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From: ((Steven B. Harris))
Subject: Re: Mg+,migranes and PMS
Date: 24 May 1995

In <> Gerard Crangi <>

>I was able to sit on a paper at the American Acadamy of Neuroscience
>convention in Seattle. Some researchers found that intravenous
>supplements of Magnesium Sulfate greatly helped some migran sufferers. It
>was alsothat Mg+ may help with PMS. Although the study used used
>intravenous Mg+ the doctor presenting the paper said that oral
>supplements were also helpful in some cases.

Yes, Mg++ is nature's own calcium channel blocker, and smooth muscle
dilator.  It's worth a try for anybody suffering with chronic headaches.
The dose is 250 mg of magnesium as the oxide (which you can get in one
pill, cheap), with meals.  You can then double the amount if you don't
suffer diarrhea at this dose.  WARNING-- people with any kind of kidney
disease should consult an M.D. before embarking on a magnesium
supplementation program.

                                        Steve Harris, M.D.

From: ((Steven B. Harris))
Subject: Re: Epson Salts: Are they a good Mg Sorce?
Date: 25 May 1995

In <> (Paul Iannone) writes:

>In message ID <3pltns$> on 5/20/95,
> ((Steven B. Harris)) wrote:
>: In <3phd67$> (Macmodee)
>: writes:
>: >Any information on using Epson Salts as a good Magnesium sorce. I hear
>: >that Mg Oxide neutralizes stomach acid.
>: It take about five 00 capsules packed with Epsom salts to give you the
>: RDA of magesium.  And yes, they are an excellent magnesium sourse.
>: Cheapest you can get.
>:                                                Steve Harris, M.D.
>Since Epsom salts are not intended for internal use, I would want to
>know what contaminants they have in them before I tried out the
>M.D.-approved cheapo supplement route.

Comment: They've been using Epsom salt as a laxative since before you
were in diapers, Paul, and any pharmacology text will mention it in this
use (see for instance: Goodman and Gillman's The Pharmacological Basis
of Therapeutics, 7th ed., p. 998).  So will the USP.   The usual dose
mentioned for this purpose in adults is 15 grams, which is about
something like 1300 mg of Mg++.  It may be that some manufacturers mark
their products as not intended for internal use, but that's for
liability purposes, to cut their costs, not because it is different
stuff.  I'm not suggesting you take those products, but in truth since
all MgSO4.5H2O comes from the same few manufacturers, it would no doubt
be safe (a hell of a lot safer than taking dolomite which I've seen in
health food stores).  In any case, the pharmacist will give you USP
Epsom salt if you ask.

                                        Steve Harris, M.D.

From: ((Steven B. Harris))
Subject: Re: Epson Salts: Are they a good Mg Sorce?
Date: 05 Jun 1995

In <3q4ne4$> writes:

>>>I am NOT confusing the two.  I HAVE a undergraduate degree in chemistry.
>>YOU are confused about a dose and medication which you seem to have some
>>hang up with. As I said, the standard laxative dose for Epsom salts is
>>15 GRAMS. I have taken 1.3 grams many a time with no effect whatsoever.
>>I refuse to waste further bandwidth on this silly topic.
>>                                                 Steve Harris, M.D.
>Did not mean to insult you Dr.
>I have a BS degree as well,not in chemistry but in Pharmacy.
>Magnesium Sulfate is poorly absorbed. It is a laxitive.
>Not a Magnesium supplement.
>Just admit that.
>How did you measure the 1.3 grams? Is that about a teaspoonful?
>Do you swallow it dry? Do you mix it in water?
>The dose you mentioned is probably the dose given IV for
>such things as seizures but not as a supplement.
>Allen Bethea

From Goodhart and Shills: Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease (6th
ed), the standard text in the field: pg 317 (quote):

"Supplementary magnesium may be given as tablets of milk of magnesia or
as geletin capsules packed with powdered magnesium sulfate (Epsom
salts), magnesium chloride, or magnesium oxide; one is given three to
six times per day."

