The Possible *True* Cause of SIDS…. |

The Possible *True* Cause of SIDS….

admin December 12, 2017

SIDS scares a lot of parents.  It feels like this big, scary thing beyond our control — that our babies could simply die for no apparent reason, even if we do everything “right.”  That’s a horrible feeling!  Losing a child is awful, and not having any control over whether it happens or being able to take any precautions is even worse.

But…what if there is something you can do to reduce risk?

The Possible *True* Cause of SIDS….

If you’re wary of alternative sources discussing SIDS, I’m not going to say vaccines.  No, it’s something much simpler (and much less controversial) than that.


I ran across this idea only a few weeks ago.  I’ve known for awhile — and most of us have heard — that magnesium is something most of us don’t get enough of, and it’s critical to many body functions.  But I hadn’t heard of its potential to connection to SIDS.

Immediately, I looked it up on Pubmed…and found that it is very real and documented.

I’ll dive into the studies here in a minute, but first I want to say something I think is important.  There are several studies (although not nearly enough) that were completed between the late 80s/early 90s and the early 2000s.  The theory actually originated in the early 70s!  The early studies were observational (checking a mother’s magnesium levels and noting the outcomes with their babies), but later studies were placebo-controlled.  Some women were assigned to magnesium supplementation and others were not — despite the early evidence that magnesium was beneficial.

This is shockingly awful.  Yes, we need to know if magnesium does play this role.  But magnesium is a major mineral that everyone actually needs, and which doesn’t come with many (if any) side effects.  If there’s any evidence that it could help, why not recommend it to everyone?  Why not do a study where everyone gets magnesium in different doses or forms to see which produces the best outcomes?  Wouldn’t it be unethical not to recommend something so low-risk that could save hundreds or thousands of lives, potentially?

(This is the logic that they use to not properly study vaccines, by the way.  Unethical to not give an unproven, yet “life saving” intervention to everyone.  An intervention that comes with far more side effects and risks than a simple mineral.  This is mind blowing to me, that vaccines can use this logic but anything ‘natural’ cannot.)


The Possible *True* Cause of SIDS....

How Does Magnesium Impact SIDS Risk?

We don’t have a full picture of this, because research didn’t continue when it clearly should have.  Unfortunately, a lot of scientific research that should be done, doesn’t get done, because no one will fund it.  And if there’s no money in the solution/result of the study (i.e. a drug that can be sold), then the study is less likely to get funded.  Magnesium supplements are cheap and available over-the-counter, so there’s little money in doing this research.

That’s why we have to go on what we currently have…which brings me to the studies.

The earliest study I could find, from 1991, concluded that magnesium definitely did play a role in SIDS, because of the way magnesium regulates body temperature.  This was not a new theory even in the early 90s!

A 1993 study notes that there is a connection between respiratory distress syndrome, magnesium deficiency, and SIDS.

Two possibly ways that magnesium affects the body, so far — it affects how the body regulates temperature (possibly allowing the infant to cool too much, thus inducing death), and it affects how the lungs work (causing respiratory distress, and then death).

But this is just the tip of the iceberg.

A 2001 study notes that cultures with magnesium-rich diets have much lower rates of SIDS than cultures with magnesium-poor diets (1.2 vs 5 or greater per 1000).

Another 2001 study in rats noted that three key things combined to cause SIDS: sensitive period of development, being magnesium deficient, and some kind of external ‘shock’ (sudden noises, sudden chill, etc.).  This study actually recommends that magnesium supplementation be used to prevent SIDS deaths!

Yet another 2001 study explains why tummy-sleeping infants may be more vulnerable to SIDS.  Essentially, due to magnesium deficiency, some infants had muscle weakness in the upper body, which prevented them from rolling or turning their heads when their faces were covered.  This, combined with dysregulation of the body (not arousing the baby when oxygen is low), led to SIDS.  Normal, non-magnesium-deficient infants would wake and turn to avoid a problem.  This is why the “back to sleep” campaign reduced, but did not eliminate, SIDS.  (Addressed the result — not the underlying cause.)

