Magnesium's Importance Far Greater Than Previously Imagined

'Calcium deficiency is a common nutritional concern, but how many folks consider the vital importance of magnesium in human health and disease?

New research published in the journal BMC Bioinformatics indicates that magnesium's role in human health and disease is far more significant and complicated than previously imagined.

While it is well known that all living things require magnesium, and that it is found in over 300 enzymes in the human body, including those enzymes utilizing or synthesizing ATP (the molecular unit of currency for energy transfer), the new studied titled, "3,751 magnesium binding sites have been detected on human proteins," indicates that a deficiency of magnesium may profoundly affect a far wider range of biological structures than previously understood.

The proteome, or entire set of proteins expressed by the human genome, contains well over 100,000 distinct protein structures, despite the fact that there are believed to be only 20,300 protein-coding genes in the human genome.

The discovery of the "magneseome," as its being called, adds additional complexity to the picture, indicating that the presence or absence of adequate levels of this basic mineral may epigenetically alter the expression and behavior of the proteins in our body, thereby altering the course of both health and disease.

Indeed, modern medicine and nutrition fixates primarily on calcium deficiency (due, in part, to the WHO's highly unscientific definition of osteoporosis), even in the face of accumulating peer-reviewed research indicating that excess calcium consumption can greatly increase cardiac morbidity and mortality.'

15 Replies

  • Eating your 5-a-day should keep your magnesium levels st optimum, especially if you like a lot of fibre in your food.

  • But that would deprive the supplement pushers of their profit...

  • Ah, but whatever happened to Dottie11? She was also pushing magnesium...

  • 'Pushing' magnesium, yes, to help people get well. :) No ulterior motive, unlike some.

  • Who?

  • I really would like to know who these 'some' you mention are? If you have evidence that 'some' have an ulterior motive, I think we should all know about it, don't you think?

  • Not all of us want to make money out of people's illnesses, hence the reason I said in my other post that magnesium oil was a good way of topping up magnesium levels. Magnesium oil is very cheap to make yourself!!

  • I think a section of the SBM post explains some of the common reasons that some people might be concerned that they're potentially deficient in Mg:

    "There are a long list of other drugs that can influence magnesium levels, most by affecting the kidney’s filtration process. Proton pump inhibitors (e.g., Nexium) are among the offenders, and can cause hypomagnesemia in some. Given its multiple actions, low magnesium levels are associated with conditions like hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. Other medical conditions can affect magnesium levels, either through action on absorption or elimination. Alcoholism, kidney or liver disease, and various gastrointestinal malabsorbtion conditions (e.g., Crohn’s disease) can all reduce magnesium levels."

    Added to that, serum magnesium seems to be yet another broadly-uninformative test as it's rarely perturbed except in the case of a flagrant metabolic disturbance. Then people get caught up in the deep weeds of 'more informative' tests beloved of certain practitioners such ashe RBC Magnesium test - with others arguing that this test has limited usefulness in the absence of other relevant testing - and so the testing complexity and expense mounts.

    And, if people are taking supplemental Mg, then they typically end up needing to perform timing miracles not to disturb other absorption such as potassium etc. and thus the complexity mounts.

    Food is always to be preferred to supplements tho' there is a substantial number of people who take medications or have gut disorders that might interfere with absorption. There seems to be a dearth of appropriate research that might guide supplementation for those who have some need for it.

  • Thanks that's helpful. I've hypertension which is controlled by Ramipril and Amlodopine. Would they affect magnesium levels? I suffer from cramp particularly afte cycling. I was once told that magnesium deficiency can lead to cramp; is there any evidence for that?

  • Yes, low Magnesium and Potassium can cause leg cramps. Also, did you know you can treat hypertension naturally with magnesium, without the possible unwanted side effects of pharmaceutical drugs?

  • Please can you link to the evidence for low magnesium causing leg cramps?

  • This cochrane review from 2012 finds little support for magnesium supplementation helping with non excercise related skeletal muscle cramps:

    However, it does say that supplements are well tolerated - so they probably don't do any harm.

    And note the non excercise part, as of 2012 no RCTs of that had been performed - so your case of post cycling cramps might still benefit.

  • I do know from personal experience that low magnesium can cause heart and blood pressure problems. I ended up in the ER because of it. it's important to have reg. blood work to check it.

  • Which foods contain magnesium?

  • I thought I would get some good debate here. Instead I find more than a teaspoon of loonytunes. Doesn't anybody do science these days?