Originally published May 9 2008
The Importance of Staving Off a Magnesium Deficiency
by Mark Sircus Ac., OMD
(NaturalNews) The latest government study shows a staggering 68% of Americans do not consume the recommended daily intake of magnesium. Even more frightening are data from this study showing that 19% of Americans do not consume even half of the government's recommended daily intake of magnesium.(1) This article is an excerpt from the book "Transdermal Magnesium Therapy" by Mark Sircus AC., OMD.
'Studies show that as many as half of all Americans do not consume enough magnesium. Magnesium deficits have been tied to allergies, asthma, attention deficit disorder, anxiety, heart disease, muscle cramps and other conditions.'(2) - Massachusetts Institute of Technology
One of the great challenges in medicine today is to understand the complexity of causes that leads to the breakdown of health and the formation of serious disease. There are so many factors that simultaneously impinge on our physical systems that it is truly a daunting task to ascertain what is causing what. During this past century the physical environment that surrounds us has gotten incredibly toxic and even the food most people eat acts to destroy rather than nourish. There are people and organizations that hide behind this complexity of causes thus making it impossible to prove anymore what is harming our children and us, what is causing autism, why certain kids fall down dead after being vaccinated and others not.
Magnesium deficiency is a health problem of first cause. Magnesium is a nutritional element that is dangerously low today. Because of its essential role as a foundational building block of cell physiology, we have a huge health problem that allopathic medicine is dragging its feet to address. Populations in the first world are dangerously deficient and are actually starving for magnesium. Doctors are missing a huge opportunity to help their patients when they ignore the increasing deficiency of magnesium in them. We are familiar with the malnourishment of third world populations and do not expect to see this in the west. The clinical impact of magnesium deficiency is huge and can be tied into the majority of clinical situations.
Almost two years ago, I wrote a Tale of Two Hammers about the situation in Africa where populations were being decimated because mass vaccine programs were being administered to malnourished populations whose immune systems were already compromised. Little did I dream then of a similar situation in the west with the majority of the population being malnourished in magnesium.
Food contamination is a growing problem and now an acknowledged risk to young children and adults alike. It does not take too much to see that the safety thresholds for toddlers have been drastically breached by the air they breathe, the water they drink, by the medicines and vaccines administered to them from the medical establishment, by mercury put in their mouths, and clearly by the cocktails of chemicals in food.
At least 2,800 substances have been recognized as food additives by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. These are used to make foods more attractive, to make foods tastier, and to increase the grocery shelf life.
The Pesticide Action Network's (U.K.) analysis reveals a diverse cocktail of chemicals in food. "Mostly, but not always, below legal limit, 65 per cent of them are recognized hazards to health: 35 per cent are suspected cancer-causing chemicals, 12 per cent are hormone-disrupting chemicals, and 41 per cent are acutely toxic." Because magnesium is so important for the removal of toxic substances from the body, its lack makes us even more vulnerable to food contamination. According to Dr. Carolyn Dean, if you have a magnesium deficiency and regularly use aspartame, the toxicity is magnified and can result in headaches and migraines.
More and more people are becoming aware of the chemical rape of our children but what few are conscious of is the decreasing value of vitamins, minerals and proteins in the food we all eat. On one side we are being poisoned and on the other we are being deprived of the very nutrition necessary to resist all the different toxicities we are being confronted with. Then, on top of everything else, our systems have to navigate through further deficiencies brought on by allopathic drugs that are used too often. And when we use chelators, we have to deal with the fact that important minerals are reduced even further.
