Health, Healing & Hummingbirds

Scientific information on improving serious disease through nutrition and treating the causes of disease
 – summarised from 100 of the world’s most cutting-edge health books


The amount of research on the topic of magnesium is 'staggering' according to magnesium expert Dr Carolyn Dean.

Magnesium (Mg) is the fourth most abundant mineral found in the body. Magnesium makes up approximately 0.05% of the body weight, around 50 - 60 % of which is found stored in the bones and teeth. Most of the remaining 40 - 50% is found in muscles and soft tissues with the brain and the heart having a high concentration.

Magnesium is an essential mineral involved in over 300 enzyme actions in the body

Magnesium is essential for proper mitochondrial function, and can improve mitochondrial function. Mg is critical for cell metabolism, growth of cells, cell division, cellular homeostasis and the production of ATP. Mg produces and transports energy. Mg helps to transport other minerals across cell membranes and affects cell mechanisms controlling muscle and nerve cell activity. Mg is important for the metabolism of many essential nutrients and substances, including calcium, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, sodium, hydrochloric acid and acetylcholine.

Magnesium calms the brain and CNS as well as the muscles and the heart. Mg can be helpful in reducing neurological overstimulation and raising the threshold for seizures. Optimum Mg levels are associated with deeper sleep and more refreshing sleep. Mg is necessary for the production of melatonin.

Magnesium improves cardiac function and is essential for normal heart function. It is the heart's most important mineral. Mg is effective at preventing or reducing spasms within blood vessels in the heart, and keeping the heart rhythm steady.

Magnesium reduces homocysteine levels, and regulates the synthesis of cholesterol (by inhibiting the enzyme required for cholesterol synthesis).

Magnesium improves muscle function, and treats and prevents muscle cramps and gastrointestinal and oesophageal spasms.

Low magnesium levels often contribute to or cause chronic pain. Mg both works to block pain reception and also can act on the sources of pain. It can therefore treat the causes of pain, rather than purely offering symptomatic relief. Causes of pain treated with Mg may relate to inflammation, toxicity, cell wall rigidity, mineral deficiencies or imbalances, and so on. Mg is also highly effective for relieving pain because it is a non-competitive antagonist of the N-Methyl-D-Aspartate (NMDA) receptor site.

Magnesium is essential for detoxification and protects cells from aluminium, mercury and lead etc. It may protect the brain from the toxic effects of certain chemicals. Two of the principal conditions that allow glutamate to shift form a neurotransmitter to a dangerous neurotoxin are low ATP levels (with any cause) and low Mg levels. Mg can improve symptoms of chemical sensitivity.

Magnesium acts as a cell tonic and reduces inflammation in blood vessels (as measured by reduced levels of C-reactive protein).

Magnesium is essential for proper nerve impulse transmission.

Magnesium is essential for calcium management and reducing calcium deposits in arteries (a risk factor for artery blockages and thromboses). Normal levels of magnesium prevent calcification of organs and tissues. Without adequate magnesium, calcium will not function as it should. If magnesium levels in the body are low, calcium is taken out of the bones and teeth and into the tissues.

Magnesium helps the body metabolise sugar and is essential for the synthesis and absorption of protein foods. Without Mg insulin is not able to transfer glucose into cells, meaning that glucose and insulin build up in the blood causing various types of tissue damage. Mg keeps insulin under control, without Mg episodes of low blood sugar can occur.

Magnesium improves asthma and allergies. Histamine production and bronchial spasms increase with Mg deficiency.

Magnesium improves immune function (white blood cells require adequate magnesium to function).

Magnesium can improve PMS symptoms and is essential during pregnancy.

Magnesium activates vitamins B1, C and E.

Magnesium helps to maintain the structural integrity of DNA.

Magnesium taken in transdermally indirectly boosts DHEA levels (and avoids the side effects of synthetic DHEA supplementation). DHEA is the most prevalent and essential hormone in the human body.

Magnesium deficiency contributes to stroke and heart attack, and magnesium can aid in recovery after a stroke. Mg has an important role to play in preventing blood clots and keeping the blood thin (much like aspirin but without the side effects).

Magnesium deficiency often contributes to or causes headaches and migraines. (Mg can trigger dozens of health conditions if it is deficient.)

Magnesium improves skin and gum health, and strengthens hair and nails as well as bones and teeth. Mg deficiency causes an unhealthy balance of phosphorus and calcium in saliva, which damages teeth.

Magnesium is found in unprocessed whole grains, greens, nuts and seeds (and chocolate).


Metabolic cardiologist Stephen T. Sinatra MD considers L carnitine, CoQ10, D ribose and magnesium the 'awesome foursome of cardiovascular health' and writes, 'More than seventy-five years ago, medical scientists declared magnesium to be an essential nutrient, indispensable to life.'


