deficiency; they assume serum magnesium levels are an accurate
measure of all the magnesium in the body."

Dr. Carolyn Dean from 'The Magnesium Miracle'

Despite the fact that a large majority of serum magnesium blood tests come back normal, many doctors and researchers believe that magnesium deficiency is epidemic; they hypothesize that many common medical problems from migraines to heart palpitations to constipation are due to a 'subclinical' magnesium deficiency that serum blood tests are unable to detect. Studies that bolster this hypothesis have shown clinical improvement in many conditions, such as irregular heart rhythms and certain types of high blood pressure, that return to normal when a magnesium deficiency is 'presumed' and magnesium is administered.

In their work with patients, doctors find this lack of a test that can measure clinically meaningful magnesium levels frustrating. The article 'Noninvasive Measurement of Tissue Magnesium and Correlation With Cardiac Levels' emphasizes this frustration in the statement: "The role of magnesium in the clinical setting, however, is hampered by the lack of an assay of intracellular tissue magnesium levels." And intracellular levels are being shown to be the only clinically significant measures of magnesium levels. As an answer to this, a 'Sublingual epithelial cell' magnesium test was developed and has been shown to be a valuable tool in the hunt for meaningful magnesium measurements. One study that compared the intracellular levels of magnesium from the scrapings of cells directly from the heart wall and from cells under the tongue showed that the two matched up well; more importantly, low magnesium levels from the sublingual epithelial cell scrapings were able to correctly predict the patients that would have abnormal changes in their heart rhythm after major heart surgery, even while the serum levels were within normal range.

"Since only 1% of total body Mg 2+ is found in the
intravascular space, serum levels of Mg 2+ give little
information about a patient's overall Mg 2+
status with respect to this essential mineral."

Burton B. Silver, PhD

This sublingual epithelial cell test is not some test in the experimental stages that we can only someday hope to be able to use in a clinical setting after years of studies and FDA approval. This innovative test that measures clinically relevant intracellular magnesium levels painlessly and accurately with only a scrape of a tongue depressor under the tongue is available to health care providers right now. But despite the fact that there is an easy to perform and commercially available test that will accurately check magnesium levels in the body, doctors and hospitals have completely ignored this innovation, preferring to use inaccurate and outdated testing methods that have been shown to have virtually no clinical relevance. Even worse, since the outdated methods only test the 1% of the body's stores of magnesium, doctors remain ignorant of the widespread problems associated with the other 99% of magnesium deficiencies that could easily be corrected with an inexpensive and extraordinarily safe dietary supplement.



About the author

Kerri Knox, RN is a Registered Nurse and Functional Medicine Practitioner.
With over 14 years of experience in health care, she has the unique perspective of being solidly grounded in Conventional Medicine and being well versed in Alternative Medicine.
She can help you to to find and repair the UNDERLYING CAUSES of illness using cutting edge in home lab testing that finds nutritional deficiencies, hidden infections and chemical and metal toxicities that contribute to ill health.
She can be reached through her websites at:
Easy Immune System Health.com
Side Effects Site

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