Oral & dermal magnesium, my asthma is gone!
I was astonished this summer after supplementing my diet with oral (magnesium glycinate), and dermal (topical), magnesium (Epsom Salts added to body wash), my asthma and allergies virtually vanished; I would call them cured! I have lived with asthma and allergies for at least 18 years. Untreated I could not lay down at night and breath properly, just constant bubbling to the point I would have to sit up to breath. My nose was constantly congested and my eyes itched to the point of distraction. Grass from lawns and fields triggered all these symptoms and I live in the country surrounded by, you guessed it, hay fields. One might suggest moving to a different environment, but from what I have read your body manages to pursue its bad habits (allergies) wherever you go. Without treatment this asthma was almost debilitating, but there certainly was a successful medical treatment, nasally and orally inhaled corticosteroids just about eliminated my problems, one cannot call it a cure, but the symptoms were drastically reduced, really only the itchy eyes remained. I have been treated this way, successfully, for at least 18 years. Oddly enough my problems with Low Tension Glaucoma (now Normal Tension Glaucoma) began around the time I started using a nasal corticosteroid inhaler; I have since learned corticosteroids can cause Glaucoma by increasing intraocular pressure in the eye. There is much controversy regarding this. To the right you can see my cadre of inhalers, nasal; Flomist (flohale) flucticasone propionate, oral; Flohale (Flonase) also flucticasone propionate, and finally for emergencies an Albuterol oral inhaler. Early in my history of these problems, in the Spring before starting the medications I went out and mowed my lawn on a relatively hot, dry, day. I mowed, until I started to sneeze, continued till my eyes itched and teared, and even kept going as my throat became more restricted till finally I began to worry because my breathing was so restricted, I tend to do this kind of test every year, hoping, something would improve, and as you will see below, 18 years later, I have discovered all I had was a nutritional deficiency, sort of makes you mad! Oh, by the way, if you buy a flohale inhaler in a US pharmacy, you will probably pay $125, and I think that was the generic price; I used three of these a year.
The asthma cure was coincidental, vertigo
In the spring I had my second bout with vertigo. (The NIH on vertigo or BPPV). The first occurrence, a couple years ago, was mild, maybe lasted half a day, and was treatable with the Epley Maneuver, a simple sequence of head movements while supine. The second instance of vertigo lasted 3 days! Vertigo can be triggered by the most simple movements. I was standing up, rising out of my chair, to head to the kitchen, as I did stand, I realized I was going to step on one of our dogs! I intentionally fell back into the chair, bounced back up, dodged the dog, and turned left heading into the kitchen. A short time after this my head started spinning and would not stop. The spinning will not even stop when you lie down, even going to bed. You just have to fall asleep with your head spinning. I spent many years boating, so I seem to be able to handle this vertigo without nausea, which is good fortune for me. So three days of repeated Epley maneuvers and the vertigo dissipated.
Merck has a nice Epley graphic, search for videos, there are many good ones.
Three days of vertigo was enough to be concerned about the future.
It was time to investigate the causes and treatments of vertigo. Your inner ear has deposits of calcium carbonate to facilitate your balancing mechanism. Apparently these deposits can break free and interfere with the normal balancing mechanism. The Epley maneuver can relocate these excess calcium carbonate deposits to an area in the inner ear which does not interfere with the balancing mechanism.
Why are there excess calcium carbonate deposits?
It appears there can be several sources, but in my case, most likely too much calcium and too little magnesium in my diet. Magnesium acts as a solvent for excess calcium build up and deposits; like deposits in your arteries that cause heart attacks, or strokes! Magnesium regulates the calcium balance in all the cells of your body. Magnesium suppresses the cells production of histamine: What, histamine, allergies, asthma? But at the time I did not know about this association. If you read the NIH articles, and those linked to, there is no mention of something as simple as a magnesium deficiency.
A magnesium supplement seemed in order
I hoped that taking a magnesium supplement might help reduce the chance that a vertigo attack would return in the future. If you do enough research on magnesium "insufficiency" you will finally find subtle symptomology, such as vertigo. So I started taking magnesium glycinate supplements, but immediately ran into a new problem, diarrhea! Even though the recommended dosage was three capsules a day, I could only tolerate two and I was looking for a therapeutic dosage, something that might make an obvious difference. Even with my normal multivitamin I was not approaching dosages recommended in numerous articles including the National Institutes of Health recommendations.
