Welcome to the part 2 of Managing the Master Mineral ‘Magnesium’. If you haven’t listened to the previous episode, I’d encourage you to listen to it, as well. I had mentioned that there would be two parts but it so happens that, the information that I’d like to share with you’ll is more than I had expected it to be. So, I have created a third part which I have already published with this episode. My effort is always to keep the episodes under 15 minutes, atleast the ones that are dense with information since I understand that it might be inconvenient to have a lot of information & long podcast episodes. So, in this episode, the part 2 of managing the master mineral ‘magnesium’ episode, I’ll be only & only talking about how to avoid magnesium depletion. And the remaining topics, magnesium rich foods, different forms of magnesium & understanding RBC, serum & urinary magnesium levels, you’ll find these in episode no. 3 which has already been published. I’m sorry for doing this but I really wanted to address the topic of magnesium depletion thoroughly. Afterall functional medicine is about addressing the root cause & it makes no sense in supplementing or trying to meet the nutrient requirements of the body, if the factors that have actually caused the deficiency are not addressed. No matter what you do, you’ll find yourself back to where you started! So, I want you to not just to become healthy but stay healthy! Let’s begin….
The first step in managing magnesium levels or actually anything I’d say, specially in regards with well-managing your health, is to first eliminate the factors that are actually causing the problem in the first place, rather than jumping onto managing its outcome, basically the problem or symptoms itself. For sure, managing the outcome is a good temporary fix that’ll arrest the progression of the problem or symptoms & slow it down, but that won’t really cause it to stop! And that’s how functionally medicine actually works. With that, lets get started with the factors that are actually causing the deficiency in the first place. First & foremost, due to modern agricultural practices, we are facing a problem of top-soil erosion, globally. What that means is, soil is where minerals are present which is absorbed by the plants & trees. And with the problem of top soil-erosion that is faced today along with heavy use of chemicals & pesticides, there is major depletion of magnesium & other minerals in our foods. And I really wouldn’t say that there’s nothing we can do about it. Actually there are a few things that we can do that’ll help. Remember, at the end of the day, an ocean is made up of drops of water, so don’t underestimate your role in the society, in this world, you matter & you are important!! First of all, I’d encourage you to look up regenerative farming. There’s also a nice documentary that I watched, ‘Kiss the ground’, I’d encourage you to watch it, if & when you have the time. And spread the word. I’llbe posyting a link to the documenary in the show notes. Secondly, buy local & organic, preferably from a farmer’s market if there’s one near you. Pesticide-laden, genetically engineered veggies & fruits that are big & shiny, perfect looking, doesn’t mean anything, they aren’t high in nutrients, they might be even lower. So, you’ve gotta opt for the local, organically grown fruits & veggies which are low in pesticides & even way smaller that the conventional ones but packed with the same or even, somewhat higher amounts of nutrients. Best of all, if you have the time & resources, you can grow your own food in the backyard. Some of my friends do that & the tomatoes, cucumbers & some other vegetable & fruits that I got from them, were seriously out of the world! De-licious!! Naturally sweet & flavorful! And lastly, method of cooking. Its better to steam or go for light sauteing in place of grilling or boiling, wherein you loose most of the nutrients & definitely don’t fry!
Next, sugar & I’m not talking about natural sugars from fruits, I’m talking about the processed & refined one, along with high intake of refined carbohydrates, like for example bakes & breads made of refined wheat flour. When you consume these or products that have them, the body has to go through a number of processes which requires magnesium as well, in order to break them down into energy & in the absence of any magnesium in these foods & sugars, the body is going to tap into its own reserves (2) (4) & if you are already depleted, talk about low bone density. So, please, I’d encourage you to dial down on your processed sugar intake. I understand, that its not something you might be able to do, overnight but I request you to start gradually reducing its intake. A good place to start would be by replacing store bought, pre-made, packaged products with home made foods & fruits. And for the teas & coffees, you can start by replacing the refined sugars with a teaspoon or 2 of coconut sugar or molasses or monk fruit, something on those lines, but in moderation.
