ProHealth health Vitamin and Natural Supplement Store and Health
Log In  |  My Account  |  View Cart  View Your ProHealth Vitamin and Supplement Shopping Cart
800-366-6056  |  Contact Us  |  Help

|
|
|
|

Trending News

Gut Bacteria, Artificial Sweeteners and Glucose Intolerance

Culprits of Autism Identified: Toxins, Gut Bacteria, Nutritional Deficiencies, and Vaccines Made wit...

Vitamin E intake critical during 'the first 1,000 days'

Turmeric compound boosts regeneration of brain stem cells

Lower risk of mortality over thirteen year period in association with higher levels of vitamin D

Use of Broad-Spectrum Antibiotics Before Age 2 Associated with Obesity Risk

VIDEO: Beautiful Clouds - Relaxation and Meditation

The Fast-Acting Solution for Healthy Digestive Function

Elevated plasma biomarkers of chronic inflammation in Gulf War illness

Higher vitamin E intake linked with lower blood pressure

 
Print Page
Email Article

Magnesium: An Essential Supplement for ME/CFS

  [ 11 votes ]   [ 3 Comments ]
By Erica Verrillo • www.ProHealth.com • October 18, 2013


Magnesium: An Essential Supplement for ME/CFS

By Erica Verrillo

Found abundantly in leafy greens, fish, nuts, seeds,and dried fruits, magnesium is the unsung hero of nearly all our body's metabolic processes. It is a cofactor in over 300 enzyme systems, and performs vital roles in regulating blood glucose levels, protein synthesis, blood pressure, and muscle and nerve function. Along with potassium, calcium and sodium, it is classed as one of the seven minerals essential for the functioning of the human body. Without it, we would die. 

According to the USDA, fully 68% of Americans do not consume the daily recommended intake for magnesium.1 Independent researchers place this figure even higher, at 75% - 80%. 2  (Keep in mind that the daily recommended intake is not the optimal amount a person needs to consume in order to maintain a healthy, fully functioning body, but the minimal amount one needs in order to avoid illness.)

Because magnesium is essential for relaying nervous system impulses and for the metabolism of calcium and potassium, the effects of magnesium deficiency run the gamut, from growth retardation to heart failure, from anorexia to learning disabilities and personality changes, from weakness to muscle pain, and, of course, fatigue. Even at the daily recommended intake, symptoms of deficiency can appear. In 1990, Kubena et al. listed the effects of chronic marginal intakes of magnesium, including “abnormalities in reproduction, growth, and development and disorders of neuromuscular, cardiovascular, renal, and immune function." 9 Considering the fact that roughly three-quarters of Americans are functionally deficient in magnesium, we would expect to see at least mild deficiency symptoms in the majority of our population. 

Given both its widespread systemic effects as well as its under-consumption by most of the population, it is not surprising that magnesium has been used as a treatment for such diverse conditions as diabetes, cardiac disorders, migraines, asthma, and major depression. 3-7

Magnesium Deficiency in ME/CFS

In early 1991, I.M. Cox, M.J. Campbell, and D. Dowson published a preliminary study on magnesium levels in CFS/ME patients. All 22 patients studied had reduced levels of serum magnesium. 10 (A reduced level of serum magnesium is cause for alarm, given that the vast majority of magnesium is found in tissue, not blood.) The researchers followed up their findings with a randomized clinical study in which 15 of the patients received intramuscular injections of magnesium sulfate every week for six weeks and 17 received a placebo. Of the 15 patients receiving magnesium, 12 reported improvement in symptoms. 

A subsequent article by Dr. Mildred Seelig observed an overlap with ME/CFS and many of the symptoms of latent tetany syndrome, a medical condition resulting from magnesium deficiency leading to sleep abnormalities, vertigo, mitral valve prolapse, headaches, and anxiety. She proposed that ME/CFS patients would improve with the treatment used for LTS, namely magnesium. 8 Dr. Seelig concluded that “The evidence that Mg deficiency causes a variety of both humoral and cellular defense disturbances, among which are several that have been identified in CFS and FM, is a reason to suspect that either Mg deficiency or its abnormal utilization might be a pathogenic factor in CFS.” 

Dr. Martin Pall's work supports Dr. Seelig's conclusion. Dr. Pall speculated that, given the likelihood that people with CFS/ME are marginally deficient in magnesium before falling ill, magnesium deficiency may actually contribute to the pathogenesis of the illness. In his book, Explaining “Unexplained Illnesses,” Dr. Martin Pall presents a compelling argument implicating oxidative stress in the etiology of CFS/ME. 11 An important part of the cycle of oxidative stress typical of multisystem illnesses like CFS/ME, FM and Gulf War Syndrome is the chronic excitability of NMDA receptors. This over-excitability results in a hyperactive nervous system – along with cell damage, inflammation, and lowered production of ATP. Magnesium is one of the principal inhibitors of NMDA activity, which makes it a valuable treatment for any illness involving chronic oxidative stress.

