Magnesium: Its Proven and Potential Clinical Significance

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South Med J. 2001;94(12) 

In This Article


Magnesium is critical to normal human homeostasis. Pharmacologic doses of magnesium given intravenously have been used to successfully treat such critical conditions as torsades de pointes, preeclampsia, and status asthmaticus. The usefulness of magnesium in acute myocardial infarction has yet to be fully elucidated. Deficiency states have been shown to correlate with the chronic cardiovascular diseases of hypertension, diabetes, and hyperlipidemia. Numerous studies have called for randomized controlled trials to determine whether magnesium replacement will alter the natural history of these diseases. Previous trials of magnesium supplementation have not answered the question of whether magnesium replacement would improve the health status of patients afflicted with chronic cardiovascular diseases.

Research on magnesium continues to grow as exemplified by a recent paper on the inverse relationship between prenatal magnesium sulfate exposure and cerebral palsy or mental retardation among very low birth weight children.[48]

Randomized controlled trials need to be done to see whether magnesium supplementation will ameliorate the debilitating effects of hypertension, diabetes, and hyperlipidemia, especially in minority populations.[34,49] The clinical implications of replacement therapy, if successful, would have a profound effect on improving the health of the population.