Magnesium plays such an important role in patient health. It can help with depression, bone strength, cardiovascular health, insulin and blood sugar control, and it is nature’s muscle relaxer. An article appearing in Hospital Practice (April 30, 1993;79-92) had a few things to say about magnesium. Magnesium is an important cofactor in over 300 chemical reactions in the body. It is important for ATP synthesis (cellular energy), and is found in tissues with high metabolic activity. The heart, liver, brain and kidney all have the highest intracellular concentrations of magnesium.

Many other journal articles discuss the importance of magnesium. There is a connection between magnesium deficiency and insulin resistance. Magnesium levels are low in diabetics. Magnesium deficiency is associated with insulin resistance in obese children, according to research appearing in Diabetes Care (May 2005;28(5):1175-1181). Magnesium, when given to type-2 diabetics helps decrease platelet aggregation, and ultimately may help protect against coronary artery blockage and heart attacks. It is also useful for bringing irregular heart beats under control. It has been postulated that magnesium deficiency may be responsible for heart damage experienced by endurance athletes.  An article appearing in Patient Care (January 30, 1984;79-81), states that magnesium is useful for treating heart arrhythmias and that patients given magnesium after cardiac surgery have fewer problems with both arrhythmias and with uncontrolled high blood pressure from coronary vasospasm that occurs postoperatively. An article appearing in the Archives of Internal Medicine (November 1992;152:2189-2196) also states that magnesium is cardioprotective.

Magnesium deficiency may play a role in allergies. An animal study appearing in the Journal of The American College of Nutrition (1990;9(6):616-622) found that rats that were magnesium deficient had higher histamine levels than rats that were not deficient. Asthmatics may benefit from magnesium supplementation. Magnesium given in an IV has been used to stop asthma attacks. Also, magnesium can reduce bronchial hyprereactivity, according to research appearing in Clinical Pharmacologic Therapy (2001;69:365-371).

Magnesium is valuable for treating preclampsia. An article appearing in Gynecologica Scandinavica (1994;73:95-96) shows magnesium to have a beneficial effect on the mother’s blood pressure and on the birth weight of the child. Magnesium will almost immediately inhibit convulsions, suggesting a peripheral and a central action. Several studies have shown that magnesium may cause vasodilatation. This effect on the vascular system is probably the reason for magnesium’s blood pressure lowering effect in pregnancy-induced hypertension and preeclampsia. Studies have shown that magnesium infusion reduces blood pressure, increases cardiac frequency and cardiac output and decreased total peripheral resistance. In pregnancy-induced hypertension there is an inverse relationship between serum magnesium concentration and blood pressure. In a double-blind study, magnesium reduced blood pressure not only during the infusion phase, but afterward.

There are few, if any, side effects with magnesium supplementation. It can be depleted with certain medications, like diuretics and is low in people who eat a highly refined diet. Magnesium deficiency is fairly common and should be considered with a variety of health problems.