Sunday, December 15, 2013

Magnesium and Mg deficiency. Medical and incendiary content.

Today we look at Magnesium.

     My knowledge of Magnesium was limited to it's use in flares, incendiary devices, and when alloyed with Aluminum in Volkswagen engine blocks.  When soon after my transplant,  my blood labs came back showing a deficiency of Magnesium,  I researched it right away.

Specifically we will look at:

* Where does it come from?
* Uses in Early  Photography
* Thermite, VW Engine blocks burning Video. As you will see below the fold, Mg burns hot!
* Medical- Testing for, Symptoms of low Magnesium levels, Deficiency.
* Replenishment. Dietary sources and supplements.
*A look at how and why this has become a problem in the last 50 years.
(you may be surprised )


Magnesium owes its name to magnesite dumps found in Magnesia, a region in the ancient Greek region of Thessaly, and is also a mythical city mentioned in Plato's Laws.

So here we go, ready , set , jump!

SOUNDTRACK! Please Please Pretty Please

PLEASE take 1:24 minutes out of your day to listen toTom Lehrer sing the periodic table.

With a great slide show that flys by showing something made from or containing the element named.

Historical Use in Photography:

The origin of the expression "flash in the pan". Shutter open, Poof!, shutter closed.


Flash Powder: 

No doubt used by Wizards and Magicians since times of old...

from wiki: Flash powder is a pyrotechnic composition, a mixture of oxidizer and metallic fuel, which burns quickly and if confined produces a loud report. It is widely used in theatrical pyrotechnics and fireworks (namely salutes, e.g., cherry bombs, M-80s, firecrackers, and cap gun shots) and was once used for flashes in photography.

Examples of theatrical binary flash powders. Note the shared oxidizer (A) powder for some types of fuels (B).
Different varieties of flash powder are made from different compositions; most common are potassium perchlorate and aluminium powder. Sometimes, sulfur is included in the mixture to increase the sensitivity. Early formulations used potassium chlorate instead of Potassium Perchlorate.
Flash powder compositions are also used in military pyrotechnics, when production of large amount of noise, light, or infrared radiation is required; e.g. missile decoy flares and stun grenades.


We had a resident Wizard in the village where I grew up. He lived here, in a magical turreted house on the bluff at the end of Wardencliff Road.  There was a sleeping porch off his bedroom, where there was a workbench set up.

Ding Bat Knob

The story was that this was the same room Nicola Tesla boarded in while waiting for the completion of his new facility

at Wardenclyffe.

Anyway, this Wizard made a batch of thermite which we tested by burning through a manhole cover, and used later to repair a weld on a boat trailer. I was maybe 11 years old, he was thirteen. Didn't get busted, burned, or blinded.

Recipes abound on the inter webs,  I have digressed too far already…
Thermite Reaction

It causes a  Class D or Class 4 Fire, which water will not extinguish. The Star and D is for
combustable metals.

As seen in this youTube vid of a bunch of yahoo's  at a VW camp out demonstrate by hosing a burning block.

VW engine block explodes HUGE!!

And hugely dangerous. Everyone should have on welding goggles!

Finally, the Medical Stuff:

That sums up what I knew about Magnesium prior to the day that the nurse walked in with one of these: 

and told me my mags were low. After my Stem Cell Transplant, and the Meds associated with the whole procedure,  I needed to get Magnesium  by IV almost daily.  Something else in my metabolism was out of whack.  This is what my levels look like from April through November

1.8 to 2.5 mg/dL  (Milligrams per Deciliter) is accepted normal range.

The two low spikes were when I had infections requiring hospitalization in July and August

        For weeks and weeks I got 4-6 mg IV at a slow rate (over 3+  hours, the slower the better),  to keep from getting the hot  " Flash in the Brain Pan",  or "your inner child playing with matches" that some experience when the infusion rate is too fast.

 Research commenced directly, and here is what I found:

Symptoms of Mg Deficiency, Mental.

And what , pray tell are the symptoms these 75% may exhibit?  Here are some of the Mental ones:

This should be enough to motivate you to get some Blood Labs done. Request your Magnesium levels be checked. Do it at a Doc-in-the-Box if you have no regular medico.

Symptoms of Magnesium Defeciency, Physical:

Before it's News  has the following symptoms listed:
  • Calcium deficiency,Poor heart health,Weakness,Muscle cramps,Tremors,Nausea,Anxiety,
  • High blood pressure,Type II diabetes,Respiratory issues,Dizziness,Fatigue,Potassium deficiency,
  • Difficulty swallowing,Poor memory,Confusion.

     Magnesium is involved with over 300 metabolic processes in our bodies, leading to the mineral being called the ‘master mineral’. and is usually referred to as one of the minerals making up our electrolytes. Leg Cramps?  Magnesium relaxes them. Calcium, magnesium, potassium, chloride and sodium are some of the most common electrolytes.