Magnesium is absorbed fine from Epsom Salt-- it is ionized, and your
body cannot tell ionized magnesium from Epsom salt from any other kind.
Any text that says differently had better have an experimental
reference. In point of fact, since there is less osmotic load from a
capsule of Epsom Salts than from an equivalent weight of magnesium
oxide, you can take quite a bit more, wt for wt.   I gave you the
standard laxative dose for the salts-- it is 15 grams.  Doses 1/6th of
this (2.5 grams or so) have no effect on most people, and certainly have
none on me (and yes, I did measure it once, but had forgotten all but
the number of capsules; I did a back calculation from the RDA dose, and
forgot the water of hydration for Epsom salt).

                                           Steve Harris, M.D.

From: (Steven B. Harris )
Subject: Re: Plaque buildup in heart valves
Date: 09 Oct 1995

In <> (Joel Broude) writes:

>Lucky me, I've got a bicuspid aortic valve. Can I do anything now to
>prevent later (or further) calcification?
>> ... Any deformed valve, either congenital deformities,
>>endocarditis, rheumatic fever, or a variety of aquired heart disease,
>>can result in a calcific valve. One of the most common causes is a
>>bicuspid aortic valve. Often these become stenosed due to deposits later
>>in life. Also, not only the valve leaflets, but the annular areas can be
>>affected. (ie mitral annular calcification).

   One thing you might consider, that certainly won't hurt you, is
upping your magnesium intake.  The magnesium oxide pills are 250 mg
(usually), and you can take 2 or 3 a day with meals, without problem.
Higher magnesium intakes oppose nearly all soft tissue calcification in
animal studies-- nobody knows why.  They might work for this kind of
thing in heart valves also-- though I know of no specific studies
proving it.

                                       Steve Harris, M.D.

From: (Steven B. Harris)
Subject: Re: ?Absorption MgO less good as Mg-citrate, Mg-orotate, Mg-'organic'?
Date: 29 Jul 1996

In <4ta370$>
(J.K. Bolhuis, M.D.) writes:

>As a young doctor I'm very interested in nutrition and orthomolecular
>medicine. And I had a few questions about Magnesium:
>Is it true that Magnesium-oxide is not so easy to absorp as an organic
>form of Magnesium like Mg-orotate or Mg-gluconate?

Only if you don't have any stomach acid.  People with even a small
amount of acid will easily convert both MgO and Mg(OH)2 to ionic Mg2+,
which is the form you need to absorb Mg from ANY supplement.

>Is it when you want to supplement orally magnesium better not to use

It's generally always better to use the MgO, which is 40% Mg by weight
(far better than other salts), and cheap.  You can get in RDA dose of
400 mg in just one pill, easily.  Unless, again, you don't have any
stomach acid.  In that case, perhaps MgCl2 or MgSO4 is better.  The
organic salts are needlessly bulky and expensive.

>What is the best way to supplement Mg orally. (pills, capsules or

   Depends on who you are, but for most people, MgO is best.  MgSO4 is
best for most everyone else, except people with extreme bowel
sensitivity, who get diarrhea at exceptionally small doses.  The
sulfate produces a little more laxitive action (about 2 to 1) than
equivalent amounts (in mg elemental Mg) of other Mg salts.  For RDA
doses of Mg of 400 mg or so, this is generally not important, as
effective laxitive doses of Mg start at several grams.

                                            Steve Harris, M.D.

From: B. Harris)
Subject: Re: Magnesium Side-Effects?
Date: 16 May 1997

In <> writes:

>A posting made by "Marty B" last November to this newsgroup stated:
>"There are side-effects to taking a large dose of magnesium over an
>extended time period just like there are side-effects to taking
>prescription medication to control blood pressure."
>My question is, what are some specific side-effects?
>I am concerned because I have been regularly taking about one gram of
>magnesium (MgO or MgOH) plus VB6 for the last 30 years in order to inhibit
>kidney stone formation.
>Is some body system such as my kidneys going to suddenly self destruct
>because of this?
>Carl Vann

   No.  If you have nomal kidney function (which you probably do), this
much magnesium is almost certainly harmless (this statement based on
lots of lifetime animals studies, and many decades of use in humans--
as for instance preventing certain kinds of kidney stones).  And there
are no known long-term toxicities of magnesium anyway.  All known
problems are "acute", which means they happen in a few days or weeks at
a give dose, or not at all. Magnesium does not build up in the body
toward long term toxicity, as do some minerals (eg,
selenium or iron).

                                Steve Harris, M.D.

