Smorgasbord Health Column – Nutrients the body needs – Magnesium – Deficiency Alert


health-column-final22-4-2

Last week I covered calcium which is the richest mineral in our bodies.. the next mineral in the series would have been chromium but I covered that in a post on pre-diabetes earlier in the year: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/02/08/smorgasbord-health-column-pre-diabetes-blood-sugar-control-chromium/

I am skipping through to Magnesium which is a very important ally of Calcium and you can read more about their synergistic relationship here: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/03/15/smorgasbord-health-column-nutrients-that-need-others-to-be-evitamin-c-d-k-calcium-and-magnesiumfficiently-absorbed-by-the-body/

Magnesium – Calcium’s BFF and a deficiency alert

One of the minerals that most people focus on is calcium but it is in fact magnesium or the lack of this mineral in our diet that may be the contributory factor in many of the diseases that we suffer from, particularly as we get older.

Deficiency alert

It is believed that the availability of magnesium in drinking water and in our soil is now greatly decreased.

Not only is the soil depleted but the plants that we eat are also becoming more and more magnesium deficient for two reasons. There is less magnesium in the soil that nourishes them, and the use of potassium and phosphorus-laden fertilisers, alter the ability of the plant to absorb the mineral.

When we cook food we lose magnesium and if we restrict our calories during a diet and remove specific food groups such as whole grains; it can create an imbalance.

pH balance – Acidity and Alkalinity

It is important that our bodies have a pH level that maintains the correct balance between too acid and too alkaline. Major organs and our blood have their own healthy pH level and this also applies to our intestines. Our modern diet of high sugars and processed foods compromises the pH balance in our gut creating a high acidity environment, leading to malabsorption of not just magnesium but of all the nutrients the body needs to maintain health.

It is staggering how many diseases are linked to a deficiency of this mineral including:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Angina
  • Asthma
  • Autism
  • Auto immune disorders
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Insomnia
  • Kidney stones
  • Headaches
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Muscle weakness
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Osteoporosis.

How Magnesium works with Calcium (the most abundant mineral in the body)

Magnesium works with calcium in a number of ways but fundamentally the absorption of calcium is severely compromised if there is not sufficient magnesium.

Calcium is stored in the body including in our bones and teeth. Magnesium however is not stored and we therefore need to include in our diet daily. In the last 100,000 years our diet has changed dramatically; particularly in the last 100 years when industrially manufactured foods have taken the place of natural produce.

Humans now consume more dairy than they have in the past and although magnesium is present in dairy in small amounts the amount of calcium is ten times more. If we consume a lot of dairy products combined with other calcium containing foods we rarely see a deficiency of that mineral, unless there is a health issue involved. But we tend to eat less of the magnesium containing foods such as nuts, seeds and now with the current ‘expert’ advice; carbohydrates including wholegrains.

With intensive farming there is also less magnesium in the soil that grows our vegetables along with other essential nutrients such as selenium. If the foods we eat daily do not contain sufficient magnesium to activate the calcium then you will begin to see signs of varying degrees of deficiency.

Muscle contraction is made possible by calcium but muscles also need to relax and that requires magnesium.

If you suffer from muscle cramps regularly even when you are sitting or lying in bed you need to look at the amount of magnesium that you are consuming daily. Have you recently given up eating all carbohydrates, or excluded nuts and seeds because you feel that they are too ‘fattening’? This is particularly important for the heart which is muscle and contracts and relaxes to push blood around the body. W

Bone density and joint health requires the right balance of a number of minerals and vitamins such as Vitamin D.

We are all told that we need calcium for health bones and teeth but unless magnesium and Vitamin D are part of the formula calcium levels are elevated and it collects in our soft tissues including around our joints which leads to inflammation and arthritis. Because the mineral is not being absorbed into the bones where it is needed it leads to a loss of bone density and ultimately to osteoporosis. (I will cover Vitamin D in more detail in later posts).

Magnesium’s role in critical reactions in the body.

Brain health: Without this mineral as part of our diet we are also at risk of heavy metal poisoning and a deficiency has been linked to these being deposited in the brain resulting in Alzheimer’s disease and other brain disorders. The nervous system is regulated from the brain so a deficiency or damage to parts of the brain will result in impaired physical function as well as hormone transmission.

Magnesium is essential for that transmission of hormones such as the secretion and action of insulin, thyroid and oestrogen and in the neurotransmitters such as serotonin.

Reproductive health. As magnesium is essential for the transmission of oestrogen a deficiency in young women’s diets can result in irregular periods and other PMS symptoms. This is particularly relevant to cramps due to a calcium (contract muscle) magnesium (relax muscle) imbalance.

