The ABC’S of Health
By Dr. Jo Gjelsten
Ok, so every month I look for something to inspire a topic here, and this month, nothin’.
So I decided to revisit magnesium, a fascinating subject if you like that sort of thing, because we all need it, end of story, go home and take it. Short article this month. Really, it’s low in lots of folks and they don’t know it. Who? Many who can’t poop, have soft nails, are exhausted, anxious, have heart palpitations (a really BIG one I’ve seen a lot), cramps, numbness and tingling, those who take certain meds, and many who are osteoporotic, and many kids with autism to name a few. It keeps 'ya calm, and is needed in the energy cycle. If this sounds like you, go take a nap and when you get up, make an appointment with someone who knows about these things to get evaluated. Why? Because there are many types of magnesium out there; some good, some not so good, some bad, and sometimes I feel like a nut, because they contain magnesium.
Where do we get magnesium naturally Nat? We have well water, without a water softener, and hard water has more magnesium than soft. You also get magnesium in your diet if you, like we, eat oatmeal (61 mg’s) every morning with wheat germ, (another 69 mg’s). Between meals I like a handful of almonds or cashews (78ish mg’s), and if you eat spinach (78 mg’s) throw an ounce of almonds in there (I like them sliced if you’re going to do that) and you add another 80 mg’s. I eat yogurt (32 mg’s) and or a little peanut butter (49mg’s) almost every night, so now we’re up to 320 ish mg’s without the capsule or 2 of magnesium citrate we take at night (great relaxing mineral) that has NO magnesium stearate. What’s that? It’s a coating added to many supplements to make them slide nicely around in the factory, but that coating can inhibit absorption of whatever you just paid for Petunia! But even with the magnesium we eat, we only absorb one third to one half of what we take in through our intestines. No you don’t take it in through there, but that’s where it’s absorbed, silly. I also enjoy magnesium aspartate before I get on my bike, because it enhances my ability to pedal push during my ride, and that makes Dr. Jo happy on top of all the endorphins biking provides, so get out there and do.
Adults over 30ish RDA is about 320 for females, 420 for males BUT “Data from the 1999–2000 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey suggest that substantial numbers of adults in the United States (US) fail to get recommended amounts of magnesium in their diets”. If you have healthy kidneys you hold on to what you got for dear life, but some meds don’t let you do that. I did a presentation at a couple of the Libraries in the county entitled “Drug Induced Nutrient Deficiencies” so let me know if you’d like to see this again, but here are a few: “Diuretics: Lasix, Bumex, Edecrin, and hydrochlorothiazide Antibiotics: Gentamicin, and Amphotericin Anti-neoplastic medication: Cisplatin”. Diabetics and alcoholics are notoriously deficient. In fact, magnesium enhances carbohydrate metabolism such that if it’s low insulin activity may be affected, making diabetes worse. Older adults absorb less, take more drugs that interfere with magnesium absorption, and some have situations that prevent absorption, like Crohns and irritable bowel syndromes. But it’s not just older folks; young adults on birth control pills, and who have severe PMS may also be low on magnesium, though it can loosen bowels so I have my patients start this near a bathroom. (Don’t just take it from the health food store. Start it under the supervision of a health care professional especially those of you with kidney disease). High blood pressure can be exacerbated by a magnesium deficiency, as magnesium relaxes smooth muscle both in the arteries and in the gut, hence the bowel reaction with too much of this mineral. (Good for constipation Connie!) Dietary magnesium intake correlates inversely with blood pressure, which was born out by a “study of 8000 men and women who were initially free of hypertension. In this study, the risk of developing hypertension decreased as dietary magnesium intake increased in women, but not in men.” So it’s especially important to help prevent high blood pressure in women. Fruits and vegetables were part of the dietary sources of magnesium, always a good thing Martha. But interestingly to me anyway, 300 reactions in the body depend on magnesium. This mineral is really very important, and often overlooked as such. What’s one of the most important reasons for making sure you get your magnesium? First and foremost is heart health. Studies using magnesium show increased ability to exercise, less palpitations, less chest pain, and lower incidence of clotting. So eat your fruits, vegetables, nuts, and make sure you’re getting enough magnesium Margaret! Disclaimer: The above is not intended to advise or treat any medical condition. ☺Copyright April 11, 2012©