Jay S. Cohen MD, author of The magnesium solution for high blood pressure, makes the statement that, 'Most doctors are wary of supplements that come with all sorts of promises and miracle stories. They should be and so should you. Fortunately, magnesium comes with scientific evidence that dwarfs the evidence presented for many top-selling prescription drugs.'



What are the symptoms of magnesium deficiency?
Symptoms of magnesium deficiency include muscle cramps, restless legs syndrome, heart palpitations, morning stiffness, cramps, chest tightness or inability to take a deep breath, chocolate cravings and headaches or migraines. Raising magnesium levels to optimum may also help stop oesophageal spasms and tremors or shakiness, reduce pain levels, treat vertigo, make sleep deeper and more restful/refreshing, as well as reduce sensitivity to sudden loud noises and bright lights and neurological overstimulation generally.


With more severe magnesium deficiency numbness, tingling, seizures, personality changes, frequent urination, extreme hunger and thirst, blurry vision that changes from day to day, abnormal heart rhythms, and coronary spasms can occur.


Magnesium deficiency can cause a number of symptoms which can mimic anxiety or behavioural disorders or depression.


These include symptoms such as anxiety, panic attacks, anger, nervousness, disorientation, hyperactivity and restlessness with constant movement, loss of appetite, nausea, lethargy, depression, and insomnia. (Magnesium deficiency is one cause of these symptoms but is of course not the only possible cause.)


For more information on the symptoms of magnesium deficiency see the Magnesium for life website or the website of magnesium expert Dr Carolyn Dean.



How common is magnesium deficiency?

Magnesium deficiency is very common. In 2006, the World Health Organization reached consensus that a majority of the world's population is magnesium deficient. The US Daily Value for magnesium is approximately 320 mg per day for women and more than 400 mg per day for men. These magnesium dosages are considered far too low by holistic medicine experts and experts in the field of magnesium, yet many people (72% of participants in one 1995 study) do not even reach these low targets.


Research shows that most people only take in only about half these listed amounts, or less. The reasons for such low magnesium intake are the mineral depletion of our soils, the popularity of processed foods (magnesium is lost when food is refined) and the increase of calcium intake, via dairy products or supplements, without a corresponding increase in magnesium (as high calcium intake impedes proper absorption of magnesium). It is also a problem that fluoride in our water supply binds to magnesium particles and renders them unavailable for use in our body, and that where there are digestive problems magnesium may not be well absorbed even when the diet is high in magnesium. The use of diuretic drugs also severely depletes magnesium.


Thus while eating a whole food diet containing the foods high in magnesium such as whole grains, greens, nuts and seeds is important, magnesium supplements are also necessary.



What are the different ways that supplemental magnesium can be taken?

Magnesium can be taken orally in the form of tablets, capsules, powders or liquids, administered via injection or IV, or absorbed transdermally (through the skin).


Oral magnesium supplements are poorly absorbed even by those with no digestive problems (10 - 50%), so absorption can be a real problem in a disease like M.E. where there are significant gut issues and problems. Because absorption is so low, oral doses of magnesium need to be high but this can lead to gastrointestinal problems. The laxative effect is a limiting factor with oral magnesium, that is not present or is very much reduced with transdermal, IV or injected magnesium. Thus magnesium may not be able to be raised to optimum levels with oral magnesium alone.


Magnesium injections or IVs are probably the best and fastest way to take in magnesium (as Cheney explained in his 2007 lecture). But this option is not always practical or accessible for all patients, particularly as magnesium may need to be injected several times per day, long-term.


Transdermal magnesium is better absorbed than magnesium taken orally, and can be almost as effective as magnesium injections. Its use is far less involved and perhaps safer than injections or IVs, when transdermal magnesium is used at high doses. Transdermal magnesium experts have observed that this method of taking on magnesium seems to have the advantage of letting the body absorb magnesium where it is needed and only as much as is needed. In contrast, the amount taken orally and via injection involves a lot more guesswork and potential for side effects from too high a dose. However, these experts have also made it clear that their observation and opinion that only as much transdermal magnesium as is needed is absorbed has not yet been proven in studies, and that more research is needed in this area.


There are also other benefits to using magnesium oil over other forms of magnesium. Transdermal magnesium, magnesium taken in through the skin, can indirectly raise DHEA levels, making this form of magnesium a useful treatment for menopausal symptoms and PMS symptoms. Enhanced natural production of DHEA can also help promote adequate sleep (in accordance with circadian rhythms). DHEA is the master hormone from which many other hormones are made (eg. estrogen). Raising DHEA levels naturally avoids the problems caused by supplementing these other hormones directly. (Estrogen hormone replacement raises risk of blood clots, for example and while synthetic DHEA is a commonly-used nutritional supplement, evidence points to the greater safety and effectivenes of naturally-produced/endogenous DHEA, including lower risks from adverse effects, according to magnesium expert Mark Sircus Ac OMD.)


IV and transdermal magnesium bypasses the liver (reducing the load on the liver). Mark Sircus Ac OMD, says,


Transdermal (skin) application of magnesium is actually superior to oral supplements in many ways and is the best practical way magnesium can be used as a medicine besides by direct injection. Transdermal magnesium delivers high levels of magnesium directly through the skin to the cellular level, bypassing common intestinal and kidney problems associated with oral use.


Magnesium deficiency can inhibit oral magnesium absorption, and so IV or transdermal magnesium may be necessary for a time if magnesium deficiency is severe, to help the person overcome this problem. IV and transdermal magnesium also do not have the same limits on the rate and amount of uptake and assimilation as oral magnesium.


According to magnesium expert Mark Sircus Ac OMD, magnesium deficiency can be corrected via oral magnesium supplements in 6 - 12 months, via transdermal magnesium in 4 weeks, and in 2 weeks via IVs or injections.



What are the best oral forms of magnesium?

Good oral forms of magnesium are amino acid chelates such as magnesium glycine or lysine or taurate.

Magnesium oil can also be taken orally, in small amounts (around 5 - 10 ml) diluted in water, and is also a very good choice for an oral magnesium supplement. 


According to magnesium expert Dr Carolyn Dean magnesium oxide is not recommended (except as a laxative!) as only 4% of the magnesium in it is absorbed. Dr Carolyn Dean recommends the use of magnesium oil plus magnesium tautate and (good quality) citrate, and in some cases, angstrom magnesium. She comments on her website,


The dosage of angstrom magnesium is low, compared to the other forms of magnesium, because it's fully absorbed. The average dosage is 18 mg taken two to three times a day. (My current recommendation is Health Shop 101.) Angstrom Liquid Magnesium is the form I use personally to avoid the laxative effect. It’s absorbed 100% at the cellular level. Minerals enter cells through channels 5 angstroms wide (about 5 billionth of a meter). We normally rely on plants to break magnesium down to this size but some companies use a process that breaks magnesium down to 5 angstroms. In my experience 72 mg of angstrom magnesium has the same beneficial effect as 5-10 times the other forms of magnesium, which means 360-720mg with no laxative effect and with a stronger beneficial effect.
     You know you have too much magnesium when you get a laxative effect from pills and powders yet your magnesium deficiency symptoms are still present. Your answer then is to back off by one dose and add angstrom magnesium. Magnesium is one of those super-safe minerals that you can take without fear of build up or side effects. There are people who shouldn't take magnesium - those with bowel blockage, heart block, on dialysis, or myasthenia gravis. Even so, I've counselled clients on dialysis and with myasthenia gravis who've taken angstrom magnesium with no ill effects.


There is also magnesium (or calcium) AEP, which confers significant additional health benefits along with the magnesium.



Magnesium can also be taken partly orally, and partly transdermally, if desired. This is recommended by transdrermal magnesium expert Mark Sircus Ac OMD.


Oral magnesium should always be taken in at least 3 - 4 divided doses to increase absorption, reduce the chance of a laxative effect and because having all your magnesium at one time may leave you feeling over-stimulated (or have too strong an effect on the heart). Magnesium is best absorbed on an empty stomach. Where there is low stomach acid, Betaine HCl supplementation may be necessary to help oral magnesium (and other nutrients) be absorbed. (This is not necessary if magnesium oil is taken orally, due to its chloride content.) For more information on types of oral magnesium see Dr Carolyn Dean's website.



Magnesium injections and IVs

Talk to your doctor about the use of magnesium injections or IVs, and always have your first injection or IV under medical supervision. Too much (or too little) magnesium can seriously affect the heart and this is especially a concern where magnesium levels are raised very quickly as with injections or IVs. If possible, start the dose very low and have two or three or more smaller injections each day rather than larger doses less often.


Where there is a very severe or acute magnesium deficiency, magnesium injections are the most appropriate treatment.



What is magnesium oil? How is it applied and used?

Magnesium oil is called an oil but is in fact just refined seawater that has a slightly oily feel sue to the high magnesium content. Magnesium oil is a high-density solution of concentrated magnesium chloride (roughly a third) and trace minerals suspended in pure water. (Forms which are not taken from the ocean are not ideal.)


Magnesium oil can be sprayed or rubbed on the skin, or can be added to baths or foot baths. More magnesium is absorbed through direct skin application than in a bath. More magnesium will be absorbed where 15 ml of magnesium oil is applied to the skin, than where 30 ml (1 oz) of magnesium oil is added to a bath. Thus the most cost-effective way to use transdermal magnesium is by applying it directly to the skin.


Magnesium oil can be sprayed on the legs to treat restless legs syndrome, or sprayed on any other part of the body where there is muscle pain, or just sprayed on the parts of the body that are most convenient to spray. A magnesium bath can be calming, and may be ideal where there is anxiety or an inability to wind down after the day and go to sleep or extreme pain or headache.


How much magnesium is absorbed transdermally varies from person to person and there are no exact figures available. More research is needed on the absorbability and bioavailability of transdermal magnesium.


As with all other forms of magnesium, it is important to break your magnesium doses up as much as possible rather than having one large daily dose. Thus if you have a nightly magnesium bath or foot bath, make sure you take your oral magnesium supplements or use magnesium directly on the skin (if applicable) as far removed from your bath time as possible. (You may choose to rub a small amount of magnesium oil on your skin on waking, and have magnesium tablets just before breakfast, lunch and dinner, for example, before having your nightly magnesium bath before going to bed.)



Magnesium tests

A test for cellular magnesium called EXATEST is available at There is also the serum ionised magnesium test, the sublingual magnesium assay and the magnesium loading test. Not all of these tests may be widely available. Note that standard blood tests for magnesium levels are useless according to magnesium experts, as only 1% of magnesium circulates in the bloodstream.


Eating a whole foods diet and taking 500 -1000 mg of oral magnesium daily does not necessarily mean that magnesium levels are optimal, and that taking extra magnesium may not provide significant improvements. (Absorption of oral supplements may be extremely poor in M.E. and the need for magnesium in serious diseases such as M.E. is much higher than in healthy people.)


Magnesium expert Dr Carolyn Dean recommends that patients try taking magnesium for at least 1 - 3 months to see if it provides any benefits, and that while some of the tests listed previously can be helpful, this is probably the best way to test for magnesium deficiency.



How much magnesium is needed?

Patients who have been low on magnesium for many months or years may need to take an elevated dosage for a period to restore intracellular magnesium levels. This is sometimes referred to as a 'cell saturation' regimen, and is usually conducted over a period of 1 - 3 months (or up to a year if only oral magnesium is used).


Thus magnesium dosage depends on whether you are on a 'cell saturation' regimen - or merely a maintenance dose. The maintenance dose of magnesium will be much lower than the dose needed at the beginning of treatment.

Dr Atkins recommends a maintenance dose of 1000 mg of magnesium daily for healthy people, and more for those dealing with illness or injury.

The amount of magnesium needed to reach 'cell saturation' should be worked up to slowly. The amount of magnesium taken should be slowly raised, using how you feel as a guide. On the topic of magnesium dosage Dr Carolyn Dean writes,


It's about how you feel, not about a standardized amount. Make a list of magnesium deficiency symptoms and rate how much they affect you on a scale of 1 to 10. You can find symptom lists in my Magnesium Miracle book or an online article by the same name. (Or the eBook How To Change Your Life With Magnesium.) After writing down your baseline of symptoms, take enough magnesium to relieve them. That's all there is to it.


There is far more to M.E. than just magnesium deficiency, of course, so for us it is about working out how much magnesium is needed to reduce (or eliminate) some of the magnesium deficiency related symptoms as much as possible, (rather than about all symptoms disappearing). In other words, keep raising the dose until significant benefits are seen (or side effects such as a laxative effect occur). When the benefits have stopped increasing and have stabilised, stop raising the dose and continue to monitor your symptoms.


Once maximum benefits have been realised from higher doses of magnesium, the dose can be lowered to a maintenance dose. Let how you feel guide how much magnesium you take.


Some M.E. patients and others may prefer to take a simpler and more certain and conservative approach and to slowly work up to a dose of 600 - 800mg mg daily and then to maintain that dose long-term. (This approach may or may not allow the full benefits of magnesium to be seen, in each case.)

Lower doses of magnesium are needed when magnesium is taken in the angrstom form, as this form is almost 100% absorbed.


More magnesium is needed if the diet is high in sugar, during pregnancy and breastfeeding, where there is heavy menstrual bleeding and/or PMS, where vitamin D levels are optimal, during stressful periods or where there is adrenal exhaustion and where the thyroid is overactive.



What about Epsom salt baths?

According to Daniel Reid, author of 'The Tao of Detox,' magnesium sulphate/Epsom salts are rapidly excreted by the kidneys and therefore difficult to assimilate. Thus you need larger amounts of it and the effects don't last as long as with magnesium chloride. Epsom salts should be the preferred form only where there is a special requirement for the sulphur (as there may be in conditions such as Autism).


Sulfate has an influence over almost every cellular function. Sulfate attaches to phenols and makes them less harmful, and sets them up for being excreted from your kidneys. A lot of these potentially toxic molecules are in food. Sulfate is also used to regulate the performance of many other molecules. Many systems in the body will not function well in a low-sulfate environment. Sulfur is so critical to life that the body will apparently borrow protein from the muscles to keep from running too low.


