9 August, 2005
J. I. Rodale - The Miracle Mineral
Our initial interest in magnesium as an aid to bodily health
was aroused in 1939 by the work of Dr. P. Schrumpf-Pierron in
the field of cancer research. The researches of Professor P. Schrumpf-Pierron
are written up in the Bulletin de L'Institut
D'Egypte (Vol. XIV, February 15, 1932) and
others. He talks about the rarity of cancer in Egypt where the
rate of malignant cases is only about one-tenth that of Europe.
What is the cause? After exhaustive studies and research the doctor
came to the conclusion that it was due to too much potassium and
too little magnesium in the foods of Europeans. On the other hand,
in the soils of Egypt the conditions are reversed; that is, more
magnesium in relation to the potassium.
There seems to be a definite relationship between magnesium and
potash wherever it is found, whether in the soils, rocks, or other
places. Where there is an oversupply of potash, there is always
an undersupply of magnesium and vice versa. Schrumpf-Pierron studied
the cancer statistics for France in relation to the rock structure
underlying its soils. It worked most uncannily. Wherever he found
an excess of potash, there he discovered less magnesium and more
human cancer cases. Wherever he observed a minimum of potash,
he found a maximum of magnesium and less cancer cases. This means
that people who eat food raised in certain soils that obtain their
nutriments from the rocks that underlie them get certain elements
into their foods because of this. Such a condition would apply
more to France than to the United States, because in a country
like France there would be more of a tendency to consume food
near the point at which it is raised. But in the United States,
with our more advanced industrial condition, where even the poorer
people are able to buy winter vegetables raised in California,
Florida, and elsewhere, a great deal of citrus foods, etc., and
meats that are shipped long distances, local deficiencies and
unbalancings of nutritional elements may tend to be corrected
to a certain extent.
When Schrumpf-Pierron found that an excess of potassium in the
rocks of a region tied in with an excess of cancer cases in that
section, we should note that excess of potassium means excess
of carbohydrates in plants grown there and, therefore, reduced
protein in the foods. Farmers should know that it is best, therefore,
to use dolomitic limestone when they apply lime, because it is
rich in magnesium and acts as a safety factor in relation to the
potash in the soil.
In an article, "The Importance of Magnesium in Human Nutrition,"
by S. Marcovitch, Ph.D., printed in The
Science Counselor (December, 1954, Duquesne University
Press), appears the following: "It is now generally known
that the liberal use of potassium fertilizers tends to cause deficiency
of magnesium in plants, and even lowers the calcium and soda content.
Cattle fed on such high potassium forage develop grass tetany."
The evidence of a dietary need for much magnesium is mountainous-our
files are bulging with scientific papers on the subject.
At this point you may be saying, "Am I getting enough magnesium?"
So may we tell you that if you eat sunflower and pumpkin seeds,
if you take at least four bone meal tablets of standard size a
day, if you eat wheat germ, peanuts, peas, beans, soybeans, and
plenty of meat, you are assured of getting enough magnesium.
At this time we would like to discuss our bête noire--milk
drinking. Dr. S. Marcovitch, quoted above, says in the same article:
"Milk with a low magnesium ratio, while an excellent food
for the young, may be detrimental for adults."
Here is another reference: "Some component of milk interferes
with the utilization of magnesium. R. H. Smith [in the BioClinical
Journal, 67, 472, 19571 ... recently undertook the
elucidation of this phenomenon," Nutrition Reviews
In the March 31, 1958, issue of Newsweek, we were thrilled when
we read of a discovery to help heart patients made by the famous
Dr. Hans Selye of McGill University at Montreal. Selye took groups
of albino rats and, by making them undergo certain stresses that
damaged their heart muscles, caused them to die. But when he gave
them injections of magnesium and potassium, they always continued
We are sorry that we have to disagree with Dr. Selye, but we
are of the opinion that he would have gotten the same results
with the magnesium alone, and without the potassium, and there
is much medical work that backs us up! In The
Journal of the American Medical Association (October
19, 1963), Charles Fisch, M.D., stated that medical science may
have been wrong in prescribing potassium for patients with coronary
disease. Research shows that potassium may make digitalis intoxication
worse, "even to the point of cardioactive standstill."
He says that "potassium has been too enthusiastically received,
and some say too enthusiastically given. Recent observations,
though, have pointed out to contrindications, and certain cardiologists
have suggested caution in the use of potassium." Charles
Fisch is chief of the cardiovascular division at Indiana University
School of Medicine. He gives a lot of evidence to prove his point.
In our own files we find several proofs that good results in
coronary cases can be obtained by the use of magnesium without
potassium. Here is S. E. Browne, M.D., writing to The
Lancet (London, December, 1961), who says that for
the past nine months he has injected a magnesium sulfate solution
into patients with severe angina or a history of coronary thrombosis
with excellent results on five patients with really severe angina.
Another piece of evidence is in an article in The
Lancet (November 1, 1958) which says, "Recent
work has suggested that magnesium may be related to atherosclerosis
and ischaemic heart disease. It has been claimed that magnesium
sulphate is of therapeutic value in myocardial infarction, while
a high magnesium diet has prevented the development of atherosclerosis
in rats." Not a word about potassium.
In The British Medical Journal (January
23, 1960), an item contains the following: "Over 100 patients
suffering from coronary heart disease . . . were treated with
intramuscular [injected] magnesium sulphate with only one death,
compared to their findings in the previous year when, of 196 cases
admitted and treated with routine anticoagulants, 60 died."
In the American Heart Journal (February,
1959) cases are described of damage to the heart by certain medication.
Then in the summary appears the following: "The damage to
the heart and the blood vessels, caused by the bacterial polysaccharide,
was considered as a common phenomenon induced by some of the high
molecular substances . . . Such damage was reduced effectively
by the concurrent oral administration of magnesium chloride."
Another in The South African Medical
Journal (December 20, 1958): . . . "The value
of parenteral [not oral] magnesium-sulphate therapy in acute and
chronic heart disease has once again been affirmed. M cases of
angina have been treated by 5 workers with 66 per cent remission
of pain. 64 cases of acute coronary thrombosis or acute coronary
insufficiency have been treated. Of these only one died in an
acute attack. The great importance of early parenteral magnesium
sulphate therapy in these cases has been stressed . . . It is
suggested that in cases who have recovered from an attack of coronary
thrombosis, life expectancy can be improved by combined hepatin
and magnesium- sulphate by long-term therapy."
Finally, here is an interesting item from The
South African Medical Journal (October 18, 1958):