Interesting Information: June 9, 2014
Magnificent Magnesium Rescues The Heart
So many people I know are taking blood pressure medicines.
And many of them are having additional problems as well.
I am wondering if the additional problems are connected to the BP med and/or to the other meds that seem to accompany the decision to take the BP med?
I ran across an article in the July/August 2014 issue of Well Being Journal that offers some interesting information about my question: “Magnesium Balances Calcium and Rescues the Heart” by Scott E. Miners.
Basically, the article is a review of Carolyn Dean, M.D.’s book THE MAGNESIUM MIRACLE.
I googled Dean and discovered that she is both an MD and a Naturopath Doctor–so she sits astride the chasm that often lies between allopathic (mainstream medicine) and alternative medicine. In addition, she worked with magnesium expert Mildred Seelig, MD.
Disclaimer: Since posting this review, with the help of PhD nutritionist Judith Valentine, I did more research on Carolyn Dean. (See judithvalentine.com) Dean is really riding the coat tails of Mildred Seelig’s very valid and published work on magnesium. Take a look at Selig’s publishing record: http://www.mgwater.com/seelig.shtml. It turns out that Dean lost her Canadian MD license. Yes, she is operating out of the medical norm and is critical of today’s doctors and that’s always a problem for the medical police, but having said that, there is just too much “off” about Dean herself. I ordered Dean’s picometer magnesium, for sale on her web site. Maybe it’s ok. She owns the company, which is now based in Hawaii. (It’s unclear if California has also revoked her medical license.) I have to tell you that Dean’s liquid magnesium tastes TERRIBLE. My body just hates it, for whatever that’s worth. For also whatever it’s worth, I’ve had no more leg cramps and none of the diarrhea that some forms of magnesium that hang around in the gut can cause. I think there is enough evidence that what Dean is saying about magnesium deficiency in Americans and the tremendous downsides to getting caught up in three to five medicines is probably accurate–so I am leaving the post here–but putting in this disclaimer. And I have no idea about the quality of her magnesium product. I also think WELL BEING JOURNAL needs to review their info on Dean’s work.
Dean thinks that about 80 percent of Americans are magnesium deficient.
Magnesium is the mineral that “activates” nerves and muscles, “including,” writes Miners, “the muscle cells in the heart.” Further, “magnesium is important for maintaining optimal heart rhythm, blood pressure, muscle and nerve function, blood sugar regulation, and brain health.” Signs of magnesium deficiency are “constipation and other digestive problems, irregularities in menstrual flow and reproductive health, muscle spasms, nocturnal leg cramps, and migraine headaches.” And “loss of appetite, fatigue, numbness or tingling, and nausea.”
One idea I walked away with was the notion that blood tests don’t show magnesium deficiency because the body robs magnesium from other sites in the body to keep the blood level at about 1% magnesium.
Another idea was that one has to eat significant amounts of foods containing magnesium to get enough–and even then, the amount of magnesium in the foods can depend upon the soils in which the food grew. With commercial farming, soil depletion is increasingly a problem. The magnesium food list is seaweeds, leafy dark green vegetables like chard and kale, legumes, green beans, almonds, cashews, filberts, pumpkin seeds, and sesame seeds.
Dean says most magnesium supplements , especially magnesium oxide, are poorly absorbed. Up to 96 percent stays in the digestive system, where it acts as a laxative, rather than getting to the cells where it is desperately needed. Dean recommends picometer-sized forms of magnesium as that form can be totally absorbed at the cellular level. Epsom salt soaking (magnesium sulfate) is another excellent way to get more magnesium into your system. [And, more sulfur–see other blog posts on sulfur deficiency.]
DRUGS DEPLETE MAGNESIUM, says Dean–based on Seelig’s laboratory work with drugs and her own work since working with Seelig. (Seelig tried to tell her drug company bosses that their drugs were depleting magnesium in bodies, but they “weren’t interested.”)
Dean details the following situation: you are stressed when you see your doctor, so your BP might be high at that moment. The doctor might put you on a diuretic–which drains your magnesium and potassium, which makes your blood pressure truly higher. So now the doc will “worry that your calcium levels are going to rise, and will prescribe a calcium channel blocker. Most doctors don’t know that magnesium is a natural calcium channel blocker.” And, they’ll put you on a third drug, an angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor. So now you’re on three drugs.
But the tale continues:
After two or three months, you come back and have blood taken to make sure the drugs aren’t hurting your liver….But all of a sudden your cholesterol is elevated; your blood sugar is elevated….The doctor says, “Oh, we caught your cholesterol. We just caught your blood sugar. We can put you on medications.” Dean goes on to say that they didn’t catch these conditions; they caused them. The more you reduce your magnesium, the more your cholesterol will go out of control. She notes magnesium is important to balance an enzyme used in the manufacture of cholesterol in the body; magnesium helps to stabilize cholesterol.
Further, Dean notes that Statin drugs destroy an enzyme that magnesium needs. And, that a sign of diabetes is low magnesium.
Miners notes that Dean writes that “doctors only recognize drug side effects 4 percent of the time because they do not want to believe they are harming their patients via their prescriptions. More, drug intake also causes inflammation.”
And, isn’t this situation the HUGE elephant in the medical room these days? Doctors are caught in what I’ve been calling a “kool-aid loop” of information crafted by the drug industry AND by the “standards of care” they are expected to follow. It’s the rare doctor these days who is researching this information for themselves and trying to understand what is really happening in bodies. Dean appears to be one of the rare ones.
Here’s what Dean says to do: keep taking magnesium:
Take it in the various sources: the picometer-sized magnesium, Epsom salts, and so on. Take an oxide if you’re constipated…you may need the magnesium oxide, but take the others as well.
I would note that magnesium and calcium are “paired”–one effects the other. Too much magnesium can block calcium. But, my thinking is that if you are eating dairy products (cheese, yogurt, milk), nuts, seeds, homemade bone broth, and dark leafy vegetables, adding a quality source of magnesium to protect your heart might be a good idea. I’m going to do it.
SO WHAT’S A GOOD BP TO HAVE?
I don’t have high blood pressure. But I had always heard that 100 plus your age–over 90–was a reasonable BP, especially as you age. Sherry A. Rogers, MD, an environmental doctor who has been a fairly prolific writer, has a book called THE HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE HOAX. She quite seriously supports the more modern BP figure of 120 over 70. BUT she advocates trying to figure out why the BP is high and counsels treating with diet and other lifestyle changes. You can read a Weston A. Price book review at the following url if you want more information on this subject of BP measurements.