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Magnesium: Can it help insomnia, heart palpitations, muscle cramps/pain?

Discussion in 'General Treatment' started by Hysterical Woman, Feb 24, 2010.

  1. Hysterical Woman

    Hysterical Woman Senior Member

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    Hi All,

    As many of you know from posts on other threads, I have gotten some excellent improvements in symptoms from taking magnesium glycinate. I made a list of improvements to give to my doctor and thought I would post them here in case it might help others.

    100% Improvement (as long as I continue to take the magnesium)

    Insomnia (I was finally able to drop elavil which I had taken for 18 years with resulting weight gain/hunger)
    Heart Palpitations
    Muscle Spasms/eye twitching
    Pain around heart
    Coughing/chocking/gasping for air "attacks"

    95% Improvement

    Leg Pain
    Numbness in hands/arms on waking

    75 - 80% Improvement

    Sadness/Anger on losing my life to this illness
    Light sensitivity
    Noise sensitivity
    Urinary frequency

    5-10% Improvement

    Cognitive dysfunction - I will no longer be able to judge if mg is helping because of taking inosine, etc.
    PEM "

    0% Improvement

    Swollen lymph nodes - I recently had improvement in this area, but believe it is due to inosine/artesun.

    Other Improvements

    Decrease in blood pressure from approx. 150/80 to approx. 129/70.

    ETA - I did not get all of the improvements at once, of course. I began to see improvements in insomnia in just a few days but did not see some of the others for 3-4 months.

    My dosage: 300 mg Douglas Lab magnesium glycinate at bedtime - started with 100mg and increased
    After several months I added Essence of Life magnesium oil - approx. 2 T in bath 3 x week.

    Why did magnesium work so well for me?

    . True magnesium deficiency for at least a decade before contracting CFS
    . Sufficient stomach acid for absorption
    . Using the magnesium glycinate formulation (glycine is small molecule amino acid that might help penetrate blood brain barrier)
    . Small # of supplements and allopathic meds to allow me to know what was working
    . No other supplements/meds to possibly block mg absorption

    How to determine if you have magnesium deficiency? Look at lists of symptoms of magnesium deficiency to see if you fit? Take an EXAtest to look for levels of magnesium and other minerals. Medicare will pay for this test as well as some other insurance companies. Serum blood tests are pretty much useless since only 1% of magnesium in your body resides in the blood.

    Book Recommendations:

    "The Magnesium Miracle" by Carolyn Dean, M.D., N.D. Makes a good case as to why so many people are deficient in magnesium (not just CFS patients). Well written with large number of research references. Stresses that there are more than 300 enzyme functions in the human body which can be impacted by magnesium levels. Has short discussion re CFS/fibro but doesn't go in possible underlying causes (infections).

    "The Magnesium Factor" by Mildred Seelig M.D., M.P.H. Also makes good case with large number of research references. Also small discussion on CFS/fibro but doesn't mention underlying infections.

    "Transdermal Magnesium" by Mark Sircus, Ac, OMD Focuses on transdermal magnesium (in this case magnesium chloride in the form of magnesium oil). Informative but has undertone of a little doctor bashing since he strongly believes in using magnesium before resorting to allopathic meds for conditions such as high blood pressure.

    Contraindications for magnesium supplementation:

    Kidney Disease
    Myasthenia Gravis
    Very low heart rate
    Bowel obstruction

    ETA: Magnesium can sometimes intereact with other supplements/medications. In some cases magnesium can make a supplement/medication more effective, in some cases the opposite can be true. You might want to check out any interactions before starting or continuing supplementation.

    I am not a health care professional by any stretch of the imagination but was lucky enough to have a fellow patient encourage me to take the magnesium. I am posting this here because I hope to help others. And, of course, there are no guarantees as much as I would like to make it so.

    Take care,

    Maxine
    Gondwanaland likes this.
  2. SeaShel

    SeaShel Senior Member

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    Thank you for sharing this Maxine - very comprehensive post without being overwhelming.

    I take magnesium citrate (Natural Calm) and it eliminates the charley horse type cramps I get in my legs and feet, and helps with the g.i. issues associated with narcotic pain meds.