While magnesium chloride is the preferred form of magnesium, having the occasional Epsom salts bath should not be a problem and may be beneficial. For purposes of cellular detoxification, again, the most effective form of magnesium is magnesium chloride, which has a strong excretory effect on toxins, drawing them out through the pores of the skin. Magnesium chloride also restores cellular magnesium to optimum levels. For more information on this topic see the articles: Why Magnesium Chloride? and Magnesium Chloride Vs Magnesium Sulfate.



What are the benefits of the chloride in magnesium chloride oil?

As the Transdermal Magnesium Therapy book and website explains,


Chloride is a major mineral nutrient that occurs primarily in body fluids. As the principle negatively charged ion in the body, chloride serves as one of the main electrolytes of the body. Chloride, in addition to potassium and sodium, assists in the conduction of electrical impulses when dissolved in bodily water. The electrolytes are distributed throughout all body fluids including the blood, lymph, and the fluid inside and outside cells. The negative charge of chloride balances against the positive charges of sodium and potassium ions in order to maintain serum osmolarity. In addition to its functions as an electrolyte, chloride combines with hydrogen in the stomach to make hydrochloric acid, a powerful digestive enzyme that is responsible for the break down of proteins, absorption of other metallic minerals, and activation of intrinsic factor, which in turn absorbs vitamin B12. The mineral supplement chloride is very different from the gas chlorine. In summary, chloride is a highly important, vital mineral required for both human and animal life. Without chloride, the human body would be unable to maintain fluids in blood vessels, conduct nerve transmissions, move muscles, or maintain proper kidney function.



Restrictions on magnesium use

Magnesium supplements should be discussed carefully with your doctor if you are experiencing any significant kidney problems (including kidney infections), as kidney problems can lead to minerals such as magnesium not being excreted form the body normally so that they build up to unhealthy or unsafe levels. Symptoms of magnesium toxicity can start with nausea and weakness, then progressively worsen until there is confusion, extreme musculoskeletal weakness, slurred speech, low blood pressure and slow pulse


Magnesium may be a problem for those with Myasthenia Gravis, or those with an excessively slow heart rate. (Mg may make the heart rate even slower as it relaxes the heart.) Those with heart conditions may find that taking magnesium can lessen the need for heart medication. These patients should be under a doctor's supervision to guide this process. Magnesium acts as a muscle relaxant, and so your anaesthetist should be advised that you are taking magnesium before any surgery as less muscle relaxant drugs may be needed.


Unfortunately, none of the experts on magnesium has any real knowledge of the distinct neurological disease known as M.E. If they did it is very possible that M.E. patients may be added to the list of patients where a little extra caution regarding magnesium supplementation at higher doses is required. For those that have distressing cardiac ‘episodes’ with overexertion (where the heart feels as if it is struggling to beat etc.) taking too high a dose of magnesium suddenly or not separating out the daily intake of magnesium into 3 or 4 smaller doses may provoke one of these episodes. These episodes may or may not be life threatening but they are certainly very distressing and worth avoiding on that basis alone. Sudden high magnesium doses may also provoke too strong a detoxifying effect, causing relapse. Avoiding magnesium is not the answer, as there is a large potential to benefit in M.E. (as with other neurological or cardiac disorders) and magnesium deficiency is very common and causes its own significant problems. What is needed is a bit of caution and patience. With some extra caution, this problem can be avoided:

Always start taking magnesium at a low dose. (Ignore recommendations of higher doses printed on the product label. It’s easy to get carried away with magnesium and to want to raise the dose quickly once you see some real benefits at lower doses, but try to resist this urge.)

Build up your dose slowly, only raising your dose slightly every week or two. Let how you feel be your guide.

Make sure to always take your magnesium in 3 or 4 divided doses, do not take it all in one go.

If you’re taking magnesium more than one way, remember to ALWAYS adjust down each of the dosages. (Do not take a full dose of oral AND transdermal magnesium AND a full strength magnesium bath, obviously.)

Note that transdermal magnesium may possibly be somewhat safer than other forms with regards to avoiding overdose (though this is not yet proven) but this should not be taken to mean that the same amount of caution is not necessary. It is absolutely possible to take in enough magnesium this way to over-stimulate the heart in M.E. and so as with other forms, the dosage should only every be raised slowly.

Be on the lookout for early signs that you may need to lower your dose of magnesium significantly including feelings of hyperactivity, pressure or other unusual feelings in the chest, muscle spasms, redness (where you have applied transdermal magnesium) or diarrhoea. By raising the dose slowly, these symptoms should be able to be stopped while they are at a mild stage by lowering your dose significantly.


