Good news – magnesium protects against cancer.

The levels of vitamin D, magnesium and calcium were measured to assess whether they might have to do with protection from cancer. The level of vitamin D and magnesium was significantly associated with protection from cancer while calcium level was not. The mechanism of action is not included. (1)

The mechanism of action is likely to involve the control of apoptosis by the active hormone form of vitamin D, calcitriol, (3), and the role of magnesium in providing the energy for apoptosis. (2) White blood cells during times of normal function can identify damaged, old, pre-cancerous, cancerous, or infected or foreign cells and give an enzymatic blast of chemicals that kills the cell and engulfs it completely, before the killed cell can break down and spill its cellular contents into the surrounding area.

An influx of cell contents into the surrounding area would be toxic and potentially lead to more cells being damaged. The enzymatic blast of chemicals of apoptosis requires magnesium, (2), and signaling white blood cells to be in the mode of autophagy requires calcitriol. (3)

“In the context of cancer, calcitriol regulates the cell cycle, induces apoptosis, promotes cell differentiation and acts as anti-inflammatory factor within the tumor microenvironment.”

(Díaz-Muñoz et al., 2015) (3)

“In addition, the impact of Mg2+ on apoptosis initiation and execution in various cells has to be investigated in more detail.”

( Pilchova et al., 2017) (2)

Excessive amounts of vitamin D can be toxic and can be stored in fat tissue. Magnesium levels in the blood represent only one percent of the body’s total amount of magnesium which makes a blood test to check for deficiency not very helpful or accurate except in very severe deficiency – ideally we don’t want to reach severe deficiency. Symptoms of magnesium deficiency can include pain, anxiety, and muscle cramps.

To have adequate supplies of magnesium or vitamin D it is also important to have enough protein food in the diet as both nutrients are stored on transport protein or also ATP molecules in the case of magnesium. The transport protein or ATP molecule holds the vitamin D or magnesium in an inactive form. The body carefully controls how much active hormone D or electrically active ionic magnesium there is available within the cell fluid or in the blood stream.

  • More information about sources of magnesium in the diet or from topical sources (it can be absorbed by the skin through hair follicle pores), is available in this post: To have optimal Magnesium needs Protein and Phospholipids too.
  • More information about symptoms of magnesium deficiency and chronic conditions that may involve low levels of magnesium within cell fluid is available here: Magnesium – essential for eighty percent of our body’s chemistry..
  • More information about how many grams of protein might be needed for health is available in a post about kidney health – adequate water is protective and excessive amounts of protein eaten regularly may be harmful to kidney health over many years (i.e. three ounces of meat in a meal is a healthy amount, while regularly eating an 8-12 ounce steak may eventually be harmful for kidney health): Make every day Kidney Appreciation Day.
  • Vitamin D3 form may be a more bioactive form of the vitamin if taking a supplement than the vitamin D2 form. During spring through autumn months getting 15-30 minutes of midday sunshine with face and arms exposed to the sun can provide enough vitamin D from it being formed in the skin from cholesterol. Vitamin D is actually a seco-steroid and excessive levels of the hormone form can cause mood changes including anger or irritability.
  • It is available in fortified milk & milk substitutes, and in fortified yogurt or cheese, but not necessarily all yogurt or cheese, read the nutrient label. Cod liver oil and some types of fish can provide vitamin D. Egg yolk has a small amount and some types of mushrooms may have a small amount. (
  • The standard RDA amount taken daily (~ 600 IU depending on age and gender) may help the immune system protect against respiratory infection, while taking a mega-dose after an infection occurred did not seem to help with recovery from a respiratory infection. (Vit D Respiratory Infections/

Disclaimer: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of Fair Use. It is not intended to provide individual guidance. Please seek a health care provider for individualized health care guidance.

Reference List

  1. Wesselink E, Kok DE, Bours MJL, et al. Vitamin D, magnesium, calcium, and their interaction in relation to colorectal cancer recurrence and all-cause mortality [published online ahead of print, 2020 Mar 19]. Am J Clin Nutr. 2020;nqaa049. doi:10.1093/ajcn/nqaa049
  2. Ivana Pilchova, Katarina Klacanova, Zuzana Tatarkova, et al., The Involvement of Mg2+ in Regulation of Cellular and Mitochondrial Functions. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, Special Issue, Magnesium and Other Biometals in Oxidative Medicine and Redox Biology Vol 2017, 6797460, 8 pages,
  3. Díaz L, Díaz-Muñoz M, García-Gaytán AC, Méndez I. Mechanistic Effects of Calcitriol in Cancer Biology. Nutrients. 2015;7(6):5020–5050. Published 2015 Jun 19. doi:10.3390/nu7065020

Magnesium – essential for eighty percent of our body’s chemistry.

Magnesium is a trace mineral essential for 80% of body function, (muscular contractions, energy production, removal of infected or precancerous cells, etc). It is used in over 300 enzymes required for metabolism and other chemical reactions in the body such as synthesis of DNA or proteins. (1)

This post is eleven pages long and can be read as a tabbed document: (doc)

Health Conditions linked to Magnesium inadequacy.

