Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Magnesium and inflammation | The Blog of Michael R. Eades, M.D.

Magnesium and inflammation | The Blog of Michael R. Eades, M.D.

As the inflammatory hypothesis becomes more accepted, more and more physicians will be checking C-reactive protein levels—along with a few other inflammatory yardsticks—to determine the inflammatory status of their patients. If the C-reactive protein level is found to be elevated, then steps can be taken, not just to reduce the C-reactive protein, but to treat the underlying inflammation so that the C-reactive protein—a marker of this underlying inflammation—will normalize.

One easy step in the inflammation reduction process is to make sure magnesium intake is high.

The most recent issue of the Journal of the American College of Nutrition contains an article showing that as consumption of magnesium fell, the levels of C-reactive protein went up.

The paper points out that the majority of adults in the US (68%) don’t consume even the RDA of magnesium, which is, as far as I’m concerned, woefully low. Magnesium is an unbelievably important mineral for all sorts of body processes. Some 300+ enzymes use magnesium as a cofactor; magnesium helps regulate potassium status; magnesium acts as nature’s own calcium channel blocker, helping blood pressure stay down and blood vessels stay pliable; magnesium builds bones; magnesium is anti-inflammatory. The list of magnesium’s virtues goes on and on.

In fact, there exists an entire school of thought that posits that the entire Metabolic Syndrome is nothing but a manifestation of a a magnesium deficiency. Which isn’t as crazy as it sounds since virtually all the components of the Metabolic Syndrome—diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity and lipid disorders—are associated with low magnesium.

Why are so many people deficient in magnesium? Because there are no single foods that contain huge amounts of magnesium, and because there is no single food containing large amounts, there is no magnesium lobby. Look at calcium. Thanks to the dairy industry, we are constantly told that we need to get enough calcium, and we’re told right where we can get it. Milk and cheese. Same with vitamin C. The orange juice people never let us forget. Not so with magnesium, so no one really thinks of it.

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Magnesium is just about our favorite supplement. In fact, if we just had one supplement to recommend, and no other, it would be magnesium. Take it at bedtime because it helps you sleep.

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