No matter how hard you try or how thoroughly you plan, eating a balanced diet is tough. And eating a balanced diet with all the vitamins and minerals your body needs is even tougher. That’s why so many people are turning to supplements or IV drip treatment, for example, a magnesium infusion. It can be particularly helpful to your health. Allow us to be your guide through everything you need to know about this type of healthcare treatment.
Table of Contents
Magnesium and Why It Matters
Magnesium is an organic mineral essential to life. It’s vital for plants, animals, and, of course, humans. Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body, so it’s a multi-functional tool. Magnesium takes part in over 300 metabolic functions. Let’s look at the top jobs it performs in our bodies.
Roles of Magnesium
If you’re low on magnesium, you’re missing out on these critical processes and more:
1. Bone Formation
About 60% of the body’s total magnesium supply is stored in the bones. Along with calcium, magnesium promotes bone health in a variety of ways. Magnesium mobilizes mesenchymal stem cells. Translation: it triggers stem cells to turn into bone-forming cells. Then, magnesium deposits and distributes bone cells into the bone matrix to form strong, robust bones.
2. Energy Production
The body typically uses carbohydrates to produce energy in the form of ATP (adenosine triphosphate). ATP provides energy for all metabolic processes. ATP doesn’t do that work on its own, though. It needs to bind to magnesium to form an ATPMg complex in order to function.
3. DNA Replication
Every time genetic material is copied, there is a risk of errors. These errors can cause mutations that may lead to diseases like cancer down the road. Magnesium is necessary for preserving the integrity and structure of the genetic code during this copying process. Furthermore, magnesium is essential in repairing DNA damage due to environmental toxins like pollutants.
4. Nerve Transmission and Muscle Function
As an electrolyte, magnesium plays a crucial role in relaying messages between the brain and the body. It mainly functions as a brake that allows the body to relax from excited nerve signals. These are just a few of magnesium’s important jobs. Other essential functions of magnesium include:
- Blood sugar balance
- Brain health
- Electrolyte balance
With the varied role that magnesium plays in your body, it’s easy to see why having too little magnesium affects your health.
All About Magnesium Deficiency
A magnesium infusion is designed to help people who have low magnesium. But how common is a magnesium deficiency, and how do you know if you have one?
How Much Magnesium Do You Need?
Ideally, your body should have about 26 grams of magnesium at all times. Of course, that’s not easy for you to track on your own. It makes sense to look at whether your diet contains enough magnesium. Your recommended daily intake of magnesium depends on your age and gender. For kids, the recommendation is between 130 and 240 mg per day.
For adults age 19 and over, the recommendation is 400-420 mg per day for men and 310-320 mg per day for women. Not getting enough magnesium? Seeds, nuts, legumes, salmon, cereal, broccoli, and leafy greens like spinach are excellent sources of magnesium. A magnesium infusion, though, can give you a quicker, more significant dose.
How to Know if You’re Magnesium Deficient
The tricky part of a magnesium deficiency is that it often comes with no symptoms. Or, you might just think you’re tired or getting older when the real issue is magnesium. In fact, about 16% of Canadians may have a magnesium deficiency, and many don’t know it. It’s a good idea to see a clinical physician for routine tests to check your magnesium and other nutrient levels.
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Low appetite
- Muscle cramps
- Numbness or tingling in the skin
- Abnormal heart rate
Why Might You Be Magnesium Deficient?
The most obvious cause of a magnesium deficiency is eating too little magnesium in your diet. Over 45% of Canadians don’t take in enough magnesium. That isn’t the only reason for magnesium deficiency, though. Other culprits can include:
- Malabsorption – This means your body isn’t absorbing the magnesium from your diet. This often happens in people with alcohol abuse disorder, inflammatory bowel disease, or steatorrhea (oily stools).
- Increased loss of magnesium – Your body is losing too much of the magnesium you eat before it can use it. This is most often due to diabetes.
- Medications – Certain medications like proton pump inhibitors, antibiotics, and diuretics can lower your magnesium levels.
- Critical illnesses – Some serious illnesses can lead to a magnesium deficiency.
- High requirements – Specific conditions and circumstances can cause your body to need more magnesium than usual, so you can be deficient even with a normal intake. This can happen during pregnancy, lactation, or infancy.
What Is A Magnesium Infusion?
A magnesium infusion is a treatment that delivers magnesium directly to the bloodstream through an IV. The IV typically uses magnesium chloride or magnesium sulphate. The infusion process takes a minimum of 60 minutes and up to four hours. This treatment is fast, efficient, and 100% bioavailable. That means your body can use all the magnesium it takes in.
The amount of magnesium you receive during an infusion depends on your magnesium levels and health needs.
