Laura G Owens ~ Writer

Humanity. Health. Happiness.

Tag: Magnesium

Magnesium and Malic Acid Combination for Fibromyalgia

fibromyalgia, magnesium, malic acid, chronic pain, supplements for fibromyalgia, natural treatments for fibromyalgia

Synergy with both supplements may improve symptoms in FMS.

Photo credit: Flickr

While magnesium can reduce pain in some fibromyalgia patients, not everyone with FMS has low levels of magnesium. Yet research indicates that taking adequate doses of magnesium in combination with malic acid over an extended period of time can significantly reduce the muscle and soft tissue pain associated with fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia and Muscle Energy Disruption

It’s unclear how or if these two elements work synergistically, yet magnesium and malic acid are both key components in how energy is produced and transported within the cells of the muscles. Evidence suggests that one cause of fibromyalgia pain is local hypoxia in the muscles (low oxygen) which contributes to muscle tissue breakdown.

Magnesium Deficiency and Fibromyalgia Pain

Magnesium is an essential mineral for good health and is involved in a long list of critical functions in the body including: nerve signaling, muscle contraction, and as a co-factor for 350 enzymes. Some people with fibromyalgia are low in magnesium.

Magnesium activates the most important enzyme in the body, ATP (adenosine triphosphate) an energy molecule produced within a component of cells called the mitochondria, the body’s “energy furnace.” About 20 percent of the body’s production of ATP is located in the brain. As a result, diminished levels can reduce the brain’s cognitive functions, a common problem in people with fibromyalgia.

Magnesium is needed in the production of serotonin, a brain neurotransmitter involved in the perception of pain. Serotonin levels have been shown to be significantly lower in people with fibromyalgia. Magnesium is one of the many co-factors needed to release and bind serotonin in the brain to provide balanced mental functioning.

Magnesium deficiency increases a chemical in the body called substance P, a neurotransmitter and protein found in the brain and spinal cord. People with fibromyalgia have abnormally high levels of substance P. Substance P serves as a pain messenger and is associated with inflammatory processes in the joints. Excess levels can cause pain signals to be sent to the brain even when there is no actual injury or illness.

Malic Acid and Fibromyalgia Pain

Malic acid is an organic substance found in fruits (particularly apples) and plants.

Malic acid is involved in the production of energy in the body. It plays a role in the molecules involved in controlling mitochondrial, energy production, within the cells. Malic acid provides greater stamina and endurance in muscle cells.

Malic acid is particularly useful in helping remove aluminum from the body. Aluminum toxicity is thought to be one contributor to fibromyalgia symptoms. While magnesium also helps block the toxic effects of aluminum, malic acid may be even more effective.

Studies On Magnesium and Malic Acid To Reduce Fibromyalgia Pain

In a 1992 study 15 fibromylagia patients received an oral dose of 1200-2400 mg of malate (malic acid) and 300-600 mg of magnesium over a four and 8 week period. Patients reported a reduction in pain across a tender point index (TPI). Six subjects felt an improvement in 48 hours.

During another study conducted in 1995, researchers gave 24 subjects with fibromyalgia a “Supermalic” low tablet with 50 mg magnesium and 200mg malic acid. Scientists measured pain levels through patient self-assessment and the tender point index. Results showed that the low dose, short term trial was not effective to reduce fibromyalgia pain. However, higher doses over an extended duration significantly reduced subjects’ pain.

Magnesium Malate Dosage and Side Effects

Magnesium Malate has been shown to be the most effective form of magnesium to reduce fibromyalgia pain. The recommended dose is 1,500 mg, although people should adjust their dose according to their pain level and side effects.

Side effects with extended use may include headache, muscular pain, and mild gastrointestinal symptoms. The most common side effect is loose stools. Should this occur people should decrease their next dose by 50%.

Additional Reading:

Vitamin D Deficiency, Fibromyalgia, Anxiety & Depression, Possible Links

Vitamin D Deficiency and Fibromyalgia, Chronic Pain, Linked

Integrative Massage For Chronic Pain: Multi-Disciplinary Approach More Effective

Footnotes:

Abraham GE, Glechas ID. “Management of fibromyalgia: A rationale for the use of magnesium and malic acid.” Journal of Nutritional Medicine,1992;3:49-59.

Russell IJ, et al. “Treatment of fibromyalgia syndrome with Super Malic: A randomized, double blind, placebo controlled, crossover pilot study.” Journal of Rheumatology, 1995; 22:953-958.

“The Team Value of Magnesium and Malic Acid,” Marc D. Braunstein, Oralchelation.com. Accessed 11/6/08.

Copyright Laura Owens. Contact the author to obtain permission for republication.
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Heart Health Risk With Calcium Supplements, Research Suggests

calcium, heart health, heart attack, supplements calcium, heart health, heart attack, supplements, research on calcium and heart

Calcium supplements (vs. food-based calcium) may contribute to heart issues

(Photo credit: Carlos Porto) (Photo credit:Master isolated images)

A new study finds supplementing with calcium may slightly increase risk of heart attacks. Researchers suggest a review of current calcium recommendations.

A study published in the British Medical Journal found that calcium supplements commonly prescribed to benefit skeletal health, may increase the risk of a heart attack and cardiovascular events such as stroke, in healthy older women by 20% to 30%.

