More about Magnesium (re: Epsom Salts Bath Newsletter)

by Christopher Matthews
(Mansfield, TX)

I want to give you a little additional supplement on Magnesium. I am a paramedic, and we use Magnesium Sulfate given IV in our practice, so I am well versed in its pharmacology. If you choose to publish this on your site, I am including some layperson descriptions for those who don't know medical terminology).


I have ADHD-Inattentive Type and through the diagnosis of my daughter who was then 2 (now six) years old, we found out I also have SID/SPD, so she apparently comes by it honestly. I also have Restless Leg Syndrome as a result of having stress fractured my hips in the military a few years ago and one of my best treatments for RLS is taking a Magnesium-only supplement.

What should be mentioned about Magnesium is that, like all other common electrolytes in the body (Calcium, Potassium, Sodium, Chloride, et. al.), there is a maximum before side effects start to occur. Just as too much Calcium can lead to kidney stones and actually cause the same symptoms as Magnesium deficiency and even heart dysrhythmias, Magnesium is not without its side effects.

As Magnesium is primarily a smooth-muscle relaxant (even though it is an electrolyte and can act as a neuromuscular transmission blocker), it offsets the effects of high-Potassium (hyperkalemia) and high-Calcium (hypercalcemia) on the short term while a way is found to eliminate the higher leves of Calcium and Potassium (imagine an antique scale that uses two plates and teeters toward the heavier side). If you just add Magnesium, it doesn't effectively remove the Potassium or Calcium, it just creates a more competitve environment for the cellular receptors.

However, when that excess doesn't occur, you can overstimulate the cells with the Magnesium and actually tip the scale in favor of the Magnesium. What happens is usually just the intended effects of Magnesium... a little stability in cardiac irritability by relaxing the muscles and blunting some of the "ectopic" electrical activity (remember it is an electrolyte), bronchial smooth muscle relaxation (reduces bronchospasm - or helps asthma), gastric/intestinal smooth muscle relaxation (loosening stool or even creating diarrhea, which is the goal of medications like Magnesium Citrate or GoLytely, usually before a colonoscopy), etc.

This can progress to Magnesium toxicity, which includes the following: Respiratory depression (abnormal slowing of the breathing rate) or even apnea (periods of no breathing), bradycardia (abnormal slowing of the heart rate), hypotension (abnormally low pressure), Central Nervous System (CNS) depression leading to muscle weakness or flaccid paralysis (body goes limp and has weak or no muscle tone), confusion and sedation, sweating, and hypothermia (abnormally low body temperature).

Additionally, if the person receiving therapy including Epsom Salts or getting Magnesium supplements more than just a daily multivitamin has any renal (kidney) impairment or even failure (usually a dialysis patient), they may become toxic much faster than the normal user because their kidneys cannot filter out excesses as efficiently (remember the antique scale analogy above?), so please don't treat this as less than a true medication simply because you can get many varieties over-the-counter and it is sold along side the vitamins. It would be smart to consult a doctor about starting this sort of therapy, and together, you can decide if this therapy is right for you, or if your doctor wants to run some basic blood tests first, or even ask you to get periodic check-ups to make sure you aren't overdoing it.

That being said, I will now be monitoring myself to see if it helps my AHDH and/or SID/SPD symptoms and see if it is right for my daughter. Thank you for presenting this month's newsletter, and keep up the good work!

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Thank you SO much for taking the time to add this wonderful medical information!!! WOW!! This is greatly appreciated!! I hope everyone gets a chance to read this. I will also add it to the newsletter just in case (the backissue). Of course, I wholeheartedly agree to check with your doctor too!!!! I did mention that in the newsletter, but maybe should have said it more than once. Again, thank you Christopher!

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Sep 18, 2015
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apraxia and magnesium
by: Anonymous

We moved to a new city and started swimming lessons for my daughters, including one with apraxia, and a variety of other mysterious health problems, right away. After every swimming lessons, my daughter's speech improved markedly. The improvement seemed to last for a day and then go away. The amount of speech and the quality of speech would improve after every week's swimming lesson. I didn't understand what was going on, because she had been to swimming lessons before and we didn't see this effect.

Finally, a year later, a parent at my older child's school told me her doctor had actually recommended Epsom salts for anxiety. I decided to try it. I put both girls in the bath. Afterwards I saw the same improvement in my apraxic daughter's speech, although this time it was even better, and she seemed to hold on to the improvements longer this time. A couple months passed and I read "Brain Gate" where the relationship between calcium, D3, and magnesium was described. I realized that the whole time I was pregnant and breastfeeding with my second child, I was taking calcium, and occasionally taking d3 in the winter. I emailed the swimming pool asking if they add magnesium to the water. They emailed me back and said that yes, it is a salt water chlorinated pool, and they need to add buckets of Epsom salts or magnesium to prevent calcium build-up in the filtration system! We have continued with the baths and my daughter continues to improve, and I am never taking calcium again.

The magnesium deficiency explains so much with regards to the apraxia and both of my daughter's health problems, which interestingly, manifested very differently : my older daughter was anxious, irritable, had eye twitches, my younger daughter had two seizures, two semi-comas, low muscle tone, hair grew in already damaged-looking, would never tan, low growth, upward gaze nystagmus, symptoms of autism including repeating the same phrase over and over for one full year, also both girls had feet that turned inwards, more on one side than the other.

Jan 13, 2010
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I had Mag Sulfate IV . . . .
by: Melinda

I had Mag Sulfate IV to prevent preterm labor and delivery almost 11 years ago. I had complete placenta previa. It was a horrible experience. I did become toxic and had the muscular weakness, extremely slurred speech, blurry vision, and seeing many items of one thing, and difficulty breathing - I felt like I had an elephant on my chest. I truly thought I was slipping into a coma and couldn't get the nurses to believe me. Finally, blood work came back that said I was toxic and they took me off of it. I'm just reiterating the encouragement to be careful from this post. Very wise advice.

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