  • Circulatory System: Hypertension, Heart Disease, Stroke, Arrhythmias, Atrial fibrillation, Dyslipedemias.
  • Metabolic: Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome.
  • Respiratory: Asthma, COPD, Other Lung/Respiratory.
  • Central Nervous System (CNS): Depression, Anxiety, ADHD, Migraine, Pain Relief, Addiction, Sleeplessness, Stress.
  • Muscle/Skeletal: Low Back Pain, Osteoarthritis, Other musculoskeletal (~ muscle cramps, twitches, other chronic joint pain), Osteoporosis, Sarcopenia.
  • Immune System/Other: Pre-eclampsia, Kidney disease, Crohn’s Disease, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Colon inflammatory diseases/IBD, Inflammation, Some Cancers.
  • (todaysdietitian/Modern Day Human Magnesium Requirements)(Seelig/Rosanoff, 2003)

Calcium/Magnesium ratio within cells affects our health.

When magnesium within cells is lower than normal calcium is allowed to enter in excess. Elevated amounts of calcium within the interior of cells acts as a signal to start different types of activity. Increased calcium to magnesium balance within a cell may cause different actions based on the type of cell.

  • Elevated calcium to magnesium ratio within cells could cause blood vessels to constrict which would increase blood pressure. Vasoconstriction within the heart could cause a random heart rate (arrthymias). Platelets within the blood would become stickier and more prone to clot which could increase risk of strokes.
  • Cholesterol and glucose over-production may occur in liver cells. Glucose uptake by muscle and fat cells could decrease. Insulin over-production could occur in pancreas cells. Which could lead to Type 2 Diabetes or Metabolic Syndrome.
  • (39, 40, 41, 42) (todaysdietitian/Modern Day Human Mg Requirements)

Summary Points:

  • Magnesium is essential for 80% of body function, (muscular contractions, energy production, removal of infected or precancerous cells, etc), (1),
  • Adequate protein and phospholipids (ATP-AdenosineTriPhosphate –> energy release –> ADP-AdenosineDiPhosphate) are needed for cells to be able to have a full reserve supply of magnesium. (MgATP, 6, 7, 8) Magnesium is located within cells primarily (greater than 99%, 12), as free ion or in an inactive form on molecules of protein or ATP., which means typical blood based lab tests are not helpful for diagnosing chronically low levels of magnesium. See a previous post for more information, food sources and supplement types, and a free etext reference.
  • Magnesium adequacy through diet or supplementation may help improve symptoms for patients with migraine headaches, Alzheimer’s dementia, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, recovery after a cerebrovascular stroke, and type 2 diabetes mellitus (type 2 DM). (9) Muscle cramps may be due to low magnesium levels (9) or an imbalance with calcium levels.
  • Magnesium supplementation may also help some types of psychiatric conditions such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia. See: Magnesium and the Brain: The original chill pill, ( Mental health problems have been escalating in the U.S. and other developed countries, lack of jobs and increased social isolation and cyberbullying are involved, however magnesium/calcium imbalance are also factors. See: Latest Suicide Data Show the Depth of U.S. Mental Health Crisis, (
  • While you need adequate intake of protein for holding reserve supplies of magnesium within cells, you need adequate magnesium for the body to be able to build new proteins or modify protein structure, and to build more DNA or RNA (which uses the nucleotide ATP), (9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15) and in ATP hydrolysis (release of the stored energy from glucose metabolism in the Kreb’s cycle), (18) and the Kreb’s cycle. (7) Magnesium deficiency led to lower levels of ATP within red blood cells and increased amounts of ADP, from a 6:1 ratio of ATP:ADP to 2.5:1 at the lowest magnesium level. (19)
  • Which means supplementing only magnesium or only protein may not fully help protect against cardiovascular stroke or migraine pain or other symptoms associated with magnesium deficiency such as hypertension and Type 2 Diabetes.
  • Cancer prevention may also be possible by preventing chronic low levels of magnesium as mutations in DNA may be more likely with inadequate magnesium. Excess calcium or imbalance in vitamin D and calcium/magnesium balance may also be involved in increased cancer risk. (10, 13) Magnesium is used by white blood cells during apoptosis of infected or damaged cells and autophagy, the removal of cells by white blood cells, may help protect against Alzheimer’s dementia. Both apoptosis and autophagy are the typical defense against precancerous cells or mismarked cells that may lead to autoimmune reactions. Once cancer is established magnesium supplements would be inadequate alone as a treatment and would also be providing the nutrient to the cancer cells.

Magnesium and calcium are electrolytes – electrically active ions similar to sodium and potassium.

Magnesium is an electrically active trace mineral/metal that is predominantly found within cell fluid and bone matrix. Only about one percent of the body’s magnesium is found in the blood plasma fluid, circulating throughout the body within blood vessels, and also through the lymphatic and glymphatic systems. (Gervin 1983, ref) (interstitial fluid) Calcium is chemically electrically active in a similar way to magnesium. Both metals can donate or accept two protons and are chemically written with a +2, while sodium and potassium can donate or accept one proton which would be written as +1.

Sodium and potassium are typically referred to as electrolytes however calcium, magnesium and other electrically active ions are also found in blood plasma and in the fluid around cells, called extracellular fluid or interstitial fluid. The fluid within cells is called intracellular fluid or cytoplasm and it also contains ions/electrolytes. The balance of ions within the different types of fluid varies somewhat however the overall average is similar to the balance of ions in sea water. The total fluid volume is about 60% of our body’s weight, of that most is found within cells, 60% intracellular fluid, and of the 40% extracellular fluid, 20% is blood plasma transported in arteries and veins, and 80% is interstitial fluid, transported in the lymphatic system. (Lymphatic fluid, 4) Magnesium would be in greater concentration in the 60% intracellular fluid and calcium would be in greater concentration in the 40% extracellular fluid.

