SUPPORTING PROTOCOLS FOR REJUVENATION: MAGNESIUM CHLORIDE
In this article I present another supporting protocol in our Master Rejuvenation Program: the Magnesium Chloride Program. Magnesium chloride is a unique form of magnesium that allows for transdermal (i.e., via the skin) application to the body. Products such as Ancient Minerals Magnesium Oil facilitate absorption and assimilation of magnesium chloride through topical application. This means you gain benefits quickly and effectively, and the results can often be dramatic. (Note: this article is part seven in a nine part Rejuvenation Program series and the second of three articles about supporting protocols within the program.)
Magnesium is among the most important minerals for health and vitality. All living cells need magnesium. In the body, magnesium is concentrated in the skeletal system (including skeletal muscles) indicating its importance for bones, muscles, and connective tissue. Magnesium is also concentrated within cells where it plays essential roles for the production of energy (ATP) and in enzyme reactions critical for life.
Magnesium also provides specific benefits for specific health concerns. These benefits include positive effects for the cardiovascular system, strokes and head injuries, hypertension, pain, migraine headaches, hormone imbalances, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, osteoporosis, premenstrual syndrome, diabetes, depression, and other conditions.
Magnesium specifically is important for the metabolism of many biologically active nutrients and substances, including calcium, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, sodium, lead, cadmium, hydrochloric acid (HCl), acetylcholine, and nitric oxide (NO). It is required for more than 325 magnesium-dependent enzymes, cellular homeostasis, and activation of the B vitamin thiamin.
Magnesium also mediates the functions of the nervous and endocrine systems, supports proper muscle and nerve function, stabilizes heart rhythm, helps to regulate blood sugar levels, and supports normal blood pressure. Magnesium is important in energy metabolism and the synthesis of proteins. The majority of magnesium within the nucleus of cells is closely connected with nucleic acids and mononucleotides. In fact, magnesium helps to maintain the structural integrity of DNA.
MAGNESIUM DEFICIENCY IS THE STATUS QUO
The US Daily Value (DV) for magnesium is about 320 mg per day for women and more than 400 mg per day for men. Yet, studies show that most people regularly consume about half that amount via diet.
Government studies indicate that at least two thirds of Americans fail to obtain the Daily Value, which itself represents a minimum amount rather than an optimal amount. Up to 90% (or more) of the population may therefore exhibit magnesium status that is less than optimal. Current research reveals that a lack of magnesium may put your health at significant risk because many adverse conditions relate to magnesium deficiency.
Magnesium is present in foods in varying amounts. Among foods highest in magnesium are pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and sesame seeds. Nuts that are good sources of magnesium include almonds, walnuts, and cashews. Legumes providing good amounts of magnesium include lentils, and beans (e.g., lima, pinto, and kidney beans). Green leafy vegetables and whole grains also provide magnesium.
A diet that includes magnesium rich foods is important. However, the fact that the majority of Americans do not receive even the minimum amount suggested for health indicates that food sources alone may not provide adequate magnesium. Even when individuals consume adequate amounts of dietary magnesium, there are factors that compromise full absorption and utilization of it.
Indeed, rates of uptake and absorption of dietary magnesium not only depend upon the amount available in foods, but also upon other factors. These include digestive health, the viability of enzyme systems, acid-alkaline balance in the body, the presence of other minerals that support magnesium uptake, levels of physical activity, stress, etc. In addition, certain substances (e.g., alcohol, caffeine, sugar) deplete magnesium in the body.
One of the primary reasons for low magnesium intake is mineral depletion of soils. It may take decades (or centuries) to replenish magnesium levels in depleted soils. Decreased levels of magnesium found in food crops grown in such soils are lowered further by food processing methods that strip nutrients. Consuming organically grown whole foods is part of the solution. However, magnesium supplementation offers an effective means by which to supply this critically needed nutrient.
Oral magnesium supplements can be beneficial. Yet, adequately replenishing magnesium levels in the body using diet and dietary supplements can take weeks, months, or longer (depending on the degree of deficiency) because when a state of deficiency pre-exists in the body, it takes longer to restore sufficient levels.
Cells depleted of magnesium produce less energy (as ATP), which is needed to pump magnesium into cells. As cellular magnesium levels rise (and ATP production increases), cells have greater capacity for utilizing available magnesium. Therefore, a state of deficiency may persist until the body can more effectively utilize available magnesium.
Magnesium is absorbed far more rapidly (i.e., than oral supplements or diet) when applied transdermally (i.e., across the skin). That is, transdermal application is more effective at raising magnesium levels in the body than most other methods (except perhaps direct injection). For this reason, transdermal magnesium therapy is a preferred modality not only for overcoming deficiencies, but also for maintaining levels of magnesium required for health.
MAGNESIUM CHLORIDE MOST EFFECTIVE FOR TRANSERMAL MAGNESIUM THERAPY
There are distinct advantages to obtaining magnesium via transdermal application. These advantages include rapid absorption, easier dosing (because the body will only absorb as much as it needs) including the capacity to absorb large amounts of magnesium, the ability to apply magnesium to local areas (where it especially may be needed), and other benefits related to direct application (e.g., pain relief, muscle relaxation, wound healing, and support for skin health).
The most effective form of magnesium for transdermal application is magnesium chloride (MgCl2). Other forms are used for this purpose, especially magnesium sulfate (i.e., epsom salts). However, magnesium chloride is better absorbed, retained, and utilized than magnesium sulfate. Magnesium chloride is the form most easily recognized and used by the body for transdermal magnesium therapy.