In addition to its contribution to oxidative stress, Dr. Myhill believes that low magnesium levels in CFS/ME patients is a symptom of mitochondrial failure. When mitochondria fail, calcium leaks into cells and magnesium leaks out. According to Dr. Myhill, this leakage explains why it is useless to test serum levels of magnesium. As she puts it, “Serum levels are maintained at the expense of intracellular levels. If serum levels change this causes heart irregularities and so the body maintains serum levels at all cost. It will drain magnesium from inside cells and indeed from bone in order to achieve this.” 12 Dr. Myhill's explanation not only accounts for why serum levels of magnesium are inconsistent in CFS/ME, but why magnesium supplementation is so effective.

Treating ME/CFS With Magnesium

Although nearly every CFS/ME physician includes either injectable or oral magnesium as part of their protocol, there are relatively few studies measuring the overall effects of magnesium supplementation. The paucity of studies may be due to the fact that body stores of magnesium cannot be measured via a blood test. However, one of the few formal studies (Manuel y Keenoy et al.) found that supplementation with magnesium led to an improvement in magnesium body stores, as well as serum vitamin E levels in ME/CFS patients.13 The results of that study indicate that magnesium supplementation not only leads to increased body stores, but may reduce oxidative stress (as indicated by the increase in vitamin E levels). 

What Form to Take?

Because oral magnesium is difficult to absorb, the forms most frequently recommended are magnesium citrate and magnesium glycinate. Magnesium citrate dissolves in water, which makes it more bioavailable than most other forms of magnesium (such as sulfate or oxide, both of which are inorganic and poorly absorbed 14).

Dr. Paul Cheney has observed that magnesium glycinate causes the least intestinal upset and is the most easily absorbed.15 The usual recommended dosage is 200 to 400 mg/day taken with food, although CFS/ME patients are cautioned to start with a smaller dose and increase it gradually. Intramuscular injections of 1 cc of magnesium sulfate (50%) or magnesium chloride can be administered once or twice a week. Because of magnesium's effect on heart function, the first injection should be performed in a physician's office. The main drawback of injected magnesium is that the injections are painful. The simultaneous administration of vitamin B12 or lidocaine helps relieve the pain of the injection. Because magnesium is a cathartic, high doses can cause diarrhea. In patients prone to gastrointestinal upset, a low dose is normally recommended.

Benefits

Most people with ME/CFS who take magnesium, whether oral or injected, report increased stamina and energy. Many include better sleep as an additional benefit (most likely due to magnesium's muscle-relaxing effects). 

MAGNESIUM IN A NUTSHELL

PROS:

  • Increases energy
  • Decreases pain
  • Helps insomnia
  • Reduces oxidative stress
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Immune system regulator
  • Inexpensive
  • Oral forms are effective

CONS:

  • A high dose may cause diarrhea

FURTHER READING

Excellent summary of magnesium's effects on the body from the Linus Pauling Institute

USDA statistics on nutrient consumption by state and nationally.

References

  1. USDA Agricultural Research Service, “Percentage of individuals meeting DRI - Magnesium - 32 per cent”  
  2. Ford ES, Mokdad AH. Dietary magnesium intake in a national sample of U.S. adults. J Nutr 2003;133: 2879-2882. 
  3. Rude RK. Magnesium deficiency and diabetes mellitus: Causes and effects. Postgrad Med 1992; 92: 222-4. 
  4. Iseri LT, Freed J, Bures AR. Magnesium deficiency and cardiac disorders. Am J Med 1975;58:837-46. 
  5. Mauskop A, Altura BM.  Role of magnesium in the pathogenesis and treatment of migraines. Clin Neurosci. 1998;5(1):24-7. 
  6. Marcela Davalos Bichara and Ran D. Goldman, MD. Magnesium for treatment of asthma in children. Canadian Family Physician. September 2009 vol. 55no. 9 887-889.
  7. George A. Eby , Karen L. Eby. Rapid recovery from major depression using magnesium treatment. Medical Hypotheses (2006)
  8. Seelig, Mildred MD, MPH. “Review and Hypothesis: Might Patients with the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Have Latent Tetany of Magnesium Deficiency.” Journal of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Vol. 4(2) 1998
  9. Kubena KS, Durlach J. “Historical review of the effects of marginal intake of magnesium in chronic experimental magnesium deficiency.” Magnes Res.1990 Sep;3(3):219-26. 
  10. Cox IM, Campbell MJ, Dowson D. “Red blood cell magnesium and chronic fatigue syndrome.” Lancet. 1991 Mar 30;337(8744):757-60. 
  11. Pall, Martin. Explaining “Unexplained Illnesses.” CRC Press, 2007.
  12. Dr. Myhill discusses magnesium deficiency and treatment in CFS/ME patients. DrMyhill.co
  13. Manuel y Keenoy, B, Moorkens, G, Vertommen, J, Noe, M, Neve, J, and De Leeuw, I. “Magnesium status and parameters of the oxidant-antioxidant balance in patients with chronic fatigue: effects of supplementation with magnesium.” J Am Coll Nutr. 2000 Jun;19(3):374-82.
  14. Lindberg JS, Zobitz MM, Poindexter JR, Pak CY. “Magnesium bioavailability from magnesium citrate and magnesium oxide.” J Am Coll Nutr. 1990 Feb;9(1):48-55. 
  15. Carol Sieverling "Dr. Cheney's Basic Treatment Plan for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.” ProHealth, 10/19/01. 

