by guest blogger Morley Robbins, wellness coach and magnesium advocate
Any organic farmer knows that it's dangerous to create a monoculture farm. And parallels can be drawn about advice on nutrition: It, too, can be dangerous when based on a single nutrient. Sort of... Let me explain.
We've all been trained over the past 40 years to "up" our calcium, hearing from our doctors, nutritionists, trainers, and public health officials that the mineral was key to ensure proper health, and especially important for avoiding osteoporosis. America complied, dutifully. Despite this protocol, the rate of the dreaded bone disease has risen almost 700 percent during the most recent period studied. Worse yet, the research is now showing that this dietary policy is not just doubtful, but downright dangerous.
Missing in all this discussion has been any meaningful information or focus about calcium's biological "antagonist:" magnesium.
Magnesium? I get that in my greens and my supplement, right? Possibly. But is it getting absorbed? Here are 10 important facts to know about magnesium (Mg) that might just surprise you, and, in fact, may extend your life:
- Magnesium regulates calcium. All three of the body's calcium-regulating hormones (calcitonin, parathyroid hormone (PTH), and vitamin D) are dependent upon Mg for their proper production and regulation. Yeah, I was surprised, too, when I learned that. But it turns out that excess, unregulated calcium is a harbinger of many problems in the body, and is a prime cause of "brittle bones" in our skeletal structure, which happens when there is insufficient Mg in our body.
- Magnesium activates vitamin D. There is no more misunderstood hormone on this planet than vitamin D. I will sidestep the bulk of that confusion (for now), but will point out that our bodies require Mg to convert storage vitamin D (the form of the supplement you are likely taking) to active vitamin D (the form of the hormone that does so many amazing things in your body). It's possible that your doctor doesn't even know this--most don't.
- Magnesium regulates the electrolytes. The what? It turns out we are giant batteries that run on electricity. The source of that electricity is minerals, especially the four key electrolytes: calcium, sodium, potassium, and, of course, magnesium. We've covered calcium above, but know that the sodium/potassium (Na/K) pump that is in all 100 trillion cells of our body, and is central to our overall well-being, is totally dependent on Mg to run properly and keep these minerals in balance.
- Magnesium is essential for digestive enzymes. The macronutrients we eat daily (proteins, fats, and carbohydrates) each require a different set of enzymes to ensure proper metabolism and use in our bodies. It turns out that Mg is key to the production of all three classes of enzymes.
- Magnesium prevents sudden cardiac death. Since the pioneering work of Chipperfield and Chipperfield (whose findings were published in Lancet in1973), medicine has known that severe Mg deficiency was the cause of sudden death related to heart events. This fact was recently re-confirmed in a study this past year, just to amplify the point for the latest generation. Heart disease is a symptom of Mg deficiency. Readers beware.
- Magnesium regulates the enzyme that makes cholesterol. The body makes cholesterol for a reason. All steroid hormones that run our bodies (stress hormones, sex hormones, and so forth) are ultimately made from cholesterol. Hmmmm. So, high cholesterol means I'm stressed out? Likely. So what's a better way to deal with stress? Get more Mg in your diet and take more Mg supplements.
- Magnesium is essential for energy production. We derive our energy from the Krebs citric acid cycle (sorry to go geek on you) Every molecule of glucose that gets metabolized requires 28 molecules of Mg to make it happen. In fact, every transaction in the body that requires energy (most do, by the way) requires the presence of Mg and energy-storing adenosine triphosphate (ATP)--it's that central to our energy status, as well as our health status.
- Magnesium is essential for proper insulin levels. You cannot produce insulin, you cannot secrete insulin, and your cells cannot recognize insulin without proper levels of Mg. Study after study has proven the central role of Mg in controlling blood sugar levels. Your doctor has told you that, right? And if you're diagnosed with prediabetes (as 75 million Americans now are), you've had your Mg levels checked, right?
- Magnesium prevents depression. Scientists have known since 1926 that excess calcium, and too little Mg, correlates with people reporting they feel depressed. You mean it's largely a mineral imbalance? Yup. The fact that many of the top 20 highest-selling drugs in America are antidepressants is indicative of how imbalanced our bodies have become. (See #1, above...)
- Magnesium is deficient in most Americans' bodies. Numerous studies over the last several years have confirmed what the Mg-oriented health practitioners and researchers have known all along: We are missing sufficient levels of this critical nutrient. How did that happen? Ah, a subject of a future post...
There are a few ways to tell if you're deficient in Mg. Here's a brief listing of key symptoms (in addition to the conditions noted above...) that indicate that your body is looking for more Maggie, as I like to call it:
- Restless leg syndrome (RLS)
- Muscle cramps, especially in the night
- Facial ticks and twitches
- Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
- Migraines (about 70 percent are related to Mg deficiency and imbalance)
- High blood pressure
- Low blood sugar
- Poor sleep patterns
- Raynaud's syndrome
My intent is to make this interactive and shed important light on the true origin of the biological dysfunction that is ravaging America. It is epidemic, but it is also reversible.
I invite your questions, your comments, but most of all your open minds to the truth about the stealth factor in disease in America. We have been misled. We are being misfed. I will help pull back the curtain for all to see...
"You can trace every ailment, every sickness, and every disease to a mineral deficiency..."
--Linus C. Pauling, PhD, Two-time (unshared) Nobel laureate
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).
For more from Maria Rodale, go to www.mariasfarmcountrykitchen.com