Thursday, October 15, 2009

Fall n Winter Blues - Magnesium to the rescue!

Do you get enough Magnesium?? If you're a woman in the US, you most likely receive only HALF of the body's requirements daily from supplements & food! (daily requirement is between 500 & 700 mg/per day - see formula below for calculating your 'ideal' amount!)

Last Wed. a client who's dealing with foot pain (plantar fascitis) was in for her weekly massage, & at the end of our session, I asked how much Magnesium she takes. Well, some - a multi, so she's getting ~ 200 mg (each) of Ca & Mag a day (we checked the label, & she takes 4 rather than 6), plus whatever she receives from food. (The current 'RDA' is 400 mg/day for adults) YIKES!!

I suggested she check with her doc (one of the NDs) about taking more! Ironically, my client also has fibromyalgia, which is often linked with low Mag. levels, & 15 years ago, a DC in Salem recommended all his fibro. clients take more magnesium - why hasn't our doc, a Naturopath, suggested she take more? (she knew he'd be peeved that she's only been taking 4 of the multi . . . she's begun taking all 6, & will ask at her apt this week. Did he mention it before, & it just never registered?)

Meanwhile, I picked up a Cal mag citrate 'effervescent powder (500 mg C, 500 mg Ca, 200 mg Mag) & extra Magnesium in cap. form (150 mg) for a whopping $13 & $11 (before my ~ 40% employee discount!) So, like the Vit D, it's relatively inexpensive - & so worth it!
In our office, D-3 runs $8 for 1000 IU, $13 for 5000 IU - & many docs are now doing the bloodwork to determine the amount you need - minimum of 800 IU of D is recommended for most adults in the NW as we go into winter! (up from the old dose of 400 IU for adults) & many folks take 2000-5000 daily, after having the bloodwork done!

That evening at my
women's book group, a couple of gals mentioned beginning to feel the fall & winter *blues* nagging at them, so the next day I poked around for magnesium recommendations, & found this article on Magnesium by a woman whose doc prescribed Cal/Vit D-3, & 'mentioned' she 'probably' need more magnesium -

She writes that she didn't get the Magnesium, as her doc just said 'probably' - but after reading about it potentially helping menopausal gals & trying some, her energy IMMEDIATELY increased: "Within 24 hours, I began to feel better, and my energy level was much higher. I figured at that time that it was just a coincidence, because the sun had been shining a lot, and that always makes me feel better, too."
She goes on to say she continued to feel "
more energetic, and way less depressed" even on cloudy days!

Over the years I've seen client after client benefit from upping their magnesium levels, & an MT writing for one of our massage mags estimates ~ 80% of Americans are low on this precious mineral, due to mineral depletion of soil,
& our current diets.

Magnesium helps make leaves green, as Iron makes our blood red! Think leafy greens - DARK leafy greens (dandelion, nettle, kale), chocolate, (mmm), whole grains & beans - but if mag isn't added to the soil (or the nettles etc. wildcrafted from healthy soil) there's less & less available. In addition, the potassium & phosphate fertilizers used in 'conventional farming' also interfere with uptake! (another reason for eating as much local OG food as possible! They are likely to provide more nutrients!)

A blood test won't reveal mag. deficiency, as the Ca/Mag ratio is always the same (2:1) in the blood. Symptoms of deficiency include: muscle twitches & cramps, restless legs, bone spurs, tight muscles, hard stools; here's a list of issues assoc. with low mag. levels (inc. celiac disease, aging, PMS & menopause, chronic diseases, etc!!)

I found a great article by a nutritionist also talks about why we aren't (typically) getting enough, & how to determine a level for yourself. Well worth checking out!

Magnesium plays an important role 325+ biochemical reactions in the human body, including the transmission of hormones (such as insulin, thyroid, estrogen, testosterone, DHEA, etc.), neurotransmitters (such as dopamine, catecholamines, serotonin, GABA, etc.), and minerals and mineral electrolytes. It also protects the cells from heavy metals, & protects the brain from Altzheimer's & Parkinson's!