Magnesium oil is ideal for use directly on skin (full strength or diluted) or in baths or footbaths.
Magnesium flakes are useful for baths and footbaths, or for making ‘oil’ on an as needed basis. Magnesium flakes are useful when traveling because they are dry (non-liquid) and easily portable.
Magnesium gel is primarily used for skin conditions (e.g., psoriasis) or other applications where magnesium is needed on the surface of the skin. The gel can be applied and then removed when convenient.
We highly recommend Ancient Minerals brand magnesium oil, magnesium flakes, and magnesium gel. Ancient Minerals products provide ultra-pure, highly concentrated magnesium chloride derived from the ancient Zechstein seabed in northern Europe.
Ancient Minerals magnesium is extremely pure because the seabed lies 1,600 to 2,000 meters beneath the surface of the earth, where it has been protected for 250 million years. It provides high levels of magnesium and trace elements from pure, unpolluted deposits found in this ancient sea.
We include the Magnesium Chloride Program as a supporting protocol in our Master Rejuvenation Program because there is no better means to rapidly and safely boost magnesium levels in the body. Individuals who follow this protocol can reap the many benefits of magnesium for greater health.
BENEFITS OF MAGNESIUM CHLORIDE
Magnesium, as previously noted, is necessary for the production of energy (ATP or adenosine triphosphate) in the body. When the body receives adequate amounts of magnesium, it can produce the levels of energy required to sustain the body and enable it to thrive.
It is precisely because energy (as ATP) is required for the health of human organism that the critical role magnesium plays in energy production is gaining increased recognition by individuals interested in nutrition and natural health. All organ systems depend on energy. Because magnesium can increase cellular energy, it thereby has the capacity to improve the health of the entire human body (i.e., all organ systems) by providing the energy for sustaining them.
Magnesium, therefore, provides powerful benefits to many tissues and organs, including the heart (cardiac muscle), brain, blood vessels, skin, etc. Protocols have been developed for successfully using transdermally applied magnesium chloride to help prevent and support conditions as diverse as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, neurological diseases, and strokes.
Beyond major degenerative conditions, magnesium chloride is proven for use in a variety of general applications, including bruises, cramps (and muscle tension), and migraine headaches. Magnesium is critical for cell metabolism. It helps to transport other minerals across cell membranes and affects cell mechanisms controlling muscle and nerve cell activity. Research suggests cardiac muscle is more sensitive to magnesium intake than skeletal muscle.
Transdermal application of magnesium chloride is particularly useful for relieving sore muscles and joints, and reducing pain related to functional magnesium deficiency. It is also proven for use in helping to calm ‘nerves’ and reduce systemic bodily stress.
Because topically applied magnesium chloride targets muscle tissues (i.e., it is rapidly absorbed by muscles), it is especially useful for replenishing depleted soft tissues and helping restore proper function that may be reduced by less than adequate magnesium stores.
MAGNESIUM FOR PAIN RELIEF
One of the most significant benefits of using magnesium chloride is the relief of pain. Magnesium both works to block pain reception and also can act on the sources of pain. It thereby can positively affect the causes of pain, rather than merely relieving the symptoms of it. Such causes of pain may relate to inflammation, toxicity, cell wall rigidity, mineral deficiencies or imbalances, etc.
Some specialists in chronic pain estimate, for example, that approximately 70% of cases in which individuals suffer from muscle pain, cramps, and/or fatigue that is associated with the symptoms as varied fibromyalgia, migraines, and constipation, are showing signs of magnesium deficiency.
Dr. Mildred Seelig, a pioneering magnesium researcher at the University of North Carolina, has asserted that magnesium deficiency causes much needless suffering from pain, including the pain associated with fibromyalgia, muscle cramps, and migraine headaches (Transdermal Magnesium Therapy 279).
Muscle, joint, and connective tissue pain can be exacerbated by higher intakes of calcium, and especially when large amounts of additional calcium are taken for the purpose of strengthening these tissues. An overabundance of calcium flushes magnesium out of cells, reducing its availability for reducing pain. In addition, this mineral imbalance can significantly compromise the effectiveness both of calcium and magnesium (i.e., because magnesium is needed for the proper uptake and assimilation of calcium) (see more below).
If there already exists a state of magnesium depletion in the body (e.g., due to endemically low levels in the diet), then magnesium levels may drop to exceedingly low levels. In such extreme states of deficiency, magnesium simply is not available to block pain effectively, or to fulfill properly its many roles in the body.
Perhaps the primary reason that magnesium is highly effective for relieving pain is that it is a non-competitive antagonist of the N-Methyl-D-Aspartate (NMDA) receptor site. The NMDA receptor plays a critical role in the bodily mechanisms relating to central sensitization in the spinal cord. This sensitization is involved in the establishment of chronic neuropathic pain. It is notable that a centrally positioned magnesium ion has the ability to block the NMDA receptor site.
Dr. Sircus states that NMDA receptor activation and release of pro-pain substances including substance P, nerve growth factor, brain derived nerve factor, and nitric oxide are believed to “drive the process of central sensitization” in the spinal cord (Transdermal 281).
Transdermally absorbed magnesium increases the magnesium concentration gradient between cell membranes and extracellular fluid, and thereby blocks the NMDA receptor. This is one of the mechanisms that allows magnesium to bring immediate pain relief.
While a centrally positioned magnesium ion can block the NMDA receptor site, reduced levels of magnesium inhibit the body’s capacity to block the NMDA receptor site. When the NMDA receptor site is not adequately blocked, one result can be higher levels of pain in the body.
