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Magnesium Deficiency In Older Adults May Contribute To Insomnia, Osteoporosis, Diabetes And Heart Disease

According to a recent fact sheet from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), older adults are at increased risk of magnesium deficiency. Factors that contribute to this are decreased Intestinal absorption of magnesium in older people and a greater excretion of it via the kidneys. In addition, the NIH Health and Nutrition Surveys found that older adults have lower dietary intakes of magnesium. The diseases to which the elderly are vulnerable, and some of the drugs used in therapy, also contribute to magnesium loss.

A recent Gallup Poll survey reported that magnesium consumption decreases as we age, with 79 percent of adults 55 and over reportedly eating below the RDA (recommended dietary allowance) of magnesium.

"A potential magnesium deficiency is a matter of concern for many individuals of all ages, but for the elderly, it could be particularly serious," said Richard Rivlin, M.D., Chief of the Nutrition Division at New York Hospital, Cornell Medical Center.

"The prevalence of heart disease, diabetes and even leg cramps increases dramatically among older persons, and these are all health conditions in which magnesium deficiency has been found," Rivlin said.

Diabetes

Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health evaluated the dietary intake of specific nutrients for more than 85,000 women and more than 42,000 men, in data supplied over 18 years for the women and over 12 years for the men. They found that the men and women whose diets included the largest amounts of magnesium were the least likely to develop type 2 diabetes. Most of the participants in the study consumed magnesium through foods, such as whole grains, nuts and green leafy vegetables.

Osteoporosis

A lack of magnesium is also associated with osteoporosis. Bone health is supported by many factors, most notably calcium and vitamin D. However, some evidence suggests that magnesium deficiency may be an additional risk factor for postmenopausal osteoporosis. This may be due to the fact that magnesium deficiency alters calcium metabolism and the hormones that regulate calcium. In one study of older adults, a greater magnesium intake maintained bone mineral density to a higher degree than a lower intake.

Insomnia

A recent National Sleep Foundation poll found that a majority of older adults (67%) report having frequent sleep problems. This translates to 37 million older adults in the U.S. having some form of insomnia. Particularly for older people, one possible underlying nutritional cause of insomnia may be a deficiency of certain minerals. James F. Balch, M.D., author of Prescription for Nutritional Healing, writes: "A lack of the nutrients calcium and magnesium will cause you to wake up after a few hours and not be able to return to sleep."

Magnesium Chloride

Specific forms of these minerals are more digestible than others - an important factor because our digestive enzymes lessen with age. Magnesium chloride is a unique form of magnesium that holds good benefit for older adults. Separately, both magnesium and chloride have important functions in keeping us healthy. Chloride combines with hydrogen in the stomach to make hydrochloric acid, a powerful digestive aid that declines as we grow older. Magnesium is an anti-aging nutrient that assists with physical rejuvenation by preventing the calcification (hardening by calcium) of our organs and tissues.

Jobee Knight, a nutritional researcher and founder of Nutrition Breakthroughs in Glendale, California, is someone who fought her own battle against insomnia. She decided to put her background to use by searching out effective natural ingredients for relaxation and deeper sleep. The result was Sleep Minerals, a unique blend of magnesium chloride and calcium lactate gluconate.

One example of a father's struggle with sleeplessness was in Phoenix Arizona, where Sabrina and her dad live. Out of concern for him, she began searching for natural sleep solutions. She says: "My father was hooked on Ambien and the side effects weren't good. I checked on the Internet for other alternatives and came across Sleep Minerals. My dad was willing to try something different - something natural. He did, and the first night he took them, he said it was the best sleep he's had in years. Now he always keeps some by the bed."

Magnesium chloride has been shown to provide a variety of health benefits including a calmer nervous system, improved digestion, stronger immune system and a healthier heart.

Richard Rivlin, M.D. summed up the Gallup Poll survey results by saying: "It is clear that consumers are largely unaware of the role of magnesium -- a nutrient that is essential for the function of other minerals like calcium, as well as the normal operation of the heart and muscles."

http://www.NutritionBreakthroughs.com

References:

1. NIH Office of Dietary Supplements, Fact Sheet on Magnesium, 12/5/05.

2. Lopez-Ridaura, R. "Diabetes Care", January 2004; vol 27: pp 134-140. Ruy Lopez-Ridaura, MD, Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston.

3. Tucker KL, Hannan MT, Chen H, Cupples LA, Wilson PW, Kiel DP. "Potassium, magnesium, and fruit and vegetable intakes are associated with greater bone mineral density in elderly men and women." Am J Clin Nutr 1999;69(4):727-36.

4. National Sleep Foundation: "The 2003 Sleep in America Poll".

5. Landy, Liz. "Gallup Survey Finds Majority of American Diets Lack Sufficient Magnesium - At Potential Cost to Health," Searle News, Sept. 21, 1994

6. "Effect of magnesium chloride on electrical stability of the heart", American Heart Journal 1977 Nov; 94 (5):600-2.

7. "Magnesium Chloride in Acute and Chronic Diseases", Raul Vergini, M.D.

http://www.NutritionBreakthroughs.com

Article URL: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/76059.php




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