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  Innovative Products Research & Services, Inc.
       a 501(3)(c) non profit organization based in Massachusetts with offices in NH and NC
                   Putting Creativity to Good Use

Magnesium Project - Maternal and Infant Health Initiative

  What is the Maternal and Infant Health Initiative?

The Maternal and Infant Health Initiative of IPRS arose out of the recognition that every year thousands of women and child die or are severely impacted because they lack adequate nutrition.  The importance of having adequate caloric intake and proteins is generally recognized.  The importance of some of the vitamins and minerals has been highlighted to the extent that many processed foods have been fortified with them to help assure adequate intake.  Such is the case for Vitamins C and D and for the minerals Calcium and Iron. However much less attention has been given to other essential vitamins (like Vitamin A, the B complex including riboflavin, niacin, B12 and folic acid) and other essential minerals such as magnesium, phosphorous and zinc.  Some of these lesser known vitamins and mineral are especially important for pregnant or nursing women.  Both the health of the mother and of the growing infant can be seriously impacted as is detailed in other places. 

One element of nutrition that is most often over-looked is the mineral magnesium (Mg).  In fact in most cases it is not even mentioned and rarely are tests done for blood levels of magnesium.  Yet, low blood levels of magnesium ions (hypomagnesemia) are frequently encountered in the general population and most especially in women who have little access to good medical care and little access to a food that provides all the vitamins and minerals that are needed for the mother and for the normal development of the child. 

The nutritional demands of the mother change during the pregnancy.  In the third trimester, there is increasing risk of high blood pressure (hypertension).  The most natural means of treating the high blood pressure is through raising the intake of magnesium although there are also other treatment options.  It is well established that if the blood pressure rises too much and results in protein loss into the urine there is condition of pre-eclampsia or toxemia.  Taken to extreme there is a risk of convulsions in the brain that can be fatal.  Other reactions also accompany this extreme and critical condition including excessive swelling of the body (edema) and immunological reactions between mother and infant.

The concern for adequate Mg in the diet persists after delivery of the infant since nursing mothers require additional Mg.  There is also a concern of the infant in receiving adequate nutrition.  If the mother has low levels of magnesium, it is likely that the infant will also have low levels which can produce adverse effects on them including wasting and stunting.  This concern for the infant begins while still in the womb.  Evidence suggests the normal development of the fetus is dependent upon adequate mineral intake as well as critical vitamins.  

It is well established an infusion of magnesium sulfate (MgSO4) is a preferred treatment for convulsions in mothers with eclampsia,  Thus there is a precedence for use of Mg in the extreme cases and many studies suggest there can be a great benefit in the milder cases (pre-eclampsia). Despite this, many health care providers do not test for Mg levels and do not suggest that pregnant women take mineral supplements that include Mg.  In fact, our surveys indicate that there is often little information provided to women about nutrition in general and there is even often misinformation about the importance of various food groups, nutritional supplements and even one's water supply (that often provides the minerals calcium, magnesium and even some iron).

The IPRS Initiative on Maternal and Infant Health  therefore was launched to address this urgent problem.  This initiative includes: 

  * Advocacy to the medical community, to policy makers and legislative committees.

  * Outreach to women and their care providers and support groups to provide better information and guidance to minimize risks of pregnancy.

  * Develop educational pieces for all tiers of health care decision-makers.

  * Conduct research to develop better diagnostic tools and advocate for their implementation into standard clinical practice. 

  * Clinical research is also needed to confirm the Risk Assessment models. Agricultural research is needed to find new and better food sources that provide high levels of essential vitamins and minerals.  Research is also urgently needed to determine genetic risk factors that would alter our assessments of who needs to be treated and who should not be treated.

  * Cross-Cultural Programs are needed to reach those who are most at risk with economical and practical testing, risk assessment, diagnosis and treatment options.  This will need to be a multi-language and multi-country approach to reach those most at risk.

   Why Focus on Magnesium?

While all vitamins and minerals are important for normal health and development, magnesium is critical in hundreds of biochemical reactions yet it is not currently highlighted in food processing or meal planning. It is therefore likely that there are as yet unknown consequences of being deficient in magnesium.  For this and other reasons given under our general Health Initiatives, we are emphasizing magnesium and other lesser studied minerals in our dietary surveys and intake analyses.  If you would like to know whether you are likely to be deficient in certain vitamins and minerals go to our webpage for Nutritional Surveys.

    How Can I Get Involved?

Sharing of information is a vital part of our program.  The general public can assist by participating in surveys and providing general feedback.  There are a number of volunteer opportunities available.

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. 

An easy way to be supportive is to give a gift certificate in someone's honor.  You get a tax deductible contribution, your friend is honored as being a supporter of Maternal/Infant wellness education and research, and those women in need of nutritional support benefit as well.  To see a sample of the Gift Certificate, click here.

If you would like to explore other ways of being involved or financially supportive, contact the Program Director for further opportunities.

  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.  The Mg helps to counter hypertension (high blood pressure) without using expensive calcium-blockers/smooth muscle relaxants.

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 review our Donor opportunities.

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Revised: February 15, 2020