When low levels of magnesium result in reduced capacity to block the NMDA receptor site, central sensitization of the spinal cord is more likely to occur. Under such circumstances, wherein the NMDA receptor site is not blocked adequately, it is evident that low magnesium status not only can contribute to higher levels of acute or immediate pain, but can also lead to the establishment of chronic neuropathic pain.
Abundant magnesium levels in the body provide for the relief of pain and for prevention (or mitigation) of chronic neuropathic pain by preventing central sensitization of the spinal cord. In this way, magnesium helps lessen and prevent acute and chronic pain. Transdermal magnesium therapy rapidly increases magnesium concentration between extracellular fluid and cell membranes, thereby enabling blockage of the NMDA receptor, and bringing relief from pain.
Magnesium not only can block pain at the receptor site, but it also can function to partly or completely act against the source of pain. As Dr. Sircus notes, these sources of pain may relate to inflammation, cell wall rigidity, lack of energy (ATP), or a lack of enzymes (i.e., magnesium is needed for enzyme function throughout the body). He finds magnesium chloride (e.g., magnesium oil) therefore to be an ideal solution for natural pain relief.
Transdermal magnesium therapy elevates the concentration gradient of magnesium between cell membranes and the extracellular fluid to levels necessary both to block pain reception and positively affect calcium-magnesium ratios in cells. Dr. Sircus notes that only transdermal (or intravenous) magnesium administration can rapidly elevate magnesium levels in the body in quantities large enough to relieve pain.
Because of the safety and effectiveness of transdermal application of magnesium chloride, and the ability of individuals to administer magnesium transdermally at home, and in a cost effective way, Dr. Sircus hardly stands alone in his firm belief in the powers of magnesium chloride for pain relief and healing.
MAGNESIUM IMPROVES CALCIUM ASSIMILATION
Ever more scientific evidence points to the importance of magnesium for the uptake and assimilation of calcium. That is, whereas the proper ratio of calcium to magnesium intake once was believed to be 4:1 or 2:1, new evidence suggests that this ratio may be 1:1 or even 1:2 in order to facilitate higher assimilation of calcium.
Researchers estimate that the ratio of calcium to magnesium intake is fast approaching 6:1, which represents an all-time high whose cause is our perpetually increasing calcium intakes relative to declining (or static) magnesium intakes (Transdermal 52). In fact, calcium intake continues to rise even while magnesium deficiency grows more widespread in the US and the world.
It is notable that high calcium intakes contribute to mineral imbalances, complications from the deposition of excess calcium in body tissues, and to magnesium deficiencies, especially because magnesium intakes rarely meet or exceed calcium intakes.
Magnesium is not only essential for proper calcium absorption, but it is also an important mineral in bone matrix (Transdermal 57). The bottom line is that magnesium is a rate-limiting factor for the uptake of calcium. A higher intake of magnesium therefore likely would increase your absorption of calcium, and thereby allow this calcium to be used, for example, to build stronger bones in your body.
Magnesium oil applied transdermally is more rapidly and effectively assimilated than oral forms of magnesium. The application of magnesium chloride transdermally, therefore, is an ideal method for improving the health of connective tissues and the skeletal system through greater assimilation of nutrients (e.g., calcium) needed for the maintenance of their structural integrity.
One of the reasons for the powerful effect of magnesium on calcium is that magnesium balances calcium in the body. So not only will proper levels of magnesium assist the body in assimilating calcium, but magnesium is needed to balance the effects of calcium throughout the body
In relation to the commonly observed phenomenon of osteoporosis in modern, western society, Dr. Mark Sircus notes that it is magnesium, not calcium, that is the key to preventing and reversing this problem of epidemic proportions among women, and especially older women.
For without adequate magnesium levels, the body cannot properly process or absorb calcium, and therefore calcium may be sequestered in the body as calcifications or calcium deposits (i.e., rather than helping bones to become stronger or more dense). These calcifications potentially can be dangerous, and represent an inadvertent consequence of an overabundance of calcium in the diet (through milk or other dairy products, calcium supplements, etc.) relative to the intake of magnesium.
Moreover, calcium deposits in the body result not only from overabundance of calcium intake relative to magnesium intake, but also from magnesium deficiencies caused by chronic overconsumption of calcium.
Chronic magnesium deficiency accelerates deposition of unabsorbed calcium in the body. When magnesium no longer is available to fulfill its role in providing energy for ATPase (the enzyme that uses energy (as ATP) to pump excess calcium from cells), then calcium accumulates in cells, tissues, and organs.
As cells undergo calcification, the capacity of ATPase to remove calcium is overwhelmed by an overabundance of calcium ions. ATPase function then declines and magnesium is blocked from transport into cells. Cell membranes calcify and become rigid, blocking both transport of magnesium (and other nutrients) into cells and preventing removal of toxins (e.g., heavy metals) out from cells. The body normally maintains a concentration of magnesium within cells that is approximately 10,000 times greater than calcium (Seelig 15).
After an overabundance of calcium ions enters cells, magnesium ion concentration can precipitously decline. This describes the process of calcification of cells caused by overabundance of calcium relative to magnesium. The process may be characterized as a positive feedback loop whereby increasing levels of calcium lead to reduced cellular energy production, ineffective cell transport systems, and reduced levels of magnesium, which is then replaced by additional calcium.
When the amount of calcium increases to levels beyond the capacities for cells to remove it, deposits form that can appear anywhere in the body. This process of calcification has negative impacts upon health, including significant adverse effects on detoxification systems, antioxidant systems, cellular energy production, glucose metabolism, nervous system excitation, and acceleration of the aging process.
