Monday, April 6, 2009

The Forgotten Mineral

We always hear about getting enough calcium. Our bones need more calcium with our poor nutritional habits. High acidic levels in our bodies from loads of sugar, caffeine and high protein cause a bad reaction. High acidity causes our bodies to leach minerals out of our bones in order to balance the pH.
Being in a high acidic state often takes its toll and leads to many dis-ease states like low immunity, osteoporosis, chronic fatigue, joint issues, cancerous mutations, diabetes and much, much more.
So what does any of this have to do with minerals?
As many of you know from my health journey, I have struggled with fatigue, asthma, migraine headaches, PMS and hormonal fluctuations, low bone density and insulin resistance.

The results of my DEXA scan indicate that I am headed down the road to osteoporosis. I can tell you that my diet of years past has been a large contributor to this path. The thing is, I have taken calcium supplements for years, despite a poor diet. My mother has osteopenia and my grandmother, osteoporosis. It would seem genetics play a role and I wanted to take precautions. Looking back, it could be poor diets on both of their parts, but regardless, it is a real risk for me. To see just how poorly my bones were doing frustrated me. First step, fix the nutrition. Second step, re-evaluate the supplements I was using. Third, continue weight-bearing exercise. Fourth, research more. What I learned was that bone health requires more than just calcium.

Migraine Headaches have now been linked to low magnesium levels. Many doctors are now using magnesium as a part of treatment. Studies have shown that magnesium levels drop, especially in women in relation to their headaches.
From :
"It was first suggested that a deficiency in magnesium could cause headaches over 70 years ago. It makes sense, because a lot of the things that cause the body to run short of magnesium also either trigger migraines or lower your resistance. For example alcohol, stress, and menstruation. Today we know that about half of the people who get migraines are also short of a certain type of magnesium (serum ionized).
Source Naturals has an excellent supplement which contains 400mg of magnesium, which many doctors suggest as a good amount for migraineurs to take. It's called Ultra-Mag Magnesium complex.
Researchers have been investigating the magnesium migraines connection because of magnesium's role in stabilizing blood vessels walls. Magnesium is also an important mineral when it comes to helping you get to sleep. Regular sleeping patterns are also very important to migraine sufferers. Magnesium also helps in protein synthesis, and keeps your bones strong and helps maintain normal nerve and muscle function."

As for PMS- you guessed it! Magnesium levels are low. "Magnesium deficiency is strongly implicated as a causative factor in premenstrual syndrome. Red blood cell magnesium levels in PMS patients have been shown to be significantly lower than in normal subjects," write Michael T. Murray and Joseph L. Pizzorno in the "Encyclopedia Of Natural Medicine." In "A Physician's Guide To Natural Health Products That Work," Dr. James Howenstine writes, "Many women with (premenstrual syndrome) have high sugar and high dairy fat intakes, both of which lower magnesium values in the blood. Supplemental magnesium appears to be a necessity, particularly in persons who are getting little magnesium from their water." PMS-sufferers are also frequently deficient in calcium, zinc and B-vitamins, particularly vitamin B6, and can often benefit greatly from supplementation.
Besides nutritional supplementation, women can help prevent PMS by making changes to their diets. Eating more foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, like fatty fish and green leafy vegetables, is important since omega-3 deficiencies have also been linked to PMS. Dr. Stephanie Beling, in "Power Foods," recommends women who suffer from PMS try eliminating meat and dairy products from their diets while increasing intake of fruits and vegetables. Overall, the healthier a woman's diet and lifestyle, the less likely she is to suffer from discomfort from PMS."

As for asthma, the official word is still in question. More studies are being done to determine the total effect and required amounts, but research so far is in favor for magnesium's role in treating/preventing asthma.
"Magnesium is necessary to help relax the bronchial tubes and smooth muscle of the esophagus, making it beneficial to those suffering from severe asthma or bronchial problems." A study reported on in the Lancet, notes that people who have diets lower in Mg have more asthmatic symptoms. People with diets higher in this important mineral have less asthmatic symptoms. Asthma occurs frequently along with allergies, seizures and many other disorders that can all be linked to a Mg deficiency.

It seems magnesium can be tied to many other possible issues. I have joked that I am ADD. While I may joke, sometimes the effect it has on my work and personal life is large. Multi-task is good. Head spinning around in 10 directions, not so much. When I read this next tidbit, my interest was peaked. "In a study from Poland, children with ADHD were been found to more deficient than controls in a selected number of bioelements. Magnesium deficiencies were the most pronounced difference. Magnesium supplementation in the ADHD children decreased their hyperactivity."

**Special note for my fitness friends**
"Supplements like fish oil and magnesium also make the muscle more insulin sensitive. I recommend a minimum of 6 grams of fish oil per day and 300 mg of magnesium. Magnesium forms that end in an "ate," like magnesium aspartate, are more bioavailable."-- Maximizing Nutrient Partitioning: The Insulin Myth
by Jen Heath

Magnesium will help your muscles! When your muscles are more sensitive to insulin, they will store more glucose and your fat cells will become LESS sensitive- meaning less fat storage!

My conclusion from my research is that magnesium is a very important and often ignored mineral. I have been supplementing with magnesium to help with migraines and PMS. So far, so good. The intensity of both has diminished. The migraines are lessening. My cravings are definitely reduced and more mental than the insane physical urges I felt before. I feel I have a choice now. Before, it was as if something else were in control.

It is clear that exercise and healthy nutrition are key. I am choosing supplementation to help me get back to a healthy place. Working out and eating clean will always be the first line of defense. I encourage everyone to learn more and TAKE CHARGE of their health. YOU are the only one who can do that.

Links if you want to learn more in-depth:
Article by Jen Heath

Magnesium Deficiency List


Anonymous said...

Good Stuff!

Eve said...

Thanks for all that! Makes a lot of sense!