Magnesium powers membrane transport channels – a natural calcium channel blocker.

Within the cells magnesium may be used within enzymes, over 300 require the trace mineral, or may provide their electrical power to cell membrane transport channels which allow certain chemicals to enter the cell while blocking others – when adequate magnesium ions are available to block the channels including some involved in sodium/potassium balance. (16, 18) Magnesium deficiency seemed to decrease the activity of the sodium/potassium channels in an animal based study. It led to increased intracellular sodium levels which could be a mechanism for the increased risk of arrythmias (irregular heart rate) with magnesium deficiency. (17)

Magnesium in muscles and the inner ear (tinnitus).

Magnesium causes relaxation of muscles – blocking entry of calcium into the muscle fiber, and calcium entry causes muscle contractions within smooth muscle fibers (such as the muscle fibers of the gastrointestinal tract) or striated muscle fibers (found in the muscles with voluntary control such as those of the arms and legs, and also in the heart which is not under voluntary control). (31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37) Magnesium deficiency can be an underlying cause of muscle cramps or twitches (such as a nonstop twitch in the eyelids) (9), and may also be a factor in tinnitus (nonstop or intermittent ringing or buzzing sounds in the ears/ear). (28) Daily supplementation with 532 milligrams of magnesium was found helpful to relieve symptoms of tinnitus in a small clinical trial. (30) Magnesium inhibits glutamate channels which are involved in activating the hair cells of the ear canal. It may also help by helping relax blood vessels to the inner ear and increasing blood flow. (29)

Magnesium is stored within the cell in an inactive form on protein molecules or ATP.

Even within the cells the majority of magnesium stores are not available in the electrically active form. Most of the back-stock of magnesium within cells is stored on proteins or molecules of ATP (the nucleotide involved in the Kreb’s cycle production of usable energy {ATP bonds} from glucose). (MgATP, 6, 7, 8)

This means magnesium deficiency can take a long time to be seen because of the extra stored within cells on proteins and ATP and the extra stored within our bone matrix can be slowly released to continue powering the 300+ enzymes and membrane channels in every cell of the body. What happens eventually however is a depletion of the backstock of magnesium on the cellular proteins and ATP and osteoporosis can develop in the bone matrix leaving fragile bones at risk for fractures — and also cell membranes at risk to an influx of too much calcium, or other excitatory chemicals such as glutamates or aspartic acid/aspartate, leaving brain cells at increased risk from food additives, or dehydration, or ischemic stroke.

Protein deficiency in the diet or increased metabolic need for protein might increase risk of low magnesium levels being available in case of a stroke. If a stroke occurred treating with intravenous magnesium fairly soon can help reduce cell damage and preserve abilities. When the body is well supplied with protein, ATP, and magnesium then the stored magnesium would be available in case of a stroke or physical brain trauma. If protein availability was limited the damage from a stroke might be more severe due to less magnesium being available for release.

Protein-energy malnutrition is a type of malnutrition involving a diet low in protein more than calories. The condition was formerly known as kwashiorkor and was first recognized in tropical infants/children. Severe edema with a bloated abdomen is typical visible symptom. (See image, page 30, 46) When magnesium deficiency is also severe the condition is more likely to result in death and strokes are also more common. The serum magnesium level of children with protein-energy malnutrition was found to be significantly lower than in the control group. Low magnesium in drinking water has been associated with increased risk of cerebrovascular disease or death by stroke. (45)

Incomplete protein in the diet seems to be involved – plant sources of protein do not all contain adequate amounts of all the essential amino acids. Missionary work historically may have increased the risk of Protein-energy malnutrition in recently weaned toddlers due to an educational message that eating insects is wrong – eating a diet with inadequate amounts of essential amino acids is what is wrong. In modern times, unfortunately, children in Africa are now being taught to not catch and eat crickets because they are likely contaminated with the pesticides that are commonly used on farm fields.

The amino acids considered essential for a child’s diet include: Arginine, Histidine, Isoleucine, Leucine, Lysine, Methionine, Phenylalanine, Threonine, Tryptophan, Valine. The traditional African diet in some areas includes complete protein from peanuts and cowpeas are only low in tryptophan. (46) Millet and sorghum are commonly used grains which are low in tryptophan, lysine, methionine, and threonine. (47) The nutrient content of food insects depends on their stage of growth, however on average they are considered a good source of complete protein – providing a similar ratio of essential amino acids as meat or fish. Food insects are also a good source of essential fatty acids, similar to fish, and provide fiber and trace minerals including “copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, selenium and zinc.” (48)

Food insects and breastmilk also have in common N-acetyl glucosamine (within insects it is found in the form of the fiber chitin which is not typically thought of as digestible by humans however the enzyme chitinase has been found in human gastric fluid). (49, p 74, section 6.1.8: 50) Intake of N-acetyl glucosamine may help support a healthy intestinal mucousal lining. Impaired mucous lining of the intestine and reduced amounts of “enterocyte heparan sulfate proteoglycan (HSPG),” and “abnormal sulfated glycosaminoglycan (GAG) metabolism” have been observed in patients with protein-energy malnutrition (kwashiorkor). (49) Providing magnesium sulfate by intramuscular injection helped survival for children with protein-energy malnutrition compared to the control group in a small clinical trial. (51)

Magnesium is needed for vitamin D, CoQ10, and cholesterol production.