Unless there are kidney problems, taking too much magnesium (as with vitamin C) will most likely result in loose stools.



What is the correct ratio of calcium to magnesium?

The ratio of calcium to magnesium is important. Magnesium balances calcium in the body. Too much calcium flushes magnesium out of the cells and lowers the effectiveness of both minerals. Chronic overconsumption of calcium causes magnesium deficiency and chronic magnesium deficiency accelerates deposition of unabsorbed calcium in the body.


Too much calcium in the brain can cause cells to fire off electrical impulses repeatedly until cell death occurs. High calcium levels may contribute to some degenerative diseases, decrease absorption of magnesium and be a health risk factor. If magnesium levels in the body are low, calcium is taken out of the bones and teeth and into the tissues. If there is excess calcium in the blood and tissues, this can lead to inflammation or calcification of the joints. To keep calcium in the bones rather than in the soft tissues, a steady supply of magnesium is needed. Magnesium and vitamin D are just as important as calcium in preventing and treating osteoporosis. As much as 60% of the body’s stores of magnesium are found in bones. March Sircus Ac OMD explains,


After an overabundance of calcium ions enters cells, magnesium ion concentration can precipitously decline. This describes the process of calcification of cells caused by overabundance of calcium relative to magnesium. The process may be characterized as a positive feedback loop whereby increasing levels of calcium lead to reduced cellular energy production, ineffective cell transport systems, and reduced levels of magnesium, which is then replaced by additional calcium. As the presence of calcium increases to levels beyond the capacities for cells to remove it, deposits form that can appear anywhere in the body. This process of calcification has negative impacts upon health, including significant adverse effects on detoxification systems, antioxidant systems, cellular energy production, glucose metabolism, nervous system excitation, and acceleration of the aging process.


Calcium and magnesium are usually recommended to be taken in a 2:1 ratio, but newer evidence shows that this is not ideal and that the ideal ratio may be somewhere between 1:1 and 1:1.25, in favour of magnesium. Magnesium expert Dr Carolyn Dean goes one step further. She recommends, and makes a very compelling case for, a ratio of calcium to magnesium of 1:2, in favour of magnesium. (Twice as much magnesium as calcium.) Dr Carolyn Dean recommends angstrom calcium, and writes,


Angstrom-sized calcium is at a particle size between a nanometer and picometer and fully absorbed at the cellular level. It’s taken in small dosages and there is nothing left over to calcify any part of the body. Taking calcium in supplemental form only as angstrom calcium makes a lot of sense.


Dr Carolyn Dean also comments on her website that for some patients the best ratio of calcium to magnesium is 1: 3, in favour of magnesium, in her opinion. She also recommends that calcium from the diet be taken into account when looking at what dose of calcium supplement to take as it is common for many people to currently be taking in calcium and magnesium in a 1:5 or even up to a 1:15 ratio, in favour of calcium.


Dr Sherry Rogers comments that recommendations for people to take 1500 mg of calcium daily are foolish, inappropriate and unbalanced.


Calcium is plentiful in sardines, sesame seeds, pinto beans, salmon with bones, cooked spinach, almonds, brazil nuts, bok choy and dairy products. Most often our diets are low in magnesium and high in calcium.


Dr Atkins comments that for many people calcium supplements are not necessary and also recommends that no more than 1200 mg of calcium be taken lest it start to interfere with magnesium (and zinc and iron) absorption.


Also note that according to the book 'The Vitamin D Cure' it is important NOT to take more than 600 mg of calcium daily, if your vitamin D levels are optimal (above 40 ng/ml). Vitamin D increases the absorption rate of calcium, as does magnesium.


Calcium must stop being promoted as the ‘star’ mineral. All the minerals are important and the correct ratios are important and too much calcium can be harmful to health – despite popular opinion. See the Dr Carolyn Dean or Magnesium for life websites for more information on this topic.



Sourcing magnesium chloride oil

Magnesium oil is widely available. In Australia, try the Australian-made Echolife magnesium oil. In other countries, try the US Ancient Minerals brand. These are both high quality brands, along with retailers LL's Magnetic Clay and Global Light. Magnesium oil should be roughly a third magnesium chloride. Whichever brand you choose, make sure the magnesium oil you buy has been tested for mercury and heavy metal content.


Some companies also sell premade magnesium creams. Magnesium flakes are also available for use in the bath. (Always store magnesium flakes in an airtight container as they will turn to liquid if exposed to the air for long enough.) Note that magnesium flakes are over 90% magnesium, and so you'll only need to use a third as much in each bath or foot bath, as compared to magnesium oil.

Further reading

Transdermal magnesium therapy : A New Modality for the Maintenance of Health by Mark Sircus.

The miracle of magnesium by Dr Carolyn Dean, plus her new book on pico-ionic magnesium.

