Magnesium's Role

From, To Your Health - Winona Daily News
By Dr. Paul G. Donohue

Dear Dr. DONOHUE: I am 50 years old. I went to see my doctor about whether I needed calcium supplements. He said it would not hurt, but to make sure the supplements have magnesium as well. I have since heard of two people whose doctors prescribed antacids containing calcium but no magnesium as a cheap calcium supplement. From what I have read, this may cause a magnesium deficiency, which could cause kidneystone formation. What's your view? - G.G.

ANSWER: With the spotlight on calcium, magnesium long has played a minor role in the nutrition saga. However, magnesium is getting more and more attention as time passes.

People taking calcium supplements or those who are on estrogen replacement therapy might need a boost of magnesium, which helps the body replete lost bone calcium.

Thus, together with calcium, magnesium builds stronger bones. Magnesium also can prevent calcium stone formation in the kidneys, and it appears to play a role in bloodpressure control.

All in all, magnesium is turning out to be the mineral of the hour.

Approach the subject with some caution, however. The studies on magnesium are preliminary. No decision has been reached about a recommendation for increased magnesium intake. There is no need for a mad rush to the drugstore to get a supply of magnesium supplements.

The current standards say that men need 350 milligrams of magnesium a day; women, 280 milligrams. The mineral is found naturally in whole grains, cereals, kidney beans, black beans. chickpeas, nuts, dairy products and many fruits and vegetables.

IN RESPONSE to reader requests, Dr. Donohue has a complete listing of his pamphlets on various medical problems. Readers who want one, should send their request to ...

Dr. Donohue - List, Box 5539, Riverton, NJ 08077-5539.

Enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope.

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