The Essential Mineral That Prevents Cancer
Protect Yourself From Cancer
The human body is a well-tuned machine. It is composed of billions of cells that work together as one, keeping it running smoothly and efficiently. It is detailed, intricate and precise, powerful, yet fragile at the same time.
The human body is a work of art and is capable of accomplishing amazing things, but it must be properly maintained. Our body needs optimum fuel daily to perform at its best, but many of us don’t give it the fuel it needs. Instead,we feed it foods that aren’t good for us. For example, we don’t give our houseplants lemonade; we give them water because we know that lemonade isn’t good for them. The space shuttle runs on rocket fuel, not the 91 octane that we use in our cars. We know these things, but we don’t follow the same philosophy with our own bodies, and the use of improper fuel can lead to a myriad of problems.
The key to a strong body is a healthy immune system, and the foods we eat are critical. If we’re not careful, our bodies can break down due to lack of proper care and neglect. As a result, many of us will become ill and end up at the doctor’s office for treatment.
This content is intended to be educational; it should not be construed as medical advice. If you have a medical concern you should consult an appropriately licensed physician or health care worker.
Each year, billions of dollars are spent on over the counter and prescription drugs for these and many other ailments:
- Loss of appetite
- Muscle cramps
- High blood pressure
- Psychiatric disturbances
Some of these are quite common and can affect anyone at any given time. There are many possible causes for these seemingly unrelated ailments, but they all have one thing in common: they are signs of a magnesium deficiency.
Magnesium has hundreds of functions in the body, ranging from maintaining energy levels to sustaining heart and blood vessel health. This is where our diet comes into play. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies can be hard to pinpoint because the symptoms can be so broad and so generic. For example, we’re taught to take an aspirin for relief if we have a headache It never occurs to us that the headache may be due to a magnesium deficiency.
Instead of changing our diets, many of us will choose to take medicine in the hope it makes us better. We’ll treat the symptom, but won’t attempt to discover the cause of the problem.
A magnesium deficiency may be more prevalent than people realise. Less than 30% of U.S. adults consume the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of magnesium (probably similar in Australia). Nearly 20% get only half of the magnesium they need daily to remain healthy.¹It is critical people understand how their diets and eating habits can have a direct effect on their overall health.
Magnesium and Cancer: A Connection?
According to the National Cancer Institute, lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer mortality in the United States.2 Smoking is widely accepted as a contributing cause of lung cancer, but scientists are looking into other possible causes because non-smokers can get lung cancer as well. There is no known link between lung cancer and mineral deficiency, but it can’t be ruled out.
The DNA Repair Theory
All of our cells replicate to create new cells. This process of cell replication involves the accurate copying of 3 billion DNA base pairs. One mistake is a mutation. On average researchers have found that during each replication approximately 160,000 mistakes are made! If one of those mistakes is in the wrong place, the cell can start proliferating and dividing at a rapid rate, leading to tumour formation.
Our bodies are amazing! We conteract these mistakes using DNA repair enzymes. These enzymes check for mistakes and fix them. We make DNA repair enzymes using magnesium. If we don’t get adequate magnesium in our diet we make less of them and get more mistakes, which leads to degeneration, faster ageing and an increased risk for cancer.
This is the most probable mechanism for cancer prevention although more research needs to be done. We’ll report on that when it comes out. Here’s what is currently available :
According to a study published by the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health in 2008, there were substantial increases in lung cancer risk among subjects with low magnesium intake compared to those with high magnesium intake.
The study also found a decreased lung cancer risk with increased intake of dark bread, banana and nuts.
Other studies have found yielded promising results:
One study suggested that high magnesium content in drinking water offered protection from liver cancer and esophageal cancer.6,7 Magnesium levels in drinking water were also found to be inversely correlated with death rate from breast, prostate, and ovarian cancers.8
A meta-analysis of studies done on the link between magnesium levels and colorectal cancer risk quotes, “On the basis of the findings of this meta-analysis, a higher magnesium intake seems to be associated with a modest reduction in the risk of CRC, in particular, colon cancer.”10
Magnesium is essential for building proteins and new cells. It is also needed to maintain cell life, hence the search for a possible cancer link. All the more reason to ensure we get our recommended daily allowance of this vital mineral.
- Skim Milk
- Brazil nuts
Not only are these foods high in magnesium, but they have many other vital nutrients that help strengthen the immune system, which is essential for good health.
According to the National Institutes of Health, the recommended dietary intake of taking magnesium orally is 310 mg to 420 mg, with a tolerable upper intake level of 350 mg of elemental magnesium for supplementing in healthy adults.9 Since Mg levels are tightly controlled by the body, excess Mg is excreted in the urine and stool. There are no known reported cases of dietary Mg causing harm.
Studies are still ongoing and it may be years before all the evidence is conclusive. In the meantime, having a diet rich in magnesium may be crucial in the fight to ward off disease especially cancer.
- Combs GF, Nielsen FH. Health significance of calcium and magnesium: Examples from human studies. In: World Health Organization. Calcium and Magnesium in Drinking Water: Public health significance. Geneva: World Health Organization Press; 2009.
- Edwards B, et al. Annual report to the nation on the status of cancer, 1975–2002, featuring population-based trends in cancer treatment. Natl Cancer Inst. 2005;97:1407–1427
- Atsmon J, Dolev E. Drug-induced hypomagnesaemia: scope and management. Drug Saf. 2005;28(9):763-788.
- Herbert C, Cornes P. The unexpected burden of hypomagnesaemia in gynae-oncology chemotherapy clinics. Clin Oncol (R Coll Radiol). 2011;23(5):373-374.
- Fleet J, et al. Magnesium. In: Bowan BA, Russell RM, editors. Present Knowledge in Nutrition. 8th edn. Washington, DC: ILSI Press; 2001. pp. 292–301.Tukiendorf A, Rybak Z.
- New data on ecological analysis of possible relationship between magnesium in drinking water and liver cancer. Magnes Res. 2004;17(1):46-52.
- Vink R, Nechifor M, editors. Magnesium in the Central Nervous System. Adelaide: University of Adelaide Press; 2011.
- Yang CY, Chiu HF, Cheng MF, Hsu TY, Cheng MF, Wu TN. Calcium and magnesium in drinking water and the risk of death from breast cancer. J Toxicol Environ Health. 2000;60(4):231-241.
- Yu A, Yarlagadda S. Clinical manifestations of magnesium depletion. UpToDate. Available at: http://www.uptodate.com/contents/clinical-manifestations-of-magnesium-depletion. Updated January 2014. Accessed September 27, 2015.
- Magnesium intake and risk of colorectal cancer: a meta-analysis of prospective studies Eur J Clin Nutr, Vol. 66, No. 11. (03 November 2012), pp. 1182-1186, doi:10.1038/ejcn.2012.135 by G. C. Chen, Z. Pang, Q. F. Liu