Abnormal deposits of calcium have significant negative consequences for health. This is because calcium that is not absorbed can freely lodge anywhere in the body and provoke a range of health conditions (Transdermal 54). When unabsorbed calcium lodges in the heart, for example, it can lead to arterial lesions. When it lodges in bones or joints it may lead to arthritic conditions. Depending upon where in the body excess calcium is deposited, other adverse effects can include high blood calcium levels (hypercalcemia) (itself a known cause of magnesium deficiency), kidney stones, kidney complications, hypertension, stroke, gastrointestinal disorders, chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, mood disorders, mineral imbalances (e.g., imbalances with zinc, iron, phosphorus, and other minerals), and many other health-related conditions (Transdermal 60). In addition, elevated calcium levels interfere with the activity of Vitamin D and thereby can inhibit its protective effects in cancer (Transdermal 60).
It is well known that the tendency of the mineral calcium in the body is to rigidify or to make muscles and cellular structures more rigid, whereas the tendency of the mineral magnesium is to relax muscles or cause cellular structures to become more flexible.
Too much calcium rigidifies the body, and without the moderating and balancing effects of magnesium, may lead to a loss of proper cell function, or certainly to a less than optimal balance of calcium to magnesium (and subsequently to diminished cellular viability). In addition, a high-blood level of calcium (hypercalcemia) is closely associated with various disease states, and its primary origin most likely is a deficiency in magnesium (Transdermal 56).
It is also generally known that mineral imbalances can have significant consequences for health and well-being. While calcium is a mineral very important for health, the public (and doctors, nutritionists, and health care professionals) have not adequately been made aware of the roles magnesium plays, and especially its complex interrelationships with calcium. This lack of awareness is tantamount to a disservice to public health when it leads to ever more calls for increased calcium intake (without comparable recommendations for increasing intake of magnesium) because the evidence shows that increasing calcium by itself is not the solution to osteoporosis.
If increased calcium intake by itself were the solution to osteoporosis, then it would not continue to remain such a widespread problem, particularly for women. Magnesium, including magnesium chloride in the form of magnesium oil, can play a significant role in helping health-conscious individuals to improve their bone density and to prevent or mitigate the processes leading to osteoporosis and less than optimal skeletal health.
According to one study, higher magnesium intakes through diet and supplementation were positively associated with higher total body bone mineral density (BMD) both in men and women. It was shown that every 100 mg per day increase in magnesium results in approximately a 2% increase in whole body bone mineral density (Transdermal 57). These results are not surprising given the fact that magnesium in known to strengthen bones and teeth.
As much as half the body’s stores of magnesium are found in bones. Dr. Alan Gaby has noted the association between the lack of magnesium and abnormal calcium crystals in bones (as well as adequate magnesium levels and normal calcium crystals in bones). He also finds that low magnesium levels can cause abnormalities of calcium metabolism resulting in the formation of calcium deposits in the body (e.g., within soft tissues) where calcium is not supposed to accumulate.
Higher magnesium intakes, therefore, are warranted for nearly all adults, and especially for women, who by age seventy may only absorb two-thirds of the amount of dietary magnesium as they did earlier in adulthood. At least one study shows that the majority of women over age forty are low in magnesium.
Human bones and teeth contain about 1% phosphate of magnesium. Elephant tusks contain 2% phosphate of magnesium, and the teeth of carnivores (that require exceptional hardness for crushing the bones of their prey) average nearly 5% phosphate of magnesium (Transdermal 57). It may therefore be seen that the hardness not only of bones but also of teeth depends critically upon an adequate supply of magnesium, and upon an appropriate balance between magnesium and calcium.
Magnesium also is needed for the activation of alkaline phosphatase, which is an enzyme involved in the formation of calcium crystals within bone, as well as for converting Vitamin D into its biologically active form (Transdermal 60). It therefore may be seen that the mechanisms by which magnesium strengthens bones and teeth, connective tissues, and joints, as well as improves the health of skin, are complex and relate both to its unique relationship to calcium, and also to its relationships with many other minerals, including potassium, selenium, and zinc.
Not only does magnesium play an important role for proper calcium assimilation, it also prevents abnormal calcification of tissues. Calcification of tissues (including calcium deposits in soft tissues) has become a persistent problem partly because of increased calcium consumption in Western society.
While increased calcium consumption (whether via dairy products or nutritional supplements) is primarily a result of efforts to increase bone density and prevent osteopenia and osteoporosis, the cumulative effect of greater calcium intake without correspondingly higher magnesium intake is weaker bones and abnormal calcification of tissues. This unintended consequence therefore relates directly to a mineral balance that overly favors calcium relative to magnesium.
The mechanisms behind the failure of increased intake of calcium to strengthen bones relates not only to the ability of magnesium to increase calcium uptake into bone tissue, but also to the role of magnesium in providing energy (ATP) to cells. Magnesium is required to provide ATP to pump excess calcium from cells.
When ATP levels drop and remain too low, then a lack of energy can contribute to a lower rate of calcium removal from cells. In this scenario, a positive feedback loop becomes established whereby increasingly high calcium levels reduce the uptake of magnesium. As magnesium levels gradually decrease, ATP levels can fall in lockstep, ultimately reducing the capacity of the cell to pump away excess calcium (Transdermal 96–97).
When pumping capacities of cells become compromised due to lack of energy, the body loses its ability to remove excess calcium, whereupon calcium accumulates within cells causing rigidity of cellular membranes. Cells no longer can function properly, and when this scenario is repeated over time within hundreds of thousands or millions of cells, deposits of calcium can inevitably form clusters within soft tissues throughout the body. Such deposits can constitute a significant health risk and contribute to suffering, for example, when they prevent proper movement of joints or cause fusions in skeletal components, like vertebrae.
