Magnesium is an essential trace element involved in over 300 chemical reactions throughout the body. For a general introduction to Magnesium, check out our earlier blog here.
Previous studies reported benefits of magnesium supplementation in:
- seasonal fatigue
- sleep deprived adults
- adults with general fatigue
But what about ME?
To date, there are three studies which measured blood magnesium levels in people with ME.
A 1991 study from the Medical School at the University of Southampton in the UK. People with ME had lower levels of magnesium in their red blood cells than people without ME who were the same sage, gender and social class.
But the key question is:
Is magnesium supplementation a effective for the nutritional treatment of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME)?
To date, there are only a few studies which have studied the effects of magnesium supplementation in people with ME.
A 1991 study used the gold standard study design to assess the effect of 6 weeks of magnesium supplementation. Not only did red blood cell magnesium level return to normal in ALL patients treated with magnesium, there were additional benefits. The researchers wrote: 'Patients treated with magnesium claimed to have improved energy levels, better emotional state, and less pain. In fact 80% of those who got magnesium said they benefited from treatment with magnesium and 47% of those who got magnesium supplementation reported that their energy level went from as low as possible to as high as possible. The researchers concluded: 'The findings show that magnesium may have a role in ME'
A 2020 study reported that magnesium supplementation in ME led to:
- an improvement in body magnesium stores,
- increase in blood vitamin E levels
- decrease in oxidative stress (measured as lipid peroxidation)
This 2020 study was particularly interesting as it reported that subjects with magnesium deficiency actually consumed similar amounts of magnesium as subjects without magnesium deficiency, suggesting that some subjects with ME with require magnesium supplementation even if they have a good intake of magnesium rich foods.
In addition to magnesium, other supplements which are scientifically demonstrated to improve ME include:
- Cocoa, specific polyphenol-flavonoid rich cocoa
- Co-enzyme Q10
- Rhodiola rosea
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D3
Although, there is no scientific data for the following nutrients from research studies among individuals with ME, there is strong rationale that these dietary components could be beneficial:
Some supplements which have been tested in ME but failed to provide any benefit include: