il v57, Better Nutrition for Today's Living, July
Gabe Mirkin, M.D., a nutrition expert and runner,
and coauthor of the Sportsmedicine Book, reported
that exercisers who feel weak and tired may be suffering
from "the mineral blues," which is characterized
as a deficiency of potassium and magnesium inside
muscle cells, according to The Complete Book of
Vitamins and Minerals for Health.
"A loss of magnesium through sweat can bring
fatigue and muscle cramps because of the role the
mineral plays in controlling muscle contraction
and regulating the conversion of carbohydrates to
energy," the publication stated.
In foods, potassium and magnesium can be found
in nuts, soybeans, whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
Athletes, body builders, runners and those who
perform strenuous exercise or physical work are
advised to make sure their cellular magnesium levels
are up to par, reported Eberhard Kronhausen, Ed.D.,
et al., in Formula for Life: The Antioxidant, Free-Radical
"Magnesium is responsible--together with calcium--for
the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP),
our most important high-energy phosphate compound,"
the authors added. "In addition, good magnesium
levels are needed for optimal muscle contraction
and to sustain the high oxygen consumption necessary
for athletic performance. Research indicates that
magnesium facilitates oxygen delivery to working
In addition to its contribution to multiple enzyme
systems, including ATP metabolism in the production
of energy, magnesium plays a role in protecting
us against ischemic heart disease, myocardial infarction,
cardiac arrhythmias, high blood pressure, asthma,
preeclampsia and alcohol withdrawal, according to
Robert M. McLean, M.D., of the Yale School of Medicine
in New Haven, Conn., in the January 1994 issue of
The American Journal of Medicine.
He went on to say that the amount of magnesium
in the blood does not necessarily correlate with
the amount of the mineral stored in the body, making
a magnesium deficiency difficult to pinpoint. Low
magnesium levels are rather common problems found
in about 65 percent of intensive care patients and
about 11 percent of the general patient population,
Magnesium levels can be depleted by such drugs
as amphotericin B, cyclosporine, cisplatin, digojcin,
ethanol, gentamicin, loop diuretics and pentamidine,
A combination of magnesium and malic acid (extracted
from apples and other foods) has been useful in
treating some patients with chronic fatigue syndrome,
reported the Spring 1993 issue of Health Watch,
a publication of the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Research
Foundation in Santa Barbara, Calif.
Daniel Peterson, M.D., said that the combination
of the mineral and malic acid benefits up to 40
percent of the patients with chronic fatigue syndrome.
Malic acid should be included in the therapy for
these patients, added Jay Goldstein, M.D.
The researchers indicate that fibromyalgia (associated
with muscle and bone aches, pins-and-needles feelings,
fatigue, tension headaches, insomnia, etc.) may
not respond to the magnesium-malic supplement for
48 hours. For chronic fatigue syndrome, this therapy
may take two weeks, they said.
In addition to contributing to ATP production,
malic acid is important in the Krebs cycle, in which
fats and sugar are converted into energy, the researchers
The therapeutic dose that they recommend for patients
is six to 12 tablets/day of malic acid and magnesium
hydroxide. The supplement is to be taken with food
"Those who exercise strenuously need magnesium
because it helps deliver oxygen to the muscles for
peak performance," according to Rita Aero and
Stephanie Rick in Vitamin Power.
Magnesium is vital for converting glycogen into
glucose for use as the body's fuel."
Health food stores carry a variety of magnesium
supplements, and some stores may have the magnesium
Aero, Rita, and Rick, Stephanie. Vitamin Power.
New York: Harmony Books, 1987, p. 159.
"A Follow-up on Malic Acid: CFIDS Buyers Club,"
Health Watch 3(1):1,3, Spring 1993.
The Complete Book of Vitamins and Minerals for
Health, Emmaus, Pa.: Rodale Pres, 1988, p. 450.
Kronhausen, Eberhard, Ed.D., et al. Formula for
Life: The Antioxidant, Free-Radical, Detoxification
Program. New York: William Morrow Co., Inc., 1989,
McLean, Robert M., M.D. "Magnesium and Its
Therapeutic Uses: A Review", The American Journal
of Medcine 96:63-76, January 1994.