These drugs/substances lead to these specific nutrient deficiencies:
* Antibiotics - Vitamin A, B-12, C, E, K, Biotin, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Potassium
* Chelators - Copper, Iron, Magnesium, Zinc
* Anticonvulsants - Vitamin B-2, B-12, C, F, K, Folic Acid, Calcium, Magnesium
* Antidiabetics (Oral) - Vitamin B-2, B-12, C, D, Folic Acid
* Antihistamines - Vitamin C
* Aspirin - Calcium, Folic Acid, Iron, Potassium, C, B Complex
Dr. Matthias Rath says that, "Almost all the prescription drugs currently taken by millions of people lead to a gradual depletion of vitamins and other essential cellular nutrients in the body. Drugs are generally synthetic, non-natural substances that we absorb in our bodies. Our bodies recognize these synthetic drugs as "toxic," just like any other non-natural substance. Thus, all synthetic drugs have to be "detoxified" by the liver in order to eliminate them from our bodies. This detoxification process requires magnesium and vitamin C and other cellular nutrients as cofactors. Many of these essential nutrients are used up in biological (enzymatic) reactions during this detoxification process. One of the most common ways for eliminating drugs from our bodies is called hydroxylation." The strongest "hydroxylating agent" in our bodies is vitamin C, which is literally destroyed during this detoxification process. Thus, long-term use of many synthetic prescription drugs leads to chronic vitamin depletion in the body, a form of early scurvy and the onset of cardiovascular disease."
Micronutrient content of the average diet in industrialized countries is declining.
Cheryl Long and Lynn Keiley, writing for Mother Earth News(3), tell us that "American agribusiness is producing more food than ever before, but the evidence is building that the vitamins and minerals in that food are declining. For example, eggs from free-range hens contain up to 30 percent more vitamin E, 50 percent more folic acid and 30 percent more vitamin B-12 than factory eggs. Most of our food now comes from large-scale producers who rely on chemical fertilizers, pesticides and animal drugs, and inhumane confinement animal production. In agribusiness, the main emphasis is on getting the highest possible yields and profits; nutrient content (and flavor) are, at best, second thoughts. This shift in production methods is clearly giving us less nutritious eggs and meat. Beef from cattle raised in feedlots on growth hormones and high-grain diets has lower levels of vitamins E, A, D and beta carotene, and twice as much fat, as grass-fed beef." Health writer Jo Robinson has done groundbreaking work on this subject (4) making us critically aware of the importance of the conditions in which our crops, meat and dairy are raised.
Data from: Smith, G.C. "Dietary supplementation of vitamin E to cattle to improve shelf life and case life of beef for domestic and international markets." Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado
We humans are not getting the minerals we need because modem agricultural methods, including widespread use of N P K fertilizer, over farming, loss of protective ground cover and trees, and lack of humus have made soils vulnerable to erosion. The result is a reduced nutrient content of crops. N P K fertilizer is highly acidic. It disrupts the pH (acid/alkaline) balance of the soil, as does acid rain. Acid conditions destroy soil microorganisms. It is the job of these microorganisms to transmute soil minerals into a form that is usable by plants. In the absence of these microbes, these minerals become locked up, unavailable to the plant. Stimulated by the N P K fertilizer, the plant grows, but it is deficient in vital trace minerals. In the absence of trace minerals, plants take up heavy metals (such as aluminum, mercury and lead) from the soil. Between 1950 and 1975, the calcium content in one cup of rice dropped 21 percent, and iron fell by 28.6 percent.
When trace minerals are scarce in plant bodies they become scarce in human bodies.
Dr. Scott Whitaker, in his book MediSin, tells us how highly unfortunate it is that the modern day farmer has been persuaded to use monoculture, artificial fertilization, pesticides, and herbicides. "The end result of our domestic food production has been 'quantity' rather than 'quality'. The human body can thrive on fruits and vegetables that are grown on vital rich soil but not on soil that is artificially pumped up with chemicals." Thus today hardly anyone can eat enough fruits and vegetables to supply his or her body with the mineral salts required for perfect health.
It is crucial that doctors and parents recognize that from poor soil comes poor food, deficient in minerals and vitamins.