Note for lurkers:  magnesium isn't good for ALL kidney stones, just
most of them.  People who have a history of struvite stones for
whatever reason, for instance, shouldn't use it.  This is, BTW, the
type of stone that cats get-- one reason that cats need a low magnesium
diet for good health.

From: B. Harris)
Subject: Re: calcium problem/ need advice
Date: 17 May 1997

In <01bc62e0$cda23f90$a51c7fcf@puddies> "The Puddies"
<> writes:

>I am a menopausal woman who takes calcium and magnesium. My Dr advised me
>to take magnesium taurate in the AM and at Noon, then to take the calcium
>supplements with dinner and at bedtime. I am taking the Microcrystalline
>Hydroxyapatite Calcium with Boron tablets. 2 with dinner and 2 at
>bedtime. The problem I am having is that they seem to be indigestible,
>and lay in my stomach with a heavy feeling most all night. I also have
>awakened with that reflux kind of choking when I take the calcium.
>I need the calcium for my bones and all, but this problem makes me avoid
>taking it for the reasons mentioned.
>Can anyone suggest a better way to handle this? BTW, my Dr. claimed that
>one should NEVER take the calcium and magnesium at the same time, that
>they cancel each other's effect, even though they need each other for
>assimilation, they need to be taken separately.

   Sounds like your doctor is making things needlessly complicated.  Is
he (she?) an MD?  Did you buy these supplements from him, perhaps <g>?

   Magnesium oxide is fine, unless you have NO stomach acid.  And it's
cheap.  You can take it at the same time as calcium, which can be taken
as the carbonate or citrate (which is absorbed a bit getter, but is
still far more expensive per milligram of absorbed calcium than the
carbonate).  It's silly to take Ca as hydroxyappetite, as it's broken
down to the ion anyway before absorbtion, at which point your body
can't tell it from calcium you got from TUMS.

   The role of boron is unclear until confirmatory studies are done in
post menopausal women, but a few milligrams a day is probably harmless.
 A number of places sell calcium/magnesium/boron tablets (GNC) and
these should be perfectly fine.  Or you can buy boron seperately.

                                      Steve Harris, M.D.

From: B. Harris)
Subject: Re: High Blood Pressure
Date: Tue, 25 Nov 1997

In <> John Guzobad <> writes:
>Tom Matthews wrote:
>> Some people have high blood pressure because they are deficient in
>> certain minerals that keep blood pressure in balance. Anyone with
>> elevated blood pressure should be taking between 500 and 2,000 mg of
>> elemental magnesium a day. About 80% of Americans are magnesium
>> deficient, and low levels of magnesium are associated with hypertension
>> and arterial disease.
>> Even if magnesium fails to lower your blood pressure, it can reduce the
>> risk of complications such as stroke. Among the most popular types of
>> anti-hypertensive drugs are calcium channel blockers. These drugs are
>> sold under trade names such as Norvasc and Procardia. Magnesium is
>> nature's calcium-channel blocker. It inhibits excessive calcium
>> infiltration into cells. Magnesium is safe to take, with the only
>> adverse side effect being diarrhea when too much is taken.
>I am perplexed by the statement that "Magnesium is nature's
>calcium-channel blocker"... The Calcium-Magnesium interactions are well
>documented, but Ca Channel Blockers do not operate in the same context,
>e.g. CaCB's do not alter serum Calcium levels...

Neither do magnesium supplements, within reason.  Very low magnesium
levels can cause a problem with PTH secretion, but above those very low
(pathologically low) Mg levels, there is no relationship between blood
Ca and Mg-- they are controlled separately.

Mg does indeed act as a mild calcium channel blocker in many models.
It relaxes smooth muscle, and has a depressant effect on the AV node.
A dose of MgSO4 can convert some AV re-entry tachycardias, in exactly
the same way Ca blockers do.  Magnesium can also be used along with
digitalis in chronic atrial fibrillation, to achieve good heart rates
(ventricular response rates) with lower dig concentrations.   That's
useful because digoxin has far more side effects than magnesium does.
Remember, foxglove plants don't make digoxin so you have something to
control your Afib with-- they make the stuff so that you vomit if you
eat the plant, and if you keep eating it, you die.

                                     Steve Harris, M.D.

From: B. Harris)
Subject: Re: Case studies wanted(do you need nutrtional advice)
Date: 7 Mar 1998 16:15:40 GMT

In <6drovb$> "mt" <> writes:

>Magnesium citrate is laxative and cause us to lose Mg, Ca,...etc, I
>wonder how much magnesium we actually get if we take the citrate form?
>What is the right form to take if we do no care about laxative effect?

    The citrate is no more laxitive than the oxide or hydroxide, in
terms of elemental dose of Mg.  It's only magnesium sulfate (which as
the 7 H2O is Epsom's Salts) which is a bit more laxitive than the other
salts, since the sulfate itself is mildly cathartic, not being easily

    Doses of 250 mg Mg elemental as the oxide or citrate (for those
with no stomach acid) are generally tolerated at each meal, in cases of
deficiency (diruretic use, alchoholism, diabetes, diet with too few
vegetables).   It usually takes more than 1 gram of Mg at a time to be
laxitive, and generally more like 5 to reliably do the job.  Calcium
salts, of course, are counteracting because they are constipating.

                                     Steve Harris, M.D.

From: B. Harris)
Subject: Re: FRESH FRUIT?
Date: 4 Jul 1998 07:51:32 GMT

In <6nkh7e$4iu$> "Lianne Sparling"
<> writes:

>The canning process can destroy certain nutrients. For example, canning and
>freezing easily destroys magnesium in foods.

   Baloney.  Magnesium is a mineral.  You absorb it as the simple ion,
which in foods is always soluablized as Mg2+ (the only non-soluable Mg
compounds are oxide and hydroxide, and they don't occur in food).
Magnesium ion is as close as you can get to indestructable.  You
couldn't destroy it unless you had a nuclear bomb.

                                         Steve Harris, M.D.

From: B. Harris)
Subject: Re: antiarrhythmic effect of magnesium & potassium
Date: 12 Jul 1998 06:20:45 GMT

In <>
(RRead70899) writes:

>>>Something wrong with taking magnesium?   I take .4gram a day supplemented
>and probably more potassium from bananas/avocados and the like.   I do
>this because I think it's helping and not hurting me - is there evidence
>to the contrary or cases where this would be dangerous?<<
>It is just that magnesium deficiency is rare, and a waste of money to buy
>pills that simply fortify your turds.


    Spoken like a vet.  Magnesium deficiency is NOT rare in humans in
America.  We don't eat our veggies, we're fat and diabetic, we take
diuretics, we drink alcohol.  The sicker we are, the more likely we are
to be deficient in the mineral.

>In fact, magnesium excess can contribute to urolithiasis (kidney
>stones).  This is especially seen in felids (cats).
>Robert Read, DVM, PhD


   Actually, it's basically ONLY seen in cats, whose ammonia production
for dealing with the high acid load of their high methionine diet makes
them susceptable to struvite stones.  These are *very* rare in humans,
except in the rare person chronically infected with an ammonia forming
urinary pathogen.  Magnesium INHIBITS the more common stones seen in

   Humans are omnivores descended from fruitivore primates, and we're
built for dealing with high magnesium dietary loads.  Don't let your
cat vetrinary reflexes color your advice to people.  If you insist on
doing this, I'd rather you think of us humans as monkeys or rabbits,
and you'll give better advice.  We make our own taurine and
arachadonate.  We split beta carotine.  We take morphine and aspirin
fine, you will notice.  And we don't purr or get hairballs.  Got it?

                                    Steve Harris, M.D.

From: B. Harris)
Subject: Re: help finding magnesium gluconate supplement
Date: 29 Dec 1998 15:18:02 GMT

In <>
(MarcH96283) writes:

>>   Not off-hand, but I can tell you that, milligram for milligram of
>>elemental magnesium content, the gluconate isn't going to give you any
>>less diarrhea than the oxide. Probably it will give you more. The reason
>>the oxide isn't absorbed in a few people is that they don't have enough
>>acid to turn it into a soluble compound (and thus, free Mg++ ion, which
>>is what you need to have, to be absorbed). But insoluble compounds like
>>MgO, on the other hand, don't cause osmotic laxative effects. So you
>>can't have both problems at once, a very handy fact to know. If you
>>stuff is giving you bowel problems, it's because the active absorbable
>>Mg++ is being made. In fact, being made in quantities more than you can
>>use, and what goes through you causes the problems. Switching to
>>gluconate won't help that.
>>   Thus, I suggest you just cut your oxide pills in smaller portions,
>>to be divided and taken with meals, until you get to a dose that
>>doesn't bother your bowels.  It's cheaper.
>>                                  Steve Harris, M.D.
>Hmm, never heard this point before. All the doctors I've read from and
>talked to say that gluconate is both better absorbed AND less likely to
>cause a laxative effect. I always thought the laxative effect was caused
>by the excess magnesium (the stuff not absorbed, in whatever form)
>drawing water from the body into the bowel.

