Now updated with 30 percent new material, the only comprehensive guide to one of the most essential but often-overlooked minerals, magnesium—which guards against and helps to alleviate heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, diabetes, depression, arthritis, and asthma
Magnesium is an essential nutrient, indispensable to your health and well-being. By adding this mineral to your diet, you are guarding against—and helping to alleviate—such threats as heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, diabetes, depression, arthritis, and asthma. But despite magnesium’s numerous benefits, many Americans remain dangerously deficient. Updated and revised throughout with the latest research, this amazing guide explains the vital role that magnesium plays in your body and life. Inside you will discover
• new findings about the essential role of magnesium in lowering cholesterol
• improved methods for increasing magnesium intake and absorption rate
• how calcium can increase the risk of heart disease—and how magnesium can lower it
• a magnesium-rich eating plan as delicious as it is healthy
• information on the link between magnesium and obesity
• vitamins and minerals that work with magnesium to treat specific ailments
• why paleo, raw food, and green juice diets can lead to magnesium deficiency
The Magnesium Miracle, now more than ever, is the ultimate guide to a mineral that is truly miraculous.
Praise for The Magnesium Miracle
“Dr. Carolyn Dean has been light-years ahead of her time when it comes to the crucial mineral magnesium and its many lifesaving uses. Her work is a gift to humanity. I highly recommend it.”—Christiane Northrup, M.D.
“Throughout this volume and with utmost clarity, Dr. Carolyn Dean presents invaluable recommendations—based on the latest magnesium research. Virtually every American can benefit.”—Paul Pitchford, author of Healing with Whole Foods
“Dr. Carolyn Dean has the best credentials for bringing solutions to those suffering from the hidden magnesium disorders that affect most of us. This book needs to be read by anyone wishing to improve their quality of life.”—Stephen T. Sinatra, M.D., author of The Sinatra Solution: Metabolic Cardiology
|Publisher:||Random House Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.40(d)|
About the Author
Carolyn Dean, M.D., N.D., is a medical doctor and naturopathic doctor on the cutting edge of the natural medicine revolution since 1979. She holds a medical license in California and is a graduate of the Ontario Naturopathic College and a former board member of the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine. Dr. Dean is the author of thirty-three health books and more than one hundred ebooks, including Atrial Fibrillation: Remineralize Your Heart, Invisible Minerals Parts I & II, Death by Modern Medicine, IBS for Dummies, Future Health Now Encyclopedia, and Hormone Balance. Dr. Dean has written nearly a thousand articles and given interviews in various print and online health magazines, radio, and television. She has a weekly radio show, an online blog, and a two-year online wellness program called Completement Now! Dr. Dean is on the medical advisory board of the nonprofit educational site Nutritional Magnesium Association. Her magnesium outreach has won her an award from the Heart Rhythm Society in the U.K. for Outstanding Medical Contribution to Cardiac Rhythm Management.
Read an Excerpt
The History of Magnesium
The Case for Magnesium
I’ll build my argument for magnesium beginning with three case histories of people who successfully overcame their magnesium deficiency.
Mary joked that she felt as though she were constantly being run over by a slowmoving bus. Cramping in her legs startled her awake at night, making her an insomniac, and she had heart palpitations daily. Her doctor also found that she had high blood sugar. It wasn’t bad enough for her to need insulin injections. but he prescribed pills to try to stimulate more insulin production. Finally, frightening panic attacks came out of nowhere and made this vibrant, funloving woman afraid to go outside.
To try to relieve her leg cramps, Mary began taking calcium at night, having read that it was good for cramps and sleep. At first the calcium seemed to help, but after a week or two the pains got worse. If she yawned and stretched in bed, her calf muscles would seize up and catapult her to the floor, where she would lie frantically massaging her muscles to try to release the spasm. All the next day she would limp about with a very tender, bruised feeling in her calf.
Although Mary’s heart palpitations had improved somewhat after she’d given up her three cups of coffee a day, they resumed after a few weeks. Every time the palpitations occurred, which was several times a day, they made her cough slightly and catch her breath. She found it frightening, even though her doctor said her stress tests for heart disease were negative and she didn’t need further testing with an angiogram.
Both Mary’s parents had suffered adultonset diabetes, and Mary knew that she should watch her diet, but she was overweight and found sugary and highcarbohydrate foods hard to resist. When the panic attacks hit on top of everything else, Mary knew she had to seek help, and came to my office. She was only fiftythree, far too young to be feeling so ill, and she was worried about her future health.
