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Kinds of Magnesium for Fibromyalgia

By Matthew Busse

Fibromyalgia is a poorly understood disease that causes severe muscle pain throughout the body. The exact cause of and best treatment for fibromyalgia are not well established, and new treatment options are frequently under investigation. One possible treatment is magnesium malate, although additional research is needed to definitively prove its effectiveness in treating fibromyalgia. Like any other health supplement, consult your doctor before taking magnesium malate.

Fibromyalgia and Magnesium

Fibromyalgia is a rather mysterious chronic condition of unknown origin. The condition causes pain in muscles, tendons and ligaments throughout the body, and results in multiple tender, sore spots throughout the body. The precise cause of fibromyalgia remains unknown, although there is some evidence linking fibromyalgia to disruptions of the balance of magnesium and other minerals in the body, reports a study published in the December 1994 issue of the journal "Magnesium Research."

Types of Magnesium

Magnesium is an important mineral needed by numerous critical biological processes in the body. Pure magnesium is highly reactive and flammable, and magnesium supplements typically contain magnesium in complex with another molecule. Magnesium malate is the complex formed by the reaction of magnesium with malic acid, and has slightly different properties than other common forms of magnesium, such as magnesium oxide or magnesium citrate. Magnesium malate may be the best form of magnesium for treating fibromyalgia, according to Dr. P. Thomas Riley, of the University of Mary Washington.

Treating Fibromyalgia

The available data supporting the use of magnesium malate to treat fibromyalgia is relatively scarce. One study found that fibromyalgia patients treated with increasing doses of a magnesium malate supplement called Super Malic experience reductions in muscle pain and tenderness, reports an article published in the May 1995 issue of the "Journal of Rheumatology." However, this was a very small study of only 24 patients. Additional, large-scale trials are necessary to confirm this beneficial effect.

Risks of Magnesium

You should only take magnesium supplements under supervision of a qualified health care provider, because overdosing on magnesium can cause serious adverse health effects. Early symptoms of magnesium overdose include nausea, appetite loss, diarrhea, and changes in mental status such as anxiety and irritability. Long-term exposure to excess magnesium can lead to difficulty breathing, muscle weakness, heart arrhythmia and dangerously low blood pressure, warns the Office of Dietary Supplements of the National Institutes of Health.

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