   That is correct.  Which means if you're getting that effect from the
oxide, you've got plenty of soluble magnesium.  Gluconate does not
assist in magnesium absorption.  Magnesium is absorbed as the free ion,
and it doesn't matter what soluble salt it was in.  Although sulfate is
itself a bit diarrhea-genic, so Epsom Salts really are a bit worse than
the other magnesium compounds.

>I have already divided the dose a lot, which helps, but not all that
>much. The odd thing is, when I upped my dose from 375 to 750 mg per day,
>I noticed much better results ALONG with much more of a laxative effect,
>which seems to contradict your explanation.

    Not really.  The more you have, the more you absorb.  And the more
you DON'T absorb.  It's really a percentage thing, and the percent goes
down as the absolute absorbed amount goes up.  Just like with vitamin C
and (actally) most other nutrients.

>of course, I'm just one case and who knows what other factors affected
>this. I'd still like to experiment with the gluconate a little. The
>laxative effect can't really get much worse than it is already and I can
>always switch back. Thanks for your help.

   Good luck.  Note that the gluconate is horribly expensive per mg of
Mg.  And most of the mass and size of the pill is gluconate, not Mg.
Any less laxative effect is likely to be due to simply less magnesium
in the pill.


From: B. Harris)
Subject: Re: help finding magnesium gluconate supplement
Date: 29 Dec 1998 15:21:18 GMT

In <> (Don Wiss)

>On 28 Dec 1998 22:23:53 GMT, (MarcH96283) wrote:
>>Can anyone help me find a magnesium supplement made solely from magnesium
>Freeda Vitamins lists it on their price list. It is 500 mg with 27.5 mg
>elemental magnesium. I would expect it also could be found at their web
>site at:
>Don (at panix com).

   Thanks, Don.  Note that you'd have to take about a dozen of these a
day, just to get your magnesium RDA.  IMHO, Mg gluconate ought to go in
the homeopathic section.


From: B. Harris)
Subject: Re: Question for Dr. Harris
Date: 31 Mar 1999 12:31:15 GMT

In <7dps82$qdj$> Robert Schuh
<> writes:

>Hey Steve, A quick question. I just received a renal transplant in Oct of
>last year after 8 years of dialysis. I am on 5mg Prograf BID, 750mg
>Cellcept BID and 10mg Prednisone BID. I have to take a magnesium
>supplement with the Prograf. Any ideas on what the reason for this is?

    Well, the reason is that these immunosuppressants that work by
inhibiting calcineurin, like cyclosporin and Prograf, all cause renal
magnesium wasting.  So you have to take extra to make up for it.  As
you know, however you can't take alkaline salts (mag oxide, and
hydroxide) with the drug, since it's destroyed by them.  So you have to
take it, but separately.  Or as the very expensive MgCl2 salt pills.

    For those who haven't heard of calcineurin (first identified in
neurons-- hence name):  when calcium enters immune cells via voltage
and chemial gated channels, it binds to calmodulin, a hormone which is
then activated and goes around doing stuff.  One thing it does is
activate calcineurin, a protein phosphatase that obviously activates
proteins necessary for immune stimulation in the cell by
phosphorylating them. So these drugs screw that up and are immune
suppressants. Calcineurin also phosphorylates many Ca2+ channels,
shutting them off and acting as a feedback inhibitor.

   What it does in the kidney and with magnesium is a mystery.
Obviously the presense of the stuff is used to modulate the activity of
some Mg2+ pump when Mg2+ levels in the filtrate are low, so that you
will conserve it better.  Screw that up with one of these drugs, and
the Mg2+ is wasted instead of pumped in.  That's as far as I can go.
Why the Mg2+ pump activity should depend on a Ca2+ gated system I'm
sure I don't know.  Some of the divalent ion sensors in the tubule are
the same, though.