Apart from our bones magnesium is needed in the formation of protein and fatty acids, new cells throughout the body, activating the B vitamins, clotting blood and helping form the ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) fuel that we run on.

Lifestyle risk factors for magnesium deficiency.

There are a number of risk factors that decrease our ability to absorb magnesium including excessive alcohol intake, using recreational drugs, excessive levels of calcium, too much caffeine in coffee, severe dieting, high intake of phosphorus laden foods such as fizzy drinks and processed foods. Too much salt in the diet, over exercising and physical and mental stress also contribute.

The good news is that by consuming magnesium in high quality fresh products (not necessarily organic but not the cheapest) daily is usually effective provided you are not over consuming calcium rich foods every day in excess.

 

The best food sources for magnesium are to be found in dark green vegetables such as spinach also in fish, meat, seafood, apples, apricots, avocados, bananas, whole grain cereals such as brown rice, beans and nuts.

Supplementation

My view on supplementation is that it should always be used in combination with a nutrient rich diet and only at times when needed. However, our modern lifestyle probably classifies. Stress, industrially produced foods, lack of sunlight and reduced nutrients in the soil that grows our food, all contribute to deficiencies.

You can buy combined supplements that bring Calcium, Magnesium and Vitamin D3 together and lately more are also including Vitamin K2 which is another important element in bone health as well as other health issues.

Some of the tablets are whoppers and as we get older, our ability to break those down sufficiently to absorb the nutrients is less effective.

I have moved most of my supplements to oral sprays for under the tongue or into the cheek muscle. It bypasses the digestive system and gets straight into the bloodstream. However, I also use a magnesium oil which I rub into my skin at night.

I believe all of us over 60 would benefit from moving to high quality oral sprays and magnesium oil to ensure we are receiving the increased nutritional support that we need, even with a diet rich in vegetables, fruits and whole grains.

You can read all the health column posts in this directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/smorgasbord-health-column-news-nutrients-health-conditions-anti-aging/

© Just Food for Health  Sally Cronin 1998 – 2018

A little bit about me nutritionally.

A little about me from a nutritional perspective. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago. I qualified as a nutritional therapist and practiced in Ireland and the UK as well as being a consultant for radio. My first centre was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Here are my health books including a men’s health manual and my anti-aging book.

All available in Ebook fromhttp://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2

And Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sally-Georgina-Cronin/e/B003B7O0T6

Comprehensive guide to the body, and the major organs and the nutrients needed to be healthy 360 pages, A4: http://www.moyhill.com/html/just_food_for_health.html

Thank you for dropping in and if you have any questions fire away.. If you would like to as a private question then my email is sally.cronin@moyhill.com. I am no longer in practice and only too pleased to help in any way I can. thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Health Column – Nutrients that need others to be efficiently absorbed by the body. Vitamin C, D, K , Calcium and Magnesium


The health supplement industry is worth billions of dollars and pounds annually. However, there is a danger that we will turn to the magic of pills or sprays to provide us with the nutrients that should be provided by foods as we restrict our diets in line with the latest official edicts.

The reality is that your body absorbs the nutrients that it requires from food, because over the last few hundred thousand years, that is how we have evolved. Not just humans but every animal across the millions of species, has also evolved that way. Which is why, however enriched a dry dog or cat food might be, it can never take the place of real meat, fish, fowl and some plants that animals would consume in the wild.

Put aside the fact for a moment that we are intelligent human beings, and look at your body as a fine example of thousands of years of fine tuning. Part of our problem with health and obesity is that we have gone from foraging and hunting and being opportunistic eaters, to being able to walk into a supermarket and pick stuff off the shelves all year around.

The body requires a wide range of nutrients to obtain what it needs, and up until the food industry began importing foreign produce and canning foods, we would have eaten seasonally. Do you get into May or June and start to crave crisp salad leaves, tomatoes, cucumber and spring onions? Do you get to October and suddenly want to dive into root vegetable stews and soups and mashed swede or parsnips with a pudding of berries on porridge? That is your ancestral instinct for seasonal foods.

Now that we can pick and choose our food to buy rather than gather… it does mean that sometimes we are not getting the right combination of nutrients together to be effective. Some nutrients require other vitamins or minerals to be absorbed by the body and this applies not only to the food that we consume but any supplements that we take.

Let me give you some examples.

You will usually see calcium supplements sold as either Calcium and Magnesium or Calcium and Vitamin D3.

