Translational medicine – getting research to the patient.

We fundraise for research for cures to disease yet sadly it seems too long for patients living uncomfortably in the present. Seventeen years was an average found in one research study about how long it takes for medical research results to make it into the doctor office and to the patient. Much of the information about magnesium in the last post dates back as far as the 1960s and 70s, that is almost 60 years, not 17. Some discoveries were made by Mildred Seelig, a primary researcher in the role of magnesium in health , and coauthor of one of the books in the reference list (The Magnesium Factor, 38).

Health care choices and food policy regulations affect all age groups. Medicating symptoms instead of treating underlying nutrient deficiency or imbalance can be costly, ineffective, and possibly be allowing chronic degeneration to be occuring due to lack of the nutrient. Nutrient deficiency or imbalance might be due to dietary lack, metabolic differences, malabsorption, or increased needs due to illness or some other reason. Adults and children have been experiencing chronic illness at increased rates in the Unites States and other developed and developing nations.

In the U.S. 43% of children had a chronic health issue (from a list of 20 included in the study) – 32 million children. The number increases to 54.1% when “overweight, obesity, or being at risk for developmental delays are included.” The chronic conditions cause special health care needs for 19.2%, 14.2 million of the chilren. (ref)

While sadly Mildred Seelig passed away before she could see her work reach the majority of patients, young and old, her coauthor for The Magnesium Factor, Andrea Rosanoff, PhD , is still alive and working on the use of magnesium topically for healthcare purposes. Hopefully her work will reach the doctor’s office and the patient before another 17, or 60 years have passed.

Not only are many medications prescribed for symptoms of magnesium deficiency instead of educating on magnesium sources, there are many medications that may decrease magnesium levels. See “Drug Interctions” for individual details, the list includes positive or negative effects – increasing or decreasing efficiency of supplements of Magnesium glycinate -as a prescribed ‘drug’ ( glycinate). Many of the anti-cholinergics mentioned in Table 1, (ref), are also on the list of drugs that cause drug interactions with magnesium glycinate – decreasing its effectiveness. Anti-cholinergics have been associated with increased risk of dementia, especially with greater use, or multiple use, (ref) , and with increased risk fr recurrent falls in postmenopausal women. (ref)

Anti-cholinergics may include drugs prescribed as:

  • antidepressants, (Amitriptyline),*
  • antipsychotics, (Olanzapine),*
  • for asthma, (antihistamine- Diphenhydramine),*
  • urinary bladder problems, (urinary antimuscarinic –Flavoxate),*
  • muscle spasms, (skeletal muscle relaxant – Orphenadrine),*
  • and other issues.
  • *Anticholinergic Medications from Table 1 (ref) that are also on the drug interaction list as drugs that may decrease the therapeutic efficacy of Magnesium glycinate if prescribed as a supplement/drug. ( glycinate)

Olanzapine also has a significant risk of causing Type 2 Diabetes and/or excessive weight gain with extended use and withdrawal symptoms may include severe increased anxiety and suicidal or homocidal urges. Type 2 Diabetes and anxiety can be symptoms of chronic magnesium deficiency.

Health is worth the effort – pain is a symptom of a problem and a signal to figure out what to change to stop the pain – by improving the underlying problem. Sometimes change is age related and adjustments might need to include recognizing that metabolism has slowed, less calories is needed but protein becomes more important, and, recovery from illness, injury, or extended effort might take longer – so be more cautious about risk. Sometimes change is needed in the standard of care – to include preventative screening and education when health symptoms are still in early stages, before chronic degeneration or cancerous changes occur.

Translational medicine – 60 years is too long to wait for life-saving information to reach patients, 17 years is too long too.

Sadly it can even take more than a hundred years for research findings to benefit the consumer. The use of aluminum as an anti-caking agent in baking powder is still common in the U.S. food supply and it was strongly recommended to be removed from foods as an anti-caking agent or food preservative as long ago as 1911. (Gies, 1911, page 44, Ch.4, ref)

The U.S. consumer who includes processed convenience foods in their diet may be getting 100 milligrams of aluminum per day or more, with an average estimate between 2 and 25 milligrams. The provisional tolerable weekly intake for aluminum was lowered by the FAO/WHO Expert Committee in 2006 from 7 milligrams per kilogram of body weight (~490 mg/wk for a 70 kg/154 lb person) to 1 milligram per kilogram of body weight. The change was due to findings showing a potential risk to reproductive and nervous system development at lower doses than previously thought. (page 45, Ch.4, ref)

I love delicious and/or convenient food, however I love health more. I also like economical, effective healthcare solutions for myself, my family, and everyone else – because it is also better for the planet. When we use toxins in our food supply or food production those toxins are also getting into the environment and wildlife’s food and water supply. Teamwork – we humans are part of the food chain, not just at the top of it.

Disclaimer: This information is being provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individualized health care guidance. Please see an individual health care provider for individual health care services.