From: B. Harris)
Subject: Re: Intracellular Magnesium levels
Date: 7 Jun 1999 04:59:19 GMT

In <7jfhus$epc$> ()

>On Sun, 06 Jun 1999 09:11:35 GMT; wrote:
>> certainly you have been magnesium deficient and likely still are. Only
>> in extreme magnesium depletion also serum Mg goes low thus it is mainly
>> an intracellular kation. The deficiency is much more common than
>> generally thouht. At least here in Finland. Trough swetting you get
>> magnesium losses. By combining sauna baths with heavy physical
>> excercise and boozing as my people use to do, all three activities
>> cause magnesium losses. Potassium goes hand in hand with Mg, so both
>> deficiencies
>and here in the USA Coca Cola with phosphoric acid can do a job on the
>magnesium levels, if i may throw that out, lots of coke that is.
>> coexist. But serum potassium is a better indicator of your potassium
>> status than Mg-leveI. Iuse to treat Mg-deficiency for 6 weeks MgO2
>why not use the intracellular blood test for magnesium and be done with
>it? well, it's very expensive, not covered by insurance, and done by only
>a few labs in the USA, an alternative or complementary physician will
>know where to get this done.
>> 1000mg daily and to instruct these people to take the same twice a year
>> over the counter because they do not change their habits. Its half life
>> in the body is rather long. Thats why the above aproach can be
>> justified, many other approaches can be even better. In my opinion MgO2
>> is the best absorbed form of Mg.
>could i be so bold as to ask why you think it's best absorbed? if soft
>stools are a sign of reaching max intake, MgO2 might be a sign of that or
>of its laxative qualities. maybe that's an indicator of greater
>absorption then? i though jean durlach from paris had mentioned the salts
>might be better absorbed or was he referring to MgO2? he is the
>edition of the Magnesium Bulletin? and has been writing a lot about
>magnesium and heart disorders.
>magnesium gluconate or magnesium orotate is what i had preferred.
>again, is MgO2 really the best absorbed from your understanding? let's
>say to get 400 mg of elemental magnesium, which is a lot granted
>but toxicity does not come that easily from oral ingestion, would that
>not be difficult with magnesium oxide and its laxative qualities - unless
>those laxative qualities are coming from its being absorbed so well? a
>here a doctor was pushing his liquid magnesium, 3-4 grams a day.
>basically sweetened magnesium gluconate i think, for various problems,
>migraines and so on. this yielded quite a few hundred mg of elemental
>magnesium. the doctor also had a patent and an interest in that drug
>company, interesting. i find the pills much cheaper and don't have that
>what, sodium benzoate that the liquid form had.
>> Olli Sallinen
>> MD, Helsinki

   If you are making normal amounts of stomach acid, MgO (this is the
correct empiric formula, not MgO2) is converted to Mg+2 in your stomach
and as well absorbed as anything.  The best thing you can do is take it
with meals (early in the meal).  Taking it with each meal will make
more difference then buying fancy preps.  The RDA is 400, and if you
take 250 mg MgO with each meal, it's likely you'll have no
deficiencies.  If you must take liquids, take USP milk of magnesia,
half a table spoon with two meals of the day.  Do not take Halley's MO,
as the MO stands for mineral oil, which causes other problems
(including even more looseness of bowels, vitamin malabsorption, etc)

   If you are taking antacid pills, then Epsom Salts (Mg2SO4.7H2O) in
the amount of 1 or 2 "OO" capsules of crystals with each meal, will do
as well (you can buy this very cheaply by the carton-- the capsules
will cost you more, but the stuff itself is horribly sour--- that's the
taste of the Mg2+ ion).  However, this is more likely to cause bowel
looseness, as SO4=  is mildly laxative on its own.

   Do not waste money on gluconates, lactates, orotates, or chlorides
of magnesium.  They are a huge ripoff.

                             Steve Harris, M.D.

From: B. Harris)
Subject: Re: Intracellular Magnesium levels
Date: 8 Jun 1999 07:43:44 GMT

In <> Fred
Thomas <> writes:

>On Mon, 7 Jun 1999, mjdgdc wrote:
>> Steven B. Harris wrote in message <7jfjj7$>...
>> >   Do not waste money on gluconates, lactates, orotates, or chlorides
>> >of magnesium.  They are a huge ripoff.
>> >
>> >                             Steve Harris, M.D.
>> That would depend on how much is being charged. I give magnesium
>> supplements to a few of my patients (mostly for muscle spasm), and the
>> preparation I give is a mixed-chelate (gluconate, citrate, etc). After
>> a long search (through tons of high-priced garbage), I found a decent
>> company that has a Mg mixed-chelate, 250mg elemental magnesium with 99
>> mg elemental potassium, and a bottle of 60 pills is less than five
>> dollars.