Do you begin to see the importance of this essential nutrient?

I'm excited to find Krispin - She's written several books, inc: "Naked at Noon, Understanding the Importance of Sunlight & Vitamin D." Born in 1946, Krispin has been studying nutrition all her adult life, & articulately shares her info!

Krispin offers a formula for calculating the amount of Magnesium you need, based on weight: 5 - 10 mg per day per kilo of ideal body weight, or 2.5 - 4.5 mg per day per pound of ideal body weight.

To compensate for deficiencies and/or losses the new RDA is expected to be 500 mg. per day. My Krispin-RDA is a total of 500-700 mg magnesium daily. (the current RDA is 350 mg)

Determination of optimal amounts must take into consideration both body size and activity level. Magnesium is a key component of the ATP cycle in the cell which produces all energy.

Example: 70 kilos or 150 pounds= 350 mg. to 700 mg. daily.

So think about your consumption of organic & wildcrafted leafy greens, & check your supplement bottles - if you're taking more Ca. than Mag, try upping the Mag a bit. I like to use 150-200 mg caps (power inside) & a citrate or malate form, & take one or two a day, in addition to my multi.

Krispin offers suggestions on the most bio-available forms, & suggests folks experiment with timing, spreading your doses throughout the day. (some find that Mag gives them too much energy if taken before bed, for others, it helps bring sleep!)
Some docs & nutritionists feel we should get = amounts of Ca & Mag, others feel the ration should be slightly higher in Mag, & you may need to try different forms to find what works best for you!

Krispin writes:
"In a recent study analyzing the diet of 564 adult Americans, both male and female, the average intake of magnesium was less than two-thirds of the RDA for men and less than 50% of the RDA for women. This means that men, on average, are getting under 200 mg. magnesium daily and women get under 150 mg. per day. When you take into consideration the current RDA is less than half of the probable adequate amount of magnesium (required) you begin to see the scope of the deficiency problem."

At 142mg, (plus what's in her food) my client with fibro & foot pain currently is one of those women receiving about half of the RDA, & by this calculation, could take 4 or 5 X the amount she does currently, & will probably begin feeling less sore!

Another regular client mentioned she's going to have heart surgery 'soon,' as she has calcification in the heart (aorta?) . . . when I asked about her magnesium intake, she commented that she 'used to take it, but haven't for awhile.' I suggested she start taking it again! My daughter's nutritionally oriented MD recommends a higher level of Mag. for his patients, who rarely experience heart attacks or strokes. & when on-call at the Hospital, he would add Mag to the IVs of heart & stroke patients.

Like Krispin, I'm not a doctor! Please check the info out for yourself!

As a massage therapist, I've seen many clients respond favorably to increasing their
Magnesium intake, often within the first week; & feel most, if not all, of my clients could use more!

Epsom salts (Mag sulfate) in the bath are one way to ease sore muscles, I often recommend that following a massage, or between sessions! My mom & grandma put Epsom salts in a foot bath (dish pan) with water as hot as you can stand, whenever I felt 'punky' as a kid. Now I add essential oils (rose geranium, clary sage, lavender) to a jar of Epsom salts, & these enhance the relaxation.

& if Magnesium helps stave off that winter depression (yes, I took mine this AM :) . . .

On another note, for anyone who's feeling an urge for a spot of fall cleaning, 'things fly-lady's taught me' gives
an excellent overview of one blogger's adaptation of fly-lady's great tips for restoring order to our homes!

1 comment:

Suzie Ridler said...

I take magnesium glycinate in powder form right before bed which helps not only my muscles but my brain relax, thus helping me fall asleep. Most magnesium pills are not easily digestible and go to waste. I much prefer to powder and it does help, thanks. Next I have to get some Vitamin D to help me get over this flu and deal with the winters blues.