CALCIUM: The most abundant and essential mineral in the body. There are approximately two to three pounds mainly found in the teeth and bones. Apart from its role in the formation of teeth and bones it is also required for blood clotting, transmission of signals in nerve cells and muscle contractions. There is some indication that higher dietary calcium intake protects against cardiovascular disease particularly in women. If you are at risk of kidney stones consult your doctor before taking in additional calcium supplements. This also applies if you are suffering from prostate cancer where there may be a link between increased levels of dietary calcium in dairy products and this form of cancer. It is thought it is thought that excess calcium causes lower levels of Vitamin D, which helps protect against prostate cancer.

 

The best dietary sources are dairy (moderate intake) milk (semi-skimmed is good), yogurt, cheese such as Feta and cottage cheese sardines, canned salmon (the bones), green leafy vegetables such as watercress, broccoli, kale and spinach; soy products such as tofu and nuts such as almonds. Figs and oranges, fortified oats and other cereals, almond or rice milk and even tinned baked beans.

Although an excess of dietary calcium is indicated as lowering levels of Vitamin D it actually requires Vitamin D to be absorbed efficiently from the stomach and for the various calcium functions within the body. Which means that you would need to increase foods that contain Vitamin D or obtain adequate amounts of sunshine to allow your body to produce effectively to help boost your immune system and to prevent diseases such as prostate cancer.

VITAMIN D: CHOLECALCIFEROL; Essential for maintaining blood levels of calcium by increasing absorption from food and decreasing loss from urine. This maintains a balance preventing calcium from being removed from the stores in the bones. It also plays a role in maintaining a healthy immune system and blood cell formation. It may protect against prostate cancer. It is needed for adequate levels of insulin and may protect the body from Multiple Sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and juvenile diabetes.

Why Vitamin D is essential for healthy bone density

A network of collagen fibres forms the base of bone and they are then overlaid with minerals. The strength of the finished bone is dependent on the amount of mineralisation that takes place. Osteoclasts will remove old bone when needed and this results in a need to produce new collagen matrix to attract new minerals for the repair process.

Here is an example of healthy bone.

normal-bone-micrograph

Vitamin D is essential to ensure that sufficient calcium and phosphorus is attracted to the new matrix and that strong new bone is produced. It begins its work in the intestines where your food is processed and assists in the absorption of calcium. If you are deficient in Vitamin D the bone becomes calcium depleted (osteomalacia) increasing your risk of fractures.

Unfortunately, if you are deficient in this vitamin more bone is discarded than replaced leading to soft and malformed bones.

osteoporotic-bone-micrograph

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin and is mainly synthesised by the body during exposure to sunlight although it is also found in Cod liver oil, oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, tuna and free-range eggs. It is also added to fortify milk and cereals including in bread. 

As you can see from the above calcium and Vitamin D work together.

However, during the winter months when sunlight is restricted there is a danger that the relationship will become one sided with the constant intake of calcium in everyday foods but a decrease in available vitamin D.

If you cannot get enough Vitamin D through the winter months from eating an increase in oily fish or eggs, then you can opt to take a Vitamin D3 supplement. For example I take it in a spray form that is absorbed quickly into the body through my cheek membranes..

But taking a Vitamin D3 supplement adds another wrinkle.

To activate the D3 supplement and to prevent the calcium build up in the bloodstream, you need to make sure that you have adequate intake of both magnesium and Vitamin K2.

MAGNESIUM: It is essential mineral needed for bone, protein and fatty acid formation, forming new cells, activating the B vitamins, relaxing muscles, clotting blood and forming ATP the fuel the body runs on. The secretion and action of insulin also needs magnesium. It is needed to balance calcium in the body and too much can result in very low levels of calcium.

The best food sources are whole grains such as brown rice and oats, almonds, bananas, beans, pumpkinseeds and sesame seeds, wheat germ, dried apricots, dark green vegetables such as spinach and kale, Brussel Sprouts, mushrooms, egg yolks soybeans and fish. Chicken, lamb and turkey, white fish and tuna.

VITAMIN K: PHYLLOQUINONE; Necessary for proper bone formation and blood clotting, and has been largely ignored until relatively recently, as not just necessary, but essential for bone health and cardiovascular health because of its working relationship with calcium.

The vitamin is fat-soluble and is stored in the liver. Studies indicate that approximately 50% of the stores come from our diet and the balance from bacteria in the intestines. We need healthy bile production for efficient absorption of Vitamin K and our lymphatic system circulates it throughout the body.

Vitamin K1 is mainly found in leafy green vegetables such as spinach and dark lettuce, raw cauliflower, broccoli, tomatoes, and olive oil. It is also produced by the body from bacteria in the intestines.

