FROM OUR EXPERTS
The FDA recently released a report warning consumers that long term (greater than one year) use of Proton Pump Inhibitors leads to risk of low magnesium blood levels. This condition is known as hypomagnesemia. Low levels of magnesium in the blood can lead to muscle spasm, irregular heartbeat, or seizures but you can have low blood magnesium levels and not have these symptoms.
In the studies the FDA used to look to determine the risk, 75% of patients who had low blood levels of magnesium could stay on the PPI but needed to take magnesium supplements. In the other 25%, the supplements didn’t help and they had to come off of the PPI. Once of the PPI the magnesium levels went back to normal after a week.
The risk is even greater in patients who take other prescriptions that also can cause low levels of magnesium such as digoxin, or diuretics. In addition, the risk was of more concern in the patients taking digoxin as it is a medication used for irregular heartbeats.
We have know for years that many people with diabetes have too little magnesium in their bodies. So why don’t all of us take supplements of this magical mineral? Everyone seem to recommend magnesium, mostly to reduce the insulin resistance and hence help counteract diabetes. But how much magnesium we have in our bodies is almost impossible to test, because most of it resides in our bones and very little in our blood, according to Dr. Barkat Charania in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. He practiced orthopedic surgery for more than 30 years, now blogs at Dr. Barkat Charania , and helped me research this article.
Since our blood levels of magnesium don’t tell us if we have enough, researchers have reported few human studies, he told me. Still, he brought to my attention 41 studies of magnesium, most of them in relation to diabetes. Citing just three of these studies is enough to make my point: 1. “Magnesium deficiency is not uncommon among the general population: its intake h...
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