Fibromyalgia and Magnesium Deficiency
Magnesium Is An Important Mineral
Magnesium is a mineral that is essential to many functions in the body, so an insufficiency can end up causing myriad troubles for an individual. Along with its most commonly known function of involvement in the proper formation of bone, it is also the activating mineral for at least 350 different enzymes in the body - far more than any other mineral. It is also critical to metabolic function, including turning sugar and fat into energy through the energy molecule adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is the most important enzyme in the body and about 20% of its production takes place in the brain. When there are inadequate amounts of ATP, cognitive function in the brain is reduced resulting in such situations as fibro fog and forgetfulness - both consistent with fibromyalgia.
What Happens When a Person is Deficient In Magnesium?
Magnesium deficiency is common throughout the US but is particularly evident in people with fibromyalgia (FM). It is easily lost to a diet that requires an increased use of magnesium to process, and stress - the most effective tool in magnesium loss leading to deficiency. Hormones also affect magnesium levels, especially estrogen, which may explain why more women than men suffer with FM, especially after menopause when estrogen levels decrease. Another factor in magnesium deficiency is sleep disruption, which is also a factor in FM. Inadequate or broken sleep has been shown to cause lower magnesium levels probably associated with the lower amounts of growth hormone which is secreted during sleep. Growth hormone is responsible for tissue repair, and sleep disturbance means tissues are not being properly attended to within the body.
Why Magnesium is Necessary
Along with bone formation and ATP production, magnesium is needed for other functions as well.
· Proper muscle function. Inadequate magnesium leads to excessive muscle tension, spasms, restlessness (think restless leg syndrome), twitches and tics.
· Inhibits the excessive release of neurotransmitters and nerve receptors that are considered to be sources of certain types of fibromyalgia pain.
· Helps to regulate adrenaline release and monitor sensitivity to adrenaline. When too much adrenaline is released reactive hypoglycemia occurs.
· Affects the nervous system by regulating the release of hormones and plays a role in regulating noradrenalin levels. When too much noradrenalin is released situations such as mitral valve prolapse can occur.
· It is needed in the production of serotonin, a brain neurotransmitter that is involved in the perception of pain.
Magnesium Deficiency Effects
Magnesium deficiency, which is commonly found in fibromyalgia sufferers, results in pain and the onset of other disorders and syndromes, such as:
· Migraine headaches
· Mitral valve prolapse
· Sleep disturbance
· Reactive hypoglycemia
· Myofascial pain syndrome
· Insulin resistance
· Respiratory problems
· Increased levels of Substance P (increase of pain)
Chemical brain imbalances that occur with FM tend to be connected with magnesium related processes. Since magnesium is part of so many functions within the body, a lack of it creates a spiral effect. Low magnesium levels cause a decrease in metabolic function which causes further stress on the body thus reducing the body's ability to absorb and retain magnesium. It's a vicious circle.
Just Like a Hangover
Stress in its myriad forms increases when there is a lack of magnesium in the body. A deficiency causes nerves to fire too easily, even with just minor stimuli. As a result:
· Noises will sound louder
· Lights will be too bright
· Emotional reactions will be over the top
· The brain will be too busy to shut down for sleep
Some of these symptoms are the same as those found in a person dealing with a hangover. In fact, the cause is the same because alcohol diminishes magnesium levels and a magnesium supplement has been proven to relieve symptoms of hangover.
Although most symptoms consistent with magnesium deficiency can be relieved with supplementation, some of the indirect problems that are caused are irreversible.