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    IamJoel posted:
    What have you heard, read, or experienced about the benefits or detriments of taking magnesium supplements for the relief of Parkinson's symptoms?
    susiemargaret responded:
    hello, J --

    not being familiar with this issue, i did some quickie internet skipping-around this morning.

    i could not find anything on the medical websites that i trust about an association between parkinson's disease (PD) and magnesium.

    however, on multiple "alternative health"-type websites, many of which are sponsored by suppliers of vitamin/mineral supplements and various "alternative-health" products, the theory is widespread that PD may be caused by heavy-metal toxicity and that since magnesium blocks the absorption of several other metals, a magnesium deficiency can be responsible for the development of PD. some writers go on to say that the effects of PD, esp tremor, can be minimized or eliminated by magnesium supplementation.

    i am not a medical person (see PS), and so i am leery of offering any speculation as to the reliability of this magnesium-deficiency theory. however, i will say that the fact that i did not find any references to it on my trusted mainstream medical websites makes me skeptical of its validity. on the other hand, my not finding any mainstream references to an association bettwen PD and magnesium does not mean that no info is there, it just means that i didn't find any.

    i hope this helps and that you will get some other responses as well.

    -- susie margaret

    PS -- i welcome, solicit, and indeed beg for correction, amendment, or replacement of any inaccuracies in this post, esp from dr. stacy or my neurology-knowledgeable friend redbear.
    what good is gold, or silver too, if your heart's not good and true -- hank williams, sr.
    Mark A Stacy, MD replied to susiemargaret's response:
    Hi, IamJoel
    I know of no evidence to support magnesium supplements as a treatment for PD, and I would recommend any of my patients to not pursue this avenue.
    redbear2005 replied to susiemargaret's response:
    It's good to have Dr Stacy's confirmation of Susie Margaret's post on this. If I may add my lesser-qualified opinion based on15 years of reading the medical literature on chronic neurological pain and chronic face pain, I completely concur with both.

    I have long been suspicious of "theories" proposed by many proponents of so-called "alternative" therapies and supplements. Too many of these hucksters seem to base their claims solely upon testimonial evidence taken under uncontrolled conditions. They conveniently forget that testimonials can also be an outcome of placebo effect, which operates in as many as a quarter of patients who are told that some preparation "will help you" -- even when it is inert.

    You're doing fine, Susie. Keep up the good research in support of the visitors.

    Regards, Red
    tamgi2010 replied to redbear2005's response:
    I find this thread very interesting as well as many others that I have read on Web MD concerning PD. I have been helping my mother who was diagnosed with PD in Jan 2010. She is 78 and was working two jobs until Nov 2009. She is currently taking Sinemet (started in April) which helps with many of her symptoms. She has problems sleeping at night and requires a sleep aid. Recently, we visited a chiropractor who is helping her with other issues and we mentioned that my mother suffers from chronic constipation (a condition that she has had most of her life, even as a young girl). My mother has never been a big meat eater and prefers diets rich in seafood but she is also a big starchy food fan. The doctor suggested taking calcium/ magnesium supplements to see if it will help her with her digestion. She has been taking them for 10 days and the changes I have seen in her are remarkable.This may very well be coincidental or due to other diet modifications (more fruit and veggies, less starch and fat) but she has had more frequent bowel movements and I also have seen a change in her overall disposition and health. The diet changes were made months before she started the tablets. She is not as tired as usual. She now takes one nap a day or none at all where at times she was previously taking 3 naps and still felt very weak. Her salivation is gone or barely there. Her conversation and attention to some detail has improved although she still stumbles on her words and is looking for replacement words for the ones that don't come to mind. The general look on her face doesn't have the same "lost" look and she even jokes around like she used to and carries on more conversations. She has asked me to give her things to do and she has gone back to writing letters and corresponding with her friends and family either Online or regular mail. I know this is not a miracle cure, but I am encouraged by some of the changes I have seen. Whether or not it can be attributed to the Calc/Mag tablets, I don't know, but we will continue them as long as we see positive changes. I have also found that surrounding her with activity and people helps her keep a positive attitude and feeling less depressed. She does have memory problems as well.
    I also want to mention that my mother's maternal uncle suffered from PD and that Restless Leg Syndrome runs in our family.
    susiemargaret replied to tamgi2010's response:
    hello, T --

    i'm in favor of whatever helps, as long as it doesn't create different problems.

    i'm glad your mother is feeling so much better, and i hope she continues to improve.

    -- susie margaret
    what good is gold, or silver too, if your heart's not good and true -- hank williams, sr.
    Gwen1959 replied to redbear2005's response:
    My response is not directed at the role of magnesium as treatment for parkenson's disease. My take supports Dr. Stacy's response as to lack of evidence for the effacacy of magnesium in treatment of parkinson's disease.

