MIRACLE OF MAGNESIUM
By Dr. Carolyn Dean
Carolyn Dean is both a medical doctor and naturopathic
doctor who assists individuals with all types of
illness at any stage or severity.
Magnesium Oil. When I first wrote The Magnesium
Miracle, I realized that many people can’t
take oral magnesium because of the laxative effect.
Therefore I began researching and then advising
people to put supersaturated magnesium chloride—called
magnesium oil on their skin to bypass the intestines;
stimulate DHEA production that occurs in the skin;
use it in baths and foot baths for muscle aches,
joint pain, and foot pain and neuropathy.
Every day I hear another magnesium success story.
My editor for the UK edition of The Miracle of Magnesium
told me that as soon as she read my manuscript she
gave magnesium to a friend who had severe muscle
cramps. Her friend had visited several doctors and
nobody could diagnosis her condition or could offer
her relief. Magnesium helped her immediately. My
book agent’s brother can’t believe how
much his energy has improved on magnesium and his
wife’s menopausal symptoms are lifting since
she began taking supplements.
And every day I also hear distressing stories about
magnesium deficiency. Just today walking along the
beach near my home I met an 80-year old gentleman
who asked me to sit and talk. Julius said he used
to walk up and down the beach like me but now his
arthritis prevented him. But he said he only began
having symptoms of arthritis after taking medication
for slightly elevated cholesterol. Instead of a
diet and magnesium, his doctor immediately put him
on a cholesterol-lowering drug. When he began developing
pain, which was obviously from the drug, instead
of stopping the drug and giving magnesium to lower
cholesterol, to help detoxify the drug, and also
lessen muscle cramps, his doctor gave him a strong
pain medication. And then his ankles began to swell
and Julius said his doctor gave him a diuretic!
And so the story goes, one drug causing symptoms
that demand another drug. That’s what doctors
learn about in medical school: drugs. They don’t
learn about diet and nutrients, so it seems that
all they know how to do is prescribe drugs. Julius
said he was going to tell his doctor to change his
cholesterol medication, which, by the way, in several
years had only dropped his cholesterol of 205 to
185. I told him to go on a cholesterol-lowering
diet and take magnesium. Even though Julius said
he was mad about having to take the drugs and he
wished he had been given a diet in the first place,
Julius said he would have to ask his doctor before
taking the magnesium. And my heart sank, because
his doctor probably didn’t learn about magnesium
supplementation in medical school and would probably
say it’s unnecessary.
Doctors know potassium deficiency is a danger for
people on diuretics but they don’t acknowledge
that magnesium is also flushed out in equal measure.
Magnesium deficiency goes undiagnosed and unrecognized
because until recently there was no accurate blood
test for magnesium*. Patients are warned to take
potassium supplements or eat oranges and bananas,
but no advice is given about magnesium. Magnesium
is not as readily available as potassium; it’s
deficient in the soil and most fertilizers don’t
contain magnesium, so most foods are lacking. Also
cooking and processing foods depletes magnesium.
It’s found in whole grains, greens, nuts and
seeds, but most people don’t eat much, if
any, of those foods.
And yet, for some reason doctors think that we get
all our nutrients in our very SAD, Standard American
Diet and they don’t recognize the need for
nutrient supplementation. It all stems back to a
medical education that is funded by drug companies
that have no vested interest in promoting nutrients.
Vitamins and minerals can’t be patented and
are relatively inexpensive. My research for The
Miracle of Magnesium reminded me that all the metabolic
processes in the body, ALL OF THEM, depend on vitamins
and minerals, which act as necessary co-factors.
Magnesium itself is a co-factor and responsible
for the function of 325 enzymes; is an absolute
requirement for calcium to be incorporated into
bone; keeps toxic chemicals out of the brain; dances
with calcium to create nerve impulses and muscle
impulses; keeps muscles relaxed, including the heart
and blood vessels, and triggers dozens of health
conditions if it is deficient.
The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for magnesium
is between 350 and 400 milligrams per day, which
is just enough to ward off outright deficiency.
But for optimal health and for the twenty-two conditions
that are triggered by magnesium deficiency, perhaps
twice as much magnesium is needed. One of the highest
sources of magnesium is kelp, but one tsp. only
has about 30 milligrams. One tablespoon of almonds
has 33 milligrams. Because we probably don’t
get nearly enough magnesium from out diet we have
to investigate magnesium supplements.
I use several types of magnesium. However, I stopped
using magnesium oxide in 2005 when I read a study
that showed only 4 percent of the oxide form of
magnesium is absorbed. That’s why magnesium
oxide is a great laxative but if you want to stock
up on magnesium you need to use other forms. I use
magnesium citrate and magnesium taurate and also
spray on magnesium oil after a shower. Magnesium
oil is supersaturated magnesium chloride and because
it’s used topically it doesn’t cause
a laxative effect. And I find it really does work.
I seem to have a very high requirement for magnesium
and to get enough by mouth I can have a laxative
reaction—but if I use magnesium oil, I only
need to take half the amount of magnesium by mouth
and therefore avoid loose stools.