Sam was just fortynine and experiencing chest pains. At first he thought they were indigestion, but sometimes the pains would occur in the middle of the night. Concerned, he went to a cardiologist, who found two slightly blocked arteries, not serious enough for bypass surgery. Sam’s cholesterol was somewhat elevated, as was his blood pressure, which he attributed to his highstress occupation and the fact that he had not exercised regularly for the past six months, when he was sidelined with back pain.
The cardiologist warned Sam that his arterial blockage would almost inevitably worsen over time and eventually necessitate surgery. The doctor offered him medication for his high cholesterol and slightly elevated blood pressure, told him not to eat butter or eggs, and gave him nitroglycerine to take whenever he had the pain. He said that if the symptoms got worse, he would prescribe more medications. Sam couldn’t imagine taking pills for the rest of his life and waiting to have surgery when he got worse! He knew there must be something he could do to avoid surgery, and came to me for advice.
At thirtyfive, Jan had actually begun to look forward to menopause. That’s how bad her PMS symptoms were every month. And as soon as those horrible PMS feelings lifted, she was hit by the sledgehammer of menstrual cramps. She also had migraines, which for years had come before her period but now were occurring once or twice every week. She was so miserable that she was considering a complete hysterectomy, with removal of her hormoneproducing ovaries, but wondered whether the migraines were not actually hormonal, since they were happening all month.
Different as their symptoms are, Mary, Sam, and Jan were all suffering from magnesium deficiency. While women and men seem equally susceptible to magnesium deficiency, women, pound for pound, have less magnesium. Women have fewer circulating red blood cells, which carry magnesium, and perhaps less magnesium available, but they seem to utilize the magnesium they do have more efficiently than men.
There are a few other gender differences. Because of magnesium’s effect on hormonal regulation and vice versa, women appear to have more problems with low magnesium because they can suffer deficiencies during pregnancy, when breastfeeding, with premenstrual syndrome, and with dysmenorrhea (painful periods).
Osteoporosis, which affects more women than men, is evidence of an imbalance of calcium and magnesium. An overactive thyroid, which afflicts more women than men, increases the metabolic rate, which uses up magnesiumrequiring ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the energy packets made in each cell in the body. Without magnesium, ATP would not be produced. However, women’s efficient use of magnesium may explain why prior to menopause they are more protected from heart attacks than men.
Let’s follow Mary, Sam, and Jan and see how they overcame their magnesium deficiencies.
When Mary visited me, I charted her health history in detail, according to procedures commonly used by naturopathic doctors, and found several symptoms of magnesium deficiency. In her case it had been made even worse by too much calcium, however, so simple magnesium supplementation wouldn’t be enough for Mary. Her diet and lifestyle needed a complete overhaul. I explained that calcium appears to help leg cramps, at least initially, because excess calcium forces magnesium to be released from storage sites. But if someone is magnesiumdeficient, the excess calcium will eventually cause more problems.
I gave Mary a list of magnesiumrich foods that she needed to start eating, which included nuts, beans, greens, and seeds such as sunflower and pumpkin. Mary realized that she’d been avoiding almost all of these foods: she thought nuts were fattening, beans gave her gas, and greens never seemed fresh enough at the supermarket. She had never even thought about eating seeds.
After a week of enthusiastically eating a lot more magnesiumrich foods, Mary felt somewhat better. To make sure she could get fresh organic greens regularly, she tracked down a local CSA (communitysupported agriculture) program and bought a share from a neighboring organic farm. Mary also learned how to soak and cook beans to prevent them from causing gas, and began eating nuts and seeds rich in magnesium and healthy oils, such as almonds, walnuts, pecans, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds.
After her second visit I recommended that Mary begin taking magnesium supplements. Starting with a dosage of 75 mg a day, we added another 75 mg every two days to build slowly to 600 mg. I cautioned her that it could take months to eliminate magnesium deficiency symptoms and that not all her symptoms would necessarily respond quickly. Mary, excited by the improvement she felt by just increasing magnesiumrich foods, expressed impatience and wanted to know if she should have intravenous magnesium to saturate her tissues more quickly. I explained that IV magnesium would indeed do just that, but a more effective and much less expensive way would be to stay with her picometer ionic magnesium (ReMag) and use Epsom salts regularly in baths, including foot baths.
Within one month Mary was singing the praises of magnesium. Her palpitations and panic attacks had disappeared. Her cravings for sweets were fewer, she was able to control her blood sugar with diet alone, and tests for blood sugar were normal. Her leg cramps were gone, and with them her insomnia. At three months we added calciumrich foods along with magnesium supplements to keep a 1:1 ratio between the two. Mary’s internist was quite surprised at her improved health and told her to keep up the good work with her diet and supplements.