Dr. Nan Kathryn Fuchs, author of The Nutrition Detective, says that, "Our diets today are very different from those of our ancestors though our bodies remain similar. Thousands of years ago, our ancestors ate foods high in magnesium and low in calcium. Because calcium supplies were scarce and the need for this vital mineral was great, it was effectively stored by the body. Magnesium, on the other hand, was abundant and readily available, in the form of nuts, seeds, grains, and vegetables, and did not need to be stored internally. Our bodies still retain calcium and not magnesium although we tend to eat much more dairy than our ancestors. In addition, our sugar and alcohol consumption is higher than theirs, and both sugar and alcohol increase magnesium excretion through the urine. Our grains, originally high in magnesium, have been refined, which means that the nutrient is lost in the refining process. The quality of our soil has deteriorated as well, due to the use of fertilizers that contain large amounts of potassium a magnesium antagonist. This results in foods lower in magnesium than ever before."
'We need an average of 200 milligrams more magnesium than we get from the average diet.' - Dr. Mildred Seelig, President of the American College of Nutrition
The food supply has been steadily becoming magnesium-poor since 1909: (5)
* 1909 intake - 408 mg/day
* 1949 intake - 368 mg/day
* 1980 intake - 349 mg/day
* 1985 intake - 323 mg/day (men)
* 1985 intake - 228 mg/day (women)
There has been a steep decline of dietary magnesium in the United States, from a high of almost 500 mg/day at the turn of the last century to barely 175-225 mg/day today.(6) The National Academy of Sciences has determined that most Americans are magnesium deficient, with men obtaining only about 80 percent of their daily needs with women fairing even worse obtaining about 70 percent of their needs.(7)
'Magnesium is the most important mineral to man and all living organisms.'(8) - Dr. Jerry Aikawa
The magnesium content of refined foods is usually very low. Whole-wheat bread, for example, has twice as much magnesium as white bread because the magnesium-rich germ and bran are removed when white flour is processed. Magnesium deficiency is more likely in those who eat a processed-food diet; in people who cook or boil all foods, especially vegetables; in those who drink soft water (water deficient in minerals) and in people who eat food grown in magnesium-deficient soil, where synthetic fertilizers containing no magnesium are often used.
Deficiency is also more common when magnesium absorption is decreased, such as after burns, serious injuries, or surgery and in patients with diabetes, liver disease, or intestinal malabsorption problems. Also, deficiencies develop when magnesium elimination is increased, which it is in people who use alcohol, caffeine, or excess sugar, or who take diuretics or birth control pills. We can add to this list vaccines because they offer a traumatic insult to the body that has to be defended against and that defense gobbles up both magnesium and vitamin C.
Other drugs that cause loss of body magnesium:
* Beta-adrenergic agonists (for asthma)
* Corticosteroids (CS) (for asthma)
* Theophylline (for asthma)
* Phosphates (found in cola drinks)
The nutrient content of foods can no longer be relied upon. The effects of stress, intense physical activity, or the use of certain medications cause magnesium deficiency.
Since magnesium is abundant in the environment, it is generally assumed that magnesium deficiency is not a problem but nothing could be further from the truth. Because magnesium in certain forms is not easily absorbed and because no classical symptoms exist that point to magnesium's causal role in disease, the problem of its deficiency is readily masked. Many are the conditions that reduce total body magnesium and increase magnesium requirements. With nutritional values declining quickly and chemical toxicity in our bodies raising rapidly, our children and we are caught between a rock and a hard place.
Data indicate that subsets of the population may be unusually susceptible to the toxic effects of fluoride and its compounds. These populations include the elderly, people with magnesium
deficiency, and people with cardiovascular and kidney problems.(9)
Several studies have reported that increasing calcium in the diet significantly reduces the absorption of magnesium. Calcium intakes above 2.6 grams per day may reduce the uptake and utilization of magnesium by the body and excessive calcium intakes may increase magnesium requirements. In addition, diarrhea (any cause), extreme athletic physical training, sodas (especially cola type sodas, both diet and regular), sodium (high salt intake), stress (physical and mental -- anything that activates a person's fight or flight reaction), and intense sweating all diminish magnesium levels.