Another significant result of the loss of pumping capacity within cells during magnesium deficiency (or relative overabundance of calcium) is that heavy metals (e.g., lead, mercury, arsenic) are less effectively removed from cells. These toxic metals then bio-accumulate within cells. In this way, magnesium supports detoxification of toxic heavy metals via its role in the production of cellular energy.
When calcium levels reach the threshold where they inhibit uptake of magnesium, for example, the result is reduced production of ATP and lessened pumping capacity within cells. The body then cannot reverse the process of calcification (and rigidification) of cell membranes and reduced capacity to detoxify heavy metals, at least until adequate magnesium levels are restored.
MAGNESIUM CHLORIDE FOR HEALTHIER HEARTS
Beyond the roles played by magnesium in helping to prevent osteoporosis and to increase bone density, Dr. Mark Sircus notes that cultures in which the ratio of calcium to magnesium intake is low (e.g., Japan) enjoy superior cardiovascular health and relatively low rates of cardiac death. Conversely, cultures consuming the highest ratios of calcium to magnesium (e.g., Australia, USA, and Scandinavian countries) exhibit among the highest rates of cardiovascular diseases in the world.
It is clear to Dr. Sircus and others that cultures (and individuals) maintaining high magnesium intakes generally do not suffer from heart-related diseases to anywhere near the same degree in comparison to cultures (and individuals) not maintaining high intakes (i.e., those consuming relatively lower intakes of magnesium).
Dr. Sircus notes that the Japanese, for example, derive most of their magnesium from consuming sea vegetables and single-cell algae (e.g., chlorella and spirulina), and a wide variety ocean-related food sources. The daily intake of magnesium in Japan may be as high as 560 milligrams. It is also worth noting that the Japanese have among the lowest intakes of calcium from dairy products and exhibit one of the lowest mortality rates in the world.
Traditional cultures whose diets include an abundance of magnesium chloride do not appear to suffer from the high incidences of diseases of the heart that are witnessed in cultures or among peoples where modern western diets are predominant, or in places where the consumption of over-processed, nutritionally-depleted (and magnesium-depleted) food sources has become prevalent, that is, throughout much of the civilized world.
Transdermal application of magnesium chloride (e.g., as magnesium oil), however, may present the simplest and most highly effective means for most people to quickly and easily obtain optimal amounts of magnesium they require for abundant health. Magnesium is our heart’s best friend. Providing the heart with an easily assimilated form of magnesium (the mineral most needed for sustaining cardiovascular health) best promotes a heart-healthy lifestyle.
Specific beneficial effects of magnesium chloride on cardiovascular health are well known to researchers and to health care professionals. Beneficial effects include preventing or reducing spasms within blood vessels in the heart, reducing calcium deposits in arteries (a known risk factor for artery blockages and thromboses), fighting inflammation in blood vessels (as measured by reduced levels of C-reactive protein), reducing homocysteine levels, and regulating the synthesis of cholesterol (by inhibiting the enzyme required for cholesterol synthesis). In particular, magnesium can raise HDL cholesterol and lower LDL cholesterol (Seelig 126).
MAGNESIUM REGULATES CHOLESTEROL LEVELS
Magnesium regulates blood cholesterol by playing a pivotal role in the function of the enzyme responsible for its synthesis in the body. This enzyme is known as HMG-CoA reductase (3-hydroxy-3-methyl-glutaryl-CoA reductase). Magnesium deactivates this enzyme, which is the rate-limiting enzyme controlling the conversion of HMG-CoA (3-hydroxy-3-methyl-glutaryl-CoA) into the compound mevalonate (a fatty acid derivative).
When this first step in the mevalonate pathway is inhibited by the deactivation of HMG-CoA reductase by magnesium and ATP (magnesium-ATP complex), then cholesterol production correspondingly is reduced (Seelig 127). The final result is less formation of cholesterol.
When magnesium levels remain sufficiently high, then the body can inhibit the enzyme HMG-CoA reductase whenever necessary. However, when there is magnesium deficiency, cholesterol synthesis increases because the conversion of HMG-CoA to mevalonate is enhanced (i.e., lacking inhibition of the enzyme HMG-CoA reductase by magnesium).
Without the presence of sufficient magnesium, the body cannot prevent the synthesis of cholesterol from proceeding beyond amounts normally required for synthesizing important steroid hormones (estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, glucocorticoids, etc.) and Vitamin D. In these circumstances, cholesterol synthesis proceeds uninhibited by enzyme deactivation (i.e., at a greater rate than would be possible if adequate levels of magnesium were available to deactivate the enzyme HMG-CoA reductase and thereby block conversion of mevalonate into cholesterol.
Sufficient magnesium levels in the body do not prevent the synthesis of cholesterol needed for health (e.g., inactivated HMG-CoA reductase can be reactivated by other enzymes, some of which require magnesium for proper function). Yet, by selectively inhibiting the enzyme HMG-CoA reductase, magnesium-ATP complex can prevent the overproduction of cholesterol, a known risk factor in cardiovascular health conditions.
Moreover, through its role in reducing homocysteine levels, magnesium helps prevent the oxidation of cholesterol. Oxidized cholesterol is a major problem for cardiovascular health. Given that magnesium both regulates synthesis of cholesterol itself and reduces levels of the amino acid homocysteine (thereby lowering the oxidation of cholesterol), magnesium may be regarded as an essential nutrient for optimal health of the cardiovascular system.
