News and Research on Magnesium for Sleep

Archive for November, 2010

Migraines, Sleeplessness, Heart Attacks – Magnesium? From Human Nutrition Research Center Grand Fork

Forrest H. Nielsen

Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral element in the human body, following calcium, sodium and potassium. Magnesium enables many biochemical reactions necessary for life. However, much attention has been directed recently towards another role of this element: The movement of electrically charged ions of calcium and potassium as well as organic molecules across nerve cell membranes to transmit a signal.

These roles are important for nerve conduction, muscle contraction, blood vessel relaxation and tensing and thus blood pressure, and a normal heart beat. Epidemiological findings and supplementation trials show that people’s magnesium status is associated with the severity and frequency of migraine headaches, some forms of heart attacks, high blood pressure, sleep disorders and mood disturbances. Carefully controlled human studies at the Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center (GFHNRC) and elsewhere are being done to conclusively show that inadequate magnesium intake can result in these maladies.

For instance, in studies on women past menopause at the Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center, we found that a low magnesium diet resulted in heart rhythm changes, which were halted by a diet providing about 300 mg of magnesium daily. In a much more severe form, some of these changes in heart rhythm or beat can result in heart muscle contractions that do not move blood throughout the body and lead to death. So magnesium is definitely needed for a healthy heart.

The same studies also showed that a diet inadequate in magnesium caused changes in brain waves–electrical activity in the brain–when women were at rest. Other researchers have found in both human and animal studies that magnesium deficiency results in sleep disturbances, such as agitated sleep and frequent periods of awakenings. This has been related to changes in electrical activity in the brain. It looks like magnesium is important for a good night sleep.

Studies show that about half of migraine headache sufferers have a low amount of ionized magnesium in the blood, which suggests a low magnesium status. And magnesium supplementation reduces the number and duration of migraines, including menstrual migraines, in some people. The findings suggest that too little magnesium can worsen the suffering from migraine headaches.

The Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Sciences recently provided new recommended intakes for magnesium. The Dietary Reference Intake, or DRI, is the new term for Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA). For magnesium, the DRI is 400 milligrams per day for men aged 19 to 30 years, and 420 milligrams per day for males over age 30. The DRI is 310 milligrams per day for women aged 19 to 30 years and 320 milligrams per day for women over age 30.

Dietary surveys show that the diet of many Americans does not consistently provide the DRI for magnesium. Older people are especially prone to consuming a diet inadequate in magnesium. Good sources of magnesium are leafy vegetables, nuts, skim milk and whole grains.

(Comment from the blog author: Sleep Minerals II from http://www.NutritionBreakthroughs.com is an effective sleep remedy for insomnia, which contains magnesium and calcium).

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Sleep Remedies: Studies Confirm Calcium and Magnesium Effective

According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), almost six out of ten Americans report having insomnia and sleep problems at least a few nights a week. Insomnia is defined as “An inability to fall asleep or remain asleep long enough to feel rested, especially when the problem continues over time.” In an effort to combat this, as many as 25 percent of the people in the United States use medications to help them sleep.

Most sleeping pills, especially when taken over long periods of time, can have multiple side effects. The drugs stay in the bloodstream, give a hangover effect the next day and beyond, and can increase the risk of car and work accidents. They also impair memory and performance on the job and at home.

From a nutritional perspective, several research studies have shown certain minerals to be an effective natural sleep remedy that help people fall asleep and stay asleep through the night. James F. Balch, M.D., author of Prescription for Nutritional Healing, writes: “A lack of the nutrients calcium and magnesium will cause you to wake up after a few hours and not be able to return to sleep.”

Calcium is directly related to our cycles of sleep. In one study, published in the European Neurology Journal, researchers found that calcium levels in the body are higher during some of the deepest levels of sleep, such as the rapid eye movement (REM) phase. The study concluded that disturbances in sleep, especially the absence of REM deep sleep or disturbed REM sleep, are related to a calcium deficiency. Restoration to the normal course of sleep was achieved following the normalization of the blood calcium level.

William Sears, M.D. writes: “Calcium helps the brain use the amino acid tryptophan to manufacture the sleep-inducing substance melatonin. This explains why dairy products, which contain both tryptophan and calcium, are one of the top sleep-inducing foods.”

In magnesium deficiency, chronic insomnia is one of the main, central symptoms. Sleep is usually agitated with frequent nighttime awakenings. On the other hand, a high magnesium, low aluminum diet has been found to be associated with deeper, less interrupted sleep. This was proven in a study done by James Penland at the Human Nutrition Research Center in North Dakota. The study was titled “Effects of trace element nutrition on sleep patterns in adult women.”

It’s important to note that a balanced two to one ratio of calcium and magnesium is important to overall health, and these two minerals should be taken together for best results.

Jobee Knight, a nutritional researcher and founder of Nutrition Breakthroughs in Glendale, CA., is someone who fought her own battle against sleeplessness and insomnia. She decided to put her background to use by searching out an effective natural insomnia remedy for relaxation and deeper sleep. The result was Sleep Minerals II, a natural sleep aid which contains six forms of calcium, three forms of magnesium, boron, Vitamin D, Vitamin K and horsetail herb – all combined in a softgel with carrier oils. Oils such as evening primrose have been shown to increase mineral absorption, reduce calcium excretion, and increase bone density.

Lyn K. of Los Angeles, CA. says “I’ve had chronic insomnia for some years now and had been taking other calcium products to help with my sleep. None have worked as effectively or consistently as Sleep Minerals II. I can count on it whenever I need help falling asleep at night or going back to sleep in the middle of the night. This is what sets it apart from the rest – it works reliably. And in my life, I need to be well-rested 7 days a week, so I call this product my ‘Sleep Insurance’. It also eases my premenopause symptoms, evens out my hormonal changes, and seems to put my body into a healthy balance.”

Isa E. of Glendale, CA. says “For me, I could fall asleep fine, but then I was up in the middle of the night for hours and couldn’t go back to sleep. This went on for a long time and I was very tired during the day. Now when I wake up in the night, I take two of the Sleep Minerals and go right back to sleep. I feel healthier and I also have less cramps in my feet at night. My husband has also had chronic sleep problems for a long time, and this product helps him too.”

For more information on Sleep Minerals II, visit: http://www.nutritionbreakthroughs.com/html/sleep_remedy_for_insomnia_help.html

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