Magnesium deficiency is commonly undiagnosed in the population, especially in those with chronic illnesses such as Lyme disease. The standard blood test for magnesium is not very reliable, and even the RBC Magnesium blood test (measures cellular magnesium levels), which is thought of as more accurate than the regular magnesium blood test, can be misleading. Even if your RBC magnesium level is “normal”, you may still require a larger amount of magnesium than someone who is healthy, and this is often the case with those who have some type of chronic infection or immune disfunction.
Magnesium deficiency can be a very serious condition and can result in numerous symptoms and conditions such as immune dysfunction, ataxia, headaches, cardiac arrhythmia, fatigue, muscle cramps and/or spasms, twitches. Causes for magnesium deficiency include malabsorption due to a leaky gut, chronic diarrhea, poor diet, alcoholism, diabetes, chronic infections such as Lyme disease, insufficient vitamin D levels, as well as the use of certain drugs which deplete magnesium.
As magnesium deficiency is said to be very common in those with Lyme disease, there are many people on the internet speculating that the spirochetes steal magnesium from their host in order to thrive and persist; thus, one should avoid all magnesium supplementation as well as foods rich in magnesium. While they undoubtedly have good intentions, I would caution one who is trying to eliminate magnesium from their diet as starving yourself of magnesium is more likely to cause harm to you before it kills any spirochetes. Magnesium is critical for many body functions and it can be dangerous to try and eliminate magnesium from your diet due to such internet chatter. Those chronically ill individuals that I have spoken with who are supplementing with magnesium, myself included, have found it beneficial to varying degrees.
I take it in the form of Magnesium Gluconate as it is a form that is often well tolerated. The goal for supplementing should be to increase your dose slowly over a few weeks until you reach toxicity – diarrhea. Once you get to that point, lower the dose to where you were before you the toxic dose and stay there. Right now I am slowly increasing my dose of magnesium gluconate (140mg 3 x day) and will keep going until either I hit a level that produces a toxic reaction (diarrhea), or if I experience anything adverse. I am looking forward to what a higher dose of magnesium may proffer in the way of benefit! Happy supplementing!
Note: You should also supplement with calcium when supplementing with magnesium – the human body needs magnesium for the metabolism of calcium. I am taking 200mg 3 x day of calcium gluconate powder (about 1/4 tbsp).