Magnesium: The Super-Mineral
by Kelly Dorfman, M. S.
What can stop an asthma attack, pull toxins out of the body, increase circulation, remove age spots, decrease joint pain and cure constipation? Magnesium! The eighth most plentiful element on the planet and the fourth most abundant mineral in the body is essential for a very wide gamut of critical body functions, affecting virtually every organ system.
Why is Magnesium Important in Developmental Delays?
Magnesium (Mg) is directly responsible for over 300 biochemical bodily reactions, many of which have gone awry in individuals with autism, attention issues and other developmental delays. It is extremely important in the metabolism of fellow elements: cadmium, calcium, copper, iron, phosphorus, potassium, lead, sulfur and zinc. Mg is the single most important mineral for maintaining proper electrical balance and facilitating smooth metabolism in the cells. One of the major properties of magnesium is that of stabilizing cell membranes. The health status of the digestive system and the kidneys significantly influence Mg status. Mg is absorbed in the intestines and then transported through the blood to cells and tissues.
Below are common signs of Mg deficiency:
- Hypersensitivity to loud & high-pitched sounds
- Muscle cramps and twitches
- Cold hands and feet
- Carbohydrate cravings
- Numbness and tingling
- Inability to inhale deeply
Because magnesium in certain forms is not easily absorbed and because no classical symptoms exist that point to its causal role in disease, the problem of deficiency is very readily masked. Ask your doctor to confirm your suspicions with blood and/or urine testing.
Mg deficiency is most likely in those who eat many processed foods, over-cook foods and drink soft water. Deficiencies can develop when Mg elimination is increased by taking many medications, like diuretics, birth control pills, corticosteroids and anti-psychotics, because these products, as well as alcohol, caffeine and sugar, leach Mg. Colicky babies may also be magnesium deficient because their stressed hormones trigger the excretion of greater than normal levels of Mg in their urine.
- Eat your Mg: Foods high in Mg are avocados, beans, molasses, almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, whole grains, fish, kiwis, and leafy greens, especially spinach. Buy organic.
- Supplement your Mg orally as Mg citrate and Mg glycinate, two of the best absorbed forms. Read labels carefully, always looking for the number of milligrams of elemental Mg in the tablet or capsule. In the late 1960s, Dr. Bernard Rimland showed the beneficial effects of supplemental magnesium given along with vitamin B6 to improve its absorption in individuals with autism. Recommended daily allowance (RDA) is four mg of Mg daily per pound of body weight (e.g., 160 mg for a 40-pound child). Mg metabolism has a quirk: if Mg levels are low enough to cause symptoms, the deficiency can cause the body to lose its ability to use what it takes in orally. Only a third to a half of dietary Mg is absorbed into the body. Furthermore, the gut has a low tolerance for Mg; diarrhea is often the outcome before sufficient amounts can be ingested. Bypassing the digestive tract can solve this problem.
- Supplement your Mg transdermally using bath salts or creams.
Susan Owens has shown the benefits of Epsom Salts, which are magnesium sulfate. They can help both with magnesium supplementation and with sulphation. Their tendency to dry out and become "powdery" on the skin may limit absorption. Pour one cup of Epson salts into a tub of warm water, soaking for approximately 30 minutes per day. Mg chloride bath flakes are hydroscopic, meaning they attract water, thus staying wet on the skin, where they are more likely to be absorbed.
Magnesium Oil delivers high levels of Mg directly through the skin to the cellular level, bypassing common intestinal and kidney symptoms sometimes associated with oral use. Magnesium Oil feels "oily" on the skin. The biggest benefit of topical Mg chloride administration is that the intestines are not adversely impacted.
Magnesium Gel is magnesium chloride in an all natural, polysaccharide gelling agent that can retain its qualities in hot or cold conditions, and it has almost unlimited shelf-life stability. It has a rich, luxurious feel, slides like silk and is great for holding the magnesium on the skin while the body drinks up the magnesium.
The Mg oil and gel, as well as the bath flakes and other magnesium products are available from Global Light Network. They also carry The Magnesium MiracleThe Miracle of Magnesium by Carolyn Dean.
Before seeking out a medical diagnosis, think "magnesium deficiency." Instead of reaching for asthma medication, arthritis drugs or a laxative, try some magnesium: the super mineral![Initially published in New Developments: Volume 11, Number 2 - Winter, 2005-2006]