A 2002 study looks at magnesium deficiency and general dysregulation, which leads to SIDS.  It suggests magnesium supplementation and “darkness therapy” (completely dark sleeping environment) to promote fixing the body regulation and address the underlying cause.

A 2004 study offers more support for the thermal dysregulation theory, basically saying that if the mother doesn’t get enough magnesium during pregnancy, the baby can become too cool (by not regulating his/her temperature well) and this can lead to SIDS.  It also notes that pre-term labor is caused, in some cases, by “uterine hyperexcitability” due to magnesium deficiency and stress.

Another 2004 study backs up what the 2002 study said about dysregulation and SIDS, and also recommends magnesium supplementation and darkness therapy.  It also notes that dysregulation and magnesium deficiency are often the cause of chronic headaches and some cases of multiple sclerosis.

A 2005 study looked at magnesium levels in drinking water and the rate of SIDS, and concluded there was a strong correlation between low magnesium levels and high SIDS rates.

A 2013 study looked at magnesium in pregnancy, and concluded that a deficiency was strongly correlated with pre-eclampsia, pre-term labor, and leg cramps.

A 2014 rat study noted that babies born to magnesium-deficient mothers had lower levels of DHA (critical to proper brain development), had more growth restriction, and a lower overall survival rate.

What We Know Now

Essentially, we have enough evidence to conclude that magnesium probably plays a role in SIDS, as well as several other situations during pregnancy/birth/infancy.  Low levels of magnesium have been shown to lead to dysregulation in the body, poor lung function, and more.

Given that magnesium is a major mineral that we all need, it seems prudent to supplement throughout pregnancy and while nursing.  There is no known risk to doing so, and it may well reduce the risk of pregnancy complications and SIDS — so why not do it?

For most, there are two main ‘best’ ways to get more magnesium.

Magnesium Sulfate — Epsom salts.  A bath with 1/2 – 1 cup of Epsom salts a few nights a week can provide additional magnesium.

Magnesium Chloride — Use 1/2 – 1 cup of flakes in a bath a few nights a week.  Or, if you want a more cost-effective solution (that’s also easier to use quickly), try this magnesium lotion.

There are other forms of magnesium that work well for some, including magnesium glycinate.  We don’t recommend using magnesium stearate or citrate, and oral is not the best option for most people (although there are exceptions).

Magnesium needs to be balanced with calcium, and is needed to use vitamin D.  Vitamin/mineral agonists and antagonists gets complicated!  Just be sure you are getting plenty of foods rich in calcium, and consider cod liver oil for natural vitamin D (and DHA).

Did you know this about magnesium and SIDS?

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  1. Great info! Can I ask why you recommend not taking magnesium citrate? And not orally?


    • Magnesium in any form is poorly absorbed orally, so while oral supplements (like magnesium citrate) are better than cal-mag pills with binders and fillers, it is still not best absorbed orally. Too much oral magnesium causes a laxative effect, and in fact epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) are actually used as a laxative!


  2. This is great info! I have to wonder… would something in the HepB vaccine deplete magnesium levels? Here’s why I ask. My oldest son received the HepB vaccine moments after birth (without our consent). He immediately had trouble regulating his body temperature and remained in the nursery for monitoring for 8 hours. Fast forward to when he was 3.5 months old… I had an undeniable urge to go check on him. He had been napping in his crib, I dropped a basket of laundry and ran to check on him and found him BLUE in his crib. Thankfully, we got him breathing again and he is perfectly healthy here 14 years later. You noted the role of magnesium in regulating body temperature. And when I found my son blue in his crib his face seemed to be frozen in a startled response. His face, when I found him, has always stuck with me. And then drawing the connection back to his inability to regulate his body temperature after his HepB vaccine. It all seems like it could be interconnected…