Sam had an inquiring mind, and I encouraged him to start reading about heart disease and magnesium. He found that up to 30 percent of angina (chest pain) patients do not have badly blocked arteries but may be suffering from an electrical imbalance that is driven by mineral deficiency, most commonly magnesium.1 An astonishing 40 to 60 percent of sudden deaths from heart attack may occur in the complete absence of any prior artery blockage, clot formation, or heart rhythm abnormalities, most likely from spasms in the arteries (magnesium is a natural antispasmodic).2, 3, 4, 5 Moreover, he found that magnesium deficiency has been linked to sudden cardiac death.
Sam didn’t want to wait around for a heart attack to happen; he was determined to find out what was causing his problem. The more he read, the more intrigued he became. When he read that magnesium deficiency is also associated with muscle pain, especially back pain, that really got his attention, since he started having back pain four or five months before he developed chest pain.6
With a packet of information on magnesium, Sam went back to his cardiologist. After Sam had been waiting impatiently for the doctor a full thirty minutes, a nurse took his blood pressure; it was elevated, even though at home it was usually only a few points above normal. (Doctorinduced hypertension, often called “white coat syndrome,” is commonly reported by patients.) After hearing the blood pressure reading from his nurse, the cardiologist swept into Sam’s room and immediately began talking about blood pressure medication. Sam countered with magnesium. The cardiologist visibly cooled and said that magnesium was used to control hypertension that occurred in pregnant women because there were no side effects, but that there were plenty of effective drugs for everyone else. When Sam said he would rather not have side effects either, the cardiologist gathered up his file and told him to come back when he was ready to take medications for his heart disease.
When Sam came back to see me, he was still pretty upset by this encounter; he didn’t like the specialist refusing to discuss a possible magnesium deficiency as part of the picture. Sam and I agreed that magnesium seemed to be the best treatment for him to initiate at this time since he was not willing to take medications. Sam began adding magnesium to his diet by eating magnesiumrich foods. After a week he felt much calmer, but he still had chest and back pain. So he added magnesium supplements, and in about three months he felt almost normal.
Among the studies Sam read was one that looked at the correspondence between type A personalities and magnesium deficiency. From the description, Sam realized he was a type A, an aggressive guy who lived on adrenaline, time pressure, and stress. This type of behavior drains the body of magnesium and can lead to disorders such as heart disease, muscle spasms, hypersensitivity, and irritability.7
Prolonged psychological stress raises adrenaline, the stress hormone, which depletes magnesium.8 Both Sam’s back and chest pain would hit when he was under stress. Sam worked on ways to control his stress and added more magnesium when he knew he couldn’t avoid it. On days when he exercised, Sam added an extra 150–-300 mg of magnesium to his regime, since sweat loss during heavy exercise (cycling and jogging) and working in the heat deplete magnesium. Drinking plain water won’t replace the minerals lost. And electrolyte drinks contain mostly sodium and sugar. By paying attention to the many factors that affected his mindbody health, Sam lowered his cholesterol and stress levels and reduced his chance of a heart attack and of needing surgery to unblock his arteries.
Jan heard that yoga might help her PMS and painful periods, and she really needed to learn to relax, so she took classes at a local health club. The teacher also ran regular detox and cooking classes, which Jan decided to join when she realized she didn’t have to “give up everything” and become a vegetarian.
One of the first things Jan learned in the detox class was the importance of having regular bowel movements. Jan felt she was lucky if she had one a week. If the bowel doesn’t empty once a day, toxins can be reabsorbed back into the body from the colon. The longer debris sits in the colon, the more fluid is reabsorbed, making stools more solid and difficult to pass. PMS and endometriosis, which causes painful periods, are considered by some naturalhealth experts to be triggered by constipation and toxicity.9
During cooking classes, Jan faced the fact that she was a junk food addict. Magnesium is necessary in hundreds of enzymes in the body but is almost totally lost during the processing of packaged and fast foods. The older women in her class were suffering from a variety of problems that included cancer, heart disease, and osteoporosis. Jan wondered if that was how she would end up in ten or twenty years if she didn’t take care of her health now. Learning how many basic nutrients she lacked in her diet made her marvel that she wasn’t even more ill.
Her new diet included greens, beans, nuts, and seeds, which cleared up her constipation and almost eliminated her PMS and painful periods. When she came to see me on the advice of her yoga teacher, it was clear she was on the right track. I recommended that she begin taking a magnesium supplement and a multimineral supplement, as well as increasing her dietary calcium. With all her lifestyle changes, Jan soon felt like a new person.