MAGNESIUM CHLORIDE AND STROKE
According to Dr. Carolyn Dean, author of The Magnesium Miracle (2007), “Magnesium is important in lowering blood pressure, keeping the heart muscle from going into spasm, and lowering cholesterol, but it can help heal the damage in the brain caused by a stroke.” Dr. Sircus states that magnesium may reduce ischemic injury by increasing regional blood flow, antagonizing voltage-sensitive calcium channels, and blocking the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NDMA) receptor.
As a non-competitive NMDA receptor blocker, magnesium inhibits the release of excitatory neurotransmitters at the presynaptic level and blocks voltage-gated calcium channels. Magnesium simultaneously exerts vascular effects, including increased vasodilation and cardiac output, and prevents cerebral vasospasm (Transdermal 168).
Dr. Sircus points out that transdermally applied magnesium chloride offers advantages over other neuroprotective agents (such as intravenously administered magnesium sulfate) for preventing strokes. These advantages include lower cost, ease of use, and lack of side effects. He not only asserts that a gallon and a half of low cost magnesium chloride “would do more to prevent strokes safely without side effects, than any other single medicine,” but also that when “used transdermally after a stroke will reduce disability; and when combined with acupuncture and other nutritional and herbal interventions will prove to be the treatment of choice” (Transdermal 169).
MAGNESIUM PROVIDES ANTI-AGING EFFECTS INCREASES DHEA LEVELS NATURALLY
The synthesis of cholesterol depends on magnesium, as noted. Despite health conditions related to its overproduction, cholesterol is a vital component of many hormones. For example, magnesium is needed for the production of aldosterone, which notably regulates the balance of magnesium and other minerals in the body (Transdermal 237). It therefore may be seen that cholesterol is the mother of hormones produced in the adrenal cortex, including cortisone, hydrocortisone, aldosterone, and DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone).
It is known that reduced levels of the natural steroid DHEA (also known as the “youth and health hormone” and the “mother of all steroid hormones”) relate directly to magnesium deficiency. DHEA is considered a multi-functional steroid because it is involved in an extremely broad range of health-related biological processes, including supporting optimal metabolism, endocrine function, immune function, and stress response (Shealy 23).
The great importance of DHEA for human health is indicated by the fact that it is one of the most abundant steroids in the body and exerts antioxidant activity in vivo (Shealy 22). DHEA helps aging men and women improve muscle strength, lean body mass, retain youthful vitality, and feel better (Transdermal 237).
DHEA is produced by the adrenal glands, ovaries (in women), and is synthesized in small quantities de novo in the brain. DHEA is known to act directly upon androgen receptors. DHEA also acts upon androgen receptors via its metabolites (i.e., androstenediol and androstendione) that the body ultimately converts to testosterone, estrone, and estradiol. DHEA is therefore a pro-hormone for natural sex steroids.
Among other symptoms of deficiency, low levels of DHEA-S (dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate, the sulfate ester of DHEA) in men is associated with sexual dysfunction (Transdermal 237). DHEA-S has been shown to improve sexual desire and overall quality of life (237).
While synthetic DHEA is a popular nutritional supplement, evidence points to the greater safety and effectiveness of naturally produced (i.e., endogenous) DHEA, including lower risks from adverse effects (Transdermal 238). Enhanced natural production of DHEA is associated with physical exercise, adequate sleep (in accordance with circadian rhythms), stress reduction programs, meditation, acupuncture, caloric restriction, and natural progesterone supplementation (Shealy 28). In addition, magnesium chloride contributes to increased DHEA production in the body. However, unlike synthetic DHEA, the natural DHEA produced in the body when magnesium levels are high will not carry the risk factors associated with synthetic DHEA.
Dr. Norman Shealy reports that magnesium chloride gradually increases natural DHEA levels, especially when applied transdermally. He suggests that when the body is provided with adequate levels of magnesium at the cellular level, it naturally begins to produce higher levels of DHEA and DHEA-S (Transdermal 238–39). Because the body can convert DHEA to testosterone, many benefits of increased DHEA production likely are due to the effects of testosterone.
Optimal testosterone levels play an important role in many body functions, including maintaining muscle mass and bone density, regulation of blood sugar, uptake of oxygen by cells, immune system function, red blood cell production, maintaining cardiac muscle, neurological function, and sexual desire (and performance) (Transdermal 240). Testosterone, for example, is the hormone most closely associated with healthy sex drive in men and women. Increased libido in women is among the reported effects of transdermal magnesium therapy.
DHEA protects the entire body against the aging process. Low levels of DHEA are linked to aging and difficulties maintaining good health. Deficiencies of DHEA are known to correlate with maladies as diverse as chronic inflammation, immune dysfunction, depression, rheumatoid arthritis, type-II diabetic complications, excess body fat, cognitive decline, heart disease, and osteoporosis (Transdermal 241).
Dr. Sircus asserts that the role magnesium plays in the transmission of hormones (insulin, thyroid, estrogen, testosterone, DHEA), neurotransmitters (dopamine, serotonin) and mineral electrolytes is significant. That is, studies show that magnesium status is the factor that controls the potential of cell membranes. Therefore, it is the status of magnesium that controls uptake and release of hormones, nutrients, and neurotransmitters (242).
Because DHEA is one of the primary biomarkers of aging, the long-term effects of large amounts of magnesium (administered in a readily-usable form such as transdermal magnesium chloride) is the significant elevation of DHEA levels and the reversal of many of the symptoms of aging. DHEA provides natural protection from age-related conditions and from premature aging due to hormone imbalances. DHEA (like magnesium) is depleted by chronic stress. It is important that high levels of magnesium be sustained in order to gain the optimum benefits it provides in terms of DHEA production and balance in the endocrine system.