   You will notice I didn't mention citrate, which is the only thing
other than oxide, chloride, and hydroxide which allows anything close
to RDA of magnesium to be put into one pill.  250 mg elemental Mg is
simply too much to put into a single pill if it's gluconate, lactate,
orotate, etc.  They are in there as window dressing, in insignificant
quantities.  If it's mostly magnesium citrate, with bits of other stuff
just in there to make you feel better (I'll bet they don't give
percents), it's possible, with a pretty good sized pill.  And I suppose
worth the money for those with no stomach acid who are REALLY sensitive
to laxitive effect of sulfate in Epsom Salt (not problem below Mg doses
less than 1000 mg, for most people).  However, what I said above about
the other stuff, goes.

From: B. Harris)
Subject: Re: Intracellular Magnesium levels
Date: 8 Jun 1999 07:52:42 GMT

In <7jgrqc$mgk$> "mjdgdc"
<> writes:

>Steven B. Harris wrote in message
>>   Do not waste money on gluconates, lactates, orotates, or chlorides
>>of magnesium.  They are a huge ripoff.
>>                             Steve Harris, M.D.
>That would depend on how much is being charged. I give magnesium
>supplements to a few of my patients (mostly for muscle spasm), and the
>preparation I give is a mixed-chelate (gluconate, citrate, etc).

   "Mixed"!  Technically true but a lie in effect, since it promotes a
mental image is all those things in reasonable fractions, which is
false.  You can't do that with one pill.  What you have is 90% dense
citrate, and diddly quantities of other stuff to make you feel good.  I
didn't mention citrate because for both calcium and magnesium it's a
reasonable alternative for those on antacid therapy, and you actually
can get 300 Ca or Mg elemental into one pill, using the supercompressed
citrate.  For example, Citracal+D (330 mg Ca citrate plus 200 IU vit D)
from COSTCO for only $12 for 180 tabs.  That's an excellent price.

   Ca and Mg are two minerals for which "chelation" is useless.  Your
body absorbs them as free ions, and any salt that gets them disolved is
a good salt.

From: B. Harris)
Subject: Re: Intracellular Magnesium levels
Date: 8 Jun 1999 07:59:10 GMT

In <7jgct0$m1p$> Rocky <> writes:

>Thanks Steve and others for your replies. I'll certainly continue
>taking the Mg supplements for the time being as it certainly gives me
>relief from the muscle spasms. Given what other posters have
>recommended I might launch out and have some intracellular mineral
>testing done (for Ca, Mg, etc etc and go and see someone who knows how
>to interpret the results) because this problem has been bugging me for
>a while now

   Do not have this done unless in a blinded fashion.  Show up with 4
tubes of blood labeled A,B,C, and D.  Don't tell the lab a thing.  They
should be 2 tubes drawn from you at the same time, and 2 from a friend
or family member at the same time (get some other doc or lab to do
this).  If you don't get results in which two tubes very closely match,
and the other two match each other also, you've just been ripped off,
for you didn't even get intertest agreement, let alone accuracy.  If
the lab won't take non name-labeled blood you bring in, call them dirty
words and do not give them any of your money. Same for the "doctor"
trying to have you do this.

From: B. Harris)
Subject: Re: Intracellular Magnesium levels
Date: 5 Jul 1999 09:27:51 GMT

In <7lo33v$vb6$> writes:
>> >test.
>> >According to Dr. Sherry Rogers, a national expert on mineral deficiencies,
>> >the magnesium blood SERUM test is next to worthless.
>> >
>> >MLouis
>> Actually, according to my clinical exerience, in the acute setting, the
>> serum magnesium is highly useful, specifically in patients who have
>> hypokalemia that is unresponsive to replacement IV K+.
>> But then I don't have a glossy paperback to sell....
>> David

   Yep.  Serum magnesium is a good, but not perfect test.  It's much
better than it's given credit for being (to hear all this crap that
gets posted in places like this, you'd think it was nearly worthless.
Wrong).  In all of the human and animal experimentally induced
hypomagnesium studies, serum levels fell in almost every subject before
intracellular ones did (this is a vastly more common condition than the
other way around, which has been described clinically, but rarely).
Goodhart and Shils has a good review chapter in their text, since
Maurice Shils himself was author or coauthor of many of the pioneering
and best human volunteer experiments.  Including some stuff which
wouldn't be possible today, and possibly never again, due to the
increasing stickiness of ethics committees to let volunteer subjects
experience any sign or symptom of deficiency of anything, worse than
feeling tired.

