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Since magnesium is mainly an intracellular ion, measurement of serum total magnesium is an inaccurate index of intracellular or total magnesium stores. This means that although your serum levels are being maintained within normal limits, there could be a deficiency in tissues that is not being dectected. Total Red Cell Magnesium. Although this test is becoming more available and the results are less variable than serum measurements, it may not adequately reflect total body magnesium status in health and disease.

Serum Ionized Magnesium. The use of magnesium-specific, ion-selective electrodes to more accurately assess extracellular free magnesium levels is a promising new technology. This technique correlates well with intracellular free magnesium levels in conditions such as diabetes, chronic renal failure and pregnancy.

Intracellular free magnesium. Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy is the most definitive and noninvasive measure of the active magnesium ion in blood cells or tissues. The lack of routine availability of NMR has limited its clinical use so far.

Sublingual magnesium assay. The 'Exatest' is a safe, non-invasive test that accurately measures the minerals inside cells. This is a test used, for example, during cardiac surgery to determine cellular magnesium levels. A doctor painlessly collects a sample from under your tongue and affixes it to a slide. The slide is then sent to IntraCellular Diagnostics, Inc. for analysis.

Magnesium Loading Test. This test measures urinary magnesium excretion in response to a loading dose of magnesium. Although inconvenient to perform, this test has successfully identified individuals with even mild degrees of magnesium deficiency. It has been considered the most accurate test when renal function is normal.
 

 
 

Test Magnesium Levels can help with the following:
 
 
Nutrients  Magnesium Requirement

Organ Health

  COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)
 There is a possibility that magnesium deficiency contributes to pulmonary complications. The authors note during the past few years there has been an increase in calcium consumption in the U.S. but little change in magnesium intake, which may imbalance the calcium:magnesium ratio. Serum levels can be normal and yet there can be magnesium deficiency within cells. These authors believe pulmonary patients should be routinely monitored for magnesium deficiency. There have been noted benefits of magnesium for wheezing also.[Role of Magnesium in Regulation of Lung Function, The Journal of the American Dietetic Association, June 1993;93(6): pp.674-677]
 
 


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GLOSSARY

Cardiac:  Pertaining to the heart, also, pertaining to the stomach area adjacent to the esophagus.

Chronic Renal Failure:  (CRF) Irreversible, progressive impaired kidney function. The early stage, when the kidneys no longer function properly but do not yet require dialysis, is known as Chronic Renal Insufficiency (CRI). CRI can be difficult to diagnose, as symptoms are not usually apparent until kidney disease has progressed significantly. Common symptoms include a frequent need to urinate and swelling, as well as possible anemia, fatigue, weakness, headaches and loss of appetite. As the disease progresses, other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, bad breath and itchy skin may develop as toxic metabolites, normally filtered out of the blood by the kidneys, build up to harmful levels. Over time (up to 10 or 20 years), CRF generally progresses from CRI to End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD, also known as Kidney Failure). Patients with ESRD no longer have kidney function adequate to sustain life and require dialysis or kidney transplantation. Without proper treatment, ESRD is fatal.

Diabetes Mellitus:  A disease with increased blood glucose levels due to lack or ineffectiveness of insulin. Diabetes is found in two forms; insulin-dependent diabetes (juvenile-onset) and non-insulin-dependent (adult-onset). Symptoms include increased thirst; increased urination; weight loss in spite of increased appetite; fatigue; nausea; vomiting; frequent infections including bladder, vaginal, and skin; blurred vision; impotence in men; bad breath; cessation of menses; diminished skin fullness. Other symptoms include bleeding gums; ear noise/buzzing; diarrhea; depression; confusion.

Magnesium:  An essential mineral. The chief function of magnesium is to activate certain enzymes, especially those related to carbohydrate metabolism. Another role is to maintain the electrical potential across nerve and muscle membranes. It is essential for proper heartbeat and nerve transmission. Magnesium controls many cellular functions. It is involved in protein formation, DNA production and function and in the storage and release of energy in ATP. Magnesium is closely related to calcium and phosphorus in body function. The average adult body contains approximately one ounce of magnesium. It is the fifth mineral in abundance within the body--behind calcium, phosphorus, potassium and sodium. Although about 70 percent of the body's magnesium is contained in the teeth and bones, its most important functions are carried out by the remainder which is present in the cells of the soft tissues and in the fluid surrounding those cells.

Mineral:  Plays a vital role in regulating many body functions. They act as catalysts in nerve response, muscle contraction and the metabolism of nutrients in foods. They regulate electrolyte balance and hormonal production, and they strengthen skeletal structures.

Serum:  The cell-free fluid of the bloodstream. It appears in a test tube after the blood clots and is often used in expressions relating to the levels of certain compounds in the blood stream.

Sublingual:  Situated or administered under the tongue, for example sublingual glands or sublingual tablets.