Dr Carolyn Dean’s website

The article on Nebulization and transdermal magnesium baths: prime therapeutic options for medication administration for children by Mark Sircus Ac OMD

The article on High dose magnesium by Mark Sircus Ac OMD. This article discusses taking oral magnesium sulfate at a dose of up to 5 g of elemental magnesium, broken into many smaller doses, worked up to slowly by the patient and based on their individual tolerance.

The Sinatra Solution by Stephen T. Sinatra MD



Additional references list

Stand Back and Watch the Miracle Working Power of Magnesium by Dr Carolyn Dean

The Vita-Nutrient Solution by Dr Atkins

Holy Water, Sacred Oil - The Fountain of Youth by Dr Norman Shealy, MD., Ph.D. This book documents Dr Shealy's research into the use of magnesium chloride transdermally (absorbed via the skin).

The Magnesium Factor by Dr Mildred Seelig MD. NPH, MACN. A renowned researcher of magnesium, Dr Seelig advocated the use of transdermal magnesium to boost magnesium levels.

Magnesium chloride for health and rejuvenation by Walter Last

The magnesium solution for high blood pressure by Jay S. Cohen MD

The Tao of Detox by Daniel Reid

Magnesium Oil by Frank A. Cooper

Therapy with magnesium is rapid acting, has a safe toxic-therapeutic ratio and is easy to administer and titrate. Magnesium is economical, widely available and has a long established safety and tolerability profile in myocardial infarction. Magnesium chloride has the advantage of being administered intravenously, intramuscularly, and orally as well as vaporized through a nebulizer, and as a lotion transdermally. In anesthesia and intensive care, the preferred administration route is IV. Mark Sircus Ac OMD.


Magnesium in general is essential for the survival of our cells but takes on further importance in the age of toxicity where our bodies are being bombarded on a daily basis with heavy metals. Glutathione requires magnesium for its synthesis. Glutathione synthetase requires y-glutamyl cysteine, glycine, ATP, and magnesium ions to form glutathione. In magnesium deficiency, the enzyme y-glutamyl transpeptidase is lowered. According to Dr Russell Blaylock, low magnesium is associated with dramatic increases in free radical generation as well as glutathione depletion and this is vital since glutathione is one of the few antioxidant molecules known to neutralize mercury. Without the cleaning and chelating work of glutathione (magnesium) cells begin to decay as cellular filth and heavy metals accumulates; excellent environments to attract deadly infection and/or cancer. Mark Sircus Ac OMD.


Without sufficient magnesium, the body accumulates toxins and acid residues, degenerates rapidly, and ages prematurely. Mark Sircus Ac OMD.


I talk all day and every day about magnesium but many people are focused on calcium. Women especially are led to believe that calcium, and lots of it, is necessary to keep their bones from crumbling away. Medically we just imagine that bones are made of calcium and don't realize the interplay between the two. However, if you've read anything I've written about magnesium, you'll know that magnesium is the dynamo behind calcium. They are both necessary and equally important for strong bones and many other processes in the body. Here are the words of one of my clients. "It was news to me and might be a shock to your readers, too, when you say to take 1/3 as much calcium as magnesium. All the magnesium/calcium pills I could find had twice as much calcium and magnesium in them. And the other shock was that you hardly advise calcium pills anymore but recommend angstrom calcium."
     Calcium (in the carbonate, citrate and gluconate forms) is only 4-10% absorbed. Unlike magnesium, calcium doesn't flush itself out with diarrhea if you take too much. Calcium, instead, causes constipation and builds up in the body. Some researchers are saying calcium supplements are responsible for an increase in calcification causing heart disease, kidney stones, gall stones, heel spurs and fibromyalgia. Part of that buildup has to do with the fact that few people take magnesium with their calcium. It also has to do with the type of calcium taken. Dr Carolyn Dean.


A few people have told me that when they first start taking magnesium they feel worse. They feel fatigued or more toxic or their blood pressure becomes too low. One person even said they felt more anxious. What's the reason for such an extreme reaction? I believe that some people may be so deficient in magnesium that when they start taking it they turn on the hundreds of enzymes that have slowed down to a crawl. Now with magnesium they are driving hundreds of metabolic functions and that excess activity might exhaust the body or rev it up making them feel more anxiety. Dr Carolyn Dean.


Magnesium chloride and Vitamin C have similar toxicity profiles with overdose from both resulting at worst usually in diarrhea unless the kidneys are seriously compromised. Mark Sircus Ac OMD


Magnesium deficiency is often misdiagnosed because it does not show up in blood tests - only 1% of the body's magnesium is stored in the blood. Mark Sircus Ac OMD


Modern medicine is supposed to help people not hurt them but with their almost total ignorance of magnesium doctors end up hurting more than they help for many of the medical interventions drive down magnesium levels when they should be driving them up. Many if not most pharmaceutical drugs drive magnesium levels into very dangerous zones and surgery done without increasing magnesium levels is much more dangerous then surgery done with.

