How to Keep the Nutrients You Eat

by guest blogger Morley Robbins, wellness coach and magnesium advocate

Once people learn how magnesium deficiency is related to most, if not all, of their day-to-day symptoms, the next thing they want to know is, “How do I get more magnesium?” and then, “How do I hold on to my magnesium?” These are important questions.

If you’ll remember from our prior posts, stress causes magnesium loss. If you learn nothing else from this series of essays on magnesium, this one fact will change your life, and if you take steps to reverse this metabolic truism, it will change your health. I guarantee it! Given that, it’s really important to understand what aspects of your daily stress can be reduced or possibly eliminated.  Here are some important questions for you to answer:

1. What are the Mg “drains” in my life? Marshall A. Wolf, MD, an Internist at Harvard Medical School, made a great speech on the importance of magnesium in which he outlined the typical causes of Mg loss, or drains.  He dubbed them the “D’s of magnesium deficiency.”

  • Diet. Obviously, real food is far more mineral-rich than processed—we all know that. But did you know that buckwheat, brown rice, millet, and quinoa are among the most magnesium-rich whole grains you can find? And that brown rice has 10 times more Mg than white rice, and wild rice is twice as Mg rich as brown rice? It’s simple substitutions like these that can make a huge difference in the magnesium balance in your body. (See my most recent post for a more extensive list of Mg-rich foods.)
  • Drink. Now, I’m no teetotaler, but alcohol is a major diuretic. And so is coffee (don’t worry, I drink that too!) But I’m mindful of the metabolic price I’m paying for enjoying those drinks. And an effortless way to offset some of that mineral loss, especially with your cup of joe, is to add some concentrated mineral drops—it tastes great, and your body will love you for it! And eat Mg-rich foods to ensure metabolic balance.
  • Diarrhea. Not fun to talk about, but if you’ve got digestive distress, you’ve got mineral loss. Occasional bouts are no fun, but they’re not threatening. Regular loose stools, however, will lead to serious problems. And for those with celiac disease, the magnesium loss is quite significant. More on the gut in a moment.
  • Diuretics. Many blood pressure meds have a diuretic effect. That’s a fancy way of saying that they cause you to urinate. Unfortunately, in addition to getting rid of the sodium, frequent urination is also draining you of potassium and magnesium—it’s a very expensive price to pay. (Please reread the second D, above.)
  • Drugs. Many, many medications today have been shown to increase renal magnesium loss. I would strongly encourage everyone to read pharmacist Suzy Cohen’s online article “14 Classes of Drugs that Deplete your Body of Magnesium.” Be prepared to be shocked. There are more than 150 known drugs that deplete Maggie from our body—most of them brand-name medications.
  • Disease. Quoting from Dr. Wolf’s speech: “Foremost among these is diabetes, but magnesium deficiency is also seen in hyperthyroidism, hyperaldosteronism, and hypercalcemia of any cause.” And that’s a modest list. I’ve now read more than 380 articles about 18 different “signature” chronic diseases that have magnesium deficiency as their origin. (Yes, 18 diseases—that’s not a typo.)
  • Diaphoresis. (Yeah, I had to look that word up, too…) Sweat contains lots of minerals, especially magnesium, and excess loss through this mechanism is the reason runners cramp up. (Rare to find this in print in a medical journal, but when marathoners drop dead at the finish line—have you noticed it’s always at the finish line?—it’s generally severe mineral depletion, most notably magnesium loss that’s triggering the shutdown of their cardiac pump!)

2. How well is my gut working? If your tummy can’t break the food down on the front end to free up the minerals, and/or if your intestines can’t then absorb them, then all the Mg-rich foods in the world won’t do you any good. Please keep this in mind; your gut lining is turning over every three to five days. If it’s in chronic distress, then there’s more to the story that needs to be addressed, both nutritionally and emotionally. No it’s not genetic—it’s epigenetic, meaning “on top of genetics.” Different genes get turned on and off during development so your body can make different tissues, for the heart, the liver, the kidney, etc. Epigenetics is what controls all that. So, your food and your thoughts, your health now, influences the health of your children for generations to come.

3. What’s my level of phobia about fat? If you’re not ingesting sufficient levels of healthy, animal-based fats, you won’t be getting sufficient levels of true vitamin A (it takes six beta-carotenes from veggies to equal one unit of vitamin A). Vitamin A is absolutely essential, not just for good vision, but for the efficient uptake and use of minerals, especially magnesium. That “skinny latte” each morning is doing you no favors, trust me.

