Magnesium for Healthy Lungs & Breathing

Do you have asthma, or a need for increased vascular performance?.

Learn how all factors critical to respiratory & lung function require magnesium, including the expansion of airways, reducing inflammation, and maintaining structural integrity.

Page Overview:

Biologists call magnesium one of the three life essentials. The other two are water and oxygen. Because of its unique molecular structure and versatility, magnesium helped fuel the development of all the human body’s systems.

This is exactly why magnesium has a central role, and is ingrained in the structure and function of all our vital organs, including our respiratory system.

As we will learn, healthy lungs and good breathing are simply not possible if we don’t have enough magnesium, and as Dr. Richard Danel and other experts have confirmed, it is now impossible to get enough magnesium without supplementation.

All four major factors

Our lungs are very intricate organs and along with our heart and brain, they are used more than most other parts of our body. Without magnesium, the following fundamental factors of respiratory health all begin to suffer:

  1. The energy supply of our lungs.
  2. The structure of our lungs and airways.
  3. The function of the muscles, walls, and airways of our respiratory system.
  4. The daily maintenance of our respiratory system to keep inflammation, allergies, and other threats at bay.

Let us look more closely at how magnesium is central to all four of these respiratory factors.

Fuel for our lungs

Life is a function of energy. In other words, all the systems, intricate processes and even structures of our lungs depend on energy. Energy is the primary factor which all other respiratory factors depend on.

The cells of our respiratory system use our oxygen and food in a complex process to create molecular energy called ATP: adenosine tri-phosphate.  In order to satisfy our lungs’ energy needs, our respiratory system makes and uses trillions of ATP energy moleculesevery second.

Magnesium is needed for all three stages of this process of ATP energy production. Furthermore, magnesium is also an actual part of the ATP molecule itself.

This may help explain why it has been established that hypomagnesemia (magnesium deficiency) is associated with reduced respiratory muscle power, and why supplementing with magnesium can return respiratory muscle power back to normal.

Simply put, without magnesium our lungs don’t have energy to keep themselves and the rest of our body alive.

Structure of our lungs

The structure of our lungs depends on various unique proteins with specific functions and properties that allow our lungs to do their job properly. All of these proteins are made by a process called protein synthesis:

This is where our cells use the amino acids from our dietary protein to build structures that are used to repair, reinforce, or simply add to the proper shape and function of our lungs.

There are two main phases in protein synthesis: genetic transcription, and protein translation. In other words, the copying of a section of DNA, and the assembly of amino acids to convert the copy into an actual protein.

Both phases of protein synthesis are impossible without magnesium. If our body is deficient in magnesium, we simply do not have an optimal amount for the creation of proteins that maintain our lungs’ proper structure.

Magnesium & our lungs’ elastin

The airways in our respiratory system share a common characteristic with the veins and arteries of our circulatory system:

They both need a certain degree of elasticity which can accommodate for their constant expansion and recoil. This need for elasticity is satisfied by the presence of a protein found in these tissues, called Elastin. The production of Elastin in our body is impossible without magnesium, because of its central roles in protein synthesis.

Another critical factor to note, is that the majority of our respiratory systems’ Elastin is synthesized during fetal development, when we are in our mother’s womb. This is crucial, because pregnant mothers are the single most magnesium-dependent and magnesium-deficient types of people.

This is because every single cellular division and replication during pregnancy is magnesium-dependent. A pregnant mother needs enough magnesium to keep two humans alive, while creating one of them.

While a small amount of Elastin in our lungs is still synthesized during adult life, the large amount during fetal development warrants a special warning and recommendation for all pregnant mothers to supplement with a clean and natural form of magnesium in order to ensure optimal respiratory elasticity for their baby and its lungs.

Magnesium & our lungs’ collagen

Collagen comprises the majority of the structural proteins of our lungs and entire respiratory system. They serve a critical role in the structure of:

  1. Our respiratory airways.
  2. Our respiratory blood vessels.
  3. The interstitium of the lung parenchyma.
  4. The basement of membranes of our epithelial and endothelial cells.

Collagen is another protein which cannot be made without magnesium-dependent protein synthesis, and it is so important to a healthy respiratory system, that any alterations in the quantity and distribution of these proteins would negatively impact our ability to breathe and deliver oxygen to our body.

This is why lung diseases often occur as a result of improper collagen regulation and metabolism, and yet another reason why magnesium is centrally critical to healthy lungs and breathing.

Magnesium & lung function

In addition to providing fuel and structural proteins which aid in the general function of our respiratory system, magnesium also directly and indirectly influences many specific functions in our lungs and breathing including:

  1. Bronchial vasomotor tone (the tension of the walls of our respiratory muscles and airways).
  2. The strength of contraction of our pulmonary vascular muscles (the muscles of the respiratory system).
  3. Mast cell granulation, neurohumoral mediator release, and neutrophil-driven inflammatory processes (our immune system’s interactions with our respiratory system, some of which can contribute to acute lung injury).
  4. The structural integrity of the endothelial cells of our capillaries.
  5. The total number of type II epithelial alveolar cells (responsible for producing pulmonary surfactant).
  6. The production of pulmonary surfactant (a protein and lipid-filled liquid, essential to the proper function of our lungs).

Each of these factors is absolutely critical to lung function. Abnormalities in any of these processes not only affects our breathing capacity, but also affects the other processes mentioned, and can have downstream effects on the rest of our body brought about by insufficient supply of oxygenated blood.

Magnesium & calcium in lungs

Magnesium and calcium have an antagonistic relationship in our entire body, including our respiratory system. When we are deficient in magnesium, the effect of calcium on our respiratory tissues is increased.

