Magnesium Effective in Treatment of Osteoporosis

By Hans R. Larsen MSc ChE –
ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA. Dr. Ivor Dreosti of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization has just released a major report detailing the current knowledge of the importance of magnesium in human nutrition. Magnesium is involved in the functioning of more than 200 enzymes and is a key player in the body’s energy (ATP) cycle. The recommended dietary intake is 300-400 mg/day (in the U.S.A.), an amount which many scientists now feel may be insufficient. It is also clear that many people do not even get the recommended intake and that this can lead to problems with muscle spasms and idiopathic mitral valve prolapse. Dr. Dreosti points out that the body’s requirement is increased markedly by both stress and vigorous exercise. Recent tests have also shown that exercise capacity can be significantly increased by the use of magnesium supplements. Many researchers are now also reporting that magnesium deficiency plays a significant role in the development of osteoporosis. Studies have shown that women suffering from osteoporosis tend to have a lower magnesium intake than normal and also have lower levels of magnesium in their bones. It is also clear that recommendations to postmenopausal women to increase calcium intake can lead to an unfavourable Ca:Mg ratio unless the magnesium intake is increased accordingly; the optimum ratio of Ca:Mg is believed to be 2:1. A magnesium deficiency can also affect the production of the biologically active form of vitamin D and thereby further promoting osteoporosis. Some very recent research shows that magnesium supplementation is effective in treating osteoporosis. A trial in Israel showed that postmenopausal women suffering from osteoporosis could stop further bone loss by supplementing with 250-750 mg/day of magnesium for two years. Some (8 per cent) of the treated women even experienced a significant increase in trabecular bone density. Untreated controls lost bone mass at the rate of 1 per cent per year. Another experiment in Czechoslovakia found that 65 per cent of women who supplemented with 1500 to 3000 mg of magnesium lactate daily for two years completely got rid of their pain and stopped further development of deformities of the vertebrae. Other studies have shown that magnesium is helpful in the treatment of cardiac arrhythmias and that an adequate intake may help prevent atherosclerosis.
Dreosti, Ivor E. Magnesium status and health. Nutrition Reviews, Vol. 53, No. 9, September 1995, pp. S23- S27

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