Kidneys Need Magnesium - Dr. Carolyn Dean MD ND

Kidneys Need Magnesium

September 22, 2013

Every day we receive emails from people who are afraid to take magnesium because they’ve been told they have kidney disease. Even alternative medicine practitioners parrot the safety warning that people with kidney disease should not take magnesium.

Let’s be clear about this warning: It should say, as I do in The Magnesium Miracle under Contraindications: “With kidney failure there is an inability to clear magnesium from the kidneys.”

However,  there is a huge difference between kidney disease and kidney failure. Unfortunately doctors believe that every human being with an abnormal kidney blood test  is susceptible because they know nothing about magnesium, other than the warning that you can’t take it if you have kidney disease.

If a patient has an abnormal BUN, Creatinine, Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR) or Protein in the urine the patient is given a kidney disease label. And with any hint of kidney disease, doctors tell patients to stay away from magnesium! That warning is even more unfortunate because of renal artery calcification. The high rate of calcification of the coronary arteries and the carotid arteries is mimicked in the kidney (renal) arteries. This calcification can alter blood flow and change the filtration capacity of the kidneys altering blood tests.

Also, there are many drugs and whole classes of drugs that cause kidney damage.

Proton Pump Inhibitors, NSAIDS, Diuretics, Jardiance – a diabetic drug, ACE inhibitors, Zoledronic acid for osteoporosis, Vancomycin, Iodinated radiocontrast dye, Aminoglycoside antibiotics, HIV medications and antiretroviral drugs, 

I was struck that the first six drugs and drug classes that are known to damage kidneys are being used to treat conditions that are may be undiagnosed magnesium deficiency.

Please read my article on the Natural News Website called “Kidney Disease Requires Magnesium“. In it I make the case that people with kidney disease must have magnesium but it has to be in a bioavailable form. If it’s bioavailable and goes directly into the cells, then it’s not building up in the blood and trying to be eliminated through the kidneys. And if the kidneys are badly damaged magnesium is not released.

I wrote this article two years ago before I began to work with ReMag. This is a stabilized ionic form of magnesium that is fully absorbed at the cellular level and therefore can be used by people with kidney disease. One of its functions is to solubilize the calcium that builds up in the renal arteries.

You can follow your magnesium levels with a Magnesium RBC blood test, which you can order yourself at RequestATest. The Ionized Magnesium test is a better test, but only available in research facilities. But the Mg RB test is better than Serum Magnesium testing,

The following educational case history is in my book, The Magnesium Miracle (2017).

“I am a 60-year old ESRD patient on home hemodialysis for 4 years. I am a type 1 diabetic as well. When I began dialysis I gave the nurse my list of supplements, which included magnesium and I was told in no uncertain terms that dialysis patients should not and cannot take magnesium, our kidneys could be harmed by it. So I complied with their fearful stance as I entered into the unknown realms of kidney failure care, assuming they knew what they were talking about.

Before I began Home Hemodialysis I started off with Peritoneal Dialysis, since they presented it as the more ‘natural’ mode. (Fluid is introduced through a permanent tube in the abdomen and flushed out the same tube during the night.) I soon developed incredible itching all over my body that they said was from being underdialyzed. But now I also believe that as my magnesium bottomed out, my calcium and phosphorus soared and combined to form calcium phosphate crystals, and who knows where else, which deposited in my skin. Dialysis people have lots of skin issues. Yes, they are due to toxins but perhaps more importantly, due to low magnesium.

I remember seeing things that looked like little white crystals in my skin, which I scratched until I bled. My own dialysis doctors were not even convinced this was due to dialysis! A nephrologist at Vanderbilt gave me a second opinion and had seen it. He said they call it the ‘crazy itch’ and treat it by putting people under UV lights. Knowing what I do now, I presume the UV would be helpful by raising active vitamin D, which helps lower the calcium phosphate complex levels in the skin by sending the calcium and phosphorous into the bones.

I also began having horrendous nighttime calf and foot cramping on peritoneal dialysis, having to jump out of bed at night to try to soothe the unbearable pain. I was still afraid to take magnesium, so I downed vitamin E, B complex, etc., and whatever else I could find as suggestions online.

Then I was switched to Home Hemodialysis and there must be more magnesium in the dialysis solution they use compared to peritoneal dialysis because my skin improved. However, over a year ago I began to have heart palpitations that would at first come and go but then worsened and became more constant. After reading many recent studies online, I believe that the dialysis liquid they are putting in me is actually pulling magnesium out of my blood and depleting me. I feel my heart begin to palpitate in my chest towards the end of every treatment. Many patients have leg cramping during treatment. Many dialysis patients have heart issues; it’s the number 1 killer of dialysis patients, and most likely caused by magnesium deficiency.

During the 4 years since I have been on dialysis, I have broken bones in my feet 3 times; increased the level of calcification in my arteries (showed up on x-ray); had worsening palpitations; brain fog; changes in my teeth; and who knows what else!

Thank goodness, I found Dr. Dean’s ReMag and I have been supplementing with it. I find it hard to believe but it totally resolves my palpitations. Of course I bump heads with the powers that be who say magnesium is dangerous for kidney patients but my kidney specialist is finally behind my decision to use it.

Besides eliminating my palpitations, since I have been taking ReMag, my phosphorus levels have dropped to nearer normal levels so they are reducing the phosphate binders that I take with every meal. My hope is to reach a point where I need no binders at all. I have the hope that supplementing with ReMag will reverse many of my symptoms.

Magnesium is rarely measured in the dialysis setting. I went through all kinds of red tape to get pre- and post-treatment Magnesium RBC blood testing. This should be routine! To me this is unbelievable because I’m sure most patients are having their magnesium sucked away through their dialysis treatment? And sure enough, my magnesium levels were lower after dialysis than before it. So, each treatment depletes my magnesium further and further.

The more I look into magnesium deficiency, the more I attribute the majority of my health problems, since beginning dialysis, to the depletion of my magnesium levels. When I bring this up, the dialysis staff gets quite defensive. I seem to know more than they do, which intimidates them, not to mention that it really is the fault of their dialysis liquid that I have suffered these symptoms. They know so little about magnesium and how it interacts with phosphorus, calcium, PTH, and vitamin D3.

I just thank God I have found the studies online saying that I really do need magnesium and then I found ReMag, which really made such a difference, almost immediately. I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night with palpitations, and no way can I sleep with my heart bouncing around in my chest, so I pour a capful of ReMag in a few swallows of water, and I swear, within minutes my heartbeat returns to normal.”

You obviously have to make your own decision about taking magnesium if you have kidney disease. If you do take magnesium be sure and get your blood tested regularly and take ReMag. Maybe you can educate your doctors about magnesium as your health improves.

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:

Want more health info like this?

Subscribe to receive FREE health tips from Dr. Carolyn Dean. We won't spam you or sell your information.