Magnesium: Its Proven and Potential Clinical Significance

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South Med J. 2001;94(12) 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction

Magnesium is the fourth most abundant cation in the body and is present in more than 300 enzymatic systems, where it is crucial for adenosine triphosphate (ATP) metabolism. Deficiency states result in increased insulin resistance, as well as increased smooth muscle and platelet reactivity. Magnesium deficiency has been shown to correlate with a number of chronic cardiovascular diseases, including hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and hyperlipidemia. Intravenous magnesium has been used therapeutically in critical situations such as status asthmaticus, torsades de pointes, and preeclampsia. Few controlled studies exist regarding the therapeutic uses of oral magnesium supplementation in chronic cardiovascular diseases. Randomized clinical trials are urgently needed to determine whether magnesium supplementation will alter the natural history of these disease states.

The clinical significance of magnesium as an important intracellular cation has been implied for decades.[1] Recently, magnesium deficiency has been implicated in the pathogenesis of a host of clinical disorders.[2] In an editorial, Resnick[3] stated, "A link between magnesium, diabetes mellitus, and hypertension seems established beyond a reasonable doubt."

Magnesium is the fourth most abundant cation in the body. It is involved in more than 300 enzymatic systems, such as adenosine triphosphate (ATP) metabolism, activation of creatine kinase, adenylate cyclase, and sodium-potassium-ATPase. Magnesium deficiency has been implicated in such diseases as diabetes, hypertension, cardiac arrhythmias, acute myocardial infarction, and atherosclerosis. This has come under increasing scrutiny in several recent publications.[3,4,5]