     The foundation of medical arrogance is actually medical ignorance and the only reason ignorance and arrogance rule the playing field of medicine is a greed lust for power and money. Human nature seems to be at its worst in modern medicine when it should be at its best. It is sad that people have to suffer needlessly and extraordinarily tragic that allopathic medicine has turned its back on the Hippocratic Oath and all that it means. Mark Sircus Ac OMD


Prof. Delbet also performed experiments with the internal applications of magnesium chloride and found it to be a powerful immune-stimulant. In his experiments phagocytosis increased by up to 333%. This means after magnesium chloride intake the same number of white blood cells destroyed up to three times more microbes than beforehand. Walter Last


Transdermal (skin) application of magnesium is actually superior to oral supplements in many ways and is the best practical way magnesium can be used as a medicine besides by direct injection. Transdermal magnesium delivers high levels of magnesium directly through the skin to the cellular level, bypassing common intestinal and kidney problems associated with oral use. Mark Sircus Ac OMD


Dr Jay Cohen, MD, states that "When you take magnesium tablets or capsules, your body absorbs only 30 percent of the magnesium they contain. With many top-selling products, absorption is much less, as little as 10 percent."


Magnesium as well as chloride have some important functions in keeping the body in shape; young and healthy.

Chloride is required for production of gastric acid each day and is also needed to stimulate starch-digesting enzymes. Magnesium rejuvenates and prevents the calcification of our organs and tissues that is characteristic of the old-age related degeneration of our body.
     Using other magnesium salts is less advantageous because these have to be converted into chlorides in the body anyway. We may use magnesium as oxide or carbonate but then we need to produce additional hydrochloric acid to absorb them. Many aging individuals, especially with chronic diseases who desperately need more magnesium cannot produce sufficient hydrochloric acid and then cannot absorb the oxide or carbonate. Table salt is sodium chloride, Epsom salt is magnesium sulphate - it is soluble but not well absorbed and acts mainly as a laxative. Chelated magnesium is well absorbed but much more expensive and lacks the beneficial contribution of the chloride ions. Chelated magnesium seem to lack the infection-fighting potential of the magnesium chloride, as W. Last wrote in his excellent article. Mark Sircus Ac OMD


In general, for a large adult, spraying one ounce of magnesium oil a day all over the body is recommended for six months to recover cellular levels with that adjusted downward for children depending on their age and size. This coupled with oral intake, especially for adults, is necessary to get the maximum kick out of magnesium. When magnesium levels are at extremely low levels intravenous application is an option and is often necessary in emergency situations. Very strong therapeutic magnesium baths yield another level of effect which competes quite handily with intravenous applications but they are no a substitute for them in emergency situations obviously.
     Sensitive care must be taken especially with children as to dose levels, water temperature and magnesium concentrations. Muscle spasms might occur on rare occasions if one forgets to get out of the tub so it is necessary to supervise children and the length of time they remain soaking in magnesium chloride. All strong reactions like redness in local areas to diarrhea or even muscle spasms are indications to reduce concentration. Mark Sircus Ac OMD (Note that this recommended dose of 30ml/1 oz is for a LARGE adult, and that in M.E. this dose should be worked up to very slowly and applied in 2 or 3 divided doses and that this dose may not suit everyone with M.E. Taking a lower dose for a longer time period may be a safer choice in M.E.)


Beyond the roles played by magnesium in helping to prevent osteoporosis and to increase bone density, Dr Mark Sircus notes that cultures in which the ratio of calcium to magnesium intake is low (e.g., Japan) enjoy superior cardiovascular health and a relatively low rates of cardiac death. Conversely, cultures consuming the highest ratios of calcium to magnesium (e.g., Australia, USA, and Scandinavian countries) exhibit among the highest rates of cardiovascular diseases in the world. It is clear to Dr Sircus and others that cultures (and individuals) maintaining high magnesium intakes generally do not suffer from heart-related diseases to anywhere near the same degree in comparison to cultures (and individuals) not maintaining high intakes (i.e., those consuming relatively lower intakes of magnesium). He notes that the Japanese, for example, derive most of their magnesium from consuming sea vegetables and single-cell algae (e.g., chlorella and spirulina), and a wide variety ocean-related food sources. The daily intake of magnesium in Japan may be as high as 560 milligrams. It is also worth noting that the Japanese have among the lowest intakes of calcium from dairy products and exhibit one of the lowest mortality rates in the world. Magnesium is required for healthy heart function. The Integrated Health website.


Without enough magnesium, cells simply don't work. Dr Lawrence Resnick, MD, of Cornell University