The most recent issue of Fibromyalgia Aware magazine (December 2007) includes an extremely interesting article on the importance of magnesium written by Margy Squires. Her well researched piece tells how magnesium deficit coincides with many diseases including arthritis, asthma, chronic pain and fatigue, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, pre-menstrual syndrome, and, of course, fibromyalgia to name a few. An internet search adds to the list with mitral valve prolapse and cerebral palsy.
Magnesium is necessary for the body to produce and coordinate energy production and to synthesize protein, according to a National Institutes of Health website. Energy and protein are the basic components for healthy muscles.
The Trigger Point Manual notes several minerals that are necessary for normal muscle function: calcium, potassium, iron, and magnesium. Magnesium helps muscles contract and plays a role in many enzyme reactions—more than 325 reactions according to the National Institutes of Health as noted in Squires’ article.
It’s not surprising that one cause of muscle cramps can be low levels of calcium and magnesium, most of which is stored in the body’s bones. If you experience on-going cramps, it’s a good idea to see your health care provider and get your mineral levels checked.
Muscles aren’t the only beneficiaries of adequate magnesium. Maximizing the Arthritis Cure recommends calcium and magnesium and 7 trace minerals as “important adjuncts to the arthritis cure.” It’s another example of how the body works as an integrated whole. What’s good for the muscles is good for the bones is good for the heart is good for the endocrine system . . . you get the idea.
Foods high in magnesium include dark green vegetables, whole grains, soybeans, halibut, nuts, peaches, apricots, bananas, and avocados. Adult females need 310 milligrams a day and adult males need 400 milligrams. Too much magnesium can cause loose stools (think Milk of Magnesia). Maximizing the Arthritis Cure recommends taking magnesium and calcium together in proportion to minimize intestinal problems.
Fibromyalgia Aware Magazine http://www.fmaware.org/site/PageServer?pagename=resources_awareMagazine
National Institutes of Health
Trigger Point Manual (Travell, et al, Williams & Wilkins)
Maximizing the Arthritis Cure (Theodosakis, et al, St. Martin’s)