When I was initially diagnosed with mitral valve prolapse back in 1992, my GP suggested I start taking a magnesium supplement. I believe I took it for maybe a few weeks, but never noticed any difference in my symptoms so I stopped. Over the past 21 years, though, the subject keeps popping up. (The latest one I found is here, at realfarmacy.com.)
I finally decided to look up books on the subject and came across Dr. Dean’s book, The Magnesium Miracle.
There is a lot of crossover between MVPS symptoms and magnesium-deficiency symptoms. Dr. Dean points out:
Magnesium deficiency can be an underlying cause of anxiety and depression, as determined in several clinical trials. Symptoms of chronic magnesium deficiency include anxious behavior, hyperemotionality, apathy, apprehension, poor memory, confusion, anger, nervousness, muscle weakness, fatigue, headaches, insomnia, light-headedness, dizziness, nervous fits, the feeling of a lump in the throat, impaired breathing, muscle cramps (including leg cramps), a tingling or pricking or creeping feeling on the skin, rapid pulse, chest pain, palpitations, and abnormal heart rhythm.
She even specifically mentions MVP:
Dr. Melvyn Werbach, author of Nutritional Influences on Disease, believes that MVP is overdiagnosed and also maintains that it is a magnesium deficiency disease that is well treated by magnesium. The valves of the heart are pulled tight by muscles, which, like any other muscle in the body, depend on magnesium for proper functioning. The mitral valve prolapses because excess calcium relative to magnesium causes it to spasm. Dr. Mildred Seelig reports that low magnesium levels have been found in as many as 85% of MVP patients. Sixty percent of 141 individuals with strongly symptomatic MVP had low magnesium levels, compared to only 5 percent of the control group. Magnesium supplementation given for five weeks reduced the symptoms of chest pain, palpitations, anxiety, low energy, faintness, and difficulty breathing by about 50 percent in this group.
OK, there might be a connection. I’m definitely not a professional, but my guess would be the connection has something to do with the constant stress causing the depletion, directly and indirectly.
After reading the book, one of the big issues I see is that there are so many forms of magnesium — some better suited for particular health issues than others, and some forms more digestible than others. The cheapest and most commonly available is magnesium oxide, which appears to be more of a laxative than a magnesium supplement since it is in an almost completely nonabsorbent form. More than likely, this is the form I took back in 1992, since I didn’t know any better. All it potentially would have done is fed my need for Imodium A-D that I was taking daily back then. Even today, when I look at my multivitamin, it’s the “oxide” form they use (though this could be purposeful, in order to offset the constipating effect of the iron also in the multi).
For anxiety, she specifically recommends magnesium citrate: 300mg twice a day (first thing in the morning and before bed, on an empty stomach)
For heart issues, she recommends magnesium taurate: 125mg four times a day (first thing in the morning, 2pm, and before bed)
I think either choice is good, but I chose the taurate form. I’ll check in with you in six weeks and give you an update.