Routine blood tests in a hospital or doctor’s office often include serum magnesium levels.
Unfortunately, since the vast majority of magnesium in the body is not in the bloodstream, but in the cells and the fluid surrounding the cells, serum magnesium is not a good indication of the magnesium level in the body.
Our bodies have an incredible ability to keep a balanced blood-magnesium level at all times, and our blood is the last storage area of magnesium in the body. By the time a hospital test can detect a magnesium deficiency in the blood, it’s likely that most of the body’s free magnesium has already been depleted and this may have severe and dangerous consequences.
Hospitals and doctors’ offices often check magnesium levels when a patient has a certain medical condition such as heart or kidney problems. When blood tests come back normal, doctors often assume the patient in question has sufficient magnesium and the inquiry with regards to magnesium ends there.
However, blood tests only detect the most severe and dangerous magnesium deficiencies, and are therefore not a reliable indicator of a problem.
Intracellular magnesium levels are the only clinically significant measures of magnesium in the body.
A special sublingual epithelial cell magnesium test was developed to circumvent the shortcomings of blood serum level tests with regards to magnesium deficiency. This test has been shown to be a valuable tool in the search for meaningful magnesium measurements. It is recognized by the medical literature, the FDA and health insurance companies in the US.
One study compared the intracellular levels of magnesium in cells from the heart wall and cells under the tongue, and found that the levels were equal. Even more significantly, this study revealed that low magnesium levels from the sublingual epithelial cell scrapings were an indicator that patients would have abnormal heart arrhythmias after major heart surgery, even when their serum levels were within normal ranges.