    I'm not good about taking it till I notice it's absence, partly because I don't like taking it. Hypocritically, I push it on my family all the time, but that gets me to take it too. I line up the glasses and make everyone a magnesium shooter. ;-)

    If I could get relief from the heart palpitations, much less the other benefits you've listed, that would be like a big ol Christmas present.

    Is Douglas Labs a direct purchase, or just the brand and I would look for it at my usual haunts? (iherb, etc.)

    Thanks again! Shelley
  3. Timaca

    Timaca Senior Member

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    I have not heard of the EXAtest before. Could you expound on that please?

    I did find that taking Mg got rid of some calf cramps and foot spasms that came on suddenly. It also relieved some restless leg syndrome (RLS) symptoms that I was having. However, I have to be careful how much Mg I take. I cannot take 300 mg at night time as you do. I have to take Mg in 100 mg doses (which means cutting the tablets in half) and I have to take it with meals. I take between 200-300 mg per day, because if I take 300-400 mg per day I feel like a rag doll after a few days. If I take 200 mg on an empty stomach I definitely feel like a rag doll, and I get flushed (blood vessels have dilated), and my BP goes up to compensate, and my heart rate goes up. This was documented at a doctor's office, much to everyone's surprise.

    Best, Timaca
  4. Hysterical Woman

    Hysterical Woman Senior Member

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    SeaShel

    Hi Shelley,

    I am glad you found the post helpful. I did try to make it as comprehensive as possible, but I didn't want to write pages about the experience since it would just be too much to read.

    I am glad that you have gotten help from the magnesium citrate, it is widely available and is fairly readily absorbed. As I mentioned before I take the magnesium glycinate because it's possible blood brain barrier effects.

    Your comment about not being good about taking it yourself is something I completely understand. My friend who has gotten help from it used to show up at my door with free bottles of it for me and I still made excuses for not taking it, can't swallow the tablets, don't like the taste if I chew them, I think it might be making me nauseous, etc. etc.

    The heart palpitations thing wasn't something I expected it to do. I was after the insomnia/leg pain improvements so I could drop the dreaded elavil. Thanks for bringing it up because I meant to put in my original post that I didn't have the improvements all at once. It was probably around 3 months before I noticed the improvement in both palpitations and pain around my heart. I will edit my original post.

    You can't purchase the product from Douglas labs, but it is easily available. What I usually do it go to thefind.com and then search for the Douglas Labs magnesium glycinate and sort by cheapest price. I have ordered from House of Nutrition before with good results, and I believe iherb carries it too.

    If you decide to use it, please keep us updated on how you are doing.

    Take care,

    Maxine
  5. IntuneJune

    IntuneJune Senior Member

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    Maxine, thank you for your post. Nicely presented also like the book suggestions..I also never heard of the EXAtest.

    June
  6. Hysterical Woman

    Hysterical Woman Senior Member

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    Timaca/June

    Hi,

    You both had questions about the EXAtest which I will answer here. Timaca, I will comment on your post regarding your reaction to magnesium in a separate post.

    Testing magnesium doesn't seem to be as straightforward as we would probably like. The blood ionized magnesium test is the "gold standard" for testing, but it is only used for research purposes. The "best" test that regular patients seem to be able to get is called the "Buccal Cell Smear Test (EXATest)". This particular test was recommended by all 3 books that I read on magnesium. The only lab I can find that does this test if IntraCellular Diagnostics. I actually don't like not having a choice, but they seem to be the only one out there. Anyone else know of others? They have a web site where you can get more information, but here is some from the brochure they sent me.:

    "Intracellular Mineral Analysis:

    EXAtest is a safe, painless test that accurately measures the minerals inside the cells. Your doctor collects a sample non-invasively from under your tongue and affixes it to a special slide. The slide is then sent to Intracellular Diagnostics laboratories for analysis.

    In the lab the cells are exposed to a high energy beam from a scanning electron microsocope. The beam excites the minerals in the cell causing them to give off energy. The energy pattern is computer analysisted as it identifies the elements inside the cell."

    The minerals they test for are magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodum, and chloride. In their brochure they have this to say about diseases and disorders associated with magnesium imbalance:

    "Heart irregularities, cardiac failure, angina, high blood pressure, calcium deposits, diabetes, kidney stones, high cholesterol, muscle spasms, migraine, eclampsia, PMS, asthma, drug related mineral loss, and potassium deficit."

