We do not suffer from pharmaceutical deficiencies, but from a lack of the building blocks that our bodies require to function.
My goal is to help you understand how to listen to your body's language of symptoms, and empower you with the insight to restore your body to vibrant health.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Life under stress, and grabbing for chocolate?

That’s because stress drains the body of magnesium.  Magnesium deficiency is reported in 80% or more of the population, many severely deficient.  Commercially grown and processed foods are very deficient in magnesium.  And managing our stressful lives requires even more magnesium. 

Magnesium is needed by every cell in your body. Every cell must produce it's own energy.  Magnesium is the spark plug for that energy production.  Without adequate stores of magnesium within the cell, it cannot perform as needed. When magnesium is deficient, each cell consequently underperforms.  

Magnesium also powers over 350 different enzyme reactions occurring throughout our bodies.  With reduced magnesium levels, there is reduced enzyme activity. Enzymes enable white cells to destroy mutations or disease causing invaders.  Enzymes are critical for breaking down of toxic waste products we produce, or ingest.    These enzyme reactions enable our organs to function properly. The pancreas is rich in enzymes which digest food, and regulate blood sugar, but they can underperform with reduced magnesium stores.

Lots of muscle cramps, especially at night?  Anxious,  nervous, or trouble sleeping? ADD? Migraines? High blood pressure? Asthma? Low bone density?  These can all be a clue to magnesium deficiency.  Chronic constipation can also suggest magnesium deficiency, as colon muscles need to relax to allow the wave-like contraction to push the stool along.  

Bad cholesterol results?  Metabolic syndrome with diabetes or pre-diabetes?  These are also clues of magnesium deficiency.  

Magnesium promotes health in many ways, in addition to improving how we feel.  It enables us to cope with stress by relaxing nerves and muscles. It is needed for healing, and to calm chronic inflammation.  Because magnesium is needed throughout the body, deficiencies  in magnesium can create a variety of ways, one of the reasons it is overlooked in the current symptom-focused medical industry. This mineral is one of those core nutrients without which our bodies cannot function properly. 

Magnesium is in short supply in our typical American diet.  This is significantly due to our habit of using prepackaged convenience meals, as well as their inclusion of appetite stimulating sugars that blocks absorption of magnesium.  Many medications block absorption,  or increase urinary excretion of magnesium.  These include a variety of acid blockers, cholesterol lowering agents, blood pressure meds, diabetes medication, laxatives, oral contraceptives, and hormonal replacement therapy.

Foods rich in magnesium need to be eaten daily.  These include green, leafy vegetables, chickpeas, kelp, almonds, cashews, and cocoa. Less familiar to some of you are blackstrap molasses, bone broth stock,and buckwheat.  Wheat germ is high in magnesium, but it should be avoided by the gluten intolerant.  There are also green drinks, and powders to further rev up your greens intake.  I throw some of these in the blender with some veggies and fruit, and find this helps me stay calm and energetic through even a crazy day!  Garden of Life and Amazing Grass make some of my favorite ones. I also keep nuts nearby for a quick snack and magnesium boost anytime.  

Magnesium Taurate is believed by some to be the best absorbed form of oral supplement.  Having tried many, I personally find this form most effective.  Magnesium Oxide is commonly available, but is reported to have an absorption rate of only 4%.  Magnesium Citrate can be helpful when experiencing constipation, as it will work topically on the bowel to relax the colon muscles.  To much of it can, however, cause loose stools and waste magnesium.

 Magnesium is absorbed well through the skin. So enjoy epsom salt soaks, and use topical magnesium sprays or lotion.    I love epsom salt soaks, a good excuse to relax and soothe before bed.  I also use the topical spray, finding it great at quickly relieving muscle cramps-in the middle of the night, speed counts! Magnesium helps heal injuries faster, and soothes inflammation.  I used to massage my husband’s sore back or neck seemingly forever.  Now when he asks, I start with my "Magnesium Lotion Spray" over the area, and usually the problem resolves in minutes--without needing the massage!  This spray was developed by the founder of the American Holistic Medical Association, who developed it in his chronic pain clinic, where testing demonstrated it to increase the body’s own store of DHEA, a hormone that can drop the stress hormone.   

Foods commercially grown are pretty much depleted of magnesium.  Organic food has more magnesium, particularly if picked when ripe.  I have seen various posts online of the benefits of epsom salts on vegetable yield, and taste.  I’m going to try this on my herbs and tomatoes on the deck this summer, for a tasty magnesium boost.

While you enjoy your chocolate “medication”, remember that sugar blocks absorption of the magnesium.  So go for 60% or more chocolate.  Ghirardelli Bittersweet Chocolate Chips are my favorite.  

By the way, I have developed an amazing grain-free Paleo chocolate chip cookie that is mixer-free and awesome. I've made it the next post.  Enjoy!

<< Disclaimer:  This is for informational purposes only, and not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure disease.  If you take medications, are on diet restrictions, or you have any medical conditions, discuss magnesium with your doctor before changing your diet.  >>