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The Magnesium Scenario - Guest Article by Brenda Watson, CNC

Common Scenario in American Healthcare: Patient Prescribed Drugs for a Simple Nutrient Deficiency!

Here is a common scenario: A patient with no known health issues comes in for a routine doctor’s visit and discovers that her blood pressure is mildly elevated, and she ends up on diuretics. On her follow-up visit, her blood pressure is even higher, so she is prescribed a blood pressure medication such as a calcium channel blocker or an ACE inhibitor. On her next visit, her blood pressure comes down, but blood tests show her cholesterol is now high, so statins are prescribed.

The patient is now on three, maybe even four prescriptions. Later, she is diagnosed with type II diabetes, adding yet more prescriptions.

This is a common occurrence in doctor’s offices across the country. You think you are healthy, you go to the doctor for a check-up, and suddenly you are on three or four medications.

Sound familiar? Many times, this scenario can be avoided when a common underlying nutrient deficiency is detected at the very beginning—magnesium deficiency.

Researchers recognize that this domino effect, beginning with a lack of magnesium, needs to be addressed. Each prescription depletes the body further and further of this essential mineral, and your health suffers as a result.

I have been suggesting a daily magnesium supplement for years as a simple solution for people who are constipated. Magnesium is commonly deficient in people with constipation, but they are not alone.

The World Health Organization states, “Low magnesium [levels] have been implicated in hypertension, coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes mellitus, and metabolic syndrome,” while noting that up to 80 percent of Americans are deficient in the mineral.

Studies exist linking nutrient deficiencies to medication use, but doctors are not paying attention! A recent article in the Pittsburg Post Gazette highlights this scenario and states that these doctors are not bad doctors; they are merely overburdened and not always paying attention to the effects of certain drugs on nutrients. Well I beg to differ. I wonder, why do they know so much about pharmaceutical solutions but are too busy to pay attention to literature that shows how a simple mineral deficiency could be to blame?

Magnesium is depleted in most people due to the fact we can no longer get enough of it from our food. Today’s soils are depleted of magnesium due intensive farming practices.

The long list of health conditions that result from magnesium deficiency is staggering. In addition to the conditions mentioned above, heart palpitations, leg and muscle cramps, migraines, insomnia, and fatigue may result. The National Institute of Health (NIH) recommends daily consumption of magnesium: 420 mg for men and 320 mg for women. But Carolyn Dean, MD, an author of The Magnesium Miracle, recommends more—about 700 mg of elemental magnesium daily. Her book is a must-read since so many of us are unknowingly affected by a magnesium deficiency.

Although Americans are regularly told we need to increase calcium—that’s not the whole story. Excess calcium intake is now linked to heart problems, and osteoporosis rates continue to rise despite widespread calcium supplementation. Calcium and magnesium should be at a 1:1 ratio in the body along with adequate levels of vitamins D and K2 to help with mineral absorption. If you are taking calcium, you must also take magnesium to maintain the right nutrient balance.

Unfortunately, typical serum blood tests do not show magnesium deficiency because the body tends to keep a steady supply of magnesium available in the blood for proper heart function. Deficiencies are usually found by getting a magnesium red blood cell (RBC) test, a test showing magnesium inside red blood cells.

If you find yourself at the doctor’s office for a regular check up and your blood pressure is a little high, you are now armed with information to better educate your doctor.

Pass me the magnesium!

Yours in vibrant health,

Brenda Watson, CNC