The calcium magnesium balance conundrum.
Many supplement manufacturers offer a product called Cal-Mag, a good concept. You really should not have one without the other, but, there is a major misunderstanding about what the correct ratio of the two should be. Almost all Cal-Mag supplements, I have looked at, have a two to one ratio, respectively. But it seems the most recent research is leaning strongly toward at least the exact opposite. We received so much calcium in our diet and really insufficient magnesium, plus there is the problem that natural sources are truly no longer natural! Here is a good article on magnesium and a mention of ratios of calcium and other resources as well at Mercola.com. Recently it has been recommended that we DOUBLE our intake of vegetables. Well, I have tried that, and the bowels do not approve! I eat plenty of vegetables now!
Even at two capsules a day I got my "obvious difference" within in two weeks, difficulty swallowing.
For at least a decade I have had yet another problem, a difficulty swallowing (dysphagia), apparently common in fifteen percent of the population over the age of 50. In fact it is quite common for doctors to "stretch" out throats of even 30 year olds with this problem. Well after two weeks on a magnesium supplement, and stopping my normal calcium supplement, my difficulty swallowing began to fade! A totally unexpected consequence, so I researched further and found, yes, difficulty swallowing is yet another symptom of magnesium insufficiency (long term). This difficulty swallowing was always concerning for me because my father died of throat cancer, but he was a life long smoker, and I do not smoke.
I decided I needed more magnesium
I was really no where near a risky dosage, so more investigation and I learned simply taking an Epsom Salt soak in a bathtub will raise you magnesium and sulfate levels substantially without all the bowel problems oral dosages cause. Oddly enough when you swim in the ocean your body soaks up magnesium naturally, and apparently quite a bit! We came from the ocean, did we not? Epsom salts are magnesium sulfate and people have been soaking themselves in it for eons. Here is a short but sweet study demonstrating dermal absorption linked to by the Epsom Salt Council. But I, did not want to take a bath every day so I came up with just adding Epsom Salts to a basic body wash. I ended up using six tablespoons added to a twelve ounce bottle of body wash (4 lb bags at Walmart). It had to be shaken quite a bit and left sitting overnight for all the Epsom Salts to dissolve, but they did. Now to keep my magnesium levels up I just shower every day, lathering up, letting the lather sit on me for two minutes before rinsing off. There are commercial body wash products that have added Epsom salts.
Coffee and alcohol are yet another factor.
I drink coffee in the morning, beer at night, and an occasional scotch; my name is Matheson! Both coffee and alcohol deplete magnesium, calcium, and even zinc, which I am now looking into. Magnesium and zinc are transient minerals (elements) in our bodies. There is virtually no storage, in one end, out the other, so a constant supply is requisite.
As Spring progressed time for the asthma test
When allergy, asthma, and hay fever, season begin every year I do a test, hoping that somehow this year will be different and I will not need my inhalers. Usually at this time the symptoms begin to build until I must take the medications. The corticosteroids do have about a one week lag time, they are worthless for the first few days you take them, but, after that they work well, with some exceptions I mentioned earlier.
Well I was astonished, I did feel a little bit of the symptoms of my asthma, but I had just started the Epsom Salt body wash showers. As time went by no symptoms of asthma developed, I could breath quite well, sleep well, my nose did not run, and even my eyes did not itch! It seemed like magnesium supplementation had cured my asthma. For the entire Summer I have had no allergy or asthma symptoms at all. Certainly if I am exposed to a lot of dust, even pollen, I may cough to clear my lungs, but this is just normal. After 18 years I have gone through a summer without medication and have felt quite well! So I have migrated from a strong drug solution to a simple nutritional (and dermal) solution. I'm sorry my doctors have not discovered this.
The National Institute of Healths (NIH) commentary on magnesium is also astonishing.
