In the December, 1963, issue of Prevention, as part of a series of articles on the prostate, we wrote a chapter on magnesium and prostate trouble, part of which we will reprint here as follows.
There is a remarkable book published in French, called Êquilibre Minéral et Santé (Mineral Equilibrium and Health), by Dr. Joseph Favier (Librairie le François, Paris), and . . . the title indicates that it deals with the mineral magnesium . . . the miracle mineral. The book shows how valuable magnesium as a medicament is for many diseases, but its chapter on magnesium's effect on the prostate should be discussed. Unfortunately for those who would like to read it, it is out of print.
Dr. Favier gives a Dr. Stora credit for being the first to discover magnesium chloride as an effective agent in treating urinary troubles of prostate origin. He informed the Medical Academy of France of it, on March 18, 1930. Eight days later, Dr. Pierre Delbet submitted a report showing the same results with magnesium chloride.
When Dr. Stora spoke about his results to Favier, the author of the book we are discussing, Favier began to make inquiries among his physician friends ... He found that they were all taking magnesium chloride. To his surprise he found that four out of five of them had been disturbed by difficulties in urinating, especially at night. And all of them, after taking the magnesium tablets, found that their nocturnal urinating troubles diminished or disappeared.
Another doctor--Chevassu--gave him other interesting data about 12 prostatic cases whom he treated with magnesium tablets. Ten of them were cured. One disappeared, and he does not know what the result was with him. The one that was not cured was left with nothing more than nightly urinations. The interesting thing is that the general physical condition of all these patients improved. Evidently, there is something about magnesium that is healthful for the body.
Dr. Chevassu speaks of his Case No. 4, a 77-year-old prostatic patient who suffered a crisis of complete retention of urine. He had to be probed in order to urinate. His prostate was very much enlarged. Probes were carried on three times a day up to November 24, and hot clysters (enemas) were administered. The first spontaneous urination took place on November 25; the probes were cut off on December 7. On December 10, the patient urinated five times a night and he had a big residue.
The magnesium treatment started on December 14, the dosage being four tablets (2 g. 40), and went on until February 21, 1930. The nightly urinations fell from five to three, and the residue dropped to 20 grams.
The patient, having recovered his strength and feeling very well, believing he was cured, discontinued the treatment. The frequency of urinations increased, and three days later, on February 24, the residue had gone up to 126 grams. The magnesium treatment was resumed, the frequency of urinations curtailed, and on March 21, the patient informed the doctor that he urinates only two to three times a night.
Regarding patient 13, who had been a case of complete retention of urine: he was sent to the hospital in order to have an operation of the prostate performed; that is, to have his prostate removed. But Dr. Chevassu felt that the operation in his case would be too dangerous. He was therefore given the magnesium chloride tablets. Spontaneous urination occurred, and the patient left the hospital without the operation. From then on he had no difficulty or pain with his urinations. Thereafter the patient used to come to the hospital regularly merely as a friendly visitor to show his gratitude to the doctor. He was, of course, taking magnesium tablets after he left the hospital.
Dr. Favier ends the chapter by saying that among the men who have been taking magnesium chloride tablets for many years, none to his knowledge has suffered from prostatic trouble.
In connection with some of these cases and their cure, Dr. Pierre Delbet in Academy of Medicine (Paris), session of March 25, 1930, says, in regard to how magnesium acts on the body:
"As magnesium adds to the contractibility of smooth muscle fibers, one may wonder if the treatment doesn't act uniquely on the bladder, inasmuch as there isn't any parallel between reduction in size of the adenoma [a tumor of glandular origin] and functional improvement. But if, in certain cases, this improvement is considerable, when reduction in size is slight, which is favorable to the hypothesis, in other cases, it's quite the contrary, the reduction is quite more marked than functional improvement.
"In an earlier communication, M. Bretau and I have shown that age is accompanied by a reduction in magnesium in the most active organs and that the absorption of halogenated salts permits a struggle against certain manifestations of senility.
"Hypertrophy of the prostate is a complaint of waning life and perhaps the one which strikes most terribly. The facts communicated by M. Stora, which I have just reported and which belong to M. Chevassu, show that it is one illness which can be modified by halogenated magnesium salts.
"The preceding observations show that halogenated magnesium salts sometimes have an extraordinary action in very advanced cases. The sick man in observation XIII, who had complete retention, comes to see me regularly at Cochin to express his gratitude. He came right at the time of my retirement, that is to say during 16 months. He continued to take the treatment and urinated without difficulty.
"Since that time, a number of prostate sufferers, whom I don't know, have expressed their gratitude to me for the services that delbiase [a magnesium compound] rendered them.
"Its mode of action is completely obscure to me. What is striking is that the effects stop from the moment that the treatment is stopped. The subject of observation IV is an example. His nocturnal urinations were reduced to three and the residue, which had been considerable, fell to 20 grams. He stopped the treatment and in three days, the frequency of his urinations increased and the residue rose to 125 grams.
"One of my former pupils, a distinguished surgeon, has communicated his own observation to me. It appears to be very interesting. He had nocturnal urinations whose frequency increases all the time. He put himself on the delbiase regimen. His urination became less frequent. "My life," he said, "was completely untroubled. I could only complain that drinks were a little more frequent and a little more demanding than I should have liked." At the beginning of the war, he was mobilized and sent to be a surgeon at the front where he couldn't get any delbiase. His urinations became more frequent and assumed painful proportions. His general health was affected. Two and a half months after the treatment was stopped, it was noted that he had a residue of 220 grams.
"In sum, the effect of halogenated salts of magnesium isn't lasting. They improve or even suppress functional difficulties; they don't heal the lesions. They cause them to retrocede in a certain number of cases, but they don't cure them. As soon as the treatment is stopped, the development begins anew. Doesn't that prove in a peremptory manner that an insufficiency of magnesium in the organism is the cause, or at least one of the causes, of these lesions?'
Here are some of Delbet's ideas on senility. He says that all organs and tissues do not age at the same speed. The muscular system generally lasts the shortest period, the nervous system the longest. "The role of magnesium in organic synthesis leads one to think that it must diminish with age. Weiske's work shows that magnesium is less abundant in the bones of old rabbits than it is in those of young ones." In the human testicles a decline in magnesium was demonstrated as a person ages, but in old age calcium is more abundant than magnesium-three times more abundant. But here is something extremely interesting. As Dr. Delbet puts it, calcium is considered as a "framework" mineral, but magnesium is an "action" mineral. Calcium is static, magnesium is dynamic.
He says, "Added calcium and reduced magnesium are the characteristics of the senile testicle. In the brain and in the testicle, the relationship with age of are the same degree, but it appears certain to us that at the time that life is waning, magnesium diminishes while calcium rises. Now, everything that is known about the chemical magnesium, about its action in the synthesis of chlorophyll, justifies one in thinking that its reduction plays a role in senility, or at least in certain phenomena of senility.
Now, if magnesium in the body becomes less abundant as we grow old, and since medical researchers prove that deficiencies of magnesium lead to many diseases, isn't it common sense to take magnesium as a food supplement on a permanent basis?
This page was first uploaded to The Magnesium Web Site on January 3, 2001