There are two forms of of the Vitamin and K2 (MENAQUINONE) and since the focus on Vitamin K has always been on blood clotting, it is only recently that the significance of inadequate amounts of K2 has been identified.

Without adequate K2 in relation to Vitamin D (particularly as a supplement) there is an over absorption of calcium leading to deposits in the arteries and heart disease.

Therefore K2 is essential to help maintain the calcium in our bones and prevent it leaching into the bloodstream; resulting in not only harmful calcium deposits but also osteoporosis.

 

Best food sources for K2 are in organ meats such as liver, egg yolks and  butter, milk, cheese such as Brie and Gouda and fermented foods such as Sauerkraut etc. (Fermented foods help maintain a balance of healthy bacteria in the gut and as Vitamin K is also produced in the gut it is a great addition to your diet)

In Summary:

To ensure that you maintain the correct balance of calcium, magnesium, Vitamin D and Vitamin K2 you need to combine foods during the day that provide you with adequate amounts of each.

As you have seen from the food sources there are some that handily combine one or more of the nutrients. If you were to compile your breakfast, lunch and evening meal with a component or a joint component from each of these food selections, you would be going a long way to achieving adequate intake of them all. This will help to prevent some of the age related diseases such as heart disease.

Calcium

The best dietary sources are dairy (moderate intake) milk (semi-skimmed is good), yogurt, cheese such as Feta and cottage cheese sardines, canned salmon (the bones), green leafy vegetables such as watercress, broccoli, kale and spinach; soy products such as tofu and nuts such as almonds. Figs and oranges, fortified oats and other cereals, almond or rice milk and even tinned baked beans.

Vitamin D

It is a fat-soluble vitamin and is mainly synthesised by the body during exposure to sunlight although it is also found in Cod liver oil, oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, tuna and free-range eggs. It is also added to fortify milk and cereals including in bread.

Magnesium

The best food sources are whole grains such as brown rice and oats, almonds, bananas, beans, pumpkinseeds and sesame seeds, wheat germ, dried apricots, dark green vegetables such as spinach and kale, Brussel Sprouts, mushrooms, egg yolks soybeans and fish. Chicken, lamb and turkey, white fish and tuna.

Vitamin K2 in varing forms such as MK-4 and MK-7 which are just as effective.

Best food sources are in organ meats such as liver, chicken, pork, duck, herrings, egg yolks and  butter, milk, cheese and fermented foods such as Sauerkraut etc. (Fermented foods help maintain a balance of healthy bacteria in the gut and as Vitamin K is also produced in the gut it is a great addition to your diet)

Here are some ideas and you can mix and match from each of the groups to vary your meals.

Breakfast – A bowl of porridge with semi-skimmed milk and a chopped banana. Glass of fortified orange juice.

Snack – Handful of pumpkin seeds.

Lunch – A two egg omelette made with milk, cheese and spinach, served with a spinach, tomato and avocado salad and a slice of wholegrain bread and butter.

Snack – An orange

Dinner – Roast pork with broccoli, brown rice, carrots and a dessertspoon of sauerkraut or other pickled vegetables. Followed by a yoghurt with chopped dried apricots.

If you are taking these nutrients in supplement form.

If you are taking a Calcium and D3 supplement, then I suggest that you look at changing to a Calcium and Magnesium combined supplement, and during the winter months particularly when sunlight is in short supply, a Vitamin D3 and a separate K2 supplement.

You might find these posts of interest .

The progression of Osteoporosis over 50.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/05/16/smorgasbord-health-2017-top-to-toe-the-skeleton-the-progresson-of-osteoporosis-over-50-2/

A brief overview of the nutrients we need and the foods that supply them.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/nutrient-directory-a-brief-overview-of-the-nutrients-we-need-and-the-foods-that-supply-them/

 

A bit about my nutritional background.

A little about me from a nutritional perspective. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago. I qualified as a nutritional therapist and practiced in Ireland and the UK as well as being a consultant for radio. My first centre was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Here are my health books including a men’s health manual and my anti-aging book.

All available in Ebook fromhttp://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2

And Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sally-Georgina-Cronin/e/B003B7O0T6

Comprehensive guide to the body, and the major organs and the nutrients needed to be healthy 360 pages, A4: http://www.moyhill.com/html/just_food_for_health.html

Thank you for dropping in and if you have any questions fire away.. If you would like to as a private question then my email is sally.cronin@moyhill.com. I am no longer in practice and only too pleased to help in any way I can. thanks Sally