In spite of the fact that heart drugs, mainly diuretics, have the bad habit of depleting magnesium-along with potassium and even though magnesium is absolutely required for stabilizing heart muscle activity - magnesium is not utilized properly by conventional medicine.
A small group of international magnesium researchers, however, have continued, against all odds, to prove the importance of magnesium - not only as a nutrient for thousands of body processes-but also as a medicine to treat magnesium-depleted health conditions. Drs. Bella and Burton Altura are two hard-working magnesium heros! They have performed laboratory research and clinical research to the tune of about 1,000 studies over the past forty years. The Alturas personally confirmed that the twenty-two magnesium-related conditions, listed at the beginning of this article, have a solid basis in science.
Dr. Burton Altura said that during his forty years of research he was appalled at the lack of attention given to this life-saving nutrient. He has all but given up on conventional medicine recognizing the need for magnesium in its protocols for dozens of diseases and welcomed books such as mine to help spread the word. Without million-dollar marketing budgets that drug companies have for their latest drugs, nutrient research plods along-proving over and over again their worth but never being able to get that information out to the public.
Another reason that Dr. Altura felt magnesium was not given its due is because there has been no lab test that will give an accurate reading of the magnesium status in the tissues. Only one percent of magnesium of the body is distributed in the blood, making a simple sample of magnesium in the blood highly inaccurate. That’s why most doctors who rely on blood tests for magnesium and not magnesium deficiency signs and symptoms and realization that up to 80 percent of the population is deficient, will miss an important diagnosis.
There''s even more to the actual way magnesium works. It exists in the body either as active magnesium ions or as inactive magnesium complexes bound to proteins or other substances. A magnesium ion is a group of atoms that is missing an electron, which makes it excitable as it searches to attach to something that will replace its missing electron. Magnesium ions constitute the most physiologically active fraction of magnesium in the body; they are free to join in biochemical body processes and are not attached to other substances.8 Most clinical laboratories only assess total “serum” magnesium, which mixes up both active and inactive types.
The Alturas took it upon themselves to develop and research a method that would test specifically for magnesium ions. It came about in 1987 and is called the Blood Ionized Magnesium Test. Its accuracy has been confirmed countless times with sensitive digital imaging microscopy, atomic absorption spectroscopy and the magnesium fluorescent probe. With this test it is now possible to directly measure the levels of magnesium ions in whole blood, plasma and serum using ion-selective electrodes.8 The Alturas have used the ionized magnesium test in hundreds of research trials on dozens of different conditions proving, for example, that the twenty-two conditions listed above are related to magnesium deficiency.9-15 Unfortunately I’m not able to tell you that the ionized magnesium test is readily available. The Alturas do ionized magnesium tests at their laboratory at SUNY in New York and the testing equipment is available through an outside manufacturer to interested labs. (I''ve included the Altura contact information, below, but they are on summer hiatus.)