Clinical Uses of Magnesium
As a practitioner of natural health, I most often find myself using magnesium as a baseline supplement for many of my patients. In my naturopathic studies, I learned that most of our soil is deficient in magnesium, and unless we are eating enough food sources of magnesium then we are all most likely deficient. According to a study done in The Crop Journal, magnesium contents in crops have markedly declined over time and two thirds of people in developed countries are receiving less than their minimum daily requirement.1 Magnesium was deemed an essential nutrient by 1925, and found to be responsible for adult bone development, performing functions in nucleic acids, proteins, cell membranes and enzymes.1 Severe deficiency of magnesium, hypomagnesia, is less common, but has potential detrimental effects such as sudden cardiac death, arrhythmias, muscle dysfunction and attention deficit disorder.1 It is also clinically important to note that patients with chronic malabsorptive patterns (ex. Crohn’s disease, gluten-sensitive enteropathy), certain medication use and older age more commonly experience magnesium deficiency.2 In everyday society, mild to moderate magnesium deficiency can create a plethora of symptoms, and regular supplementation can aid in certain psychiatric, gynecological, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal and musculoskeletal/neurological conditions.
Magnesium and Mental Health
Sources have found that a magnesium deficiency can lead to both anxiety and decreased ability to handle stress.3 Stress physiologically is also known to deplete magnesium stores. Mathieu, Lafon & Hanus (2004) found that a preparation containing Crataegus oxyacantha, Eschscholtzia calnifornica and magnesium was more effective than placebo in reducing symptoms of mild to moderate anxiety according a change in the Hamilton anxiety score.4
Magnesium and Gynecological Health
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
A randomized controlled trial found that a monthly daily supplement of 200mg of magnesium with 50mg of vitamin B6 significantly reduced anxiety-related PMS symptoms (nervous tension, mood swings, irritability and anxiety).5
Clinically, magnesium is widely used for the prevention and treatment of menstrual cramps due its ability to act as a muscle relaxant.
Magnesium and Neurological & Musculoskeletal Health
A daily dosage of 600mg of magnesium was shown to significantly reduce the frequency of migraines versus placebo. As an acute treatment, intravenous magnesium sulfate improved symptoms in patients suffering with a migraine with or without an aura. Patients with cluster headaches, classic and menstrual migraines have been shown to have low magnesium levels.2
In women with fibromyalgia, 300mg/d of magnesium citrate was found to significantly decrease the number of tender points, tender point index and Beck depression scores.6
Magnesium and Gastrointestinal Health
Daily treatment of 500-800 mg of magnesium oxide for one month in patients with functional constipation in hospitals and private clinics increased serum magnesium concentration significantly. This improved bowel habits in all patients, and returned 75% of the patients to stability.7
Magnesium is found in a variety of complexes – bisglycinate, citrate, oxide and malate. Magnesium bisglycinate is better tolerated in those that do not want to experience loose stools as a side effect, whereas magnesium oxide or citrate is more desirable in patients with constipation due to its laxative effects.
Refer to Your Local ND
Talk to your local Naturopathic Doctor to see if you are experiencing symptoms of a magnesium deficiency such as anxiety, insomnia, muscle pain and headaches or if your particular condition could be benefited by magnesium treatment.
- Guo, Nazim, Liang & Yang (2015). Magnesium deficiency in plants: An urgent problem. The Crop Journal. 4(2), 83-91. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.cj.2015.11.003
- Guerrera, Volpe & Mao (2009). Therapeutic Uses of Magnesium. American Family Physician. Retrieved from: http://www.aafp.org/afp/2009/0715/p157.html
- Gaby (2011). Nutritional Medicine. Fritz Perlberg Publishing, Concord, NH.
- Hanus, Lafon & Mathieu (2004). Double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled study to evaluate the efficacy and safety of a fixed combination containing two plant extracts (Crataegus oxyacantha and Eschscholtzia californica) and magnesium in mild-to-moderate anxiety disorders. Curr Med Res Opin. 20(1):63-71. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14741074
- De Souza, Walker, Robinson & Bolland (2000). A synergistic effect of a daily supplement for 1 month of 200 mg magnesium plus 50 mg vitamin B6 for the relief of anxiety-related premenstrual symptoms: a randomized, double-blind, crossover study. J Womens Health Gend Based Med. 9(2):131-9. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10746516
- Bagis, Karabiber, As, Tamer, Erdogan & Atalay (2013). Is magnesium citrate treatment effective on pain, clinical parameters and functional status in patients with fibromyalgia? Rheumatol Int. 33(1):167-72. doi: 10.1007/s00296-011-2334-8
- Tatsuki, Miyazawa, Tomomasa, Ishige, Nakazawa & Arakawa (2011). Serum magnesium concentration in children with functional constipation treated with magnesium oxide. World J Gatroenterol. 17(6):779-83. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v17.i6.779.
Dr. Kaitlyn Zorn, HBSc., ND., is a Registered Naturopathic Doctor practicing in Guelph, Ontario, at Healing Foundations Naturopathic Clinic. Kaitlyn considers herself a general family practitioner, seeing a variety of concerns, however, has a keen interest in mental health (stress, anxiety & depression), hormonal imbalances (women’s health, adrenal & thyroid conditions) and digestive concerns (food sensitivities, bloating, indigestion). She can work with you to reduce your stress, balance hormones and improve digestion alongside providing a treatment plan that is individualized for your unique concern. Most importantly, Kaitlyn helps to empower you to be your best self so you can live your life to the fullest. Did you know that most extended coverage plans offer some coverage for naturopathic services? Look into yours today and book either a complimentary 15-minute Meet & Greet or an Initial Consultation at firstname.lastname@example.org. Stay in the loop with Kaitlyn by following her on Instagram: @drkaitlynzorn.nd and Facebook: www.facebook.com/drkaitlynzornguelph/