When the body is provided with an abundant supply of essential nutrients (including magnesium) that it needs to produce, regulate, and balance its own hormones (and that are known to support healthy endocrine function), then it is more likely that irregularities and deficiencies and the health-related problems that accompany them will decline or disappear. That is, proper nutrition that supports healthy endocrine function provides a foundation upon which good hormonal and reproductive health can be established and maintained.
Studies indicate the importance of magnesium for reproductive health not only in supporting reproductive organs and systems throughout life (for both genders), but also its importance in healthy pregnancy (from conception to birth) for mother and child, and maintaining the health of the reproductive system into middle age and beyond (236). The body requires sufficient levels of magnesium in order to achieve optimal health during the entire life cycle.
Given the fact that natural DHEA synthesis (i.e., endogenous production) in the body declines with advancing age (and the association of low DHEA levels with various health-related conditions, including diminished sex drive and performance), it appears that providing the body with the nutrients it requires to ensure optimal DHEA synthesis is a highly useful adjunct for supporting good health.
Transdermal application of magnesium chloride is an ideal means to provide the body with abundant levels of magnesium required to ensure optimal DHEA production. In turn, optimal DHEA production provides for natural synthesis of sex hormones and wide-ranging benefits throughout the body.
MAGNESIUM CHLORIDE A PROVEN ANTISEPTIC
Unlike any other form of magnesium, magnesium chloride is a known infection fighter. As early as 1915, the French surgeon, professor of clinical surgery, and French Academy of Sciences member Dr. Pierre Delbet (1861–1957) used magnesium chloride solution to cleanse wounds in soldiers injured during the First World War. He had searched for an antiseptic that could disinfect wounds, but would not damage tissue (and thereby encourage mortification) as did other antiseptics then available. He reported that magnesium chloride was superior to traditional antiseptics not only in its effectiveness in treating wounds, but also because it did not harm body tissues.
Dr. Delbet discovered that magnesium chloride solution increased leucocyte activity and phagocytosis (i.e., the destruction of pathogenic microbes) when applied externally (i.e., used transdermally). He performed numerous in vitro and in vivo studies using magnesium chloride solution. These experiments led to his discovery that magnesium chloride was a potent immune stimulant whether applied externally (i.e., transdermal application), injected intravenously, or taken by mouth (i.e., consumed orally). He termed this immunity boosting effect “cytophilaxis” (a cytophylactic is a substance that protects cells and encourages their healthy growth). In this regard, he observed increased phagocytosis (the engulfing of pathogens by white blood cells) by up to 300 percent. That is, white blood cells were three times more effective at destroying microbes than before administration of magnesium chloride.
Dr. Delbet’s discovery that magnesium chloride solution has tonic effects when consumed orally eventually led him to conclude that magnesium chloride has numerous beneficial effects on the whole organism. He went on to use magnesium chloride successfully in the treatment of a wide variety of conditions. These included colitis, bladder problems, temors and muscle cramps, Parkinson’s disease, acne, eczema, psoriasis, prostatic hypertrophy, cerebral and circulatory problems, asthma, hay fever, uticaria, and anaphylaxis. He also notes that hair and nails become healthier.
Dr. Delbet later investigated the use of magnesium chloride on abnormal tissue growth. He ultimately wrote several books, including Politique Préventive du Cancer (1944), in which he presents the results of his studies on magnesium chloride. Dr. Delbet considered magnesium a “miracle mineral.” He is remembered today for his groundbreaking studies of magnesium chloride and its health benefits, as well as for his advocacy of using it to improve health.
The pioneering efforts of Dr. Delbet were followed in the 1940s by fellow French physician Dr. A. Neveu. Dr. Neveu confirmed the immuno-stimulant effects of magnesium chloride, and he successfully tested magnesium therapy for wide range of conditions. These conditions included colds and flu, throat infections of the tonsils and pharnyx, lung and respiratory conditions, gastrointestinal inflammation (stomach flu), skin infections, septic wounds, and many common childhood conditions.
More recently, other physicians such as Dr. Raul Vergini in Italy have confirmed the results reported earlier by Dr. Delbet and Dr. Neveu. Dr. Vergini reports excellent results using small quantities of orally administered magnesium chloride solution (2.5 percent magnesium chloride) both for proven applications developed by Dr. Delbert and Dr. Neveu, and for a broad range of other health conditions.
MORE BENEFITS OF MAGNESIUM CHLORIDE
Additional benefits of magnesium chloride include greater energy, more relaxed muscles (and stronger connective tissues), better sleep, improved mental function, headaches reduced (or eliminated), arterial health, better reproductive function, and better hormonal balance for men and women (and reduced PMS). In addition, magnesium maintains the flexibility of cell membranes for improved intercellular communication, greater uptake of bioactive substances (e.g., micronutrients, neurotransmitters, and hormones), and detoxification of toxins and metabolic waste products. Magnesium oil also acts as an effective full body tonic. Dr. Sircus asserts that transdermal magnesium therapy is among the very best ways to improve human health.
HOW TO USE MAGNESIUM CHLORIDE IN TRANSDERMAL MAGNESIUM THERAPY
We offer and recommend three forms of magnesium chloride: oil, flakes, and gel. Each of these forms offers the same ultra-high purity magnesium chloride. Yet, each of the forms provides unique characteristics and advantages for use.
Magnesium oil can be added into a bath, footbath, or directly on skin (diluted, undiluted, or mixed into an oil base, such as massage oil).