   In someone not on diuretics, urine magnesiums are easy to check, and
reasonably sensitive.  The RBC test is best reserved for people with
normal serum levels who have nevertheless have classic risk factors
(diet, alchohol, diabetes, diuretics) and some serious problem like
heart dysrhythmias or tetany or a difficult to correct K+, who don't
have an IV (such as outpatients), and who you don't really dare let
wait for the few days it takes to begin to orally replete on an empiric
basis, or who are non-compliant and won't DO it on that basis.  That
doesn't leave it a test you're going to use a lot.  As a geriatrician,
most of my patients are on calcium+D supplements, anyway, and magnesium
to combat the constipation of this plus old age.  If they take the
pills, just as with the good multivitamin I put them all on, they don't
have the problems.

From: "Steve Harris" <>
Subject: Re: Calcium/Magnesium and Cancer
Date: Sat, 28 Apr 2001 15:33:53 -0600

"John 'the Man'" <> wrote in message
> "Steve Harris" <> wrote in message
> news:9cd6se$rn0$
> > "John 'the Man'" <> wrote in message
> > news:wilG6.240$
> > > > > Any sugested mechamisms for Calcium/Magnesium in preventing
> > > > > cancer?
> > > Well, after reading your Reply, ... I am going to add my own two cents
> > > worth.  :-)
> > > SOD ie, superoxide dismutase
> > > Magnesium is a 'trace element' required by SOD.  :-)
> > You are confusing magnesium with manganese.
> Could be?
> I see that you got my Peanut Reply?  :-)

About the lectins?  Yes, that was interesting and not something I'd
considered. We'll leave it an open question until the researchers figure it
out. Meanwhile, peanuts are still not good for you. Eat nuts but make it the
Fancy Mix.

> Actually, on this thread the problem was my responding with off the cuff
> remarks and posting the WRONG citations.  :-(

Snip stuff about Mg and SOD.

First, I'm a bit uncomfortable calling magnesium a trace mineral. It's a
major mineral in your body and plays major roles. There are thousands of
enzymes that use it-- including any that deal with ion pumping, DNA, RNA,
and ATP.  The triphosphate in nucleotides is wrapped around Mg2+ to make it
easier to manage by the body's biochemistry, so you always see it whenever
DNA is being manipulated, or ATP is being made and often when it is being

Given that magnesium is ubiquitous and involved in nearly every cell growth
process, it's not surprising that goes up, down, and sideways in any process
of cell growth or differentiation. Or that the lack of it affects nearly any
complex biochemical system you can name. But none of this is very
interesting because it's hard to say what it MEANS.  Cancer cells may have
more water in them, or less, or higher pH or lower, and it's information
worth gathering, but not information that is presently useful. As well
observe that 100 cars brought to the mechanic with engine problems have (on
average) louder engines than 100 cars taken off the street.

In general, magnesium is good stuff, rather like potassium, and if you have
good kidneys you probably will be healthier if you eat lots of high
magnesium foods (nuts and greens) or take a pill. There's a threshold of
where it begins to bother your gut as a laxative, but that's many times the

As for SOD, it's still a manganese enzyme. Any connection of levels of it
and magnesium are too general to be worth bothering with.  If you deprive
cells of magnesium they can't make ATP, and all kinds of metabolic things go
wrong with them. Same as if you heated them up or deprived them of water.
But so what?

Again, to repeat: an awful lot of time in nutritional studies has been
wasted by depriving some poor animal of some nutrient which is involved
biochemically in everything, and then writing a paper to show that there is an
effect on ONE thing.  Who the *&%$ cares? In biology you get your answers--
your knowledge-- from systems in which things mostly stay the same and there
are only a few changes. Dirty systems in which everything changes tell you
almost nothing.


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