Effective Care info

Effective care and self care information

Tag: magnesium

Good news: Baths can be less exhausting than showers

Yes, autoimmune disease can be exhausting and it can be confusing for other people to understand because autoimmune disease may not have obvious symptoms. A person with an autoimmune disorder may suffer from severe pain or other symptoms throughout their body but not have lab tests that show obvious problems to a physician. Autoimmune antibodies are known for a few types of disorders and those can be screened for if the lab test is ordered but not all autoimmune antigens have been identified.

Magnesium deficiency may be an underlying issue though for many/most autoimmune disorders, so taking an Epsom salt bath can provide improved magnesium absorption through the skin and allow a person to sit down to wash their hair and shave their legs (if desired). No promises though, that a nap might not still be desired after the exertion of bathing while sitting, or before the exertion of blow-drying long hair.

Fibromyalgia and chronic pain problems may have autoimmune origins [3] and/or may have to do with our cell’s energy workhouses, the mitochondria, running out of their preferred energy source — magnesium. They use calcium but it can overwork them to the point of cell death. In normal physiology membrane transport systems, also called ion channels, carefully control how much calcium is allowed into the interior of mitochondria. Something called ruthenium-red (RuRed)* and magnesium ions are involved in controlling the entry of calcium ions through the transport channels. [1, 2]

A deficiency of magnesium may allow excess calcium to enter the mitochondria and cause overexcitation and even lead to death of the mitochondria.

Mitochondria are actually similar to bacteria and have their own DNA that in nature always matches the mother’s mitochondria’s DNA but that is a different story.

*(RuRed) – not a nutrient I didn’t know about – it’s a dye used in labs that selectively binds with some things but not others so it is used for identification purposes with unknown samples — roughly.

Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.

  1. http://ajpcell.physiology.org/content/287/4/C817
  2. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/20680823_Ruthenium_red_and_magnesium_ion_partially_inhibit_silver_ion-induced_release_of_calcium_from_sarcoplasmic_reticulum_of_frog_skeletal_muscles
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24435355

Cheerful Juice lives up to its name

Cheerful Juice lives up to it’s name as a post debate pick me up. ii had missed having some earlier in the day and was fairly cranky and tired after watching the Presidential debate Wednesday night. Even though it had gotten later, past midnight, I was cranky enough that I remembered forgetting my Cheerful Juice.

So positive mood within half a glass, within 20 minutes, boost of energy by the full cup, within 50 minutes (now typing this instead of sleeping)– suggesting that for my genetic structure I do need the two gram dose — ~half a teaspoon, half a glass. The five gram dose, full teaspoon, full glass, might be a little more than I need at one time. Having a glass in the morning and evening has been beneficial on the few days that I’ve tried that, so simply spitting the teaspoon serving into two half teaspoon servings might be effective without causing extra symptoms.

The burst of energy suggests overactivity might be occurring. Aspartic acid and glutamate are called excitotoxins because they can signal so much activity in a cell that it leads to death of the cell due to overwork. Glycine and methionine are more active as inhibitory messenger chemicals so they may not have the same risk as there would be with large doses of aspartic acid or glutamate, especially in combination with magnesium deficiency.

Magnesium is an electrically active mineral that works from within the cell to provide energy for membrane channels that in normal health would control what is allowed into the cell – too much glutamate or aspartic acid or calcium simply wouldn’t be allowed in if enough magnesium was available to power the electric doorways in the cell membranes, (ie: magnesium selective ion channels).

I’m keeping notes because this is a new area of study, there isn’t a handbook for dietary advice for all the genetic defects in metabolism. Some more deadly ones are known and screened for at birth so the infant can be put on a protective diet as soon as possible. PKU, phenylketonuria is the most well known example of genetic defects that can be managed with dietary changes.

[See a previous post, Glycine is an amino acid with neurotransmitter roles, for more details.]

It’s past 1:00am now, I’ll try to go to sleep and have some cheerful dreams — about an Amendment to the Constitution overturning Citizens United — or some other cheerful topic.

