Friday, January 4, 2013

Surprising Results From Magnesium Research

Recently I started doing some research on teeth grinding.  I noticed Emmalin started to hold her jaw in a very tight position and move it back and forth, similar to teeth grinding but there was no teeth on teeth grinding.  There were similar concerns posted on D.A.D.S. so I decided to do some digging.  I thought it might be more common in DS but after further investigation it just seems to be common with everyone.

First thing I discovered is that most people will say the cause of teeth grinding is an uncommon bite, the teeth, the jaw, anxiety or stress.  Regarding Emma the first three are not an issue and there does not appear to be any stress or major anxiety what is next?  I quickly turned to Andi Durkin at and this is what I found:

Studies show that children with T21 have lower levels of magnesium than a typical child. Unfortunately, problems common to individuals with DS such as oxidative stress and neurodegenerative processes as well as symptoms such as teeth grinding, sensitivity to sound, some forms of stimming and constipation often accompany a magnesium deficiency.
Hmmmm...okay so lets start there.  What I discovered was very interesting.  First things first, let's talk about Magnesium.

Magnesium (Mg) may be the most overlooked mineral. No one has yet popularized a simple way to remember it, in the way that we usually associate potassium with bananas, calcium with bone health, and sodium with blood pressure. But magnesium is an incredibly versatile and important nutrient that many doctors, nutritionists, and researchers believe is the single most important nutrient for human health.

It is essential for over 300 different chemical reactions in the body, including maintaining your energy level, helping you relax, and sustaining the health of your heart and blood vessels. Unfortunately, in most of the developed world, magnesium deficiency is probably the most common nutritional deficiency. Because it has so many crucial functions, and because it appears to protect us from serious conditions that are most prevalent in the developed world, magnesium really is the “miracle mineral.”

More Benifits of Magnesium
One of its most common uses is for alleviating constipation; you may recognize it as the active ingredient in well-known over-the-counter laxative medicines. It is also a natural calcium-channel blocker – many integrative medicine practitioners have used magnesium supplements to help lower blood pressure and maintain healthy blood pressure.

While we often hear about the importance of calcium for bones, magnesium is the other key mineral for healthy bones. And because so many people take calcium pills without magnesium, there may actually be a greater need for magnesium than for calcium in people who are most vulnerable to osteoporosis.

Magnesium is probably the most important nutrient for that energy powerhouse, the human heart; it helps the heart muscle itself function better. Magnesium also helps protect blood vessels, which is where most of what we call heart disease actually happens. Magnesium is also a natural blood thinner, much like aspirin, so many doctors and researchers believe that it may help prevent heart attacks and strokes.

Perhaps the area where magnesium could have the biggest impact is in the prevention of diabetes: Scientists have proven that magnesium levels are low in people with diabetes; people with higher magnesium levels do not develop diabetes; and that supplementing with magnesium appears to help reverse pre-diabetes.

As with all minerals in foods, the mineral has to be present in the soil where the food is grown. The best food sources of magnesium are beans, especially soy; whole grains, including bran; nuts like almonds and brazil nuts; and seeds, including flaxseed, sesame, and sunflower. Dry cocoa powder, and thus dark chocolate, is also a great (and incredibly tasty!) source.

Magnesium for Pain Relief

Clinical experience, as well as research in nerve pain conditions such as pancreatic cancer, has shown that magnesium can be an effective treatment for pain. Although it is clear why magnesium can decrease muscle pain (it makes muscles relax), why it would help nerve pain was less clear. A new study on rats to be printed in The Journal of Physiology confirms our clinical experience that magnesium decreases nerve pain — while also pointing to how it works.

A major mechanism of pain is the excessive stimulation of a brain chemical called “NMDA.” The few medications that help decrease and balance this pain-carrying neurotransmitter have the downside of causing significant side effects. Magnesium seems to settle down NMDA without the toxicity. The upside of magnesium is that is very inexpensive (pennies a dose). The downside is that it hasn’t yet made it through the FDA approval process.

The good news is that you don't have to wait for the FDA. Magnesium can be found in supplement form at most health food stores. And magnesium oxide, though not as well absorbed, can also be found for about a nickel per 500 mg tablet.

For an especially powerful effect, the magnesium can be used intravenously, and is an important tool used by most holistic physicians (including those at the Fibromyalgia and Fatigue Centers). Many holistic physicians use IV magnesium to eliminate an acute migraine headache. It has even been shown to ease the incredibly severe nerve pain that can sometimes be seen in pancreatic cancer. It is also very helpful for settling down fibromyalgia pain, which has a muscle and nerve component.

The authors of the study suggest that magnesium deficiency can be a major amplifier of pain. Because of food processing, most people are magnesium deficient. If you have pain, taking magnesium each day can start to decrease these deficiencies as well as the pain, after just several weeks — while also leaving you feeling more energetic. (If you have kidney problems, do not use without your physician's OK.)

