I procured and read "The Magnesium Miracle" last week.
Having been undergoing a lot of extra stress for a WHOLE YEAR, and certain rather over-the-top symptoms that it was actually undermining my health -- not to mention the goddamned FDA's demand that my most important supplement be discontinued -- i went searching for SOMETHING that would take the strain off. Magnesium WOULD seem to be "it," but i tell ya, some of the literature is really full of shit.
The "authorities" (the very word has been making me cringe for several years now) have awfully narrow vision. Everything seems to be a nail requiring their particular hammer.
It's no secret that magnesium intake in the modern western world has taken a nose-dive. The sources where we used to find it -- like nice clean ground- and well-water -- just aren't there anymore. Farmland has been sucked dry. The "best sources" are anathema to my system: phytate-rich grains, seeds, legumes, and the kinds of green vegetables that are virtual toxins to me unless cooked ... which leaches out the mineral i seek. Shellfish have a modest amount, and i am an avid eater of it, but not every damned day. No, magnesium MUST be supplemented. In quantity. Which tends to be laxative.
Because it's a component of hundreds of crucial enzymatic processes, and also acts as a calcium-channel blocker, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, many writers i respect give magnesium pride-of-place in micronutrition. The doctors Eades and Emily Dean eulogize it, and deplore the lack of "real" studies about it; because of the way magnesium works with other nutrients, it's very hard to tease out what it can take credit for, in epidemiological and observational work. And as the book says, "As long as people are given false hope that there is some magic bullet in the pharmaceutical pipeline that will 'cure' osteoporosis, or any other chronic disease, they will ignore the underlying diet-and nutrient-related reasons for their health problems." Nobody, anymore, cares to do research that doesn't have a potential cash windfall at the end of the rainbow. Our universities are merely introductions to the world of pharmaceutical "research," not sources of work for the public good, as most citizens -- who are footing a lot of the bill -- would probably imagine.
And these are a few reasons why Dr. Carolyn Dean's book is so frustrating -- despite a bone tossed to the Weston Price people and a couple of mentions of "paleo" (which she doesn't seem to understand properly), she is firmly ensconced in the dietary paradigms of the '70s. She repeatedly decries meat, protein and fat, especially the saturated kind, of course. She insists we should be eating vast quantities of raw greens, soaked legumes, and untoasted seeds DESPITE THEIR CONTENT OF OTHER MINERALS WHICH BLOCK THE ABSORPTION OF THE ONE WE'RE ACTUALLY LOOKING FOR. ...At least she has HEARD of phytates.... :-/ ...But as i said above, OY.
Most of the book's sources are VERY old, and in place of chemistry we get a lot of anecdotes. Most of her chapters seem to be not much more than dumbed-down versions of a Dr. M. S. Seelig's decades-old book. I'm in the process of reading the latter now, which is available online, but the major focus seems to be cardiological rather than metabolic ... which is of course the part i really want to know!
So although magnesium DOES seem to be a mineral i need to know better, i got far more solid info on its potential from Mike Eades in ONE blog-post, and from Emily Dean in two, than from the most-touted book i've found. I WILL keep looking as well as continuing the extra supplementing i do (above what's already in my multi), but at least i can report that my mood HAS already improved. It's far too early to report positive metabolic results.