If you don't have a gallstone story, you probably know someone who does.
My friend Emily has one. After a few weeks of coping with what she thought was nagging acid reflux, she woke up late one night with an abdominal pain so severe she thought she was dying. Removal of her gallbladder took care of the problem.
A new study shows that Emily might have entirely avoided the brutal pain and the surgery if her magnesium intake had been sufficiently high.
Magnesium has a type 2 diabetes connection, which in turn has a gallstone connection.
Last summer I told you about a meta-analysis of seven large magnesium/diabetes studies from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden. Six of the studies found a significant link between high magnesium intake and reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. And the sources of magnesium (either from diet or supplements combined with diet) were equally effective.
The Karolinska team found that diabetes risk dropped by 15 percent for every 100 mg increase in magnesium intake.
Unfortunately, magnesium deficiency can develop fairly easily. Menstruation, prolonged stress, a high intake of starches, alcohol, diuretics and some prescription drugs (such as antibiotics) have all been shown to reduce magnesium levels. [Conventionally grown food is magnesium deficient]
In the February 2008 issue of The American Journal of Gastroenterology, researchers at the University of Kentucky Medical Center note that low magnesium levels have been associated with high insulin concentrations. They write: "Chronic hypersecretion of insulin, a feature of insulin resistance, may increase the cholesterol saturation index in the bile, and thus may facilitate gallstone formation."
Magnesium deficiency may also increase gallstone risk by raising triglyceride levels while lowering HDL cholesterol levels.
To investigate the effect of long-term magnesium intake on the risk of gallstone disease, the Kentucky team (in collaboration with Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women's Hospital, and the National Cancer Institute) launched a study to follow magnesium intake and medical records for more than 42,000 men. ...
HSI Panelist Allan Spreen, M.D., recommends 500 mg of magnesium per day, with the added note that magnesium gluconate and chelated magnesium are the preferred supplement forms. Talk to your doctor before adding a magnesium supplement to your daily regimen.
Dietary sources of magnesium include leafy green vegetables, avocados, nuts, and whole grains. [Take an Epsom salt bath one a day for thirty days, then once a week]