    I was tested there recently and had low levels of everything they test for, except for sodium even tho I have been supplementing magnesium for approx. 10 months. If you have a large magnesium deficiency, however, it can take up to one year to get it back to normal.

    They also said that they were not sure if my results were accurate since my doctor didn't seem to have gotten enough cells, so I retook the test - results pending.

    Take care,

    Maxine
  7. Hysterical Woman

    Hysterical Woman Senior Member

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    Hi Timaca,

    Thanks for sharing your experience with us. Can you tell me what brand and what form of magnesium you are using? I have read that magnesium sulfate can cause flushing in some patients, but there could be something else going on?

    Some people can be very sensitive to the dosage and timing of when they take their magnesium. I believe I understand what you are describing with the rag doll feeling. For a while I was trying to take 400 mg at night and it would feel almost like a hangover the next day. My primary care doc has encouraged me to increase what I am taking but I just can't do that right now. I believe Dr. Cheney recommends taking up to 500-600 mg at night.

    It is also interesting that you were able to document your getting flushed and BP going up in a doc's office. Did you take the magnesium while you were at the office to try to sort out if that was why you were having this reaction? I can see why the office would be surprised at the reaction because magnesium supplementation can increase the production of prostacycline. Prostacycline makes blood vessels relax and dilate, which if I understand what I have read correctly, makes blood pressure normalize, not go up.

    Thanks for your input,

    Maxine
  8. Carrigon

    Carrigon Senior Member

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    Magnesium does help me with the muscle spasms/flutters. When I maintain a good magnesium level, I rarely get the spasms. And I do sleep better with it.

    This is why I always say we are suffering from a form of twenty first century malnutrition. We have so many vitamin and mineral deficiencies that are causing alot of our symptoms or contributing to them. We don't get what we need from the overprocessed diets of today's society.
  9. Hysterical Woman

    Hysterical Woman Senior Member

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    Hi Carrigon,

    You are right - we are suffering from deficiencies. When I started reading "The Magnesium Miracle" book I was astonished at how many things can contribute to our deficiences - especially magnesium.

    Some on what is covered in the book:

    Magnesium Deficient soil (Dead soil, soil erosion, burning off magnesium with acid rain, deficient produce from deficient soil)
    Processed Food lacks magnesium
    Fluoridated water banishes magnesium
    Stomach acid is essential for magnesium absorption
    Absorption is hindered by: unhealthy intestines, availability of the protein transport molecule and parathyroid hormone, rate of water
    absorption
    Amounts of calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and lactose in the body all of which inhibit mg absorption
    Supplemental iron, which can impede magnesium absoprtion and vice versa
    Magnesium is blocked by certain foods including ones high in oxalic acid (found in spinach and chard) and phytic acid found in hulls of seeds
    and grains, and in soybeans
    Junk Food Diet lacks magnesium
    Many drugs cause mg deficiency including common diuretics, bronchodilators, birth control pills, insulin, digitalis, tetracycline and other
    antibiotics, corticosteroids, cocaine, nicotine
    Drug Interactions with magnesium
    Vitamin and Mineral Interactions
    Stress and Heavy alcohol use can each cause the body to dump magnesium

    Yikes!! No wonder it is easy to be deficient.

    Maxine
    Gondwanaland likes this.
  10. Carrigon

    Carrigon Senior Member

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    The same thing happens with Vitamin D, K, the list just goes on. Those of us who are sick don't go out in the sun much, then we tend to have lactose intolerance so we avoid milk products. That right there sets us up for a vitamin D deficiency. I think we are low in alot of things and it fully contributes to why we don't feel well.
  11. George

    George Guest

    Hey ya HW
    I had to start everything by getting my potassium levels up. (I have no ideal why but my doctor tested me for it and it came back low) Once I got my potassium levels up then all of the other things like co Q10 and Magnesium and the B vitamins started to make a difference. The muscles spasms/flutters stopped once I got on the magnesium and I love my Epson Salt baths! My skin always looks and feels better. Thanks for posting all the great information. Very well written and easy to understand!
  12. Timaca

    Timaca Senior Member

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    Hi Maxine~
    I take Magnesium Citrate by NSI (Nutraceutical Sciences Institute). I purchase it online through Vita Cost (If I'm remembering correctly).

