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Magnesium balance studies in marasmic kwashiorkor

Authors
Journal
The Journal of Pediatrics
0022-3476
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
59
Issue
1
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/s0022-3476(61)80218-7
Keywords
  • Tropical Pediatrics
Disciplines
  • Biology

Abstract

Summary Studies of magnesium balance were made on 3 Jamaican infants during recovery from marasmic kwashiorkor. Analyses of muscle biopsy specimens indicated a marked deficit of magnesium as well as of potassium in all cases. The serum magnesium level was slightly low in one case. A positive magnesium balance was maintained for several weeks in recovery and was accompanied by low urinary excretion. In one case there was considerable intestinal absorption of magnesium, even in the presence of diarrhea. Efficient absorption of a high oral supplement tended to overcome renal conservation. Previous analysis has suggested that the deficiency of intracellular electrolytes in wet muscle samples is due partly to the reduced intracellular volume associated with protein loss and partly to a true electrolyte deficit. The positive magnesium balance in recovery is therefore attributable both to intracellular repletion and to tissue growth; the latter tends to be masked clinically by loss of excess body water. Little is known of the additional factor of the repletion of magnesium in bone, but the evidence from animal experiments is that the deficit in bone may be very substantial.

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