Thursday, April 7, 2011


SOS for Stress
March 29th, 2011
Magnesium to the rescue.

Earthquakes. Tsunamis. Nuclear meltdowns. I can’t help but think of the ominous Chinese proverb, “May you live in interesting times.”

Without a doubt, we are living with major Earth changes on a daily basis. When it comes to health, the single most important lifestyle change you can make these days is to optimize magnesium intake. Many of us are aware of the importance of both calcium and magnesium metabolism—two minerals essential for the nourishment and health of the nervous system, as well as of bones and the heart. Maintaining a healthy calcium/magnesium balance (1:1 or better yet, 1:2 in favor of magnesium) is vital, yet so many of us overuse calcium supplements.

A high intake of calcium without accompanying magnesium can increase magnesium requirements and intensify magnesium deficiency symptoms, such as nervousness, anxiety, depression, becoming startled at the least little noise, and insomnia. Magnesium decreases the need for calcium.

Think of it this way: there are over 450 biochemical processes and 600 muscles in your precious body that need magnesium every second of every day. So why is magnesium MIA?

Our evolving human ancestors had a ready supply of magnesium in the form of nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables and therefore did not develop a storage mechanism for this mineral. But because they did not have high calcium foods like dairy products readily available, their bodies did evolve to store calcium effectively. Because of this storage mechanism, a little bit of calcium goes a long way in the body.

Our bodies are not biochemically different from our Stone Age ancestors of over 40,000 years ago. We still store calcium more efficiently than magnesium, so we don’t have to eat nearly as much as the dairy industry has conditioned us to believe. Got milk? I hope not.

A Calcium Dilemma
Another aspect of the dairy based calcium dilemma is that if calcium is not mobilized into the bones with the aid of magnesium, it may collect in soft tissues and cause calcium deposits and arthritis. But that’s not all. Magnesium is connected to potassium levels and even a mild deficiency will cause the body to eliminate potassium. Maybe this is why a high magnesium-rich diet is associated with low blood pressure.

We simply don’t eat enough magnesium rich foods on a daily basis—which would help keep us calmer, help prevent our muscles from being so tight, and help to mobilize calcium into our bones.

Magnesium can be found in many foods, such as leafy greens, nuts (like almonds), seeds (sunflower seeds), and sea vegetables (preferably those from our own coasts, pre-the Japanese nuclear tragedy).

We also deplete what magnesium we do consume by a diet high in sugar and alcohol, which increases magnesium excretion through the urine. Even if you eat yummy Greek yogurt every day for its calcium content, you may not be absorbing the calcium well if you don’t also eat foods with magnesium.

It’s impossible to predict how much magnesium we need on a daily basis—we are all so unique biochemically. Many individuals thrive on 200 mg while others need up to 1,000 mg per day. The key is to supplement by bowel tolerance.

For me, that means using my Female Multiple as a foundation. This product provides a 2:1 ratio of magnesium to calcium (the only one I have found on the market) that can safely provide me with 500 mg of magnesium per day. I add more right before bed as I find that 800 mg per day (especially when I am under stress—and who isn’t) fits the bill. It allows me to sleep throughout the night and keeps me regular.

Try to manage your stress in other ways, too—meditation, exercise, prayer, and deep breathing. We are all in this together and a positive pro-active approach should be the keynotes of the day—and as my 87-year-old mother Edith has always said, “This, too, shall pass.”

-Edge On Health, Dr. Ann Louise Gittleman