from Yale Digital Commons

The mighty mineral magnesium has been revealed to prevent, treat, and reverse some popular chronic conditions. One of the major magnesium facts is that most heart disease is caused by magnesium deficiency. Heart Disease continues to kill despite all the wonderful technological advancements for surgical procedures. Both the heart and blood vessels need magnesium to function. A common finding is low magnesium levels in heart muscles of deceased people.

There are some basic cultural, societal reasons for magnesium deficiency. The benefits of magnesium are lost in softened water. Hard water is plentiful with magnesium, yet how many people in the western world drink hard water anymore? This needed mineral is considered nature’s blood thinner, beta blocker, and calcium channel blocker and we are losing out on it because of our magnesium food sources being depleted due to processed foods. Interestingly enough, Hawaii has high magnesium water levels, and one of the lowest rates of heart disease in this country. Processed foods are “enriched.” Iron, niacin, thiamine, riboflavin, and folate are added into the foods, but not magnesium. Sugar has no magnesium, but molasses does - molasses and fiber are removed from sugar cane to produce granulated white sugar.

Supplements can be tricky. Maybe some of you have heard of Adele Davis? Back in the late 60’s, early 70’s and on, she was a very favored nutritionist who many of us read, and followed her guidelines. She said that calcium supplements should always be taken with magnesium, or the absorption was foregone. The suggested ratio was 2 to 1 meaning 1000mg calcium and 500 mg magnesium was preferable. Now, the science has changed a bit and the ratio can be 1 to 1 depending on one’s diet. Personally, I take a calcium, magnesium, zinc, D3 supplement that has a 2 to 1 ratio. Usually whenever I have added extra magnesium as a supplement, I get diarrhea. Too much magnesium is rarely toxic, and diarrhea is the most common side effect. I have read that if my dosage is smaller I should be okay. I haven’t tried a lower dosage yet, but I certainly could cut my current pills in half and see if that works. That brings the attention of this article to the different kinds of magnesium.

What is magnesium and how is it used?
Magnesium is a mineral involved in many body functions. It is an essential nutrient meaning the body does not make magnesium. It must come from supplements or food. It is crucial to mineral balance because it it regulates what goes in and out of cells.

There are numerous forms of magnesium and I have listed some here to add to magnesium knowledge.

  • Magnesium Citrate - This is a magnesium salt of citric acid used as a laxative, and as a supplement in pill form. It is also useful to prevent kidney stones.
  • Magnesium Chloride - These salts are highly water soluble and commonly used as a de-icer, and for dust and erosion control. State highway departments have decreased the use of rock salt and and increased the use of magnesium chloride because it is less toxic, and less corrosive on plants, concrete, and steel. Manufacturers of textiles, paper, cement, refrigeration and fireproof equipment use it in their products.  It is also used as a prescription oral supplement (not as a laxative), in baby formula, and as a medical topical application for skin problems.
  • Magnesium Oxide - This is a white, solid mineral useful for its strength. It has a high electric strength and an average thermal conductivity so it is used in heating elements. Construction materials such as wallboards have it because it is fire, moisture, mold, and mildew resistant, and strong. Librarians use it for book preservation because it neutralizes acids in paper. It is also used as a supplement for heartburn and stomach problems - an antacid. It helps improve digestive problems.
  • Magnesium Sulfate - This is most commonly known as epsom salts, the traditional, soothing, and relaxing component of bath salts. Originally it was used as a foot bath to soothe and prevent pruning from prolonged water immersion. It has been effective as an acne healer when combined with water to form a cream, and then applied directly to the acne. It treats eclampsia in pregnant women and delays premature labor. It is given intravaneously to manage severe asthma attacks. It is used in gel form to treat aches and pains when applied topically. Very importantly, it is used to treat cardiac arrests, and manage induced arrhythmias.

             Since it has a high solubility, and is an essential mineral in chlorophyll, it is   
             great to apply to hungry crops.  It is also used as a reactive in the manufacture of   

Magnesium Sulfate(56114)Credit: Wikimedia
  • Magnesium Hydroxide - This is most commonly referred to as “Milk of Magnesia.” It is considered a strong electrolyte, and primarily used as an antacid to neutralize stomach  acids, and as a laxative. It interferes with iron and folic acid absorption which is helpful for those with an iron overload. There are some worth-mentioning folk remedies from this magnesium source. They are: dandruff relief ( massage on scalp before washing), acne treatment (apply to problem skin, allow to dry, then wash off), and lastly for the treatment of flaky dry skin (apply, let it dry, then wash off).

             Magnesium hydroxide in powder form is successfully used industrially as  non-
             hazardous alkali to neutralize acid waste waters. It is also used as a fire retardant              in plastics and  roofings.

  • Magnesium Carbonate - This is most commonly known as chalk. It has many uses such as; in taxidermy to whiten skulls, as a food additive, as a drying agent on hands in weight lifting, rock climbing, and gymnastics, as clay for a face mask, and as an astringent  property to help smooth and soften skin.

So, the benefits of magnesium are numerous, and too much magnesium is rarely toxic. It is an essential nutrient mainly found in foods like; shrimp, crab, dates, dried apricots, brown rice, whole wheat bread, cocoa, bitter chocolate, almonds, hazelnuts, soybeans, spinach, dried beans, and cashews. Those are some of  the foods rich in magnesium. We need magnesium so it is always a good idea to get enough through our foods.