The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog is intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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    Lowering the risk of gallstones with magnesium

    The results of this study almost support an old home remedy.

    First, the details.

    • The effect of long-term consumption of magnesium on the risk of gallstone disease was studied in 42,705 men from 1986 to 2002.
    • Total and dietary magnesium consumption were assessed using a food frequency questionnaire.

    And, the results as reported by NutraUSAIngredients.

    • Men with the highest intake of magnesium (454 mg/day) had a 28% reduction in the risk of gallstones, compared to those with the lowest intake (262 mg/day).
    • Dietary magnesium, which includes sources like green, leafy vegetables, meats, starches, grains and nuts, and milk, decreased the risk by 32%.

    The bottom line?
    The authors concluded that their “findings suggest a protective role of magnesium consumption in the prevention of symptomatic gallstone disease among men.”

    The results also seem to support home remedies that include drinking magnesium to dissolve gallstones, as described in Wikipedia.

    And yes, “In animal and clinical studies, a magnesium-deficient diet can elevate plasma triglycerides and decrease plasma HDL-cholesterol levels, and thus may increase the risk for gallstones.”

    However, Dr. Cynthia Ko from the University of Washington in Seattle cautions against making too many broad conclusions. Does “higher magnesium intake protect against initial formation of gallbladder sludge and stones? Or, does higher magnesium intake decrease the likelihood of the already existing gallstones becoming symptomatic? Or both?”

    There’s also a big diffeence between a lifetime of taking magnesium and drinking a few liters as the home remedies suggest.

    What we do know is that many adults do not meet the RDA for magnesium (320 mg per day for women and 420 mg per day for men).

    2/29/08 19:48 JR

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