    I also agree that we need to be cautious of "hucksters" selling heath in the form of alternative medication and treatments. But we also need to consider the possibility that many alternative treatments may be beneficial as treatments in their own right or support for traditional medicine. To simply dismiss all alternative medicine as quackary is akin to accepting that the world is flat. How will we know if we do not look? As for the placebo affect, it is just as likely to play a role in traditional medicine as alternative medicine. Many traditional medicines derived from non traditional and natural substances, asprin, penecillin, digitalis, and morphine, just to name a few.

    There are now government regulated trials instituted by the National Institue of Health and organizations like the American College for the Advancent of Medicine which support research and education of complimentary and alternative medicine. Integrative Medicine combines traditional and alternative medicine and promotes patient education and participation in health care choices.

    My opinion is that as health care consumers we need to educate ourselves so we can make informed choices. We absolutly need to be cautious of unsubstantiated claims from companies selling "health" , but we also need to carefully evaluate the risks and potential side effects of traditional treatments and medications. We need to be participants in our health care choices and not fall victim to market stratagies of big drug companies or "cookie cutter" medicine. What works for one patient may not work or be safe for another..
    jameson12 replied to Gwen1959's response:
    I trust the doctor's response on this. I don't know of any benefits of magnesium and also...don't people get enough magnesium in a typical diet? However, I have been following the discussions about Parkinson's and Vitamin D as I think (unless I'm interpreting the doctor responses wrong) that there is a connection between low Vitamin D and Parkinson's. So that might be worth checking out.
    Chuckie888 replied to Gwen1959's response:
    tamgi2010 and Gwen1959,

    Your responses are more credible to me -- and more consistent with my own observations -- than those of the doctor. (Or those who say things like, "I concur with the doctor.")

    And there is medical evidence that magneisum plays a role in Parkinson's, even if jameson12 isn't reading very carefully.

    Consuming a fairly high daily regimen of, say, magnesium citrate by pill (not lousy magnesium oxide) can and will help manage such symptom of Parkinson's as constipation, anxiety, and insomnia.

    In fact, the difference can be like night and day.

    And I don't sell supplements, either.
    Chuckie888 replied to Gwen1959's response:
    tamgi2010 and Gwen1959,

    I find your responses credible (and more than those from the doctor, or people who say things like, "I concur with the doctor") and consistent with my own observations and experiences.

    And there's plenty of medical evidence that magnesium can play a role (even if jameson12 doesn't read very carefully).

    A fairly high daily regimen of, say, magnesium cirate by pill (and not lousy magnesium oxide) can help markedly with managing such Parkinson's symptoms as insomnia, anxiety and constipation. In fact, it can be like night and day.

    And I don't sell supplements.
    Mark A Stacy, MD replied to Chuckie888's response:
    Dear readers,
    There is no question that magnesium is an effective treatment for constipation - and is an active ingredient in many laxatives. If you are taking magnesium and develop diarrhea, you may also become dehydrated and develop dizziness or fatigue. In this instance water becomes a great treatment for PD. I think there is much common ground for agreement. To quote my hero: "Peace is always the answer" (Muhammad Ali).
    redbear2005 replied to Chuckie888's response:
    Chuckie, you don't have to sell supplements to be taken in by articulate but ultimately fraudulent hucksters. Magnesium is certainly a treatment for constipation. But it is not a validated treatment for either anxiety or insomnia.

    Likewise, as another participant in the thread has noted, placebo effect can influence outcomes for mainstream medical therapies as well as for alternative therapies. One of the problems with the alternatives is that their originators rather often resist doing the double-blind controlled trials used in mainstream medicine, which are intended to assess whether the positive outcomes are actually the result of the therapy or of placebo effect.

    If it seems that I over-generalize my skepticism of alternative therapies, then I'll just have to say "get over it, people." If an alternative therapy actually works, it won't be "alternative" for long. It will be integrated into the mainstream once it is truly validated and standardized. There are many examples of this principle at work -- not least of which is the increasing use of acupuncture and acupressure in pain control.


    neatiam replied to susiemargaret's response:
    Susie Margaret,
    Could you please post some of your "trusted mainstream medical websites"
    Thank you
    susiemargaret replied to neatiam's response:
    hello, N --

    i'm sorry i didn't respond earlier. somehow i missed your inquiry.

    here is a sample of the websites i usually check, altho it is not comprehensive, nor do i check all of them every single time --

    -- webMD, , and a particular community, if i can figure out which one is relevant,

    -- mayo clinic, ,

    -- genetic and rare diseases info center, ,

    -- national institute of neurological disorders and stroke, ,

    -- FDA-approved package inserts, ,

    -- pubmed central (free articles), ,

    --, , and

    --, .

    in addition, if a topic seems esp arcane, i will often do a "google" search for info on it.

    i hope this helps.

    -- susie margaret
    what good is gold, or silver too, if your heart's not good and true -- hank williams, sr.
    redbear2005 replied to susiemargaret's response:
    I'd add one authoritative site to the good ones you've already listed, Susie. RxList is based on the same information from the FDA approved package inserts, but offers the information in a particularly accessible way, with additional general information on classes and effects of drugs. See


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