Magnesium for ME
the illness Myalgic Encephalomyelitis

This is an article by a #PWME on taking magnesium for ME, that is for the illness Myalgic Encephalomyelitis or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Disclaimer: It is important to say that I’m not trained in the provision of natural healing supplements to others.



What follows is very much my personal experience with reference to others more learned on the subject than myself.

My hope is that this article will move you towards deciding whether taking a magnesium supplement is useful for your healing.

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Contents for this article
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Magnesium: A possible mineral supplement to take for CFS

·       CFS / ME and my own experience of Magnesium Deficiency and taking healing supplements

·       What are the benefits of magnesium as a mineral supplement?

·       In the UK you need a private test for intracellular magnesium

·       A potential danger of high long term doses of magnesium

·       Which type of magnesium is best for CFS/ME?

·       Magnesium injections

·       Do Epsom bath salts help CFS/ME pain? My experiment

·       Which foods contain magnesium?

·       How much magnesium do I take? - what is the safe dose

·       What are the signs or symptoms of magnesium deficiency?




CFS MINERALS - Magnesium

CFS / ME and my personal experience of magnesium deficiency

The mineral magnesium is the most important natural healing supplement for me to take.

Tests have consistently shown that my intracellular levels of magnesium are low.
During the years when I was more ill, I experienced the following benefits from taking magnesium:

  • a clear reduction in pain
  • an increased ability to focus
Many people with the illness CFS/ME test low for intracellular magnesium.

I recommend that a CFS diet includes sources of magnesium.

If you test low for magnesium, consider taking a magnesium supplement.

What are the benefits of magnesium as a mineral supplement?

Why do we need magnesium in the body?

Magnesium for ME/CFS sufferers potentially provides important dietary benefits listed here

There are many benefits of taking magnesium, but the following information makes magnesium a particularly relevant mineral for CFS sufferers.

  • Magnesium in the body acts as a co-factor for approximately 90 enzymes in energy metabolism.
  • Magnesium is required for good functioning of neurochemical transmissions.
  • Magnesium is vital for cell division.
  • Magnesium is needed for proper nerve function.
  • Magnesium plays a role in the immune response.

In the UK you need a private test for magnesium

In the UK, the NHS usually only measures serum magnesium.
This is not a useful test as the levels of serum magnesium will test normal. 

"Serum levels are maintained at the expense of intracellular levels. If serum levels change this causes heart irregularities and so the body maintains serum levels at all cost. It will drain magnesium from inside cells and indeed from bone in order to achieve this." (Quote from Dr Sarah Myhill)

To measure your levels of magnesium you need a blood test for intracellular magnesium.

You will probably need to pay privately to have this test.
However, in the UK, your doctor may be willing to pay for the blood to be collected and even sent to the clinic as long as you pay for the actual test.

It is not known if magnesium deficiency is a symptom or related to the cause of CFS/ME.

Click through for Biolab, the private clinic I visited to do blood tests in London, UK.
There are 100 or so tests available, many useful to determine CFS vitamins and mineral deficiencies.
Even if you live elsewhere, it might help you to be aware of the tests for CFS vitamins that are available.
You can then search online to find a clinic near you.

Many more options are now available for testing than when I was diagnosed with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis - I was diagnosed before the internet took off!

I know some who have had testing via Dr Sarah Myhill's website.

Click through to read more about tests for vitamin deficiencies as well as other testing relevant to those diagnosed with CFS or ME.

The dangers of high dose magesium supplementation

There is no single recommendation I can give to you as a visitor to this website. We are all different.

Dr Chandler Marrs is co-author of Thiamine Deficiency Disease, Dysautonomia, and High Calorie Malnutrition.

According to her, there is a potential problem with high dose supplementation of magnesium for someone who has thiamine deficiency. It can further impair the production of thiamine, vitamin B1.
Thiamine is needed in order for the mitochondria to work well – and therefore for you to have sufficient energy.

(Magnesium deficiency can also cause thiamine deficiency.)

Ideally we would all have our own functional medicine practitioner, and have regular test of our levels of magnesium vitamin B in order to know what to take. In practise of course many of us cannot afford such tests.

Which type of magnesium is best for CFS/ME?

I know of people who have received no benefit from taking one form of magnesium and great benefit from taking another.

One friend only gets benefit when she uses a magnesium spray!

For myself I take a plant based mineral supplement each day which includes magnesium. Usually, I also take a magnesium supplement.

Cost is a definite issue for me. If it wasn't, I would probably experiment more to find the optimum way for me to absorb magnesium.

To answer the question on which form of magnesium is most available to the body, I include the following extract from an interview by Wendy Myers with Dr Jess Armine.
This interview was provided by the organisation Health Means.
Health Means offer frequent summits on various holistic health issues.


Dr. Armine: When I recommend a calcium and magnesium supplement, I usually like to make sure that the calcium magnesium is in that two to one ratio.

Some of the better forms of calcium are magnesium glycinate and magnesium threonate.
I like the glycinate forms because they’re basically an amino acid chelate.

What does that mean?

When you look at different substances, like magnesium aspartate, magnesium citrate, or calcium carbonate, ... the carbonate is the carrier ion. So when it hits hydrochloric acid in your stomach, it breaks apart.