Read more at Lance Armstrong's Livestrong Site.

Granted the research may be a bit sketchy, and their claims may be a bit bloated, but I post these sites as further motivation for you to have your levels checked.

Ancient Minerals ,  GreenMed Info , and even Doctor freakin' Oz weighs in.

For the more inquiring mind, scholarly articles and abstracts can me found here at
 Google Scholar. search results.

         As I found,  I was not alone in having low Mg #'s , or "Mags" in medspeak.
Annie went right to work with the dietician to find ways to ingest rather than inject Mg, so I could become "infusion independent" and therefore could go home.

Fortunately there are not too many esoteric, expensive, or unpalatable foodstuffs on the list.
But lookee what is at the top of the list, it's Buckwheat!

 No, not from the Little Rascals

Buckwheat is actually a seed.


Buckwheat Pancakes, 
and not far below on the list is

Semi- sweet Chocolate

See's, a left coast confectioner. 

Dr. B, turned us on to See's Dr. B's shop is  Quiltplay  and is  moving from Miami to Jupiter, ( or is it Neptune?) Very Cool Quilts and Quilting tools, machines, classes and ideas.

See's shop locations are all across
 the country now and can be found on a map here.

Other notable foods with high Mg.

Another means of getting Mg into your system is transdermal absorption.

Topical - Magnesium lotion  and good old Milk of Magnesia- buy in bulk and soak in the tub. Costly.

       Good old M of M bottles, ( along with Noxema and the little Laudanum bottles) are the chief source of the Highly Prized  Blue Beach Glass.

Magnesium Supplements:

Along with the dietary changes, this was recommended by one of our Medicos.

I take these, three, thrice a day, and my numbers stay good.
Available here:  mgplusprotein from Millers

!!Check with your Medico before you start self dosing. There are potentially fatal interactions with other stuff you may be taking.!!

Possible Interactions

         Remember Mg is highly volatile, but we need it to survive. It is always tempered with Sulpher (Magnesium Sulfate},  or other elements and compounds, and often there is protein or citrate added. How can such a volatile element be ingested still baffles me,  and is yet another mystery for the biochemists to ponder.

I can't take my Mag pills without seeing the flash in my mind.

The question that begs asking - "Why is this a problem now? Have we always been Mg, deficient?"

Well no, actually.  Quess what, it's these guys again who, along with the companies that genetically modify seeds are screwing with our farmers.

"Thanks to modern monoculture farming methods that rely heavily on using chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and insecticides that are absorbed into the soil, our topsoil has been heavily depleted of its mineral content.

The master mineral magnesium is missing from most of our topsoil, leaving the vast majority, perhaps 80%, with a failure to meet even the USDA’s recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of 240 to 420 millgrams (based on age). It’s important to note that government RDAs are known to be well below optimum levels. Many experts think our magnesium levels should be twice the amount."
Source:  Before it's News  

And how is Mother Nature responding?  

Yale Environment 360 is a publication of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies points out in this article, The Folly of Big Agriculture: Why Nature Always Wins

Large-scale industrial agriculture depends on engineering the land to ensure the absence of natural diversity. But as the recent emergence of herbicide-tolerant weeds on U.S. farms has shown, nature ultimately finds a way to subvert uniformity and assert itself.

by verlyn klinkenborg

So there you have it. Sorry if this leaves you a little bummed out, but there is no getting around it.
Get tested. Understand your results  at

Try to get your RDA of magnesium ( and everything else)  from your foods.

Listen to your Body. It will tell you what it needs. But get some blood labs done.
A variation on:

"That's all I have to say about that"
                                       -- Forrest Gump

Happier Blogs to come, I promise.




  1. so the take away is grow your own, and eat more chocolate, right?

  2. Never tried to burn a VW block, loved our beetle. BUT did something more dramatic and stupid...threw a large chunk of Sodium (Na) which we got from the chem lab at Wm & Mary College into Late Matoka when stupid young...just lots of reaqlly big explosions. Survived and learned.

  3. thanks to you and t. lehrer and earworms, you've set a precedent for magnesium attentium

  4. Hugh! hey man, the email address I have for you has been bouncing. Please send me your new one.

  5. Fascinating post, as usual Chris. I still have a burn scarred finger from my experiments with aluminum/perchlorate/asphalt mix (JATO fuel) as a teen. I see some buckwheat/ chocolate / blueberry pancakes in the near future....


  6. I recently learned that Sea Glass is also known as "Mermaid Tears". Also notified that Buckwheat has become a Muslim. He changed it to Kareem Owheat!

  7. Just amazing info.. loved the song.. wow no wonder we all have so many things going on in us with all those metals!! yikes.. You should be a teacher.. you are funny as well as brilliant! xo