Magnesium deficiency can lead to low levels of the inactive and active form of vitamin D. Magnesium supplementation is needed to reverse a type of bone degenerative condition called vitamin D resistant rickets. (20) Supplementing with vitamin D and/or calcium has been popular however the benefits against fracture risk and osteoporosis have been unclear or show little benefit. (22) The need for magnesium supplementation instead of or in addition to vitamin D and calcium supplements is in area worth further study. (21) Magnesium is also involved in earlier steps involved in vitamin D production – biosynthesis of cholesterol (23) from which vitamin D can be formed in the skin when sunshine is available.

Magnesium acts similarly to statin medications and is the natural version of a calcium channel blocker medication. (23) Statins have been prescribed to many people in hopes that chemically inhibiting the production of cholesterol would help protect against heart disease, unfortunately the theory has not been proven effective – while cholesterol levels are reduced in about half the patients using the medication, the lower cholesterol levels have not also been associated with reduced mortality from cardiovasclar risks. For patients without heart failure or renal dialysis or for those over age 75 the use of statin medications helped prevent revascularization and major coronary events in about 20% of research trials that were reviewed. (24)

The cardiovascular benefits of statin medications may be due to the inhibition of an interim step in cholesterol formation – mevalonate. Magnesium would also affect mevalonate formation however in a regulatory way – controlling whether or not the reaction happens rather than only inhibiting it. (23) β-Hydroxy β-methylglutaryl-CoA, (HMG Co A) is converted into mevalonate which then can be converted into cholesterol or the provitamin coenzyme Q10. (26)

Lack of CoQ10 may cause muscle pain and lead to mitochondrial dysfunction.

Statin medication use may cause muscle and joint pain in some users, possibly due to inhibition of Coenzyme Q10 production. Supplements of CoQ10 (200mg/day) may help reduce the muscle pain symptoms for some patients and could also be protecting against a risk of mitochondrial dysfunction caused by low levels of the the coenzyme. (25)

  • Mitochondrial dysfunction may be a cause of chronic fatigue – low energy production by mitochondria within cells would leave every function in the body with less energy to perform their jobs. Mitochondrial dysfunction may be involved in many conditions including autism, Alzheimer’s disease, muscular dystrophy, Lou Gehrig’s disease, diabetes and cancer. (clevelandclinic/mitochondrial diseases)

Magnesium helps protect health, and improve our energy level and mood.

Symptoms of magnesium deficiency are often treated with medications (such as calcium channel blockers or statins) instead of providing magnesium. Other medications commonly used to treat symptoms that might involve magnesium deficiency include: beta blockers, blood thinners, anti-hypertensive medications, insulin or metformin, anti-depressants, anti-anxiety medications, anti-inflammatory medications. (43) (todaysdietitian/Modern Day Human Magnesium Requirements)

Adequate protein and phospholipids are also needed for cells to be able to store extra magnesium in an electrically inactive form and magnesium is needed for their synthesis. This might help explain why supplements of magnesium help some patients more than others. Someone who is more chronically ill or malnourished or who has impaired metabolism may need more complete nutrition support rather than only providing a magnesium supplement. Topical supplements of magnesium may be needed for patients with malabsorption problems or for those who don’t seem to be helped by increasing dietary sources.

Excess calcium in proportion to magnesium in the diet or from supplements may also be part of the problem for some patients. (44) The average modern diet can include calcium rich dairy products at each meal and snack. Tofu, beans, almonds, sesame seeds, and dark leafy green vegetables are also good sources of calcium.

Free Continuing Education credit for nutritionists/diet techs:

  • For any dietitians or diet techs, much of the first reference list is from a free continuing education webinar, register for this: Andrea Rosanoff, PhD, and Stella Lucia Volpe, PhD, RDN, ACSM-CEP, FACSM, Recorded Webinar: Modern Day Human Magnesium Requirements: The RDN’s Role, Today’s Dietitian  The second list is from the last post from the section about magnesium and hypercoaguability.

Disclaimer: This information is being provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individualized health care guidance. Please see an individual health care provider for individual health care services.