CAUSES OF MAGNESIUM DEFICIENCY: THE MAGNESIUM BURN RATE
It is quite a shock to see all the ways that magnesium can become depleted or burned off. I’ll talk about most of these magnesium deficiency factors throughout the book in more detail. I’ve also listed “100 Factors Related to Magnesium Deficiency” later in this chapter. However, the following list of twentysix major causes of magnesium deficiency is a good summary and bears repeating so you can truly understand what we are up against in our magnesiumdepleted world.
Causes of Magnesium Deficiency
1. Athletic performance causes sweat loss of magnesium.
2. Alcohol causes magnesium depletion due to its diuretic effect.
3. Antacids counteract stomach acid, decreasing magnesium absorption.
4. Acid rain is high in nitric acid, which draws calcium and magnesium out of the soil to try and neutralize the acidity and consequently depletes the soil of these minerals.
5. Caffeine causes magnesium depletion with its diuretic effect. It also stimulates the adrenal glands, causing adrenaline surges and magnesium loss.
6. Most drugs cause magnesium depletion; this is especially true of drugs containing fluorine atoms.
7. Fertilizers do not replace necessary minerals but are high in phosphorous, potassium, and nitrogen. Excess potassium and phosphorus are preferentially absorbed into plants, inhibiting magnesium absorption.
8. Fluoride and fluorine in water, from dental procedures, in toothpaste, and in drugs bind magnesium, making it unavailable to the body. Magnesium fluoride (MgF2), called sellaite, is an insoluble compound and replaces magnesium in bone and cartilage with a brittle, unstable crystalline substance.
9. Food processing and cooking decrease magnesium levels.
10. Herbicides such as Roundup bind with magnesium, making it unavailable for plants to utilize for decades.
11. Pesticides kill worms and bacteria and thus their function of processing the soil and breaking down minerals is lost, which means fewer minerals are absorbed by plants.
12. Intestinal disease, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), leaky gut, gluten and casein sensitivities, funguses, and parasites, interferes with magnesium absorption.
13. Junk foods, especially sugar products, drain magnesium. The liver needs twentyeight atoms of magnesium to process one molecule of glucose. Fructose requires fiftysix atoms of magnesium.
14. Meat from animals eating magnesiumdepleted food is low in magnesium.
15. Oxalic acid (found in rhubarb, spinach, and chard) and phytic acid (found in cereal grains and soy) block absorption of magnesium.
16. Low potassium levels can increase urinary magnesium loss.
17. High-protein diets can decrease magnesium absorption and require more magnesium for digestion and assimilation.
18. Refining grains, especially rice and wheat, reduces magnesium.
19. Sauna therapy for weight loss, to detox, or just to stay healthy can cause enough mineral loss through sweating to create magnesium deficiency symptoms.
20. Soil on farmland is woefully depleted of magnesium.
21. Soil erosion makes it easier for heavy rain or irrigation to wash away soil, leading to a loss of minerals, including magnesium.
22. Stress or trauma of any type—-physical, mental, emotional, environmental—-can cause magnesium deficiency.
23. Stomach acid deficiency due to stress results in decreased absorption of magnesium.
24. Tannins in tea bind and remove minerals, including magnesium.
25. Trans fatty acids and mineral deficiency alter cell wall integrity, making the cell walls more rigid, which affects receptor site function and prevents the flow of nutrients in or out of cells.
26. Water softening treatment reduces magnesium.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Magnesium is so important for our health and this book tells all the ins and outs of magnesium that most docs will not tell their patients -- more because they don't know. Dr. Carolyn is a great writer. The book is easy to read and easy to understand.
