Magnesium dosing, as I wrote in the last blog post, is important. How so? Well, magnesium is released from cells to stabilize them; to calm nerve cells, and to calm them down before they become over-stimulated. I like to say magnesium is the body’s valium. Just like endorphins and enkephalins are the body’s natural painkillers, magnesium is the body’s anxiolytic, which is a fancy word for “relieves anxiety.”
I once had a patient who was going to the ER twice a week for panic attacks. He made me nervous just talking to him and was driving himself and his wife crazy. So, I checked his magnesium blood level and it was in the normal range. Then, after even Xanax didn’t help, and knowing what I know about magnesium’s movement in and out of cells, I advised him to start taking magnesium tablets, and to slowly increase his dose.
The next month, I saw him after he followed my instructions of titrating up his magnesium dose. His anxiety was lessened on that visit, and subsequently it slowly resolved such that he had no more panic attacks and his anxiety was gone. His wife was thrilled, and for the year I saw him, he continued to take his magnesium and never had another panic attack or anxiety. I had many more similar patients, though not nearly as bad, notice a significant improvement and lessening of their anxiety, as well as falling to sleep quicker, by titrating up their daily dose.
Another important effect of magnesium was taught to me by a fellow resident, Bob Lancy, and that was for heart health. One third of heart attacks are arrhythmias: abnormal electrical discharges by the nerves in the heart. Arrhythmia can lead to death. In fact, approximately a third of heart attacks are from arrythmia’s.
When I would care for patients after cardiac surgery during residency, I would make sure they would get magnesium especially if low. I didn’t know about blood levels being inaccurate, as far as the needed levels back then, but if they were showing signs of abnormal electrical activity I assumed they needed more. We infused it slowly and frequently checking their levels before and after as the last thing we wanted to do was to create problems. Abnormal electrical activity was often a sign they were about to have a significant arrhythmia. It was safer to try to stop the activity, as during heart surgery, it’s more prone to arrhythmias. I believe that anyone who is going to have any surgery, but especially heart or chest surgery, should make sure they take enough magnesium. Prevention is best.
Finally, magnesium is important to assure stronger skeletal bone. If you are concerned about taking too much, as I have written before, your body will tell you when you are, and diarrhea is the first symptom, but as always, and especially if you have kidney issues, talk to your doctor first. The bottom line is that magnesium is needed in many different cellular processes and the optimal dose of vitamin D3 accelerates these so you will need more and it will lead to stronger bones, less anxiety and help protect you from cardiac arrhythmia.
*The information posted above is for educational purposes only. Always check with your doctor before initiating any changes in your medical treatment. If you do not, then The Two-Minute Health Fact, Dr. Judson Somerville, nor The Optimal Dose is responsible!