  1. Workinger JL, Doyle RP, Bortz J. Challenges in the diagnosis of magnesium status. Nutrients. 2018;10(9):1202.
  2. Gervin CA, Nichols WM, Chvapil M, Wangensteen SL. Zinc transport by the heart lymphatic system after acute myocardial infarction., J Surg Res. 1983 Oct;35(4):340-50.
  3. Niels Fogh-Andersen, Burton M. Altura, Bella T. Altura, and Ole Siggaard-Andersen, Composition of Interstitial Fluid, Clin. Chem. 41/10, 1522-1525 (1995)
  4. Lymphatic Fluid and Immunotherapy,,
  5. Differences between blood and lymph,,
  6. Storer AC, Cornish-Bowden A. Concentration of MgATP2- and other ions in solution. Calculation of the true concentrations of species present in mixtures of associating ions. Biochem J. 1976;159(1):1-5.
  7. Garfinkel L, Garfinkel D. Magnesium regulation of the glycolytic pathway and the enzymes involved. Magnesium. 1985;4(2-3):60-72.
  8. Wilson JE, Chin A. Chelation of divalent cations by ATP, studied by titration calorimetry. Analytical Biochem. 1991;193(1):16-19.
  9. Volpe SL. Magnesium in disease prevention and overall health. Adv Nutr. 2013;4(3):378S383S.
  10. Abdelgawad IA, El-Mously RH, Saber MM, Mansour OA, Shouman SA. Significance of serum levels of vitamin D and some related minerals in breast cancer patients. Int J Clin Exp Pathol. 2015;8(4):4074-4082.
  11. Romani AM. Magnesium in health and disease. Met Ions Life Sci. 2013;13:49-79.
  12. Long S, Romani AM. Role of cellular magnesium in human diseases. Austin J Nutr Food Sci. 2014;2(10):1051.
  13. Rubin H. Central roles of Mg2+ and MgATP2- in the regulation of protein synthesis and cell proliferation: significance for neoplastic transformation. Adv Cancer Res. 2005;93:1-58.
  14. George GA, Heaton FW. Effect of magnesium deficiency on energy metabolism and protein synthesis by liver. Int J Biochem. 1978;9(6):421-425.
  15. Weisinger JR, Bellorin-Font E. Magnesium and phosphorus. Lancet. 1998;352(9125):391-396.
  16. Dorup I, Skajaa K, Thybo NK. Oral magnesium supplementation restores the concentrations of magnesium, potassium and sodium-potassium pumps in skeletal muscle of patients receiving diuretic treatment. J Intern Med. 1993;233(2):117-123.
  17. Fischer PW, Giroux A. Effects of dietary magnesium on sodium-potassium pump action in the heart of rats. J Nutr. 1987;117(12):2091-2095.
  18. Fagher B, Sjögren A, Monti M. A microcalorimetric study of the sodium-potassium-pump and thermogenesis in human skeletal muscle. Acta Physiol Scand. 1987;131(3):355-360.
  19. Flatman PW, Lew VL. The magnesium dependence of sodium-pump-mediated sodiumpotassium and sodium-sodium exchange in intact human red cells. J Physiol. 1981;315:421-446.
  20. Deng X, Song Y, Manson JE, et al. Magnesium, vitamin D status and mortality: results from US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2001 to 2006 and NHANES III. BMC Med. 2013;11:187.
  21. Rosanoff A, Dai Q, Shapses SA. Essential nutrient interactions: does low or suboptimal magnesium status interact with vitamin D and/or calcium status? Adv Nutr. 2016;7(1):25-43.
  22. Jill Jin, MD, MPH, Vitamin D and Calcium for Preventing Fractures, Guidelines, JAMA Patient Page, JAMA Network, April 17, 2018
  23. Rosanoff A, Seelig MS. Comparison of mechanism and functional effects of magnesium and statin pharmaceuticals. J Am Coll Nutr. 2004;23(5):501S-505S.
  24. Cholesterol Treatment Trialists’ Collaboration  Efficacy and safety of statin therapy in older people: a meta-analysis of individual participant data from 28 randomised controlled trials., The Lancet, Vol 393, Issue 10170, pp407-415, Feb. 02, 2019,
  25. Deichmann R, Lavie C, Andrews S. Coenzyme q10 and statin-induced mitochondrial dysfunction. Ochsner J. 2010;10(1):16–21.
  26. Pacanowski MA, Frye RF, Enogieru O, Schofield RS, Zineh I. Plasma Coenzyme Q10 Predicts Lipid-lowering Response to High-Dose Atorvastatin. J Clin Lipidol. 2008;2(4):289–297. doi:10.1016/j.jacl.2008.05.001
  27. Mitochondrial Diseases,,
  28. Tinnitus and Magnesium,,
  29. Joseph Mercola, MD, Can Magnesium Relieve Your Tinnitus?,,
  30. Cevette MJ, Barrs DM, Patel A, et al., Phase 2 study examining magnesium-dependent tinnitus., Int Tinnitus J. 2011;16(2):168-73.
  31. Zhang A, Carella A, Altura BT, Altura BM. Interactions of magnesium and chloride ions on tone and contractility of vascular muscle. Eur J Pharmacol. 1991;203(2):223-235.
  32. Altura BM, Altura BT. Role of magnesium ions in contractility of blood vessels and skeletal muscles. Magnesium Bull. 1981;3(1a):102-114.
  33. Konishi M. Cytoplasmic free concentrations of Ca2+ and Mg2+ in skeletal muscle fibers at rest and during contraction. Jpn J Physiol. 1998;48(6):421-438.
  34. Yang Z, Wang J, Altura BT, Altura BM. Extracellular magnesium deficiency induces contraction of arterial muscle: role of PI3-kinases and MAPK signaling pathways. Pflugers Arch. 2000;439(3):240-247.
  35. Yang ZW, Gebrewold A, Nowakowski M, Altura BT, Altura BM. Mg(2+)-induced endothelium-dependent relaxation of blood vessels and blood pressure lowering: role of NO. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2000;278(3):R628-R639.
  36. Yang ZW, Wang J, Zheng T, Altura BT, Altura BM. Low Mg(2+) induces contraction and Ca(2+) rises in cerebral arteries: roles of ca(2+), PKC, and PI3. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2000;279(6):H2898-H2907.
  37. Turlapaty PD, Altura BM. Magnesium deficiency produces spasms of coronary arteries: relationship to etiology of sudden death ischemic heart disease. Science. 1980;208(4440):198-200.
  38. Seelig MS, Rosanoff A. The Magnesium Factor. 1st ed. New York, NY: Avery Penguin Group; 2003:278-279; 369-370
  39. Resnick L. The cellular ionic basis of hypertension and allied clinical conditions. Prog Cardiovasc Dis. 1999;42(1):1-22.
  40. Resnick LM. Ionic basis of hypertension, insulin resistance, vascular disease, and related disorders. The mechanism of “syndrome X.” Am J Hypertens. 1993;6(4):123S-134S.
  41. Rosanoff A. Nutritional magnesium is associated with metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease and its risk factors, and other NCDs: a bibliography. Magnesium Education website.
  42. Rosanoff A, Weaver CM, Rude RK. Suboptimal magnesium status in the United States: are the health consequences underestimated? Nutr Rev. 2012;70(3):153-164.
  43. Rosanoff A, Capron E, Barak P, Mathews B, Nielsen FH. Edible plant tissue and soil calcium:magnesium ratios: data too sparse to assess implications for human health. Crop Pasture Sci. 2015;66:1265-1277.
  44. Rosanoff A. Rising Ca:Mg intake ratio from food in USA Adults: a concern? Magnesium Res. 2010;23(4):S181-S193.
  45. Karakelleoglu C, Orbak Z, Ozturk F, Kosan C. Hypomagnesaemia as a mortality risk factor in protein-energy malnutrition. J Health Popul Nutr. 2011;29(2):181–182. doi:10.3329/jhpn.v29i2.7863
  46. Florence Dunkel, Learning from Sanambele: Role of Food Insects in Village Nutritional Health, Montana State University-Bozeman (a Power Point presentation)
  47. Sorghum and Millets in Human Nature,,
  48. The Contribution of Insects to Food Security, Livelihoods and the Environment,,
  49. Beatrice Amadi, Andrew O Fagbemi, Paul Kelly, et al., Reduced production of sulfated glycosaminoglycans occurs in Zambian children with kwashiorkor but not marasmus., The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol 89, Issue 2, Feb 2009, pp 592–600
  50. Arnold van Huis, Joost Van Itterbeeck, Harmke Klunder, et al., Edible insects: Future prospects for food and feed security, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome, 2013,,
  51. Joan L.Caddell, MD., Magnesium in the therapy of protein-caloriemalnutrition of childhood., The Journal of Pediatrics, Vol 66, Issue 2, Feb 1965, pp 392-413,