The NIH has a nice commentary about magnesium, and zinc as well, but there truly are some inconsistencies, it is as if each paragraph of the NIH articles is a commentary on one of the references cited at the end of the document, for the paragraph, there is not much continuity. From one paragraph to the next there are subtle contradictions in the text. Each NIH mineral supplement article has a "health professional" and "consumer" perspective, but oddly enough deficiencies seem emphasized in the consumer presentation and deemphasized in the "health professional" discussion. Some say doctors are taught that all nutrition can be satisfied by basic food stuffs, but one has to ask why recently the recommendation for vegetable and fruit requirements has doubled! Is it because our sources of food may not be as nutritionally complete as they have been in the past? The classic example is broccoli which may or may not have selenium depending upon where it is grown, and yet there are recent studies condemning virtually all supplementation.
The NIH casually mentions the Magnesium deficiency rate
It simply astonishes me that our government, the NIH, CDC, FDA, would not be broadly publicizing this mineral deficiency in the general population. They are aware this deficiency causes heart disease, strokes, hardening of the arteries, I could go on and on, and it seems to be just getting worse! Of course we should all take care of ourselves, but most people do work for a living. Most young people are invincible, I know I was!
The shots taken on multivitamins and supplements
An article in CNN sums it up:
"The editorial, "Enough is Enough: Stop Wasting Money on Vitamin and Mineral Supplements," is based on three studies looking at the effects of multivitamins on preventing heart attacks and cancer, as well as improving cognitive function in men older than 65. All three studies were also published in this week's Annals of Internal Medicine."
But you know, if something as fundamental as magnesium, or zinc, is missing from the diet it may mask all the other potential benefits of supplements. So the studies lambasting supplements could be correct, but for the wrong reasons. Face it, a single pill cannot possibly provide the bulk of the most fundamental nutrients. The capsule would have to be very large. Supplements have to be balanced to work, if you are missing the basics the multi-supplements do not have a chance. At least in my case magnesium appears to be very fundamentally missing!
As I mentioned, if I have a magnesium "insufficiency" (long term), it is just as likely a mineral such as zinc is just as deficient. Perhaps manganese as well.
Magnesium asthma cure conclusion
So all this spun out of my second case of vertigo, a symptom of magnesium deficiency that is barely mentioned, certainly not by the NIH. Unfortunately I do not know if my vertigo problems are gone! But I am hoping. Regardless, the benefits from investigating and addressing my vertigo are outstanding!
But I also think about the fact for at least 18 years I have had partial magnesium insufficiency, this can wreak havoc on your cardiovascular system, your neural system, and I certainly wonder if the magnesium calcium balance can have a significant impact on diseases such as arthritis.
I have discovered, again by accident about 11 years ago, one other insufficiency in my life, an Omega 3 deficiency; I do not eat much fish. Back in the days when I believed in cholesterol reduction/treatment, one step I took was to add Omega 3 to my supplements. It did not do much for my cholesterol, but again I was amazed during the next downhill ski season. I do ski aggressively, and mogul ski, it does some take some cardiovascular strength, and for the last couple seasons I had found myself having to stop one or two times before completing a long, fast, bumped up, downhill run. So I start the new ski season probably nine months after starting the Omega 3's; I could not believe it I was skiing top to bottom, nonstop, without any problems whatsoever. I did not even notice it at first; it does not seem possible it could be a placebo effect. In hindsight I believe I was Omega 3 deficient since I was a youngster; I could not keep up with anybody but the "fat" kids when running for gym class in high school. I did well in other physical activities, but not endurance; probably a life time deficiency.
I also am continually surprised there is no real apparent effort by the government to push the fact that 72% ( a more commonly accepted figure) of our population is magnesium insufficient. Think of the health impact. THINK OF THE REDUCTION IN PHARMACEUTICAL SALES, insurance fees, and doctor visits. Hmm, think about that.
Amazing, almost an entire summer without allergies and the allergens are out there in full force! Is sufficient magnesium supplementation a potential cure for some forms of asthma and allergy? You will have to be the judge. (I am taking my magnesium.)
Sources and References:
Pubmed Central PMCID: PMC3426263 Dysphagia in the Elderly management and nutritional considerations.
I hope in some way this helps your health,
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