For a bath or footbath, we recommend 4–8 tablespoons (2–4 ounces) or more placed directly into the water. Soak yourself (or feet) for a minimum of 20 minutes, but preferably 45 minutes or longer. We recommend soaking in your magnesium bath on a regular basis for best results.
While two ounces is a desirable starting level, higher doses (4 to 16 ounces) used in a bath may produce better results. While you may use the spray pump (16 pumps equals approximately 200 mg of elemental magnesium), for baths and footbaths it may be easier to uncap the bottle and pour the magnesium oil either into a measuring cup or directly into bath water.
You can also rub magnesium oil directly onto your skin and into sore muscles. Start with palm-sized amount (one ounce) per day (in a single application or divided applications) and then adjust your dosage as needed. We recommend daily usage (at least until the magnesium levels in the body are fully restored). If using the spray pump, try using eight pumps for your upper body and 8 pumps for your lower body. Eight pumps (1/4 teaspoon) provide about 100 mg of elemental magnesium.
Individuals vary in their requirements for supplemental magnesium due to biochemical individuality. Therefore, we suggest starting with up to 1 ounce per day (for full-strength topical application) and increasing the amount applied until you discover the dosage that best suits your body’s needs. After 30 to 45 days of daily usage, or after cellular magnesium levels are restored or attain a high level, you may find that you can apply it less frequently, perhaps two-to-four times per week (or whenever necessary).
Try adding magnesium oil to your favorite skin lotion. Some individuals report favorable results (and less skin irritation) when using magnesium oil in a lotion. An excellent body lotion may be made using 1/3 magnesium oil, 1/3 organic coconut oil, and 1/3 organic aloe vera gel (whole leaf). Mix these in equal parts into a shaker bottle. Shake well. Apply liberally to skin whenever desired.
Magnesium flakes can be added into a bath, footbath, or mixed with water to create magnesium oil. Flakes are especially convenient for travel because they are dry (non-liquid) and portable.
Add 1–2 cups (4–8 ounces) (or more) of flakes in the bathtub or footbath, and then soak for a minimum of 20 minutes. While 1–2 cups is a desirable starting level, higher doses (up to 32 cups or 8 pounds) may be used in a bath to obtain therapeutic results.
For therapeutic application in cases where there is severe depletion of body stores of magnesium, it is recommended that an individual take two baths per week for four weeks using eight pounds of flakes.
In order to facilitate high levels of usage, we offer the flakes in a 6.5 lb (128 oz) recyclable plastic container, which is approximately 16 cups of flakes. We also offer a 32-pound package, which consists of four eight-pound tear packs of flakes. This large size is ideal for families, sports teams, and individuals interested in high levels of usage. This large size is favored by health care professionals, who can repackage flakes into smaller containers or directly use eight-pound tear packs for clients.
For best results in a bath using magnesium oil or flakes, the water should be warm (101 degrees F to 105 degrees F) rather than hot. Hot water (over 105 degrees F) reduces the rate of absorption. When you add the oil or flakes to warm water, your skin will absorb the magnesium more efficiently. Some people prefer to start a bath with hot (or very warm) water and remain in the bath as the temperature drops into the warm range in order to gain maximum benefits. As noted, longer bath times can increase the amount of magnesium absorbed.
Apply magnesium gel your skin (including head, feet, dry areas, etc.). Leave on skin for as long as it is convenient. In cases of broken skin, users may experience some stinging or burning after application of gel. For maximum benefit, we suggest leaving gel on skin for as long as possible before washing or rinsing off the body. Individuals having sensitive skin may apply a small amount of gel on a less sensitive area (e.g., back of the hand) as a test before applying it to other areas of the body.
THE SUPPORTING PROTOCOLS: HIGHLY IMPORTANT FOR REJUVENATION
Supporting protocols are a major part of the HPDI Master Rejuvenation Program. They work together powerfully with the other foundational elements of the Rejuvenation Program to create health. Indeed, they often work directly to detoxify, prevent toxicity, boost immune function, leverage the benefits of a solid nutrition program, and build vitality.
You may not always be able to follow all supporting protocols in our Rejuvenation Program, yet the more you can do, the better. Because each supporting protocol supports the body in a different way, the cumulative effect is to create favorable conditions in the body that support, build, and maintain great health, naturally.
Like other supporting protocols, the Magnesium Chloride Program plays an important role in building and maintaining health. When you combine this program with other supporting protocols and the six primary elements in the Rejuvenation Program, the results speak for themselves: rejuvenation, regeneration, healing, and health.
TABLE 1. MAGNESIUM COMPARISON TABLE. Comparison of different uses and features for selected Ancient Minerals Magnesium Products.
|ANCIENT MINERALS MAGNESIUM PRODUCTS|
|FEATURES||Oil||Oil Ultra||Gel||Lotion||Lotion Ultra||Flakes|
|Magnesium Chloride Content||33%||25%||29%||11%||10%||50%|
|Elemental Magnesium Content||8%||6%||7%||3%||3%||13%|
|Applied Directly To Skin||✗||✗||✗||✗||✗|
|Applied By Bath/Footbath||✗|
|Restores Magnesium Levels||✗||✗||✗||✗||✗||✗|
|Aloe Vera Concentrate Added||✗|
|Useful for Inflamation||✗||✗||✗||✗||✗||✗|
|Useful for Muscle Spasm||✗||✗||✗||✗||✗||✗|
|Useful for Pain||✗||✗||✗||✗||✗||✗|
|Useful for Relaxation||✗||✗||✗||✗||✗||✗|