4. How “calcified” is my supplementation routine? The calcium you get from your foods should ideally be in a one to one balance with magnesium. And it is with most veggies and nuts. What throws us off is our habit of popping calcium supplements. It throws our calcium balance out of whack and leads to excess levels that prevent the proper uptake of magnesium.

5. And finally, how much fluoride is there in my life? Clearly, a very sensitive, and wildly misreported issue, but research is increasingly proving the impact that this known chemical poison is having on our magnesium status. It is pervasive, and binds up magnesium with abandon. It’s in your water, your food, your dental products, and your medications. Caveat eat-or!

OK, enough of the holes! It’s not unlike asking how you can increase your income, without ever assessing your daily or monthly consumption of cash. Plugging leaks in both of these areas of your life will be profoundly beneficial to your stress levels!

Next up, how do I know whether I need more magnesium, and what are the best tests to use to assess my levels?

 

Morley Robbins has been actively serving the healthcare field for the last 32+ years, as a hospital executive, healthcare consultant, and now Wellness Coach. Following a successful career managing and consulting to hospitals and health care systems, he realized that he could no longer stand the revolving door mentality of “sick care” centers. He is dedicating the balance of his career to “saving one starfish at a time” by coaching clients about how to eat “real food,” restore their mineral balance, especially their Magnesium status, and thereby, facilitate the process of natural healing. He has discovered the “fountain of youth” in his newfound persona of “Magnesium Man!” and is proud of his efforts to raise awareness about the importance of magnesium via the efforts of Magnesium Advocacy Group (www.magfor.org).

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6 Responses to How to Keep the Nutrients You Eat

  1. Roberta Githens Mugrage September 19, 2012 at 6:34 pm #

    Recently I have been diagnosed with IBS. Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Talk about fluid loss and loss of freedom due to the fact that knowing “when going is not knowing” My gastro doctor did not order a RX for the problem. Personally, already having way more RX’s that I want is more than enough. I also am bi-polar and have a heart condition. This is all at 73 years.

  2. Morley Robbins September 20, 2012 at 7:16 pm #

    Mrs. Mugrage–
    You might want to ask your doctor for a Magnesium RBC to get a better handle on your Magnesium status. IBS, bi-polar and heart disease are all indications of Magnesium deficiency. And the medications that you’re taking could be adding to the deficit. If your result is <6.0 mg/dL, you have a notable deficiency. The good news is that it can be resolved with diet & supplements.

  3. Elizabeth September 21, 2012 at 10:07 am #

    Hi Morley–

    Another great piece on magnesium! Because of you I have been using transdermal magnesium all over about 3-4 times a week for about the past 6 weeks.

    Just had my mag RBC done and it came back at 5.5. I know you say it should be above 6, but how high above 6 should it be for optimal health. Is 5.5 a notable deficiency or a minor deficiency? Should I retest after period of time to see if levels go up?

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge and expertise!

  4. Dianna Sowards September 21, 2012 at 10:46 am #

    Why do I seem to be having “side effect” problems since I starting using a magnesium form that all the sources, including this one, say I should be using? I used magnesium citrate, with zinc, for about a year, not regular at first, then in the last 4 months, everyday. I did not use the full dose, about half. Then when I ran out I bought one of the recommened forms, and as soon as I started using it, I started having episodes of irregular heartbeats, which I have had for 20 years. But I had become aware that the last months I used the magnesium citrate, I had not suffered an episode!

  5. Morley Robbins September 26, 2012 at 11:16 pm #

    Elizabeth,
    5.5 mg/dL is a notable deficiency. It’s important that you take steps to assess the stressors in your life, and restore your mineral base. I would strongly recommend a full court press: Epsom Salt baths, Mg Oil footbaths, focus on Mg-rich foods & mineral-rich water, and oral supplements (Mg Malate or Mg Glycinate). Absolutely, retest within 4-6 weeks to see how your body responds to this process.

  6. Morley Robbins September 26, 2012 at 11:18 pm #

    Dianna,
    My partner, Dr. Liz, and I work with 20 different forms of Magnesium. Why so many? Because everyone responds differently — just as you demonstrate! Please return to the form of Mg that worked best for you. The most important arbiter in this process is your body’s reaction.

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