Magnesium and Teeth Grinding

Magnesium's vital role in nerve and muscle function led at least two researchers to the suspicion that bruxism may be traceable to insufficient consumption, or inefficient utilization, of this metal. A magnesium-deficient diet is said to cause frequent teeth grinding in both sleeping and awake pigs (cf. Lehvila, 1994, p. 219). In humans, the suggested treatment involves magnesium supplements. According to Ploceniak (1990), for instance, prolonged magnesium administration nearly always provides a cure for bruxism. This confirms the earlier report of Lehvila (1974), which claimed remarkable reductions in the frequency and duration of grinding episodes (and at times, their complete cessation) in six patients who took, once a day, a tablet of assorted vitamins and minerals (which included 25 mg {in children} or 100 mg {in adults} of magnesium), for at least five weeks. When the intake of supplements stopped, the symptoms returned.

The proverb “you are what you eat” is very true. Simple diet changes can help your teeth grinding problems. A powerful natural item to be included in your Teeth Grinding Diet for immediate relief is magnesium. A deficiency in magnesium levels is suspected to be one of the causes of many health problems, inducing teeth grinding, migraines, headaches and diabetes.

An important factor in magnesium deficiencies is alcohol intake. The difference between a hangover and a magnesium deficiency can be hard to distinguish. The sensitivity to light and noise and headache are characteristic of both.

Teeth grinding is one medical condition that is associated with vitamin deficiencies, in particular calcium and magnesium. A person who is deficient in their magnesium level will find that their bodies regulate and metabolize calcium in a much less beneficial way, leading to a lower level of bone density.


A magnesium deficiency is not uncommon in this country.  Processing and refining of foods removes most of the magnesium, which is not replaced during the enrichment process.  Also, cooking, freezing, and canning destroys magnesium, so eat the foods listed below.  Chemical fertilization, our most common farming method, depletes the soil of magnesium, whereas organic gardening does not.  Soft-water, which is typical of drinking supplies in many areas of this country, lacks the magnesium content of hard water.  Feel lucky if your soap doesn't lather well, that's a sign of hard water and high magnesium content.  Don't use a water softener for the water you drink. 

More than half of the human body's magnesium is found in bone, the rest is in cells, soft tissues, muscle, and blood.  If magnesium is lacking in the diet, it is taken from bone to insure an adequate amount exists in blood.  Calcium and magnesium are closely related in their body functions and must be in proper proportion.  One part magnesium should be accompanied by approximately two parts calcium.  (Note that the RDA's are not in that proportion.  They are way off-=1 to 10 instead of 1 to 2.)  There is a reciprocal relationship between calcium and magnesium in muscle functioning, calcium stimulates muscles and magnesium relaxes muscles.  Remeber that the heart is a muscle and needs calcium to stay healthy.  Excess calcium may cause a magnesium deficiency.

A deficiency of manganese may lead to atherosclerosis, confusion, convulsions, eye problems, hearing problems, heart disorders, high cholesterol levels, hypertension, irritability, memory loss muscle conpulse, teeth grinding, tremors, and a tendency toward breast ailments.

Functions In The Human Body

Necessary in formation of bones and teeth.  Activates enzymes which help the body use energy from food.  Controls blood pressure.  Regulates body temperature.  Regulates acid-alkaline balance in the body.  Helps in the manufacture of protein, RNA, and DNA.  Used in muscle contraction and relaxation and in nerve functioning.  Helps with constipation by acting as a laxative and flushing out intestines.  Neutralizes stomach acid.  Helps stiff joints. 

Deficiency Symptoms

Magnesium deficiency is sometimes hard to recognize because the symptoms may be linked to other problems or deficiencies.  Severe defiency symptoms include weak muscles, muscle spasms, poor coordination, tremors or convulsions, hypertension, loss of appetite, depression, apprehensiveness, change in personality, a desire to commit suicide, confusion, nausea, gastrointestinal problems, hair loss, swollen gums, irregular heartbeat, calcium deposits in the kidneys, heart, and blood vessels.  Long term magnesium defiency can cause heart and cardiovascular problems.  All of these can cause magnesium deficiency: stress, alcohol, diuretics, highly refined processed foods, lack of protein in the diet, a high carbohydrate diet, too much calcium in the diet, vomiting, diarrhea, and taking too many diuretics.  Magnesium deficiency can cause painful uterine contractions in women in the later stages of pregnancy. 

Toxicity Symptoms

Toxicity is unlikely, being that the kidneys excrete excess magnesium.  If kidneys are not functioning properly, as in the aged and in those with kidney problems, magnesium toxicity may result.  People with kidney problems should not take magnesium supplements unless their doctors approve.  Symptoms include weakness, lethargy, drowsiness, and difficulty breathing.

