Magnesium Deficiency and Blood Testing
Asian Scientist – Lim Pin, MD – Professor of Medicine, National University of Singapore -
Professor Lim, the son of a Chinese-school principal and teacher, was a top student at Raffles Institution, and subsequently chose to study medicine.
“You’re always challenged by problems that are not trivial—they involve people’s lives and suffering,” he says. “The attraction was being able to do something of value.”
In 1963, when Professor Lim returned from the University of Cambridge, he spent his days tending to patients at the Singapore General Hospital. A holder of a Queen’s Scholarship, the precursor to Singapore’s President’s Scholarship—he also lectured at the University of Singapore.
Before long, he noticed a clinical problem: kidney and heart-failure patients, who had ostensibly normal levels of magnesium in their blood, were still suffering the symptoms of magnesium deficiency, such as cramps and muscle weakness.
Magnesium’s role in metabolism takes place within cells, where it binds to and guides a molecule called ATP that serves as a key cellular energy source. Professor Lim guessed that any magnesium in the blood must be an imperfect indicator of a person’s true magnesium levels.
Professor Lim and his colleagues tested these patients’ tiny muscle samples, which proved a more accurate method of assessing true magnesium levels. They found that many patients were suffering from magnesium deficiency. The prestigious New England Journal of Medicine and the British Medical Journal published their findings.
“That’s the secret to any good research project,” says Professor Lim. “You start with a question, do a search of the literature, and you find out people have not done something which you think ought to be done. That’s what science is about. You look at something strange or unusual, and ask ‘Why?’” Their work shifted clinical thinking on how to treat such patients, prompting doctors to look beyond blood for magnesium deficiencies.
Expert Commentary by Carolyn Dean MD, ND -
“In support of Professor Lim’s pioneering work and findings, and in spite of, or perhaps because of, all the metabolic processes that rely on magnesium, less than 1 percent of our body’s total magnesium can be measured in our blood; the rest is busily occupied in the cells and tissues or holding our bones together.
Therefore, it is virtually impossible to make an accurate assessment of the level of magnesium in various body tissue cells using a routine serum magnesium test. This test is often called
a total serum magnesium test, which you might imagine relates to all the magnesium in your body—but it does not.
Magnesium in the blood does not correlate with the amount of magnesium in other parts of your body. In fact, if you are under the stress of various ailments, your body pumps magnesium out of the cells and into the blood, giving the mistaken appearance of normality on testing in spite of body-wide depletion.
Unfortunately, most magnesium evaluations done in hospitals and in laboratories use the antiquated serum magnesium test.
A more accurate test is a Magnesium RBC blood test. This test is used to evaluate Magnesium levels in red blood cells. A Magnesium RBC test can provide an earlier indicator of Magnesium deficiency that a standard Magnesium blood test. When levels are low, the body will pull Magnesium from the cells to keep blood levels normal. In this case a Magnesium blood test may show normal levels while a Magnesium RBC test will give a more accurate result.
At www.requestatest.com you can get it done for only $49.00, the optimum magnesium level/value is 6.0-6.5mg/dL (MilliGrams per DeciLiter (100 Milliliters).
Note: The NMA nor Dr. Dean receive any compensation from RequestATest.
The ideas, procedures and suggestions contained in this article are not intended as a substitute for consulting with your physician. All matters regarding your physical health require medical supervision. Neither the author nor the publisher shall be liable or responsible for any loss, injury or damage allegedly arising from any information or suggestion in this article. The opinions expressed in this article represent the personal views of the author and not the publisher.