Article in the lower right hand column of the Science Direct topic page on Albumin Antibody: – it has a thorough description and graphic (Figure 1) about the blood brain barrier and seizures.

  1. N. Marchi, … D. Janigro, in Encyclopedia of Basic Epilepsy Research, 2009, Inflammation: Cerebrovascular Diseases, Seizures, and Epilepsy Seizures; Epilepsy, and the Blood–Brain Barrier, “Systemic pathologies causing BBB failure may be due to hypertension, stroke, blood hyperosmolarity, or systemically mediated inflammatory processes (due to the production of TNF-α, IL-1β, IL-6, histamine, arachidonic acid, or reactive oxygen species)”

References from the last post on hypercoaguability and the NF-kB inflammatory pathway.

  1. DiNicolantonio JJ, Liu J, O’Keefe JH. Magnesium for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease. Open Heart. 2018;5(2):e000775. Published 2018 Jul 1. doi:10.1136/openhrt-2018-000775
  2. Andrea Rosanoff, PhD, and Stella Lucia Volpe, PhD, RDN, ACSM-CEP, FACSM, Recorded Webinar: Modern Day Human Magnesium Requirements: The RDN’s Role, Today’s Dietitian,
  3. Karen Skene, Sarah K. Walsh, Oronne Okafor, Nadine Godsman, et al., Acute dietary zinc deficiency in rats exacerbates myocardial ischaemia–reperfusion injury through depletion of glutathione., British Journal of Nutrition, Vol 121, Issue 9 14 May 2019 , pp. 961-973,
  4. Karl T. Weber,1,* William B. Weglicki,2 and Robert U. Simpson3 Macro- and micronutrient dyshomeostasis in the adverse structural remodelling of myocardium, Cardiovasc Res. 2009 Feb 15; 81(3): 500–508.
  5. Li YC. Vitamin D: roles in renal and cardiovascular protection. Curr Opin Nephrol Hypertens. 2012;21(1):72–79. doi:10.1097/MNH.0b013e32834de4ee
  6. Benjamin Senst; Prasanna Tadi; Hajira Basit; Arif Jan., Hypercoaguability, STATPearls, Last Update: April 29, 2019.
  7. Kennedy DO. B Vitamins and the Brain: Mechanisms, Dose and Efficacy–A Review. Nutrients. 2016;8(2):68. Published 2016 Jan 28. doi:10.3390/nu8020068

Calcium and vitamin D supplements are not recommended to help prevent hip fractures

A recent meta-analysis  published in JAMA (2) of research on the efficacy of calcium and vitamin D supplements to help prevent hip fractures and other types of bone fractures in Senior Citizens or post-menopausal women found no benefit compared to placebo or no treatment.  The meta-analysis included 33 clinical trials involving 51,145 participants.