And what it’s supposed to do is release free calcium to be absorbed by the gut. But in the case of calcium carbonate, you think you’re getting a lot of calcium, but you’re not, because when you put it in hydrochloric acid, it becomes the bicarbonate ion and calcium chloride, which is limestone.
Essentially you’re creating a rock.  And it doesn’t get absorbed. So you can take as much of that as you like. You’re not only neutralizing the acid, you’re preventing absorption. 
And the ion that’s created is not available for the body for absorption.

But when you have an amino acid chelate, like magnesium glycinate or any of the more available forms, when it hits the hydrochloric acid, it separates.
And that calcium magnesium, or whatever ion that you want to be absorbed, is available by the body.
So it’s really important, the form that you take, and to make sure that you have a really absorbable form.

Katherine Owen: I haven’t asked for permission to print the above extract. Please do not treat it as something you yourself have permission to copy and share. I will remove it in haste if asked to do so.

I share it with grateful thanks, and with hope that the people involved will be blessed by you knowing about their expertise.

You can find Dr. Armine at www.methylationsupport.com

Magnesium injections

Research into magnesium deficiency by Dr David Dowson was published in The Lancet March 1991.
This showed that 80% of ME sufferers benefited significantly from injections of magnesium sulphate.
As a result, Magnesium injections may be available on the NHS in the UK.

I believe there have been subsequent trials where the results for the benefits were not conclusive.

I had two magnesium injections when severely ill. There was no dramatic improvement in my general health, but my sleep improved which I believe to have been a consequence.

(At the time, with limited care, my life was so demanding that it was difficult to monitor results of any treatment for CFS.)

Dr Sarah Myhill finds that magnesium injections frequently lead to reduced symptoms in her patients.

Do Epsom bath salts help CFS/ME pain? My experiment

In 2004, a study at the School of Biosciences, University of Birmingham, UK, showed that bathing in Epsom Bath Salts could effectively increase sulfate and magnesium levels in the body.

This makes taking baths in epsom bath salts a possible way to take minerals for CFS.

I tried a 1-Kg bag of Epsom bath salts from an Amazon store to try out the above advice.

For a 15 gallon bath you will require 600 grams.

I love my baths so it seemed a great way of absorbing this important mineral.

Result:

600g is a larger amount than I realised and you will want to buy enough for a number of baths.

If you have muscle fatigue as a symptom, you would need to have the salts delivered. Your parcel will probably be too heavy for many people with CFS/ME to carry for themselves.

I didn't notice any improvement in symptoms or reduction in  pain. But I do find the baths very soothing, so I have continued using epsom bath salts and if they are a way to take minerals for CFS, so much the better!

One way of taking magnesium and making sure to combine it with other important minerals is to take a multi mineral. I recommend these plant based minerals  which I take every day. (This is my affiliate link).

Which foods contain magnesium?

Foods that contain magnesium are listed below.
Perhaps this explains my love of spinach and avocados. I must remember to eat more of them!
Dark chocolate, I seem to remember to eat :-)

Which foods contain magnesium? A photo of avocadoAvocado is a food rich in the mineral magnesium
  • spinach
  • chard
  • pumpkin seeds
  • yogurt
  • almonds
  • black beans
  • avocado
  • figs
  • dark chocolate
  • banana

Tip: Many people with CFS/ME have problems with digestion. If you have trouble digesting almonds, you can soak them overnight in water.
I have a protein shake for breakfast each morning. One of the recipes is a delicious Cinnamon and Almond shake.
I make it the night before. I have just realised I am accidentally following the advice for soaking nuts!

Magnesium is needed for vitamin B1 metabolism, so if you take a magnesium supplement it may also correct vitamin B1 deficiency.

How much magnesium do I take? - what is the safe dose

Dr Sarah Myhill gives advice on how much magnesium to take - the safe daily dose. She writes.

"The recommended daily allowance is 300mgs for men, 350mgs for women.
Magnesium is extremely safe by mouth – too much simply causes diarrhoea.
Try increasing the amount of magnesium you take by mouth until it causes diarrhoea,
then reduce the dose slightly so it does not."

Click through to read more about magnesium for CFS/ME on Dr Sarah Myhill's excellent website.

What are the signs or symptoms of magnesium deficiency?

The signs or symptoms of magnesium deficiency are as follows:

  • muscle cramps
  • weakness
  • tiredness
  • constipation
  • numbness and tingling e.g. restless legs
  • hypoglycemia
  • insomnia
  • heart rhythm problems (a serious magnesium deficiency leads to arrhyhtmia detectable on an (electrocardiogram) ECG
  • vertigo
  • nausea
  • Low vitamin D and low vitamin K can also result from magnesium deficiency

I hope this article has helped you in your decision as to whether or not to take Magnesium for ME / CFS.

Wishing you health both within and beyond illness,

Katherine

Katherine T Owen

Katherine T Owen runs this website - www.HealingCFSME.com.

She is author of Be Loved, Beloved (Read it in paperback at lulu.com or on kindle)

Relevant to Magnesium for ME /CFS

Click on the link below to move from Magnesium for ME /CFS to read advice on vitamins that may help manage or alleviate symptoms of CFS / ME. Also information on making your own protein drink.

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