    • I know I’m responding years later! I just ran into this article by “accident”. First, I’m praising the Lord your son is alive and well today!! Wow! He saved him by giving you that sudden feeling to check him, no doubts in my mind!
      I sure wish I could say the same for a nephew that died of SIDS over 25 years ago. He was 3 1/2 months old. It was absolutely horrific. Of course, it was blamed on a possible myriad of things and we never knew. Just SIDS. Today there’s much speculation on what causes it. This is the first I’ve read about a magnesium deficiency being a culprit. This doesn’t surprise me however, I. All I HAVE read about deficiencies in magnesium! It affects so very many actions in our bodies that it makes complete sense that not having enough would cause so many problems! That said…..vaccines. Had I known when my now 22 year old son was an infant, he wouldn’t have received one! Much less the ridiculous number of them that they recommend! Thank God he’s ok! I have family and friends children that aren’t! Autism being the prevalent disease. I FULLY blame the vaccines! The MMR stands out! With thermerosol being the major culprit! One of the most disgusting wool pulling events perpetuated upon this nation! COVID second now! I highly recommend to anyone reading the book, “Vaccine Whistleblower” by Kevin Barry, Esq. who interviewed Dr. Brian Hooker who by phone interviewed Dr. William Thompson of the CDC. Hooker LEGALLY recorded their conversations which were many. Dr. Thompson found himself unable to continue with the fallacies he was forced to write in his scientific papers regarding the vaccine MMR. He confesses to the fact they knew and know that it causes autism and likely many other diseases in children! This evil rabbit hole includes the pharmaceutical companies as you can imagine.
      My anger knows no bounds! I pray my comment will somehow get to you at this late date and to others that locate this great article about magnesium!
      God help us all!


  3. How come magnesium citrate is not recommended? I have been taking it for years now, during all my pregnancy becuase I deal with migraines. Should I no longer take it?


  4. It’s almost criminal if further research is not conducted by the concerned agencies to establish a link between magnesium deficiencies and SIDs.


  5. Would soaking my feet in epsom salt a few times a week be as effective as a full bath? I’m not a “bath person”, but I’ll happily soak my feet. Just wondering if a foot soak would yield the same results.


  6. While you may have identified Magnesium as a large factor in causing SIDS, there are many other known and tested factors that we can reliably say play a role in this. They have found that more than 90% of SIDS cases involve bed sharing (Möllborg, P., Wennergren, G., Almqvist, P., & Alm, B., 2015). There are several observations and theories why co-sleeping can result in SIDS; the infant can have its airway obstructed from blankets or bodies, their body temperature increases therefore increasing the risk of thermal stress, the child’s small jaw can be pushed backwards causing their tongue to close the upper pathway, etc. There are other factors besides co-sleeping that can put a child at risk such as sleeping in a prone or side position as opposed to sleeping on their back (Moon, R.Y., Fu, L.Y., 2007). When a child is lain on their side or tummy, they have a risk that the carbon dioxide will collect near their mouth, causing them to breath it back in resulting in a hypoxia episode. When a child experiences these hypoxic episodes, their levels of glial fibrillary acidic protein significantly elevate in the medulla (Spinelli, J., Byard, R.W., Den Heuvel, C.V., & Collins-Praino, L.E., 2018). Upon autopsying infants who passed away from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, they an increase in this protein level—linking the cause of SIDS to hypoxic episodes. Some other factors that can contribute to the risk are young maternal age, prematurity, maternal smoking, or if the child is a male (Moon, R.Y., Fu, L.Y., 2007). Over the years the risk of SIDS has significantly decreased, however, there are precautions that can be taken to try to lower this risk further. Avoid bedsharing until 3 months of age, avoid excessive time in car seats and bouncers, have the baby sleep on a firm mattress with a single layer sheet to cover it. They have also found that pacifiers reduce the risk of SIDS by 90%, a phenomena scientist are still trying to explain. For the parents who would like to be close to their child for breastfeeding, they suggest having the infant sleep in the same room but on a separate surface to reduce the risks.


    • I greatly disagree with the connection between bed sharing and SIDS. If the mother is intuitive and comfortable with co-sleeping it is to be said that it can be a crucial deterrent for SIDS. The mother can sense & feel the babies body temp, helping to regulate their body temp. She is closely connected to the baby and can react quickly.

      Breastfeeding upon request (or more commonly know as on demand..) especially through the night also plays an important role. As this keeps you even more connected and in tune with your baby as well as keeping them more regularly roused, keeping them “active” through the night and more responsive.

