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Book: Magnesium, The Nutrient That Could Change Your Life

Title Page and Table of Contents

1. The Miracle Mineral

Our initial interest in magnesium as an aid to bodily health was aroused in 1939 by the work of Dr. P. Schrumpf-Pierron in the field of cancer research. The researches of Professor P. Schrumpf-Pierron are written up in the Bulletin de L'Institut D'Egypte (Vol. XIV, February 15, 1932) and others. He talks about the rarity of cancer in Egypt where the rate of malignant cases is only about one-tenth that of Europe. What is the cause? After exhaustive studies and research the doctor came to the conclusion that it was due to too much potassium and too little magnesium in the foods of Europeans. On the other hand, in the soils of Egypt the conditions are reversed; that is, more magnesium in relation to the potassium.

There seems to be a definite relationship between magnesium and potash wherever it is found, whether in the soils, rocks, or other places. Where there is an oversupply of potash, there is always an undersupply of magnesium and vice versa. Schrumpf-Pierron studied the cancer statistics for France in relation to the rock structure underlying its soils. It worked most uncannily. Wherever he found an excess of potash, there he discovered less magnesium and more human cancer cases. Wherever he observed a minimum of potash, he found a maximum of magnesium and less cancer cases. This means that people who eat food raised in certain soils that obtain their nutriments from the rocks that underlie them get certain elements into their foods because of this. Such a condition would apply more to France than to the United States, because in a country like France there would be more of a tendency to consume food near the point at which it is raised. But in the United States, with our more advanced industrial condition, where even the poorer people are able to buy winter vegetables raised in California, Florida, and elsewhere, a great deal of citrus foods, etc., and meats that are shipped long distances, local deficiencies and unbalancings of nutritional elements may tend to be corrected to a certain extent.

When Schrumpf-Pierron found that an excess of potassium in the rocks of a region tied in with an excess of cancer cases in that section, we should note that excess of potassium means excess of carbohydrates in plants grown there and, therefore, reduced protein in the foods. Farmers should know that it is best, therefore, to use dolomitic limestone when they apply lime, because it is rich in magnesium and acts as a safety factor in relation to the potash in the soil.

In an article, "The Importance of Magnesium in Human Nutrition," by S. Marcovitch, Ph.D., printed in The Science Counselor (December, 1954, Duquesne University Press), appears the following: "It is now generally known that the liberal use of potassium fertilizers tends to cause deficiency of magnesium in plants, and even lowers the calcium and soda content. Cattle fed on such high potassium forage develop grass tetany."

The evidence of a dietary need for much magnesium is mountainous-our files are bulging with scientific papers on the subject.

At this point you may be saying, "Am I getting enough magnesium?" So may we tell you that if you eat sunflower and pumpkin seeds, if you take at least four bone meal tablets of standard size a day, if you eat wheat germ, peanuts, peas, beans, soybeans, and plenty of meat, you are assured of getting enough magnesium.

At this time we would like to discuss our bête noire--milk drinking. Dr. S. Marcovitch, quoted above, says in the same article: "Milk with a low magnesium ratio, while an excellent food for the young, may be detrimental for adults."

Here is another reference: "Some component of milk interferes with the utilization of magnesium. R. H. Smith [in the BioClinical Journal, 67, 472, 19571 ... recently undertook the elucidation of this phenomenon," Nutrition Reviews (June, 1958).

In the March 31, 1958, issue of Newsweek, we were thrilled when we read of a discovery to help heart patients made by the famous Dr. Hans Selye of McGill University at Montreal. Selye took groups of albino rats and, by making them undergo certain stresses that damaged their heart muscles, caused them to die. But when he gave them injections of magnesium and potassium, they always continued to live.

We are sorry that we have to disagree with Dr. Selye, but we are of the opinion that he would have gotten the same results with the magnesium alone, and without the potassium, and there is much medical work that backs us up! In The Journal of the American Medical Association (October 19, 1963), Charles Fisch, M.D., stated that medical science may have been wrong in prescribing potassium for patients with coronary disease. Research shows that potassium may make digitalis intoxication worse, "even to the point of cardioactive standstill." He says that "potassium has been too enthusiastically received, and some say too enthusiastically given. Recent observations, though, have pointed out to contrindications, and certain cardiologists have suggested caution in the use of potassium." Charles Fisch is chief of the cardiovascular division at Indiana University School of Medicine. He gives a lot of evidence to prove his point.