Erica Verrillo is the author of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: A Treatment Guide, 2nd Edition, available as an electronic book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and Payhip (PDF file). Her website, CFSTreatmentGuide.com, provides practical resources for patients with ME/CFS. She also writes a blog, Onward Through the Fog, with up-to-date news and information about the illness, as well as the full text of CFS: A Treatment Guide, 1st Edition (available in translation). Ms. Verrillo has been the editor of ProHealth's ME/CFS HealthWatch since February 2013.



Please Discuss This Article:   Post a Comment 

Great summary
Posted by: IanH
Oct 18, 2013
Obligatory reading for all.
Erica's book is also very good.
Reply Reply

Magnesium transfusions
Posted by: jubileevilla
Nov 6, 2013
This is a very helpful article. Thank you Erica.

Mid-1990's I had a course of magnesium transfusions administered by George Lewith, former GP/Complementary Therapist now Professor of Health Research at University of Southampton Faculty of Medicine here in the UK, which helped me recover quite a bit.

Wish I could try them again now as relapsed and housebound last 5yrs, but this was private treatment I can no longer afford.

jubileevilla
Reply Reply

absolutely agree on magnesium supplementation
Posted by: Photo1776Bill
Nov 6, 2013
Magnesium was the supplement that produced noticeable improvements in my energy levels, nervous system excitability, and insomnia. I have since added other supplements (generally following Dr. Myhill's protocol for ME/CFS) and am eating organic while taking ~ 500 m.g. of magnesium citrate daily, so my continuing incremental improvement may be due to all of the above, although I suspect that magnesium may deserve much of the credit. From personal experience, and considerable reading up on magnesium, I find it derelict that physicians don't encourage magnesium supplementation to patients (yet advocate calcium supplements, which may not be needed or may be harmful).
Reply Reply


Post a Comment

 
Free Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia Newsletters
Subscribe to
Our FREE
Newsletter
Subscribe Now!
Receive up-to-date ME/CFS & Fibromyalgia treatment and research news
 Privacy Guaranteed  |  View Archives

Save on Vitamins and Supplements

Featured Products

Vitamin D3 Extreme™ by ProHealth Vitamin D3 Extreme™ by ProHealth
50,000 IU Vitamin D3 - Prescription Strength
Mitochondria Ignite™ with NT Factor® Mitochondria Ignite™ with NT Factor®
Reduce Fatigue up to 45%
Ultra EPA  - Fish Oil Ultra EPA - Fish Oil
Ultra concentrated source of essential fish oils
Energy NADH™ 12.5mg Energy NADH™ 12.5mg
Improve Energy & Cognitive Function
Optimized Curcumin Longvida® by ProHealth Optimized Curcumin Longvida® by ProHealth
Supports Cognition, Memory & Overall Health

Natural Remedies

Repair Damaged Mitochondria and Reduce Fatigue Up to 45% Repair Damaged Mitochondria and Reduce Fatigue Up to 45%
Sleep Like a Baby in Nature's Cradle Sleep Like a Baby in Nature's Cradle
The Brain Boosting and Fatigue Fighting B-12 The Brain Boosting and Fatigue Fighting B-12
Preserving Cognitive Function with Aging Preserving Cognitive Function with Aging
Dreaming of a Good Night's Sleep? Dreaming of a Good Night's Sleep?

FIBROMYALGIA RESOURCES
What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia 101
Fibromyalgia Symptoms
Fibromyalgia Treatments
| CFS RESOURCES
What is CFS?
ME/CFS 101
ME/CFS Symptoms
ME/CFS Treatments
| FORUMS
Fibromyalgia
ME/CFS
ADVANCED MEDICAL LABS
WHOLESALE  |  AFFILIATES
GUARANTEE
CONTACT US
PRIVACY
RSS
SITE MAP
ProHealth on Facebook  ProHealth on Twitter  ProHealth on Pinterest  ProHealth on Google Plus
Credit Card Processing