This is dangerous because one of calcium’s main effects on our respiratory system is to stimulate the contraction of our bronchial smooth muscles.

Because excessive contraction of respiratory tissues causes our airways to become more narrow, and because excess calcium in our cells is a known factor in inflammation, unresolved magnesium deficiency can contribute to serious pulmonary complications stemming from excess calcium.

Our modern diet is heavily fortified with calcium, while simultaneously lacking sufficient magnesium. Furthermore, all stress directly drains magnesium (due to our adrenal glands’ dependency on magnesium), and our levels of daily environmental stressors are continuing to rise.

This is why magnesium supplementation is strongly recommended as a measure for maintaining a healthy calcium/magnesium ratio in our respiratory system, and preventing calcification, inflammation, deterioration, and other complications in our lungs.

Magnesium & lung inflammation

Inflammation has now long been known as one of the root causes of disease in animals, and can be found in high levels in almost all health conditions. Our lungs are especially vulnerable to inflammation. This is because they do not require any external agents in order to stimulate inflammation.

Inflammation can simply arise from an imbalance of calcium and magnesium, where insufficient magnesium can result in too much calcium influx into the cells of our respiratory airways, blood vessels, epithelial and endothelial cells, and other pulmonary and vascular cells.

Furthermore, our body’s adrenergic system – part of our fight or flight response – has been shown to bring about proinflammatory responses via its release of the hormones adrenaline and noradrenaline and their interaction with a2 adrenergic receptors.

Excess activation of this fight-or-flight system is also associated with an accumulation of white blood cells called neutrophils, in the alveolar spaces of our lungs. These alveolar spaces are the critical spaces where our blood receives oxygen from our lungs, and where our lungs receive carbon dioxide from our blood to exhale.

This buildup of neutrophils is associated with intensified lung inflammatory injury. However when magnesium interacts with these activated neutrophils, it results in a direct decrease in the production of one of the neutrophils’ primary inflammatory agents: superoxide.

Magnesium plays a central role in our body’s anti-inflammatory systems because it is necessary for the production of our body’s most abundant anti-oxidant: glutathione. Anti-oxidants combat inflammation, which helps explain magnesium’s minimizing effects on the inflammation in our alveolar spaces brought on by the over-stimulation of our fight-or flight system.

Its role in reducing inflammation in our lungs only increases the importance of the fact that scientists and expert doctors have agreed that it is now impossible in our modern world to maintain healthy magnesium levels without supplementation.

Why Our Magnesium Levels Are Now Dropping:

Figure 1 is a general representation of the trends of the three primary factors that affect the magnesium levels in our body everyday. The fourth line represents our ability to make our own magnesium, which will always stay at zero.

  1. Total environmental stress that drains our magnesium
  2. Magnesium in our soil and healthy foods
  3. Our intestine’s ability to absorb magnesium from food and pills

Our adrenals (stress glands) are magnesium-dependent. Stress depletes magnesium, and inflames our intestine, hindering absorption of dietary magnesium. (Even a healthy gut only absorbs 30-40% of a food’s magnesium.)

A magnesium deficiency graph that shows how our magnesium intake has declined since 1950, while our sources of magnesium depletion have increased. The depletion of our soils and the increasing environmental stress show us that we can no longer get enough magnesium without supplementation. This strengthens the importance of the relationship between magnesium and lungs and asthma.

This means our lungs and respiratory system are competing for their magnesium not only with our other vital functions, but also with increasing amounts of environmental stress and poor intestinal Mg absorption.

Solutions & Summary:

Safe and smart magnesium supplementation

When it comes to the effectiveness of magnesium supplements, what is important is their ability to give us the magnesium ion (the charged magnesium atom on its own).  The magnesium ion is most available to humans from magnesium chloride supplements. You can also learn about the most and least effective magnesium supplements here.

In terms of absorption, many magnesium pills and powders exert laxative effects on the intestines and have absorption as low as only 4%. Liquid magnesium chloride supplements have magnesium ions that can enter our system before hitting the intestine.

Concerning the quality, safety and purity of magnesium supplements, liquid natural magnesium-chloride supplements are effective yet sourced from polluted waters and sold in plastic bottles containing chemicals linked with cancer, birth defects, infertility, and hormonal imbalances.

It is important to use a natural magnesium chloride supplement that is not sourced from open, polluted water, and one that is not in a plastic container. Click here to see the supplement we recommend, which surpasses all the above criteria.


As we can clearly see, magnesium is not just a nutrient with a few beneficial effects on our lung function and breathing capacity. Magnesium is at the center of our ability to breathe and maintain healthy lungs. Without magnesium:

  1. Our lungs and respiratory system have no energy.
  2. All the cells and tissues of our lungs cannot maintain and repair themselves with protein synthesis.
  3. Our lungs, airways and respiratory muscles don’t have the structural and functional proteins: Collagen and Elastin, which make up the majority of physical respiratory tissue.
  4. Our lungs cannot produce pulmonary surfactant, the liquid secreted into our alveolar spaces which regulates surface tension to make the oxygenation of our blood and the exhalation of carbon dioxide possible.
  5. Our lungs lack the ability to remove excess calcium and prevent inflammation, calcification, hardening, and deterioration.
  6. Our lungs lack their innate anti-inflammatory mechanisms which are magnesium-dependent.

Simply put, without magnesium our lung and respiratory health have no choice but to deteriorate and lose function.

This is why in today’s world of magnesium-depleted food supplies, magnesium supplementation is strongly recommended as a preventative measure to ensure the health of our lungs and breathing capacity.

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