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Magnesium Project - Health Care Initiative

What is The Health Care Initiative?

The Magnesium Project- models itself after other major scientific endeavors such as The Human Genome Project, The Human Proteome Project and others.  Projects of such scale require the collaboration of many scientists and institutions throughout the world.  The spin-off knowledge, technology and products from such projects has and will continue to be substantial. The Magnesium Project-Health Care Initiative is part of the larger Magnesium Project and is expected to have important spin-offs in the fields of  medicine and Health Care Policy. 

  Why Magnesium?

Magnesium in its ionic form is one of the essential electrolytes in all life forms.  It plays a key role in membrane integrity, in cross-membrane transport  systems and in stability of numerous enzymes and biochemical compounds.  To date we know that there are hormones or other regulatory chemicals (including ion channel proteins) responsible for influencing the update, discharge and activity of the other primary cationic electrolytes in the body, sodium, potassium and calcium.  However, there has been relatively little effort to identify an equivalent hormone playing such a role in magnesium utilization.  We have coined the term Magnetonin for this missing hormone.  In fact, by analogy with calcium and calcitonin there are likely to be a number of missing regulatory proteins and pathways including for example a peptide hormone releasing factor and magnesium level sensors linked to a signaling pathway that turns on a genetic code to initiate production of Magnetonin.

  What are the Potential Implications?

Muscle and nerve membranes, so-called excitable tissues, are very likely to be impacted by inadequate regulation of magnesium.  There are many nerve and muscle diseases that could be treated by the yet to be discovered Magnetonin.  Diseases such as muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimers, Parkinson's, et al. are all based on nerve or muscle function.  The regulation of cell division may also be susceptible to magnesium metabolism deficiencies thus opening up the possibility of an underlying link with cancer.  Metabolic disorders and immune system malfunctions also have enzymes in their metabolic pathways that are Mg-dependent.  Thus, the implications are expected to be very broad. 

To learn more about the the various diseases for which Magnesium regulation may play a role click on Diseases.

Also, see a featured disease under the Women's Health Initiative that addresses Hypertension and the related diseases of pre-eclampsia and eclampsia that are often associated with pregnancy.  Other conditions under this Initiative include special nutritional needs of women during pregnancy including vitamin and mineral supplements.  At present a survey of women on their experiences with obtaining nutritional information to assure a healthy child and a healthy mother is being conducted.

Our research and educational initiatives have extended implications regarding diet and nutrition in general; since there is evidence that even in America and other developed countries a large percentage of the population have inadequate levels of magnesium in their diet resulting in hypomagnesemia.  For lesser developed countries the incidence of hypomagnesemia is much higher.  This means a significant portion of the population could be more susceptible to a myriad of diseases which has implications for health care costs as well as quality of life and productivity.

  How Is This Being Implemented?

Implementation is taking place with the use of dozens of volunteers from across the country.  We are developing multiple web sites to address specific areas and facilitate sharing of information.  A Magnesium Portal.  is one such site that is under development.  Another is a site dedicated to the discovery of and effects of a magnesium regulating hormone, Magnetonin. Gathering, sharing and analyzing large amounts of diverse information will provide the basis for launching new research projects to accelerate the discovery process. 

A number of databases are under development including the following:

  • Bibliography of scientific articles on magnesium research

  • Disease specific databases of references (pre-eclampsia/eclampsia, prostate cancer)

  • Research institutions and scientists engaged in Mg research

  • Methodologies for detection and monitoring minerals

  • Proteins/enzymes that are Mg-dependent (most kinases)

  • Clinical studies including translational research best practices

  • Food sources for increasing Mg intake

In addition to developing a better understanding of magnesium regulation and the role of ionic magnesium in normal cell functions in general, we expect to develop analytical and collaborative tools that will accelerate the discovery and commercialization of new treatments in other areas of research as well.

Another component of implementation is an educational initiative to inform consumers as well as health care providers and policy makers about the importance of magnesium in one's diet and the importance of monitoring Mg levels in the blood just as other electrolyte levels are now regularly monitored.

Another educational and services initiative is in developing software programs that may be  web based to do risk assessment analysis.  Applications are under development for prostate cancer and for pre-eclampsia.

  How Can I Get Involved?

Sharing of information is a vital part of our program.  However, beyond that, we need to develop models and means to test hypotheses in the laboratory and in large populations.  We need to develop better tools to measure ionic magnesium levels in tissues in real time.  We need software tools to analyze large amounts of data collected in many different forms and formats.  We need  scientists in academic, government and commercial laboratories to isolate and identify new molecules and we need pharmaceutical firms to provide scale up of production of new compounds and to sponsor clinical studies to achieve regulatory approvals for distribution.  As part of this effort we will also need clinicians to participate in studies and report findings.

The general public can become involved by participating in studies and sharing medical records and other profile information that will allow us to find novel patterns of correlating abnormalities in magnesium regulation (such as under or over-production of magnetonin or its antagonists and agonists) to the occurrence of various diseases. 

We also need financial support to maintain the growing databases, develop computer models, conduct research and to support investigators who will mine these databases for new insights and discovery of regulatory pathways for magnesium and associated components. 

Contact the Program Director for further details.

  Global Initiatives

Please check out our Global initiatives also. We have pending proposals for solving a major problem among the health-care-challenged areas of the world; namely Pre-eclampsia and eclampsia. These diseases which impact mothers and infants have been demonstrated to be treatable with Mg supplements and/or diet.  The Mg helps to counter hypertension (high blood pressure) without using expensive calcium-blockers/smooth muscle relaxants.  We are also developing a database on foods rich in Mg.  A global focus on food sources is likely to lead to the promotion of  growing new crops found to be good sources of Mg.

A related concern is low Mg in the diet and water supplies of persons living in rural areas.  An inexpensive means of determining Mg in diet and drinking water as well as in body fluids is urgently needed to determine medical interventions to lower the incidence of disease related to hypomagnesemia.  IPRS is working on the forefront of solving these important problems.

  Please Join Us

Please check out our Donor opportunities.

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Revised: February 19, 2024