Magnesium deficiency at a cellular level where it counts is not easy to diagnose, as serum magnesium levels do not correlate to muscle or cellular magnesium levels. Instead of trying difficult tissue magnesium analysis to find out if your health problems may be due to low magnesium levels, it is much easier and more effective just to take more magnesium and see what happens. Caution is necessary only in cases of renal deficiency.
Green vegetables such as spinach are good sources of magnesium because the center of the chlorophyll molecule (which gives these vegetables their color) contains magnesium. Since 1981, Life Extension (10) has recommended high-potency magnesium supplements, because magnesium is the most deficient mineral in the American diet. In the early 1980s, the Life Extension Foundation was criticized by mainstream doctors for recommending high doses of magnesium relative to calcium. They even had their magnesium supplements seized by the FDA because they presented evidence that this mineral could help prevent heart attack.
'An excess of a toxic metal and/or a relative deficiency of a nutritional element can be found as significant contributors to every disease.' - Dr. Gary Gordon
William Faloon from Life Extension says, "With all the research linking low magnesium intake with high cardiovascular risks, this low-cost mineral would appear to be a simple way to counter today's heart attack and stroke epidemic. Unfortunately, magnesium is so cheap that virtually no one is promoting it as a lifesaving mineral."
There is no substitute for magnesium; it's as close as a metal comes to being as necessary as air.
1. King D, Mainous A 3rd, Geesey M, Woolson R. Dietary magnesium and C-reactive protein levels. J Am Coll Nutr. 2005 Jun 24(3):166-71.
3. Is Agrobusiness Making Food Less Nutritious? (http://www.motherearthnews.com)
5. Paul Mason. Violence Prevention through Magnesium-Rich Water. Healthy Water Association. (http://www.mgwater.com/cyalettr.shtml)
6. Altura BM, Introduction: importance of Mg in physiology and medicine and the need for íon selective electrodes. Scand J Cliin Lab Invest Suppl, vol. 217, pp. 5-9, 1994
7. Institute of Medicine, Dietary Reference Intake for Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Vitamin D and Fluoride, National Academy Press, Washington DC, 1997
8. Aikawa LK, Magnesium: Its Biological Significance, CRC Press, Boca Raton, Fl, 1981
9. U.S. Dept. of Health, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Division of Toxicology, December 16, 1991. (http://www.mgwater.com/fluoride.shtml)
About the authorMark A. Sircus Ac., OMD, is director of the International Medical Veritas Association (IMVA)http://www.imva.info/. Dr. Sircus was trained in acupuncture and oriental medicine at the Institute of Traditional Medicine in Sante Fe, N.M., and in the School of Traditional Medicine of New England in Boston. He served at the Central Public Hospital of Pochutla, in México, and was awarded the title of doctor of oriental medicine for his work. He was one of the first nationally certified acupuncturists in the United States. Dr. Sircus's IMVA is dedicated to unifying the various disciplines in medicine with the goal of creating a new dawn in healthcare.
He is particularly concerned about the effect vaccinations have on vulnerable infants and is identifying the common thread of many toxic agents that are dramatically threatening present and future generations of children. His book The Terror of Pediatric Medicine is a free e-book one can read. Dr. Sircus is a most prolific and courageous writer and one can read through hundreds of pages on his various web sites.
He has most recently released his Survival Medicine for the 21st Century compendium (2,200 page ebook) and just released the Winning the War Against Cancer book. Dr. Sircus is a pioneer in the area of natural detoxification and chelation of toxic chemicals and heavy metals. He is also a champion of the medicinal value of minerals and is fathering in a new medical approach that uses sea water and different concentrates taken from it for health and healing. Transdermal Magnesium Therapy, his first published work, offers a stunning breakthrough in medicine, an entirely new way to supplement magnesium that naturally increases DHEA levels, brings cellular magnesium levels up quickly, relieves pain, brings down blood pressure and pushes cell physiology in a positive direction. Magnesium chloride delivered transdermally brings a quick release from a broad range of conditions.
International Medical Veritas Association: http://www.imva.info/
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