Magnesium deficiency and cancer – and magnesium sulfate salt

Magnesium Deficiency and Cancer, Sara Castiglioni, Jeanette AM Maier (2011):

In addition, magnesium concentration in drinking water is inversely correlated with death from breast, prostate, and ovarian cancers, whereas no correlation existed for other tumors [36, 38, 39].”

Looking at the bigger picture can lead to a better understanding of the real underlying issues and we are overlooking or being deceived about the underlying causes of cancer:

Experimental evidence therefore leads to the conclusion that in rodents, magnesium deficiency participates both in early (initiation) and late (progression) phases of tumorigenesis (figure 2).”

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*this article also mentions that low magnesium levels slow down growth of the main cancer tumor but that it is associated with increased spread of the cancer to other areas of the body. There is some speculation that low magnesium could be used to slow growth of cancer tumors but I would point out that the simple answer is math – cancer is very rapidly growing and any rate limiting factor such as reduced levels of essential nutrients such as magnesium or folate would reduce growth of rapidly growing cell groups but also would affect the health of the immune system and rest of the body. Cancer cells are ravenous, they have no off switch and it is the magnesium which provides the body’s ability to kill by apoptosis cells that are defective or too old. The article goes into more detail about oxidative stress, inflammation and mentions factors involved with apoptosis that are dependent on adequate magnesium. Some types of cancer treatments increase the risk of low magnesium and treating with extra magnesium sources has been studied elsewhere. Problems with fingertips occurs in a variety of health situations that involve starvation of some important nutrient including Raynaud’s disease – mentioned here, in an article about the cancer treatment associated with low magnesium:;2-2/full

The most well known example of fingertip problems due to lack of essential nutrients is frostbite – warmth is the missing nutrient – is that a nutrient? not really but without warmth nothing else works. I’ve written about a few other type of vasculitis problems that begin with finger symptoms. I’ve included some of that post at the end of this, to be organized later on the site.

In the case of cold water drowning the body has self preservation techniques that may sacrifice the fingers and toes while saving circulation throughout the heart, brain and lungs – the three most important organs for survival. Drowning victims in very cold water sometimes survive much longer exposure than would be possible in warm water because of this survival tactic that may be based somewhere in our evolutionary past. Life guards are trained on the importance of not giving up on the search for cold water victims. (cold water survival) My first job was as life guard, water safety instructor and camp counselor.

The cancer treatment with magnesium may need a source that can be absorbed through the skin. Many factors can reduce the body’s ability to absorb magnesium as well through the intestines.

Humans intestinal and renal systems are designed with an expectation that we will have lots of magnesium available and not much calcium so magnesium tends to be wasted easily and absorbed poorly. Current water supplies tend to be lower in magnesium content than natural river water might be. An Epsom magnesium sulfate salt bath or foot soak can be a better absorbed source as skin readily absorbs it. 20 minutes with about a cup of the magnesium sulfate salt is a medicinal dose, Staying in longer than 40 minutes might be dangerous due to slowing of the heart, and can cause watery bowel movements for up to a day or two if oversoaking as the magnesium causes relaxation of smooth muscle fibers which are what control the heart rate and the intestinal system. there are early symptoms of a fluttery weaker heart rate that is a signal to rinse off, you spent too long soaking.

Originally posted Feb. 20, 2011 – Regarding Vasculitis:

The first picture that I saw of someone diagnosed with vasculitis reminded me of hypothermia. The person’s fingertips were red and swollen but also shriveling at the tips. I learned about the body’s amazing ability to divert nutrients to the brain and heart during my training as a Water Safety Instructor. People survive drowning in extreme cold sometimes because the body stops circulating blood through the arms and legs. The person might lose fingertips and toes due to frost bite but if they survived an hour under water without brain damage, then it seems like a small price to pay.In the case of vasculitis, however, white blood cells are breaking down blood vessel tissue and destroying function of the area. It has been a mystery – why would the body attack itself and take apart structures?

I suggest that it is occurring for the same reason that anorexics die of heart attacks. In cases of malnutrition the body will catabolize – break down – body parts that are not essential in order to keep the brain alive. In the drowning victim, the brain, lungs and heart continue circulating blood while the extremities are left to freeze. The anorexic’s body needs calories to feed the brain and fat stores won’t work. Muscle tissue can be converted into energy that the brain can use. Over time, the heart and the rest of the muscles are eaten from within to feed the starving brain, leaving the weakened heart muscle at risk from any overwork.

