A clinical trial published in January 2012 in Rheumatology International reports that magnesium supplementation reduces symptoms of fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition characterized by widespread pain and tenderness in the muscles and soft tissues and is associated with fatigue, depression, anxiety and sleep disturbances. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that over five million American adults are affected by fibromyalgia.
The subjects included 60 premenopausal women diagnosed with fibromyalgia and 20 healthy individuals to serve as the control group. The women received 300 mg daily of magnesium citrate, 10 mg daily of amitriptyline (a common pharmaceutical medication for fibromyalgia) or magnesium plus the pharmaceutical medication. The researchers assessed the women at the beginning of the study and again after eight weeks of supplementation for pain intensity, pain threshold, the number of tender points and the tender point index. The subjects completed the fibromyalgia impact questionnaire, the Beck depression questionnaire and the Beck anxiety questionnaire. The researchers also measured serum and red blood cell magnesium levels.
Magnesium levels were lower in the subjects with fibromyalgia compared to the healthy subjects. The investigators also demonstrated a negative correlation between magnesium levels and fibromyalgia symptoms, meaning that as magnesium levels increased, fibromyalgia symptoms decreased. The number of tender points, tender point index, fibromyalgia impact questionnaire scores and Beck depression scores decreased after eight weeks of magnesium supplementation. The combination of magnesium plus the pharmaceutical reduced all fibromyalgia parameters evaluated except for numbness.
The researchers concluded that low magnesium levels in the red blood cells may be a causative factor of fibromyalgia symptoms.
Bagis S, et al. Rheumatol Int. 2012 Jan 22. (Epub Ahead of Print.)