a must read
Important health information your family physician may never speak to you about.This little book is very dense with important information and I cannot begin to even tell you what a life-changing experience it has been for me. If you are seriously looking to feel better and improve your health overall, this book will help you do just that. One interesting point I would like to make here is that whatever your ailment may be, it probably is due to a magnesium deficiency.You are probably wondering how I can make this statement, however, it is a true fact that magnesium deficiency causes many different symptoms and even diseases, depending on the individual. Even though some people share similar symptoms, some may be extreme depending on how magnesium deficient they are due to daily nutrition. Others may have more subtle symptoms if they are getting a little more magnesium in their diet, this also includes our children, there health, and the current epidemic of obesity, autism and ADHD in our society.However, the simple fact of the matter, and the main point of this book is that there is an epidemic in our society because of magnesium deficiency. Which has been made worse since the "Got Milk?" was licensed to the National Milk Processor Board (MilkPEP) in 1995. Other agencies following the push including to this day the NIOH (National Institutes of Health) and other government agencies who stream into the mainstream society that we don't get enough calcium in our diets when the fact is we get more than we need. Which is why people are so sick.In the 1950's the soil used in farming had already began to be depleted of this mineral, it has only gotten worse since then. Farmers do not add this mineral to the soil and food grown in the soil do not contain this mineral and if they do it is in minuscule properties. So much less so that even if you think you are eating healthy by eating a healthy diet and incorporating fruits and vegetables in your diet, you are not getting enough of this mineral. Unless you are eating organic foods grown in magnesium enriched soil you definitely are not getting the magnesium your body needs. Creating an imbalance in your body of too much calcium which builds up and causes a wide variety of symptoms and problems to your health and the health of loved ones, friends and family.So, if you are like me and wonder why, even though you eat healthy, stay away from high fat, processed foods, corn syrup, soda, and other unhealthy foods, exercise regularly, yet still feel lousy and are having health issues you need to look into magnesium as a daily supplement. If you are not like me and are having more serious health issues you seriously need to look into magnesium supplementation.One thing you cannot do is go asking your doctor for a magnesium blood test, as Dean points out in the book. Our blood only carries 1% of magnesium, the rest, all 99%, is stored in our body tissues. So a blood test will only tell you and your doctor that you are not magnesium deficient. This is another reason why people are not aware of their deficiency, because it is not picked up in a serum blood test. However, if you really want to know at all costs, Dean does speak of less than a handful of other specific tests that you can have done to find out your levels. I, however, am not adamant about being tested or recommending a test for two reasons. The main one being you cannot overdose on a magnesium supplement. Whatever your body does not need comes out in your stool and urine. If you are sick of feeling ill, then you need to take that fact into consideration. Magnesium will not hurt you. The only symptom you will have if you are taking too much is diarrhea, which is not totally a reason to cut back and I will tell you why.There are many forms of magnesium out on the market today. Some are less tolerable than others, depending on each individual and their bodies ability to process or break it down. This is one major reason to either read th
This is a well-written, easily read and IMPORTANT book, magnesium being the most essential supplement needed.In this comprehensive treatment of the various ailments/diseases caused by lack of this mineral, the author includes chapters on depression, migraines. strokes, hypertension, PMS, diabetes, chronic fatigue syndrome, etc. etc. In fact the author lists 68 common complaints caused by lack of magnesium and cites various medications also causing such lack. Magnesium regulates more than 325 enzymes in the body and since nowadays our farmlands are mineral-depleted, we cannot obtain enough magnesium even from an optimal diet rich in organic vegetables without supplementation.We are provided with a wealth of facts about the mineral, for example, that fluoridated water banishes magnesium, that stomach acid is essential for magnesium absorption and that magnesium is blocked by certain foods, such as raw spinach. Also magnesium is required for adequate blood sugar control (can't remember reading that in any of the many diabetes books I've read and reviewed!), and treatment of stress.In fact, this book is an absolute mine of essential little-known information about magnesium that can contribute to optimizing our health, should we choose to implement this knowledge. Not only can this simple mineral cure us of many serious complaints, but we can thereby avoid having to take the harmful drugs our doctors might otherwise persuade us were necessary to poison our systems with.The best forms of magnesium in the author's opinion are magnesium taurate, magnesium glycinate, magnesium citrate, magnesium malate, magnesium orotate and magnesium oil. Your magnesium supplements should preferably be taken between meals since absorption requires stomach acid, and if magnesium is taken together with meals, the stomach acid will be busy digesting the meal, and this may impair magnesium absorption. Kelp is the foodstuff containing the highest amount of magnesium (760 mg per 100 g).Moreover, Carolyn Dean endears herself to me since unlike many health authors I complain about in my reviews, she is well aware of the dangers of aspartame and statins and warns us against their use.I have personally long been aware of the importance of magnesium, since if I don't take magnesium supplements, I suffer from psychomotor seizures characterized by 1) hearing of loud bangs or clicks that no-one else hears 2) experiencing my head being lit up inside perhaps together with a bang 3) seeing "fire" coming out of a wall. These symptoms can be accompanied by jerking of the legs and generally occur in the stage preceding sleep. Also I have had a period with acute and constant pains in the head. All these symptoms disappeared immediately on magnesium supplementation with two strong pills a day, and do not recur as long as I continue to take these pills. However, when I attempted also to supplement with calcium, the pains recurred, so I had to stop taking calcium supplements. These two minerals work together, and I assume I was getting too much calcium in relation to magnesium in my diet. Without magnesium I also suffer from leg cramps or tics.The only thing I lacked in this book was a more comprehensive treatment of the importance of magnesium supplementation for sufferers of epilepsy (as mentioned above), there being only a small paragraph on this topic.To sum up, I would strongly advise everyone to read this essential book.
July -3-14 - Off to the pharmacy !