Subclinical Magnesium Deficiency is widespread yet undiagnosed in most people around the world. In a new scientific review published in Open Heart, experts discuss this essential nutrient and how deficiency is negatively impacting health across the globe.
What does this mean?
As a nutrient, magnesium is necessary for the functioning of more than 300 enzymes in the human body.
- Maintenance of ionic gradients
- Cellular and tissue integrity
- Mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation
- DNA, RNA, and protein synthesis and integrity
Magnesium deficiency often goes undiagnosed.
Many clinicians are not aware that serum (blood) magnesium levels do not reflect intracellular magnesium (which makes up 99 percent of total body magnesium). Additionally, most magnesium deficiencies are subclinical, which means they represent a “clinically silent reduction in physiological, cellular, and/or biochemical functions.”
Basically, subclinical deficiencies exhibit less obvious symptoms than frank deficiencies. For example, from the 16th century to the 18th century, sailors would fall to a mysterious condition called scurvy, complaining of weakness, exhaustion, and soreness. Later, scientists associated the disease with vitamin C deficiency. Without such obvious clinical symptoms, it may have taken many more centuries for scientists to realize the cause of those deaths at sea.
Magnesium deficiency is common worldwide
This is exacerbated by:
- Chronic disease
- Decrease in food crop magnesium contents
- Availability of refined and processed foods
- Kidney failure, alcohol consumption, malabsorption issues
Magnesium deficiency increases the risk of heart disease, specifically because it impacts:
- Blood pressure, by affecting vascular smooth muscle cell relaxation
- Endothelial cell function, increasing risk of thrombosis and atherosclerosis
And increases the risk of:
- Cardiac necrosis and calcifications
- Cardiac arrhythmia and seizures
- Coronary artery disease
- Increased healthcare costs and suffering
- Early mortality
- Predisposition to osteopenia, osteoporosis, and fractures because Mg can be pulled from the bone when total body levels are low
Regular supplementation to combat magnesium deficiency provides a feasible and affordable strategy to prevent and treat subclinical magnesium deficiency. Scientists suggest that this solution requires a mindset change: treat underlying causes of chronic diseases (magnesium deficiency) instead of treating acute illness.