In our own files we find several proofs that good results in coronary cases can be obtained by the use of magnesium without potassium. Here is S. E. Browne, M.D., writing to The Lancet (London, December, 1961), who says that for the past nine months he has injected a magnesium sulfate solution into patients with severe angina or a history of coronary thrombosis with excellent results on five patients with really severe angina.

Another piece of evidence is in an article in The Lancet (November 1, 1958) which says, "Recent work has suggested that magnesium may be related to atherosclerosis and ischaemic heart disease. It has been claimed that magnesium sulphate is of therapeutic value in myocardial infarction, while a high magnesium diet has prevented the development of atherosclerosis in rats." Not a word about potassium.

In The British Medical Journal (January 23, 1960), an item contains the following: "Over 100 patients suffering from coronary heart disease . . . were treated with intramuscular [injected] magnesium sulphate with only one death, compared to their findings in the previous year when, of 196 cases admitted and treated with routine anticoagulants, 60 died."

In the American Heart Journal (February, 1959) cases are described of damage to the heart by certain medication. Then in the summary appears the following: "The damage to the heart and the blood vessels, caused by the bacterial polysaccharide, was considered as a common phenomenon induced by some of the high molecular substances . . . Such damage was reduced effectively by the concurrent oral administration of magnesium chloride."

Another in The South African Medical Journal (December 20, 1958): . . . "The value of parenteral [not oral] magnesium-sulphate therapy in acute and chronic heart disease has once again been affirmed. M cases of angina have been treated by 5 workers with 66 per cent remission of pain. 64 cases of acute coronary thrombosis or acute coronary insufficiency have been treated. Of these only one died in an acute attack. The great importance of early parenteral magnesium sulphate therapy in these cases has been stressed . . . It is suggested that in cases who have recovered from an attack of coronary thrombosis, life expectancy can be improved by combined hepatin and magnesium- sulphate by long-term therapy."

Finally, here is an interesting item from The South African Medical Journal (October 18, 1958):

"In a personal communication to us Dr. Parsons writes as follows:

" 'We have completed 50 cases of patients treated with magnesium sulphate and have reported our findings in a paper to the British Medical Journal. We feel that this form of treatment has surpassed other forms especially in cases suffering from angina. Medicine is a progressive science and in its multiple branches new forms of therapy are constantly appearing.

" 'To physicians who are students not alone of the manifestations of disease, but also of the working of human nature, there are few chapters in the field of therapeutics more interesting than those which record the response of medical men to the Supposed advances in the treatment of disease. This can roughly be divided into 4 stages:

" 'The first reaction is that of scepticism and outright rejection by the few whose verdict matters most. This is understandable in the light of past experience. Many medical men have announced their cure of disease, provided remedies to relieve symptoms, and invented methods of treatment that seemed to put off the inevitable tendency to dissolution. Yet few of these inventions and discoveries have maintained their early reputation. Another initial difficulty is that our views about a new and unorthodox method of treatment are already prejudiced by various influences, both emotional and intellectual, and particularly by theories which pervade our own thought, sometimes without our being aware of them. To be ruthlessly critical of another man's theories is one of the easiest tasks to accomplish. The 2nd stage in the life history of a new drug is one of unbridled enthusiasm and acceptance by the many. Wild and exaggerated claims are made in support of a new drug, impossible hopes are entertained or the drug may be used in the wrong dose and in the wrong way. This inevitably brings a useful remedy into disrepute (3rd stage) and it may take years before the 4th stage is reached and the drug makes its final reappearance in the field of therapeutics. The history of tuberculin is a glaring example of this."

So . . . we'll stake our money on magnesium without potassium.

Chapter 2. Magnesium and Cancer

Table of Contents

This page was first uploaded to The Magnesium Web Site on January 3, 2001