The brief overview article does not mention if harm was found but concludes with the simple statement that the findings do not support a routine recommendation or use of calcium and vitamin D supplements in community dwelling older people. Read more: Thumbs Down on Calcium and Vitamin D to Prevent Hip Fracture (1)

Adequate magnesium in a form the body is able to absorb well, which may require a topical form such as soaking with magnesium sulfate salt (Epsom salt) or magnesium chloride products, is required for maintaining bone health. The minerals silicon and boron are also important and the mineral strontium in microgram amounts may help. Vitamin K from leafy green vegetables and green herbs and spices (or in the form of vitamin K2 supplementally may be helpful) is also important for maintaining bone density. (3)

  1. Jack Cush, MD, Thumbs Down on Calcium and Vitamin D to Prevent Hip Fracture, Medpage Today, Jan 13, 2018, (Medpage Today)
  2. Jia-Guo Zhao, MDXian-Tie Zeng, MDJia Wang, MDet al, Association Between Calcium or Vitamin D Supplementation and Fracture Incidence in Community-Dwelling Older Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis, JAMA. 2017;318(24):2466-2482, (2)

  3. Charles T Price, Joshua R Langford, and Frank A Liporace,

    Essential Nutrients for Bone Health and a Review of their Availability in the Average North American Diet, Open Orthop J. 2012; 6: 143–149. (3)


EMFs and Intracellular Calcium – Magnesium is nature’s calcium channel blocker

Electromagnetic fields, (EMFs) are the non-ionizing radiation that makes WiFi connections work and other devices like televisions and cellphones. The electronic details are beyond my field of experience and they are generally claimed to be harmless however research is being done on the health effects on people and other species. As more and more ‘hotspots’ become active and there is discussion of making entire regions WiFi spots the question of whether the radiation is truly harmless or not is important.

The research that has been performed suggests that the mode of action is on the ion channels in cell membranes called voltage-gated calcium channels (VGCCs). The EMF radiation seems to activate ion channels and allows the interior of the cell to fill with calcium which then can proceed to activate membrane breakdown and other actions within the cell. Oxidative stress can involve an excess of calcium within the interior of the cell which leads to other free radical chemicals – electrically active chemicals which antioxidant nutrients can help deactivate. See: (1)

Oxidation is a normal part of cell function as it is how glucose sugar energy is freed for use. Too many oxidative free radical chemicals also called, reactive oxygen species (ROS), can overpower the natural antioxidant chemical pathways and lead to increased cell damage and even cell death. (2, 3, 4)

Ion channels refer to chemicals that contain atoms that have a positive or negative charge which can be used to provide energy for chemical reactions. Ions in nature generally are found in pairs with a balance of positive and negative charges so the grouping is fairly stable. Calcium and magnesium both have ionic forms with a chemical charge of +2, which means they are missing two electrons. Sodium and potassium have ionic forms with a chemical charge of +1 – they are missing one electron each.

An ion is an atom or chemical that has more protons than electrons and carries a positive charge or has more electrons than protons and carries a negative charge, while a free radical specifically has at least one unpaired electron in its outer electron shell/valence which makes it very reactive but does not necessarily mean an electron is missing nor suggest a negative charge. Depending on their chemistry they may be able to receive or donate another electron and are very reactive, very active chemically, as the outer shell prefers to be stable chemically. The presence of an unpaired electron makes the free radical chemically encouraging other chemicals to give up or receive the unpaired electron even if the other chemical is more chemically stable. (7) The electrons in an atom are arranged around the inner ball of positively charged protons and neutrally charged neutrons in layers of electrons (valences) which prefer to be in groups of 2, 6 or 8 electrons, so a free radical with an outer layer with one electron might want to donate it while one with an outer shell with seven electrons might want to receive an extra electron.  Element valences are slightly different than what might be expected looking at the Table of Elements – here is a chart of the typical ion or free radical charges: (6)

Oxygen can carry an electrically negative charge of -2, meaning it can accept two additional electrons in its outer valence. And hydrogen can accept or donate an electron, +1 or -1, (6) which chemically can result in our most important molecule for life – water, H2O, formed from two atoms of hydrogen sharing their unpaired outer electron with one atom of oxygen which wants an additional two electrons. The slight preference for different electric charges gives the molecule of water a slight polarity, the oxygen part of the water molecule has a slight negative charge on average while the hydrogen parts of the molecule have slight positive charges. (8) A more thorough description of the chemical structure of the water molecule and its electrical charge distribution with illustrations is available here: (12).

Why is this important? Because our bodies are made up of at least 70% water and electromagnetic radiation does have effects on water (9) so a basic understanding of the chemistry can help understand the more complex issues of why having region wide areas of WiFi might affect health of humans and other animals, plants and possibly even microbial life. There is evidence that microbes can modify nearby DNA of other species via EMFs generated by the microbial DNA when both sets of DNA are in a watery dilution. (10, [1602 from ref 9]) This may increase infection or risk of cross contamination of infectious substances. We don’t know what we don’t know. The research may simply confirm the need to be concerned about Electromagnectic fields on DNA. The negative effect of EMF exposure to DNA and an increase in DNA breakdown/fragmentation was mentioned in the first link. See: (1)

Research that looked for epigenetic effects on DNA that might be associated with leukemia or other cancerous changes found that Extremely Low Frequency-Magnetic Fields which have been labeled potentially carcinogenic as some association with leukemia has been noted, did not consistently lead to epigenetic changes in the study. Changes that did occur were more likely to be found when the genetic material, called chromatin, was in a more open and active form rather than when it was in the condensed, non-replicating form. (13) Pregnancy would be a time when DNA is expected to be more active and infancy and childhood are also times when growth and replication of cells is expected. Concerns and a review of available research about the risk of EMF radiation for adults and childhood development is discussed in a Special Section of the journal Childhood Development: (14)

Calcium channel blocker medications have been found to help reduce the effects of EMF radiation for individuals who seem to be more sensitive to ill effects from the form of radiation than the average person. See: (1)

