Throughout my life since 1988 when I had my first incident of kidney disease I have recommended magnesium to anyone complaining of muscle cramps.
What happened to me was I needed a kidney biopsy and for some reason I had a huge lock down of neck muscles that were cramping to the point that they caused me huge pain and would not relax. My doctor recommended taking Robaxisal. This was just a few days after my biopsy. I read the ingredients and I had my concerns about the aspirin, which I knew to be a prostiglandin from university human biology. That meant that it would prevent platelets from clotting. I had my concerns, as with a kidney biopsy they rely on your body's ability to clot to stop the bleeding from the biopsy. I also knew, from human biology, that my kidneys received 20% of my blood flow, so when they told me not to move much in my hospital bed for 24 hours after my biopsy, I diligently obeyed. So, here's my doctor telling me to take something that can cause bleeding for strong muscle cramping, but he's a doctor so he knows what he's doing, right?
Well, long story shortened, Roboxisal caused me an extra week of huge extra pain from my biopsy and when I specifically asked my doctor about bleeding and Roboxisal and questioned why not the Roboxacet which had acetaminophen instead of aspirin, he immediately said to stop the first and said to take the latter. At the end of two weeks, still taking the Roboxacet, I still had no relief from the muscles cramps and the doctor was going on to giving me more drugs.
I didn't take more drugs. Somewhere in this process I remembered my human biology course yet again and I remembered our lab where we tested muscle fibers and saw that without minerals, magnesium being an important one, the muscle fibers remained tight and locked. With the minerals we could manipulate the muscle tissue and relax it. I purchased magnesium instead of getting a prescription filled and my muscle cramps felt better in a day or two. Since then, I have always turned to magnesium for muscle cramps and suggested it to others when they mention cramps, and it is probably where the holistic side of me was born, and also my belief that sometimes we know more than our doctors and that we still need to carefully consider what they tell us to do.
So, with ALS there is muscle cramping and locking up and it is obviously painful.
To learn more about magnesium, I purchased "The Magnesium Miracle" by Carolyn Dean and it is recommended reading for everyone, actually. Magnesium deficiency is a huge problem population wide, but it is especially a problem with ALS.
According to Dr Dean magnesium has these roles and my comments are in red:
- Catalyzing most chemical reactions in the body.
- Producing and transporting energy (My read of the ALS literature, this is a problem with ALS and part of what is causing the death of the nerve cells)
- Synthesizing protein (Has anyone heard of muscle wasting with ALS?)
- Transmitting nerve signals (And what about this problem with ALS? Anyone having problems controlling their muscles?)
- Relaxing muscles (Anyone with ALS have locked muscles?)
- Magnesium is a cofactor for the enzyme ATP (adenosine triphospate). With ALS your body has impaired ATP production and this is related to neuron death. The Wahl's protocol is a diet designed to heal mitochondria.
- Magnesium is an important membrane stabilizing agent. The nerves cells in ALS are not stable.
- Magnesium is required for the structural integrity of numerous body proteins.
- Magnesium is required for the structural integrity of nucleic acids.
- Magnesium is a cofactor for the enzyme guanosine triphosphate (GTP).
- Magnesium is a cofactor for the enzyme phospholipase C (PLC).
- Magnesium is a cofactor for the enzyme adenylate cyclase.
- Magnesium is a cofactor for the enzyme guanylate cyclase.
- Magnesium is a required cofactor for the activity of hundreds of enzymes ... estimate 700-800.
- Magnesium is a direct regulator of ion channels, most notably of the other key electrolytes, calcium, sodium and potassium. There is something seriously wrong with channels with ALS. I don't understand it right now, but that there is a problem is enough for me to take it seriously.
- Magnesium is an important intracellular signaling molecule itself.
- Magnesium is a modulator of oxidative phosphorylation.
- Magnesium is intimately involved in nerve conduction.
- Magnesium is intimately involved in muscle function.
- Kidney failure.
- Myasthenia gravis - hugely serious and potentially a massive problem with ALS, especially if there are already respiratory problems. What she says, "Intravenous administration could accentuate muscle relaxation and collapse the respiratory muscles." So, work with a doctor.
- Excessively slow heart rate.
- Bowel obstruction.
To find out the best magnesium to take according to Dr Dean, visit Dr Dean's website. She recommends ReMag.