Calcium and Osteoporosis

While the increased risk is small, and some researchers say the findings are unnecessarily alarmist, given the widespread use of calcium supplements to help prevent osteoporosis, even a small risk within a large population could become a health burden, warns the study’s lead researcher Dr. Ian Reid.

Calcium supplementation has proven to provide only minimal benefit to increase bone density and to prevent fractures in women. As a result of its limited use for osteoporosis patients and the new heart risk findings, Reid suggests the current supplement recommendations be re-assessed.

In an editorial published with the study, cardiologist John Cleland of the U.K.’s Hull York Medical School called the analysis “concerning but not convincing.” Like Reid however, Cleland remains cautious. “Given the uncertain benefits of calcium supplements, any level of (heart) risk is unwarranted.”

Council for Responsible Nutrition Questions Implications

Dr. Andrew Shao, senior VP, scientific & regulatory affairs with the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) says in a press release for CRN that the warnings have been overstated and dilute the importance of calcium. Calcium’s role in building and maintaining bone is vital says Shao, and to prevent osteoporosis. “The results from this meta-analysis does not undermine the value calcium supplements offer to those concerned with maintaining or increasing bone density, as years of research shows these products do,” he says.

The problem explains Shao, is the meta-analysis only included 15 randomized trials on calcium, rather than the available 300. Moreover, seven of the 15 trials had no, or incomplete data on cardiovascular outcomes and the study excluded studies that combined calcium with vitamin D. “This analysis should not dissuade consumers, particularly young women, from taking calcium supplements. They should talk with their doctors about their current and long-term needs and determine how much calcium they are getting from their diets, and supplement accordingly, likely in combination with vitamin D,” says Shao.

Vitamin D and Heart Health

Vitamin D, actually a secosteroid hormone, is gaining increasing attention among researchers. Once largely associated with bone health, studies indicate vitamin D may play an essential role in a wide array of key body functions including immunity, cancer prevention, and heart health.

“Vitamin D deficiency is an unrecognized, emerging cardiovascular risk factor, which should be screened for and treated,” says researcher James H. O’Keefe, MD, director of preventive cardiology at the Mid America Heart Institute in Kansas City, Mo., in a news release. “Vitamin D is easy to assess, and supplementation is simple, safe and inexpensive.”

The December 2008 issue of The Harvard Heart Letter reported on the link between vitamin D and heart health, writing that calcium deposits that stiffen the arteries are more likely to develop in people with low levels of vitamin D and cause coronary artery disease. Like low magnesium, a D deficiency contributes to high blood pressure, a risk factor for heart attack and stroke.

Jennifer Warner in her WebMD article “Too Little Vitamin D Puts Heart at Risk,” writes that researchers are finding a growing body of evidence to suggest a vitamin D deficiency increases the risk of heart disease and is linked to other, well-known heart disease risk factors such as high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes.

Magnesium and Heart Health

Another unsung hero involved in heart health is magnesium. Dr. Carolyn Dean, Medical Director of the Nutritional Magnesium Association and author of several books including The Magnesium Miracle, has long warned doctors and the public against over promoting calcium and under promoting magnesium.

Magnesium is a mineral that plays a critical role in heart health and balances the effects of calcium. Most calcium-magnesium formulations however, have a 2:1 (or higher) ratio. Dr. Dean recommends the inverse, 2:1 magnesium.

Andrea Rosanoff, Ph.D.Director with the Center for Magnesium Education & Research writes in her book The Magnesium Factor, “The most important marker for impending heart disease is a low magnesium to calcium ratio in the cells.” Rosanoff’s co-author, Dr. Mildred Seelig writes, ”While several essential nutrients are imperative for heart and blood vessel health, the vast research on low magnesium and its impact on heart health has gone unheeded, so much so that much of the heart disease seen today is a direct result of low magnesium consumption.”

In recent decades calcium supplementation has been heavily promoted to prevent osteoporosis, build bone density and prevent fractures, yet results have been disappointing. Calcium, a new finding suggests, may actually increase the risk of heart attack. Yet magnesium and vitamin D once largely in the shadow of calcium, are gaining attention for their role in the prevention of a wide array of diseases and to improve overall health functioning, including heart health.

Footnotes:

Boyles, Salynn, “Calcium May Increase Heart Attack Risk, WebMD Health News. July 29, 2010.

Bolland MJ, Avenell A, Baron JA, Grey A, Maclennan GS, Gamble GD, Reid IR., “Effect of calcium supplements on risk of myocardial infarction and cardiovascular events: meta-analysis.” British Medical Journal, 2010 Jul 29.

Rosanoff, Arlene, Ph.D. and Seelig, Mildred. The Magnesium Factor, Penguin, 2003.

“Vitamin D deficiency bad for the heart, bones, and rest of the body,” Harvard Heart Letter, December 2009, Harvard Health Publications, Harvard Medical School.

Warner, Jennifer, “Too Little Vitamin D Puts Heart at Risk.” WebMD Health News. Dec. 1, 2008.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be used for diagnosis or to guide treatment without the opinion of a health professional. Any reader who is concerned about his or her health should contact a doctor for advice.

Copyright Laura Owens. Contact the author to obtain permission for republication.

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