      There are safe precautions for people who would like to co-sleep, such as removing sheets and blankets and using no pillows or only using small pillows. There is a lot of misguided advice and little knowledge to be shared regarding natural beautiful co-sleeping.

      Your baby has been growing inside you for the past 10 months, constantly being connected to you, hearing your voice, your soothing heartbeat, relying on such a deep connection. Imagine being suddenly taken away from such a deep connection, right after the journey of being born and being placed in an unknown environment all by yourself. I could only imagine how deeply disconcerting that would feel!

      For people who are interested about co-sleeping, do your research, reach out to people who know more on the successes of co-sleeping, the benefits, the potential hardships (as of course everything comes with pros and cons!) It is not for every one in this day and age in our society. In the end if you have done your research and reached out to other people about it and still feel uncomfortable, maybe co-sleeping isn’t for you. I believe the most important thing with co-sleeping is to listen to your intuition and feel comfortable with doing it!


  7. This belief that Mg is not well absobed orally is new to me. I will check pubmed, however Our main source of Mg is food and it implies oral absorbtion if we have good stomach acide levels.
    I read the opposite many times: baths are helpful but not the best way to deal with Mg deficiencies.
    Magnesium “oil” which is simply an overpriced concentrated solution of Mgchloride applied to skin does stop muscle spasms but is not know to replenish cellular stores…
    Magnesium, citrate, ascorbate ( a way to get some low acid vit C), glycinate, orotate, AEP, gluconate…
    Are better than Mg oxide or chloride or sulfate.The last 3 are the cheapest forms and have laxative effects.
    Chloride results from oxide and HCl in the stomach.
    Most manufacturers claim Mg chelates are beyter absobed that those 3 cheap forms.
    They may be but they are less laxative for sure. Glycinate, even with a dayly dose yielding 1.5 g of elememtal Mg a day is not laxative.
    Citratre in excess is laxative ( over 1.5g Mg/day?) But everybody is different.
    The ONLY TEST FOR Mg deficiency I know is THE EXA MG TEST.
    Some labs (Tricore) stopped offering it and they only offer plasma levels: a terrible mistake since one has to be near death or dead to show major plasma deficiency…
    Labs also fail to mention that one should be in the top quartile or ABOVE for OPTIMAL HEALTH ( muscle spasms, stress, heart disease prevention, SIDS Prevention perhaps.)
    Noone agrees on numbers: 70% of the US POPULATION IS DEFICIENT!
    OR IS IT 50%.
    Either way lab range for normal levels are based on a DEFICIENT POPULATION.
    THEREFORE, being at the top range level or ABOVE is likely to improve health outcome.
    Chris D.


  8. In my previous post, I said RBC/INTRACELLULAR Mg testing is best. I mean to say as blood test, compared to plasma Mg. Yet neither arevreliable and well corelated with symptoms.
    ONLY EXA diffraction analysis, on sublingual cells, by one lab ( in Oregon I think) can assess intracellular deficiencies in Mg, Ca.,K, P.This is the test developed for, and used by, NASA.


  9. I highly highly recommend the book, “The Magnesium Miracle” by Dr. Carolyn Dean, M.D., N.D.!! An excellent, very researched, chock full of interesting information regarding ALL things magnesium! What forms are best, etc can be found as well. After much experimenting on known magnesium products, she found herself turning to the lab and making her own that’s sure to be properly absorbed and most beneficial! The testimonials alone were enough to convince me! Add her expertise in the subject, and I think you’ll be happy you read the book!
    Blessings to all!!


    • We are so happy to hear how helpful this book was for you, Joey. Thank you so much for sharing this resource with us. 🙂


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Hi, I’m Kate.  I love medical freedom, sharing natural remedies, developing real food recipes, and gentle parenting. My goal is to teach you how to live your life free from Big Pharma, Big Food, and Big Government by learning about herbs, cooking, and sustainable practices.

I’m the author of Natural Remedies for Kids and the owner and lead herbalist at EarthleyI hope you’ll join me on the journey to a free and healthy life!

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