Thursday, October 6, 2016

Can magnesium help with nausea and vomiting of pregnancy?

There are many blogs touting magnesium as a cure for "morning sickness" or nausea and vomiting of pregnancy (NVP). A quick search of PubMed just now didn't turn up studies where magnesium was tested as a help for NVP. I did find one study showing that over the course of pregnancy, women with NVP tend to intake less B12 and magnesium (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19943842).

If magnesium is helping alleviate NVP for some women, how is it doing it? As I was researching the enzyme sulfite oxidase recently, I came across an article describing how the molybdenum cofactor, which is incorporated into sulfite oxidase, is formed (http://www.jbc.org/content/288/19/13165.full.pdf). It appears that the process of forming the molybdenum cofactor relies on magnesium in three different places:

Magnesium (Mg) is used three times in the process of forming the molybdenum cofactor (MoCo). Image from "The Molybdenum Cofactor," Ralf R. Mendel* (2013). The Journal of Biological Chemistry 288:13165-13172, 13167.
http://www.jbc.org/content/288/19/13165/F2.large.jpg

Supporting the formation of sulfite oxidase (and thus the speedy conversion of nausea-inducing sulfite to sulfate) requires getting enough magnesium. I don't see a reason to give large amounts of supplemental magnesium, but being deficient in magnesium seems as though it could contribute to NVP and so should be avoided.

* I want to note here that Ralf R. Mendel is one of my heroes. He has done painstaking, thorough research for years on molybdenum-containing enzymes and much of my recent research has depended in part on his work.

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