Speaking of coffee, its a diuretic along with teas & other caffeinated beverages. I’d suggest, limiting your caffeine intake to 100-120grams in a day since its the caffeine that causes you to loose magnesium. Then, chronic use of medications also cause magnesium depletion like high blood pressure drugs, diuretics, birth control pills, antacids, some antibiotics, anti-seizure, anti-depression medications, etc. I’d recommend that you speak with your doctor & perhaps get onto magnesium supplementation. Also, please limit alcohol consumption which is also a contributing factor. There’s something interesting I’d like to share with you since we are speaking about blood pressure medications. The medication actually lowers the magnesium level in the body as one of the side effects (6) & without magnesium the muscles won’t be able to maintain proper muscle tension, I mean the muscles of the heart & blood vessels, in this case. We have already discussed effects of low magnesium on the heart in the previous episode. So, in the case of the blood vessels, it won’t be able to dilate & contract efficiently, they’ll be stuck in the spasmodic condition, increasing the pressure on the walls of the arteries & that’s what elevations in blood pressure mean! Many a times, the cause of hypertension is nothing but a magnesium deficiency (7). So,…… what can I say……We live in a crazy CRAZY world!!
Okay, moving on, there’s chronic stress, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome and environmental factors that can deplete magnesium further by activating the sympathetic nervous system (1) (3). Imagine when acute stress causes plasma & urinary magnesium to increase, basically its excretion from the body, what chronic stress could do & stress is associated with increased oxidative stress which again depletes magnesium, there’s a really interesting research article that I have liked to over here (5) in the transcript. And in the case of type 2 diabetes, hyperglycemia, since the body is already facing an increase in stress, then things like running, exercising, profound sweating, will only further contribute to depletion of magnesium. So, it’ll be ideal to be more active by taking walks, perhaps more often, maybe spread through out the day & if you wish you can get into tai-chi, maybe some light swimming, yoga, stretching if you wish. A side note that, stretching should only be done when the body is warm after performing some activity. And ofcourse, you have to try & reduce your stress levels, while also well managing metabolic syndrome. And another weird thing that I’d like to mention before I go ahead. In type 2 diabetes, there’s a magnesium deficiency taking place, because, not only is magnesium being depleted due to excretion through urine & due to increased inflammation & oxidation but also due to the fact that insulin stimulates magnesium uptake in insulin-sensitive tissues & insulin insensitivity will prevent the magnesium from getting into the cell & not only that, low intracellular magnesium, basically low magnesium in the cell, also further promotes insulin resistance (9)! Plus, guess what diabetes medications like metformin does, lowers magnesium (10)! So, its best to speak with your doctor & get onto magnesium supplementation, atleast till the time you are on medications & working on managing your type 2 diabetes, successfully.
Overdosing on Vitamin D, also causes depletion of magnesium, since it requires magnesium for its activation. So, remember not to start supplementing with Vitamin D aggressively that too not without supplementing with magnesium first, atleast a week before you start taking vitamin D. As for managing vitamin D, I’ll be making an episode on that as well in the coming weeks. High dosages of calcium & phosphorus will also most likely lead to an imbalance, contributing to magnesium deficiency. And another side-note, you need sufficient levels of vitamin D, B6 & Selenium for the absorption of magnesium. So make sure that all the nutrients are in place!
Lastly but most importantly, your gut health matters a whole lot! In the presence of conditions such as celiac disease, gastritic (basically inflammation in the gut), ulcerative colitis, etc, magnesium absorption is bound to suffer, just like, if the doors for the train are dysfunctional, how many people do you suppose would be able to get into the train, not many ofcourse! Our gut lining has to be healthy for any nutrient absorption to appropriately take place, not just magnesium. And so does our stomach acid need to be sufficient! Because stomach acid is needed to absorb important nutrients apart from magnesium, like iron, B12, calcium and zinc. Without the proper breakdown or absorption of nutrients, we end up obtaining less nutrition from the foods already, plus imagine if the intestinal lining is also not healthy, that’s a double whammy, right there! So, a healthy gut is very VERY Important!! I would also like to mention about PPI’s, proton pump inhibitors, which are commonly prescribed for treatment of peptic ulcer, gastritis, esophagitis and gastroesophageal reflux, cause a rapid depletion of magnesium as a side effect when used chronically. (11) Especially since it also suppresses stomach acid!
And with that we have reached the end of this episode. Part 3 is ready & published so feel free to listen to it now or later or tomorrow or whenever you’d like! I, thank you’ll for being such loyal listeners. Have a nice day or evening! See you in part 3!