    I was out of town, for my doctor's appt for CFS. I got woken up by a foot spasm. In the past I have associated having foot spasms/calf cramps in the morning, and tachycardia episodes in the afternoon. The last time I had been to see this doctor, I had woken up with a bad calf cramp, and then proceeded to get tachycardia in the afternoon (when this doctor was present). I did not want to experience tachycardia again in front of this doctor, so I took my Mg earlier in the day...just to try to ward off the tachycardia. So, at 5:30 a.m., I took 200 mg (one tablet) on an empty stomach. I can take 100 mg on an empty stomach and do OK with it. I wasn't sure what 200 mg would do, but I was willing to risk feeling like a rag doll to ward off tachycardia if possible. I also took some Air Borne, for I felt like I was battling a cold. 30 minutes later, I got quite flushed, like all my blood vessels had dilated all over my body. I know that Mg is a smooth muscle relaxant, and that blood vessels are smooth muscles....but this was not a good feeling. Then my heart started to pound, and I felt just awful. I got a severe case of rag doll, and I could not move. Literally. I know my heart was compensating...when the blood vesses dilate, the blood goes to the extremities, not to the body core. So, the heart beats harder to get the blood back to the core. Hence faster, stronger heart rate.

    At this point, I'm calling my husband (who is in another state), and I'm trying to convince myself that I'm not going to die, that people take a whole lot more Mg than this on what is essentially an empty stomach when they do colonoscopies....but I truly felt awful.

    Several hours later, I pulled myself out of bed and looked at the Airborne. It had 40 mg of Mg in it. So I had taken 240 mg on an empty stomach. I eventually made it to my doctor's appt. At my 10 a.m. appt, my BP was high for me (138/88), and pulse was high too (around 90). Note this was over 4 hours after I had taken the Mg. They commented on my pulse. I said "you don't know half the story." Eventually, I saw the doctor and he heard the story. He was quite amazed by it all, and insisted that we retake the pulse and BP. By this time, several hours had passed from the first reading, and I told him I felt fine now, and it wasn't necessary, but he was concerned. Everything was back to normal.

    So, I never take Mg on an empty stomach, and I cannot take 200 mg at a time even on a full stomach, for I don't like the way I feel 30 minutes later.

    But, I do need to take it to keep the RLS away.

    Best, Timaca
  13. Hysterical Woman

    Hysterical Woman Senior Member

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    George

    Hi George,

    Thanks for the kind words - nothing is better than getting George's paw print of approval! :Retro smile:

    No question about the fact that all of the minerals interact with each other in a complex way. Can you share what test your doc used to measure your mineral levels? Unfortunately, so many still use the serum level tests which can be inaccurate. However, if you doc did use the serum tests at least they recognized the huge impact minerals play!!

    You probably already know most of what follows, but I thought it was interesting to post.

    From the EXAtest brochure re low potassium:

    "Low magnesium leads to low tissue potassium since magnesium is absolutely needed for potassium transport into tissue. Risk for cardiac irritability, irregularity and hypertension have related to loss of cellular potassium...

    Loss may be seen in adrenal insufficiency, excess sweating, diuretic use, steroid use, alcoholism, dietary loss, diarrhea, vomiting, renal disease, alkolosis, and malabsorption. High protein weight loss programs or diabetic keto acidosis can cause loss of potassium as well as magnesium due to excretion of ketones during the sudden mobilization of fats."

    And from "The Magnesium Factor" by Dr. Seelig:

    "If the level of magnesium within a cell becomes too low there are three dire results:

    1. There is not enough ATP available for the cell's necessary energy reactions and to maintain the "enzymatic pump" that moves potassium into and sodium out of the cells.
    2. Potassium leaves the cell and cannot reenter, and there is a temporary increase in the plasma potassium level, which creates a risk of arrhythmia.
    3. Calcium rushes into the cell, where it does not belong, and creates its excitatory and hardening havoc."