Buerger’s Disease

The type of vasculitis most associated with fingertip loss is also most associated with smoking. And  the most effective treatment is to stop smoking. The vascular tissue would be oxygen starved in a chronic smoker as well as magnesium deficient.

Buerger’s Disease,
photo from: []  John Hopkins Vasculitis Center
Central Nervous System Vasculitis

**This is a rare form of brain vasculitis but the description of symptoms and population at risk reminded me of my migraine days of maximal blood brain permeability and sensitivity to many foods and chemicals.

“Treatment and Course of CNS Vasculitis” 
PACNS: Until recently, CNS vasculitis was a fatal condition in a high percentage of cases, with death following diagnosis in a mean of 45 days after diagnosis. The availability of powerful immunosuppressive therapy, however, has significantly improved the prognosis for people with this condition. Some patients with PACNS respond well to treatment with high doses of steroids alone. Others require the addition of cyclophosphamide to the steroid regimen. In many cases, a reasonable approach is to attempt to control the disease with high doses of steroids first (e.g., for one month), adding cyclophosphamide only if steroids fail or if patients begin to develop unacceptable side–effects of steroid treatment.
Balancing control of the disease with the possibility of serious side–effects of treatment is often challenging. For PACNS, treatment must often be continued for a year or more.
BACNS: Patients who fit the typical patient profile of BACNS and who have clinical presentations compatible with that diagnosis may be candidates for less intensive treatment regimens than those used in clear–cut cases of PACNS. Patients believed to have BACNS may be treated with calcium–channel blockers (a class of drug used to treat high blood pressure and spasm of blood vessels that occurs in a variety of conditions) for a few weeks, along with a comparatively short course of steroids (prednisone). No firm guidelines exist regarding the length of therapy, however, and decisions about the length of treatment must be made on a case–by–case basis.
Cocaine use, malignant hypertension, preeclampsia, and intravascular lymphoma can mimic this disease. The best therapy has not been established: many patients are treated with prednisone and cyclophosphamide.”

[] – John Hopkins Vasculitis Center

** Calcium channel blockers are a pharmaceutical stand-in for magnesium. Deficiency of the building blocks and energy sources that the body needs for regeneration prevents the body from growing new tissue. When functioning correctly, new skin cells are grown every day. Hypertension and preeclampsia are conditions resulting from magnesium deficiency. Cocaine use is associated with minimal eating and weight loss (appetite for more cocaine instead of food). Cancer is also associated with malfunctioning white blood cell function – apoptosis is required to prune decaying cells before they mutate. Magnesium is essential to grow the white blood cells and to arm them with the enzyme and adhesion powers necessary for apoptosis.

When nutrients are missing the body will recycle nutrients from less important body parts. White blood cells, our work force, will break down and not repair tissues that aren’t supporting the brain, lungs and heart circulation. Tissue with rapid cell turn over will show the lack of repair earliest. The skin and blood vessels in areas of the body that are less physiologically important will show break down and inflammation earliest in the progression of disease. Leaky Gut Syndrome is a similar problem happening with disrepair of the intestinal lining. It leads to worsening malabsorption problems and further malnutrition.

Bypassing the poor intestinal absorption with delivery of nutrients by skin is a low budget, low risk solution worth trying. A magnesium containing skin cream may provide some of the nourishment that the skin cells need for repair. Excess active hormone D also causes increased intestinal calcium absorption and worse magnesium absorption. Some types of infection can cause an increase in active hormone D and cause an imbalance in calcium and magnesium. Consuming extra vitamin D will add to the imbalance in vitamin D vs hormone D levels that the chronic infection is triggering. the increased levels of hormone D cause movement of calcium and magnesium out of the bone tissue and lead to increased urinary magnesium losses. Magnesium deficiency prevents growth and repair of our skin and everything else.

Use of a magnesium containing skin cream may bypass the poor intestinal absorption and bring symptom relief sooner than just taking a supplement of magnesium.

Eating supplements or diets rich in lecithin from egg yolk and omega 3 fatty acids from fish oil, or flax or hemp oils rich in essential fats can help nourish the skin and promote healthy membranes in the brain and throughout the body. Self care and nourishment helps speed healing.  Calcium channel blockers and corticosteroids will not provide any building blocks for growth in the long run.

*I must not have been aware of Epsom salt baths at this stage of my learning more for better self-care – migraine headaches may have to do with vasculitis.

  • Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.  
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