Magnesium: Don’t you forget about me

Nutrition

Photo credit: Life Mental Health. Used with permission under Creative Commons license.

By pH health care professionals

Doctors often talk about drugs in terms of the minerals they throw out of whack. Some are “potassium-sparing,” while others are “calcium-wasting.”

Magnesium-wasting drugs often get overlooked, a dangerous situation because the culprit drugs are common, and low magnesium can cause adverse effects like seizures, cramping, depression, hypertension, fatigue, constipation, diabetes and heart arrhythmias.

Which prescriptions deplete magnesium levels?

Have you ever taken lansoprazole (Prevacid) or omeprazole (Prilosec)? Proton-pump inhibitors, or PPIs, are notorious for magnesium-wasting. These are stomach medicines that work terrifically for acid reflux and gastritis. But they’re meant to be taken for only two weeks at a time, and only three times per year maximum.

Doctors don’t know exactly why your magnesium levels plummet on these medications, but surmise that your intestines “forget” to absorb magnesium from food.

Common heart and blood pressure drugs in the diuretic family are also “magnesium wasters.” Loop diuretics, like furosemide (Lasix), bumetanide and ethacrynic acid, cause you to urinate your magnesium away. The diuretic hydrochlorothiazide causes you to urinate it out while teaching your urinary system to “forget” about absorbing magnesium safely out of liquid.

Cancer drugs and powerful antifungal drugs cause wasting as well. Finally, beware of antibiotics that end in “micin” like gentamicin.

What about magnesium from foods?

Remember that when you eat food, the magnesium levels that you should be getting aren’t always there. A 2004 study in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that many vitamin and mineral levels in common fruits and vegetables have dropped approximately 10-30%, compared to levels in 1950.

The agricultural academic literature is rife with articles on the effects of magnesium-depleted soil. You can thank modern farming practices for this — it’s the cost of having beefier tomatoes, drought-resistant corn and antifungal soybeans.

So when medications leach precious minerals out of you, it’s all the more reason to reach for a quality supplement. Magnesium supplements are available in many forms – pills, bath flakes, drinks, lotions, topical gels and oils.

What should you do?

If you have to take certain medications, discuss magnesium loss with your doctor. Be sure you are taking a doctor-approved supplement. In the case of PPIs, keep to the time limits — supplements just get eliminated out of the body in patients who take PPIs too long.

Concerned your magnesium levels have been depleted? Don’t leave it to chance. Get your magnesium levels tested at Proactive Health Labs.

Enjoy Your Healthy Life!

The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. This team also includes the members of the pH Medical Advisory Board, which constantly monitors all pH programs, products and services. To learn more about the pH Medical Advisory Board, click here.

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