    Who knows what infections (viral, retroviral, bacterial) have done to our ability to absorb and use minerals correctly!

    I used to love epsom salts baths too, but find the magnesium oil a cut above. It is not cheap and you have to be careful where you buy it, but it is unbelievably relaxing. As a matter of fact, I think the last time I took one I floated down on some clouds to Texas!:D

    Take care,

    Maxine
  14. grant107

    grant107 Jean

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    Do you take inosine instead of isoprinosine? Is it just as good. I tried isoprinosine and it made me feel sick so I had to stop.
  15. IntuneJune

    IntuneJune Senior Member

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    Maxine and Magnesium

    Thank you for explaining more Maxine. I appreciate the time and effort you and others have spent on this topic.

    Thanks, June
  16. Hysterical Woman

    Hysterical Woman Senior Member

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    Hi Timaca,

    Thanks for letting us know what magnesium you are taking. I can't pretend to understand the intricacies of your response, but I am glad that you have it documented by your doctor so that can be taken into consideration. You have thought a lot of this out and seem to have found a good work-around to try to continue to treat the underlying problem of spasms/cramps and RLS.

    Just some observations that happened to pop into my head.

    1. Have you tried taking another form of magnesium - glycinate or malate to see if that has the same impact? Could you be having some kind of allergic reaction to the citrate or any other ingredients in the supplement? Do you have MCS?
    2. Low potassium can also cause spasms/cramps and RLS. As George brought up, there is quite a synergistic effect between magnesium and potassium.
    3. Can you possibly take an EXAtest to get some accurate measurement of your minerals? Perhaps supplementation of more potassium but a little less magnesium could help you?

    Also, I completely understand the workaround of taking magnesium with meals to prevent unwanted side effects. Magnesium, however, is alkaline and taken with meals could reduce stomach acid that is needed for food digestion.

    Take care,

    Maxine
  17. Hysterical Woman

    Hysterical Woman Senior Member

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    Hi grant,

    Welcome to the forums. I do take inosine instead of isoprinosine. As to whether it is just as good - I believe there is still some debate about that. There is a poster called CFS Since 1998 who has done a lot of research in this area. Do you know how to search the forum to locate some of his posts? I am not a patient of Dr. Cheney's, but as I understand it, he recommends the inosine to some of his patients rather than the isoprinosine because of cost and ease of obtaining it. I take inosine myself because of those two factors.

    ETA grant - try here to see CFS Since's posts re homemade isoprinosine

    http://forums.aboutmecfs.org/showth...inosine-Immunovir&highlight=isoprinosine 1998

    At what dose did you try the isoprinosine? Did you follow the 6 tab, 2 tab schedule for 2 months then off for one month? From what I understand Cheney recommends the same dose for inosine as the isoprinosine. I have never been able to get to the 6 tab level. When I first started taking it I could only tolerate about 4 in one day at the most and even then I had some difficult side effects - increase in muscle pain, dizziness and nausea. For a while I took only 2 on the weeks where 6 are recommended and only 1 during the time where 2 were recommended. I gradually increased this so I am now able to tolerate up to 5 tabs a day.

    Good Luck with it if you continue to try at a lower dose and let us know how you are doing with it. The amount of information shared by the members of this forum is incredibly valuable as we all struggle to improve our condition.

    Take care,

    Maxine
  18. Timaca

    Timaca Senior Member

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    Hi Maxine~
    I also take Mg Oxide (it was the first kind I found, so I bought it). It does a similar thing to me. I think my body absorbs things really well on an empty stomach, and I notice effects right away. The same is true of other meds I take...within 30 minutes I can tell if I've taken a headache medicine or allergy medication, etc.

    I do not have MCS.

    I don't think potassium is an issue, as I eat a diet in potassium rich foods, my serum K is fine and it is the Mg supplementation that relieves the RLS.... within a half hour of taking Mg, the RLS disappears.

    Thanks for your thoughts,
    Best, Timaca
  19. silicon

    silicon Senior Member

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  20. Hysterical Woman

    Hysterical Woman Senior Member

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    Hi June,

    You are welcome. I feel very fortunate to find something that has helped me so much and hope that others can find from help from it too.

    Take care,

    Maxine

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