You also have read labels when you buy magnesium
products. For example a label may say magnesium
taurate, or magnesium citrate, or magnesium glycinate,
500 milligrams, but when you look at the fine print
on the back of the bottle you will notice the actual
amount of magnesium is much less. The actual amount
of magnesium in 500 mg of magnesium glycinate is
50 mg. Companies that make chelated minerals like
magnesium glycinate and magnesium taurate claim
that chelates are more readily absorbed. That may
be the case, but how you tell is if they have less
of a laxative effect.
The best way to tell if you are getting enough magnesium
is the “bowel test”. You know when you
have too much magnesium when your stools become
loose. This, in fact, may be a blessing for people
with constipation and is one of the many ways magnesium
deficiency manifests. But, if you are like me and
still get a Charlie horse or a heart palpitation
when you don’t have enough magnesium, then
reach for the magnesium oil.
The only contraindications to magnesium are caused
in people with outright kidney failure, bowel obstruction,
Myasthenia gravis, or heart block. Also, if you
have a heart condition you may find that taking
magnesium can lessen the need for heart medication
and you should be under doctor’s supervision
to guide this process.
The following 22 medical areas that magnesium deficiency
triggers or causes have all been scientifically
proven. However, since the publication of The Miracle
of Magnesium, people have sent me magnesium stories
that go beyond the following list. I’ve been
told that magnesium had caused skin to become smooth,
gums to heal, and improvements in sexual response.
If you are only able to take one supplement–make
sure it’s magnesuim!
deficiency triggers or causes the following conditions:
Anxiety and Panic attacks- Magnesium (Mg)
normally keeps adrenal stress hormones under
• Asthma- Both histamine production
and bronchial spasms increase with Mg deficiency.
• Blood clots- Mg has an important
role to play in preventing blood clots and
keeping the blood thin-much like aspirin
but without the side effects.
• Bowel disease- Mg deficiency slows
down the bowel causing constipation, which
could lead to toxicity and malabsorption
of nutrients, as well as colitis.
• Cystitis- Bladder spasms are worsened
by Mg deficiency.
• Depression-Serotonin, which elevates
moods, is dependent on Mg. A Mg-deficient
brain is also more susceptible to allergens,
foreign substances that can cause symptoms
similar to mental illness.
• Detoxification- Mg is crucial for
the removal of toxic substances and heavy
metals such as aluminum and lead.
• Diabetes- Mg enhances insulin secretion,
facilitating sugar metabolism. Without Mg
insulin is not able to transfer glucose
into cells. Glucose and insulin build up
in the blood causing various types of tissue
• Fatigue- Mg-deficient patients commonly
experience fatigue because dozens of enzyme
systems are under-functioning. An early
symptom of Mg deficiency is frequently fatigue.
• Heart disease- Mg deficiency is
common in people with heart disease. Mg
is administered in hospitals for acute myocardial
infarction and cardiac arrhythmia. Like
any other muscle, the heart muscle requires
Mg. Mg is also used to treat angina, or
• Hypertension- With insufficient
Mg, spasm of blood vessels and high cholesterol
occur, both of which lead to blood pressure
• Hypoglycemia- Mg keeps insulin under
control; without Mg episodes of low blood
sugar can result.
• Insomnia- Sleep-regulating melatonin
production is disturbed without sufficient
• Kidney Disease- Mg deficiency contributes
to atherosclerotic kidney failure. Mg deficiency
creates abnormal lipid levels and worsening
blood sugar control in kidney transplant
• Liver Disease leading to liver failure-
Mg deficiency commonly occurs during liver
• Migraine- Serotonin balance is Mg-dependent.
Deficiency of serotonin can result in migraine
headaches and depression.
• Musculoskeletal conditions- Fibrositis,
fibromyalgia, muscle spasms, eye twitches,
cramps and chronic neck and back pain may
be caused by Mg deficiency and can be relieved
with Mg supplements.
• Nerve problems- Mg alleviates peripheral
nerve disturbances throughout the whole
body, such as migraines, muscle contractions,
gastrointestinal spasms, and calf, foot
and toe cramps. It is also used in treating
central nervous symptoms of vertigo and
• Obstetrics and Gynecology- Mg prevents
Premenstrual Syndrome; prevents dysmenorrhea
(cramping pain during menses); is important
in the treatment of infertility; and alleviates
premature contractions, preeclampsia, and
eclampsia in pregnancy. Intravenous Mg is
given in obstetrical wards for pregnancy-induced
hypertension and to lessen the risk of cerebral
palsy and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Mg should be a required supplement for pregnant
• Osteoporosis- Use of calcium with
Vitamin D to enhance calcium absorption
without a balancing amount of Mg causes
further Mg deficiency, which triggers a
cascade of events leading to bone loss.
• Raynaud’s Syndrome- Mg helps
relax the spastic blood vessels that cause
pain and numbness of the fingers.
• Tooth decay- Mg deficiency causes
an unhealthy balance of phosphorus and calcium
in saliva, which damages teeth.
excerpted from Dean, Carolyn. The Miracle
of Magnesium (2003 Ballantine Books: New
York, NY), 2003. pp. 5-7.
Dr. Carolyn Dean is an acknowledged authority
in both conventional and alternative medicine.
As the well-known author of The Miracle
of Magnesium, she is an expert in recognizing
and treating the dozens of conditions caused
by magnesium deficiency.