There are at least 16 dietary products that are so powerful we use them in the hospital. 15 of them we use in the IV formulation as well as the oral form. Over time I will talk about each and every one in detail. I was inspired to do this after I learned of articles bashing vitamins, minerals, and dietary supplements.
Product number one: magnesium. This mineral saves lives. When someone goes unconscious and we don’t know why…we go running to them with lifesaving drugs. Magnesium is one of those drugs, although it is actually a mineral. We use it commonly on the cardiac units for life threatening conditions such as irregular heart rhythms, open heart surgeries, Torsades de pointes and mitral valve prolapse
On the maternity ward it is used to save the lives of mother and baby in preterm labor. It’s sort of like a muscle relaxer and it relaxes the contracting uterus. It also relaxes the muscles in the blood vessels and is used for hypertension and migraines prevention. It’s used for throat spams and other spasticity’s.
It helps regulate other minerals in the body and is used to prevent the formation of kidney stones and osteoarthritis. It’s used in combination with other drugs to partially restore the brain in Wernicke’s disease (also known as wet brain, Korsakoff’s psychosis, and alcoholic encephalopathy.)
This mineral has been used for improving postoperative pain, Detrsor instability of bladder, diabetes type 2, hypercholesterolemia, Hyperphosphatemia. It prevents low potassium in combination with potassium, and reverses magnesium deficiency. It has even been studied in wound healing.
Magnesium is used for so many conditions that we restore everyone’s levels to normal. Things just run smoothly when we do.
One time I went into a patient’s room to ask a question about his home medications and he asked me….”What did you give that made me breathe so much easier?” He was slowly dying of ALS and the drug we used was iv magnesium. I explained to him that he can take it orally at home, but one of the side effects when taken orally is diarrhea. He said he suffered from chronic constipation and would use it to stay regular. He had normal kidney function so I gave him the thumbs up.
Milk of Magnesia is the drug of choice at the hospital I work at for constipation and dyspepsia. Yes you heard right, we use milk-of-magnesium for heartburn and an upset stomach….because it’s something our patients need anyhow….except for patients with kidney dysfunction. Magnesium can quickly accumulate to dangerous levels in people who do not have good kidneys. But it does not harm the kidney. It just simply can not leave the body in the presence of kidney dysfunction.
Now let me drop a bomb on you: Epson salt is magnesium sulfate. Magnesium can also be absorbed through the skin and so there is some truth to grandmas recommendation to take a hot bath in Epson salt when you are not feeling well.
And what do you suppose would happen if you drank Epsom salt? Well, if you didn’t gag from the taste, then any of the good things listed above could happen. Read the label on plain Epson salt and you will see directions for oral consumption. It’s the cheapest form of magnesium I know of.
The most interesting use for magnesium, in my opinion, is for energy and it’s often put in energy drinks. Eight of 16 healthy male college students were given 4 bottles per day of a beverage containing Mg 25 milligrams (mg) and calcium 50 mg per bottle; the remaining 8 students served as untreated controls. All subjects underwent less than 60% of the usual amount of sleep for one month. The anaerobic threshold (physical exhaustion and muscle pain) and time to reach AT were the same in the chronically sleep-deprived state and the normal state in the Mg-treated group. In the control group, both AT and time to reach AT declined significantly during sleep deprivation (p less than 0.01 for both). Likewise, peak oxygen uptake and peak exercise time declined significantly during sleep deprivation in the control group (p less than 0.01) but were unchanged in the Mg-treated group.
Just to let you know, p value tells you if the number of people studied was large enough to wash out the possibility that the differences that occurred were by chance. It answers the question “did some freakishly strong athlete or some genetic-mutation-of-a-person in one group or the other mess up the data?” When the p-value turns out to be less than a certain significance level, often 0.05 or 0.01 it means the observation is highly unlikely to be the result of random chance alone.
In another small study 25 males took 17 millimoles magnesium orotate per day or placebo for the 4 weeks prior to a triathlon. They had better performance times than did those who took placebo. (500 meters swimming, 20 kilometers bicycle racing, and 5 kilometers running). Swimming time was significantly lower (p=0.025) for the magnesium orotate group. The increase in blood glucose during the test was significantly higher in the placebo group than in the magnesium orotate group (187% vs 118%, p less than 0.001). In the magnesium orotate group, serum insulin during the test decreased to 65% of baseline values while it increased to 139% in the placebo group (p less than 0.021). These values suggest that magnesium orotate improved insulin sensitivity. Plasma magnesium concentration was unchanged in both groups, but erythrocyte magnesium increased in the magnesium orotate group and decreased in the placebo group. While the changes from baseline were not significant for either group, the difference in concentrations of the 2 groups was significant (p=0.045).
And when looking at exercise tolerance for patients with heart disease, fourteen patients were given magnesium orotate or placebo for 4 weeks. Compared to baseline values, left ventricular end-systolic volume at 4 weeks was significantly reduced (p=0.016) and ejection fraction increased (p=0.035) in the magnesium orotate group. Changes in left ventricular end-diastolic volume and stroke volume were not significant. There were no significant changes in the echocardiographic parameters in the placebo group. An increase in exercise duration was not significant for the placebo group (p=0.21) but was significant for the magnesium orotate group (18.0 to 22.6 minutes, p=0.011) (Geiss et al, 1998). Functional capacity, as measured by metabolic equivalents and exercise duration, was greater in coronary artery disease (CAD) patients with higher intracellular magnesium (Mg(i), measured in mononuclear cells). After adjustments for age, body mass index, and systolic blood pressure at maximal exercise, Mg(i) remained a strong predictor of exercise duration. There was no difference in mean serum Mg between the group of patients with normal or below-normal Mg(i) (n=29) and the group with above-normal Mg(i) (n=13).
So who is at risk of developing a magnesium deficiency?