A doctor who reads my blog commented that:
“It is curious that calcium is widely promoted by doctors, and potassium to a lesser extent, but magnesium very little. That doesn’t seem explainable by commercial concerns.”
I disagree. I do think there are commercial reasons why magnesium is not more widely recognized and recommended. It’s not patented, it’s cheap and it works to help people with a wide range of health problems, which means they might not have to rely on drugs.
Here are excerpts from The Magnesium Miracle showing that magnesium does help protect the heart from arrhythmias but drug companies don’t want you to see it that way. I’ll also include the scientific references for the doctors who wrote in saying they don’t think anecdotal stories are enough reason to recommend magnesium.
“Over the past decade, several large clinical trials using magnesium have shown its beneﬁcial effects: if intravenous magnesium is given (1) before any other drugs and (2) immediately after onset of a heart attack, the incidence of high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, arrhythmia, or a subsequent heart attack is vastly reduced.
One such study, called LIMIT-2, provided powerful evidence that early magnesium administration protects the heart muscle, prevents arrhythmia, and improves long-term survival. (21, 22, 23) Magnesium might improve the aftermath of acute heart attack by preventing rhythm problems; improving blood ﬂow to the heart by dilating blood vessels; protecting the damaged heart muscle against calcium overload; improving heart muscle function; breaking down any blood clots blocking the arteries; and reducing free radical damage. Magnesium may also help the heart drug digoxin to be more effective in the treatment of cardiac arrhythmia;(24) without enough magnesium, digoxin can become toxic.(25)
The suggested criteria for magnesium intervention were not followed in a very large trial called ISIS-4, and the outcome did not show the same results as the LIMIT trial.(26) In the ISIS trial, magnesium was given many hours after the onset of symptoms and after blood-clotting had begun and after blood-clotting drugs had been administered. The two trials were as dissimilar as apples and oranges, yet the debate over magnesium’s efﬁcacy still rages. Since the LIMIT and ISIS studies, several smaller trials have shown even greater recovery from heart attacks using intravenous magnesium, including a trial of 200 people with a 74 percent lower death rate.(27)
Unfortunately, when the ISIS trial was publicized, mostly by drug reps, they didn’t tell doctors that the proper criteria (of giving magnesium immediately after a heart attack) was not followed. Instead, the trial was used to debunk magnesium. So even though research proves the worth of magnesium, you and your doctor may never hear the truth.
The tip for today. Read about magnesium and determine for yourself if you require it. Get several copies of The Magnesium Miracle and pass one along to your doctor so more people will be helped with this information.
Carolyn Dean MD ND
The Doctor of the Future®
RESOURCES: Along the borders and in the links of my web site you can find my books, writings, and my call-in radio show. Email your questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Lukaski HC, Nielsen FH. “Dietary magnesium depletion affects meta-
bolic responses during submaximal exercise in postmenopausal
women.” J Nutr, vol. 132, no. 5, pp. 930–935, 2002.
2. Goldberg B, Heart Disease, Future Medicine Publishing, Tiburon, CA, 1998.
21. Woods KL et al., “Intravenous magnesium sulfate in suspected acute myocardial infarction: results of the second Leicester Intravenous Magnesium Intervention Trial (LIMIT-2).” Lancet, vol. 339, pp. 1553–1558, 1992.
22. Woods KL, Fletcher S, “Long-term outcome after intravenous magnesium sulphate in suspected acute myocardial infarction: the second Leicester Intravenous Magnesium Intervention Trial (LIMIT-2).” Lancet, vol. 343, pp. 816–819, 1994.
23. Ravn HB, “Pharmacological effects of magnesium on arterial thrombosis—mechanisms of action?” Magnes Research, vol. 12, no. 3, pp. 191–199, 1999.
24. Young IS et al., “Magnesium status and digoxin toxicity.” Br J Clin Pharmacol, vol. 32, no. 6, pp. 717–721, 1991.
25. Lewis R et al., “Magnesium deﬁciency may be an important determinant of ventricular ectopy in digitalised patients with chronic atrial ﬁbrillation.” Br J Clin Pharmacol, vol. 31, no. 2, pp. 200–203, 1991.
26. ISIS-4 (Fourth International Study of Infarct Survival) Collaborative Group, “ISIS-4: a randomised factorial trial assessing early oral captopril, oral mononitrate, and intravenous magnesium sulphate in 58,050 patients with suspected acute myocardial infarction.” Lancet, vol. 345, pp. 669–685, 1995.
27. Seelig MS, “Cardiovascular reactions to stress intensiﬁed by magnesium deﬁcit in consequences of magnesium deﬁciency on the enhancement of stress reactions; preventive and therapeutic implications: a review.” J Am Coll Nutr, vol. 13, no. 5, pp. 429–446, 1994.