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Magnesium for Relaxing the Airways
By Jennifer Morganti, ND, Director of Education for NEEDS

Magnesium supplementation is a common recommendation for people with asthma because it helps decrease inflammation and acts as a bronchodilator, relaxing the airways and allowing for better airflow. To test this theory, researchers recently conducted a small clinical trial with 55 volunteers with mild-to-moderate asthma. Half the group took 340 mg of magnesium, and the other half took placebo, both in conjunction with their medication, for 6.5 months. The group taking magnesium experienced a six percent improvement in lung function by the end of the study, measured by peak oxygen flow rate on exhalation. The placebo group did not experience a change in flow rate.

Another test in this study, which was published in the February 2010 edition of the Journal of Asthma, demonstrated that magnesium also improved lung function. A drug called methacholine, which causes constriction of the airways, was given to the asthma patients. Twenty percent more methacholine was required to cause bronchoconstriction in the participants who took magnesium as compared to placebo, meaning that the magnesium counteracted the constriction. Overall, patients using the magnesium had double the improvement in quality of life as compared to the placebo group, according to a questionnaire.

Magnesium deficiency is common and may be a contributing factor to developing asthma. Magnesium supplementation can decrease inflammation and relax smooth muscles, such as the airways, and improve overall health. Magnesium glycinate is a well-absorbed and effective form of magnesium.

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