Benefits of a Magnesium Infusion
A magnesium infusion can benefit your health in many ways. Most notably, patients notice:
- Enhanced relaxation
- Less fatigue
- Reduced muscle pain
- Better sleep
- Tighter blood sugar control
- Improved bone health
- Enhanced mood and well-being
Keep in mind that the effects will vary based on your magnesium levels, your symptoms, and your infusion.
Magnesium Infusion vs. Oral Magnesium
Why get a magnesium infusion? Why not just get more magnesium in your diet? While both of these are valid ways to enhance your magnesium levels, an infusion is far more efficient. When you get magnesium through your diet, it goes through your digestive system. It’s mostly absorbed in your small intestine. The problem is that you only absorb 20%-50% of the magnesium you eat.
A magnesium infusion, on the other hand, delivers magnesium to your blood directly. Your body can use more of the magnesium and access it faster, so you get faster results.
Common Uses of A Magnesium Infusion
Magnesium infusions are used in hospitals and outpatient infusion clinics. They must be supervised by medical professionals. There are many conditions that a magnesium infusion can treat or reduce. Let’s look at some of the most common ones.
In some cases, doctors in the ER may use a magnesium infusion to treat a severe asthma attack. If you’re having an asthma attack, go to the emergency room, not an outpatient infusion clinic.
Magnesium can help your body regulate its mood and lower your stress level. Some outpatient clinics can help patients ease their anxiety symptoms with magnesium infusions.
Abnormal heart rhythm and heart failure
There are multiple types of abnormal heart rhythms, also called arrhythmias. Some types can benefit from magnesium infusions. Usually, this is a treatment given by ER doctors in a hospital. In some cases, magnesium infusions can even stabilize patients who are in heart failure. This varies from case to case.
Because magnesium plays a role in your body’s process of sending and receiving nerve signals, it can help reduce chronic pain. For that reason, some patients with migraines, fibromyalgia, or other conditions may receive magnesium infusions.
Chronic fatigue syndrome
If you have chronic fatigue, it could be because your body doesn’t have the magnesium it needs to distribute and use energy. A magnesium infusion may be able to help.
Magnesium is a key player in managing your brain’s neurotransmitters. That includes the neurotransmitters that play a role in depression. As a result, magnesium infusions have given relief to some people with depression.
High blood pressure
In ER and hospital settings, magnesium infusions can help patients with severely high blood pressure that needs to come down quickly. For example, it’s often used for mothers in the hospital who have just given birth and need their blood pressure lowered.
People who have had organ transplants need to take anti-rejection medications. These medications sometimes cause an interaction that lowers your magnesium. This type of magnesium deficiency can often be successfully treated with magnesium infusions.
In very specific cases, magnesium can help lower blood pressure and reduce preeclampsia in mothers who are giving birth. This can only be done in high-level labour units with continuous fetal monitoring.
Who Should Not Receive A Magnesium Infusion?
Like any other medication (or supplement, for that matter), magnesium infusions aren’t for everyone. Magnesium infusions are not recommended for:
- People with neuromuscular conditions
- People with a heart block
- Patients with kidney disease
- People with low calcium levels
If you’re considering a magnesium infusion, it’s important to talk to an experienced, knowledgeable medical professional. These experts can determine if you’re a candidate and customize and oversee your treatment.
What Does the Magnesium Infusion Process Look Like?
Considering a magnesium infusion? Here’s a look into what you can expect.
Initial Consultation and Preparation
A medical consultation is always the first step in determining if a magnesium infusion will be safe and effective for you. You’ll typically have this consultation with the professional who will administer your infusion. If you’re a candidate, your provider will customize your infusion with the ideal dosage for you. They’ll bring you to a clean treatment room to begin.
What to Expect During the Infusion
Your infusion process will start with your provider cleaning the area of your infusion site. They’ll then inject the sterile IV with the magnesium solution. The protocol is to infuse one gram of magnesium over 60 minutes. This improves your magnesium retention and minimizes unwanted effects. As a result, the length of your infusion depends on your dosage.
After your infusion, your provider will give you aftercare instructions. These can vary from case to case but include any dietary or activity restrictions you need to follow. They also include any symptoms to watch for.
How Often Should You Get a Magnesium Infusion?
Some people get routine magnesium infusions, while others only get them for specific occasions. Your provider will recommend a treatment plan for you.
Complications and Risks Associated with A Magnesium Infusion
Any medical treatment carries some risk of complications. But if you see a knowledgeable provider that uses proper dosing and monitoring, side effects are minimal. Some of these can include:
- Irritation at the infusion site
- Facial flushing
- Low blood pressure
- Rare risk of an embolism
- Be honest with your provider about all health conditions, medications, and supplements. Magnesium infusions can have poor interactions with potassium and certain heart medications.
Optimize Your Magnesium Levels with SRx Health
Could a magnesium infusion be a positive step for your health? We’ll help you find out. The compassionate and skilled providers at our specialty clinics can assess your health and create a care plan.