Life Extension Neuro-Mag L-Threonate $28 w/free shipping
Jarrow MindMag $22.17, buy two and get free shipping
Vitacost has the same Life Extension brand for $30 and a Vitacost brand for $27.


Through Skin
A recent paper by Rosemary Waring from Birmingham has been very helpful. She did experiments with people looking at the absorption of Epsom Salts in the bath. A 15 minute bath at 50ÂșC with a 1% solution of Epsom Salts caused significant rises in plasma magnesium and sulphate levels together with an increase in magnesium excretion in the urine. To achieve a 1% solution, a standard UK bath of 15 gallons requires 600grams, (just over a 1lb) of Epson Salts. The water should feel slightly soapy. In this experiment there were no adverse effects, indeed 2 of the volunteers who were over 60 years of age commented without prompting that their rheumatic pains had disappeared.

RDA in mg:

Males and Females
0 to 630
7 to 1275


Sources of Magnesium

The largest quanitities of manganese are found in avocadoes, nuts and seeds, seaweed, and whole grains. This mineral may also be found in blueberries, egg yolks, legumes, dried peas, pineapples, and green leafy vegetables. Herbs that contain manganese include alfalfa, burdock root, catnip, chamomile, chickweed, dandelion, eyebright, fennel seed, fenugreek, ginseng, jops, lemongrass, mullein, parsley, peppermint, rasberry, red clover, rose hips, wild yam, yarrow, and yellow dock.

World's Healthiest Foods ranked as quality sources of
Foods Rating
Swiss Chard1 cup cooked35.0150.5037.619.4excellent
Spinach1 cup cooked41.4156.6039.117.0excellent
Sea Vegetables0.25 cup8.624.206.012.7very good
Basil2 tsp7.011.823.07.6good
Turnip Greens1 cup cooked28.831.687.94.9very good
Summer Squash1 cup raw18.
Pumpkin Seeds0.25 cup180.3190.9247.74.8very good
Mustard Greens1 cup cooked21. good
Cumin1 tsp15.815.373.84.4good
Blackstrap Molasses2 tsp32.129.397.34.1very good
Cucumber1 cup15.613.523.43.9good
Dill2 tsp12.810.752.73.8good
Romaine Lettuce2 cups16.
Cloves2 tsp13.611.092.83.7good
Green Beans1 cup raw31. good
Collard Greens1 cup cooked49.438.009.53.5very good
Halibut4 oz-wt158.8121.3430.33.4very good
Flax Seeds2 tbs74.854.8813.73.3good
Mustard Seeds2 tsp20.314.803.73.3good
Asparagus1 cup raw26.818.764.73.2good
Celery1 cup16.
Kale1 cup cooked36.423.405.82.9good
Broccoli1 cup raw30.919.114.82.8good
Sesame Seeds0.25 cup206.3126.3631.62.8good
Tomatoes1 cup raw32.419.805.02.8good
Cauliflower1 cup raw26.816.054.02.7good
Mushrooms, Shiitake87 g29.617.404.32.6good
Eggplant1 cup raw19.711.482.92.6good
Sunflower Seeds0.25 cup204.4113.7528.42.5good
Buckwheat1 cup154.685.6821.42.5good
Fennel1 cup raw27.014.793.72.5good
Quinoa42.50 g156.483.7220.92.4good
Beets1 cup raw58.531.287.82.4good
Brussels Sprouts1 cup raw37.820.245.12.4good
Black Beans1 cup cooked227.0120.4030.12.4good
Cashews0.25 cup189.5100.0425.02.4good
Soybeans1 cup cooked297.6147.9237.02.2good
Scallops4 oz-wt127.062.3715.62.2good
Almonds0.25 cup206.098.6724.72.2good
Green Peas1 cup raw115.753.7213.42.1good
Tuna4 oz-wt157.672.5718.12.1good
Leeks1 cup raw54.324.926.22.1good
Raspberries1 cup64.
Strawberries1 cup46.118.724.71.8good
Tofu4 oz-wt86.
Tempeh4 oz-wt cooked222.387.3221.81.8good
Brown Rice1 cup216.483.8521.01.7good
Bell Peppers1 cup raw28.511.042.81.7good
Spelt4 oz-wt246.495.0623.81.7good
Wheat1 cup cooked151.158.2414.61.7good
Oats1 cup cooked166.163.1815.81.7good
Navy Beans1 cup cooked254.896.4624.11.7good
Lima Beans1 cup cooked216.280.8420.21.7good
Millet1 cup cooked207.176.5619.11.7good
Cantaloupe1 cup54.419.204.81.6good
Winter Squash1 cup baked75.826.656.71.6good
Pinto Beans1 cup cooked244.585.5021.41.6good
Shrimp4 oz-wt112.338.569.61.5good
Watermelon1 cup45.615.203.81.5good
Kidney Beans1 cup cooked224.874.3418.61.5good
Rye0.33 cup188.561.3515.31.5good
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