Magnesium is nature’s calcium channel blocker so there may be an underlying deficiency of magnesium in the the people who are more sensitive to EMFs. A number of conditions can make the intestines absorb less magnesium and more calcium than average and the kidneys can be better at holding onto calcium and more likely to excrete magnesium than average. The food and water supply is not as rich in magnesium as it was during earlier centuries of human development. Magnesium deficiency as a risk factor in sensitivity to EMFs is discussed in the first link and it introduces a protective factor that can be increased with more variety of vegetables and other phytochemical rich foods in the diet – nuclear factor erythroid-2-related factor 2 (Nrf2). See: (1)

Specific foods or phytochemicals mentioned to help increase Nrf2 include:

  • sulforaphane from cruciferous vegetables, (such as broccoli and cauliflower);
  • foods high in phenolic antioxidants, (This is a large group including bright yellow and red fruits and vegetables, and deep purple produce. The group includes the subgroup flavonoids which include anthocyanins, flavonols, and it also includes the less familiar subgroup chalcones which are found in the commonly used fruits apples, pears and strawberries. The group also includes aldehydes which are found in vanilla and cinnamon, phenolic acids which include salicyclic acid, and tannins which are found in tea, coffee and wine. Baking cocoa and cherries, beans and whole grains are also mentioned, the summary point would be eat more fruits and vegetables; see: (11))
  • the long-chained omega-3 fats DHA and EPA, (salmon, tuna, sardines, krill oil, ground flax meal, walnuts, hemp seed kernels);
  • carotenoids (especially lycopene), (such as carrots, winter squash, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, apricots, and lycopene is in tomato, watermelon, pink grapefruit, guava); 
  • sulfur compounds from allum vegetables, (such as onions, garlic, shallots, green onions); 
  • isothiocyanates from the cabbage group and
  • terpenoid-rich foods. (Terpenes are found in real lemon and lime oil, rosemary, oregano, basil and other aromatic green herbs).
  • The Mediterranean and the traditional Okinawan Diets are also mentioned as being Nrf2 promoting diets. See: (1)

A 2012 article that discusses the science known at the time and reviews cellphone cases designed to redirect EMF radiation away from the user available at the times suggests some health evidence exists but that the information is not conclusive yet but that no study has been longer than ten years. Children have less dense bone structure and may be accumulating more life time exposure so limiting use of cellphones around children or their use by children may be playing it safer until more research is available. (5) Turning off cellphones when not needed can save battery time and would be turning off the WiFi when it is not needed. You can always check for messages when you turn it back on again. Using a hard wired computer at home or at least turning off the laptop at night is recommended along with other tips in the first link. See: (1)


Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has a service for locating a nutrition counselor near you at the website (

  1. Joseph Mercola, The Harmful Effects of Electromagnetic Fields Explained,, Dec. 22, 2017, (1)
  2. Chapter 1: Cell Injury, Cell Death,
    and Adaptations, sample, not final copy, Elsevier, pdf (2)
  3. Khalid Rahman, Studies on free radicals, antixidants, and co-factors., Clin Interv Aging. 2007 Jun; 2(2): 219–236., (3)
  4. V. Lobo, A. Patil, A. Phatak, and N. Chandra, Free radicals, antioxidants and functional foods: Impact on human health, Pharmacogn Rev. 2010 Jul-Dec; 4(8): 118–126., (4)

  5. Joseph Hanlon, Radiation-reducing phone cases: saviours or snake oil?, Aug. 13, 2012, (5)

  6. Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. “Valences of the Elements – Chemistry Table.” ThoughtCo, Mar. 7, 2017, (6)
  7. UCSB Science Line, What is the difference between ion and radical?, 04/01/2015, (7)
  8. Biochemistry, Chemistry Tutorial, The Chemistry of Water,, (8)
  9. Martin Chaplin, Water Structure and Science: Magnetic and electric effects on water, 2001, last update by Martin Chaplin on Nov. 3, 2017, (9)
  10. [1602 from the above reference] L. Montagnier, J. Aïssa, S. Ferris, J.-L. Montagnier, C. Lavallée, Electromagnetic signals are produced by aqueous nanostructures derived from bacterial DNA sequences, Interdisciplinary Sciences: Computational Life Sciences, 1(2009) 81-90. L. Montagnier, J. Aissa, E. Del Giudice, C. Lavallee, A. Tedeschi and G. Vitiello, DNA waves and water, Journal of Physics.: Conference Series, 306 (2011) 012007, arXiv:1012.5166v1 (10)
  11. Maria de Lourdes Reis Giada, Chapter 4: Food Phenolic Compounds: Main Classes, Sources and Their Antioxidant Power, Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology » “Oxidative Stress and Chronic Degenerative Diseases – A Role for Antioxidants”, book edited by José A. Morales-González, ISBN 978-953-51-1123-8, Published: May 22, 2013 (11)
  12. Martin Chaplin, Water Structure and Science: Water Molecule Structure,  2000, last updated by Martin Chaplin Oct. 15, 2017,, (12)
  13. Melissa Manser, Mohamad R. Abdul Sater, Christoph D. Schmid, Faiza Noreen, Manuel Murbach, Niels Kuster, David Schuermann, and Primo Schär,

    ELF-MF exposure affects the robustness of epigenetic programming during granulopoiesis, Sci Rep. 2017; 7: 43345. (13)

  14. Cindy Sage, Ernesto Burgio, Electromagnetic Fields, Pulsed Radiofrequency Radiation, and
    Epigenetics: How Wireless Technologies May Affect Childhood DevelopmentContemporary Mobile Technology and Child
    and Adolescent Development, edited by Zheng Yan and Lennart Hardell, A Special Section of Child Development, 2017, Pages 1–8, (14)