/Disclaimer: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./

Mitochondria, P53, cancer and magnesium deficiency

Addition, 7/21/16, there is more information about mitochondria and chronic illness at this link: https://www.sott.net/article/321987-Thanks-Big-Pharma-for-the-Mitochondrial-collateral-damage, the site also has a few other articles on the topic which I haven’t read yet and the topic of magnesium doesn’t come up until you reach the comment that I added. I will have to read more about this topic. Medications that cause an imbalance in calcium and magnesium could be causing stress to the mitochondria and lead to their death and to chronic illness.

  • This article is short introducing a long video. A quote from the short text does mention nutrient deficiencies can be involved, “Nutrient deficiencies are a contributing factor to mitochondrial dysfunction. ” https://www.sott.net/article/308212-Mitochondrial-dysfunction-GMOs-Glyphosate Glyphosate  Inhibition of vitamin D metabolism could lead to magnesium and  calcium imbalance which could be stressing mitochhondria and lead to chronic illness.
  • An abstract with a link to the full text: https://www.sott.net/article/264786-Oxidative-stress-mitochondrial-damage-and-neurodegenerative-diseases
  • https://www.sott.net/article/294075-Fibromyalgia-as-a-mitochondrial-disorder
  • I haven’t watched the video or read all of the articles yet but fibromyalgia is what I had symptoms of that were bad enough to lead to my giving up wheat and gluten products initially. It simply hurt too much when I ate them. And I got better without gluten. Maybe it was the gluten or maybe my genetics with errors in the vitamin D metabolism. I will have to get back to this topic but I share the information now because pain hurts and if even one person is helped then I would be glad. *And I was a professional gourmet baker, I know how to make from scratch croissant, and French baguettes and loaf breads of many types as well as cookies and quick breads. I love wheat products but they didn’t love my body.

A comment of mine that is awaiting moderation posted on another site:

Mitochondria need lots of magnesium (and magnesium is also necessary for white blood cells to be able to perform apoptosis.) “Additionally, exposure to low Mg upregulated plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) [24]. PAI-1 is considered not merely a marker of senescence, since it is both necessary and sufficient for the induction of replicative senescence downstream of p53 [27].” by D. Killilea and J. Maier, “A connection between magnesium deficiency and aging: new insights from cellular studies” Magnes Res. 2008 Jun; 21(2): 77–82. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2790427/ Please U. of Penn. researchers, look into preventing cancer by providing mitochondria with a healthy diet instead of by providing them with some sort of pharmaceutical designed to manipulate P53 — just prevent P53 from being induced by providing adequate magnesium to the cells. Thanks.

The comment is in response to this article which is about recent animal based research that suggests that a cell’s mitochondria when under stress may produce a chemical (P53) that may lead to cancer: http://scienmag.com/penn-team-finds-mitochondrial-stress-induces-cancer-related-metabolic-shifts/#comment-7188

Now I know mitochondria need a lot of magnesium so one search led to the link in the comment and ~391,000 other links, https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=mitochondrial+stress+P53+calcium+magnesium, including this one:

by Giorgi C., et. al., “p53 at the endoplasmic reticulum regulates apoptosis in a Ca2+-dependent manner” PNAS, Feb. 10, 2015, vol. 112, no. 6, pp 1779–1784. http://www.pnas.org/content/112/6/1779.full.pdf

Apoptosis is the method by which white blood cells are able to kill infected or malfunctioning or old cells. Calcium and magnesium are both electrically active and can both act as signals to promote different types of cellular actions. Magnesium is most active within cellular fluid and calcium entry into cells is limited in part by ion channels that are powered by magnesium. So a magnesium deficient cell can allow too much calcium to enter the cell and within the cell calcium can cause a variety of actions and can even over activate the cell to the point of cell death. (155,000 search results for “excess calcium overworks mitochondria” :   https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=excess%20calcium%20overworks%20mitochondria  and which includes a link about the nerve degeneration disease ALS: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2933290/  so it looks like if I want to protect myself from cancer or ALS I should not stress out my mitochondria by maintaining a good intake and internal balance of both magnesium and calcium.)

Another addition to look into more at some point – P53 and apoptosis has been found to be affeected by treatment with a homeopathic preparation (which would be a completely non-toxic energy based treatment. http://www.jcimjournal.com/articles/publishArticles/pdf/S2095-4964(16)60230-3.pdf

/Disclaimer: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./

nErD does not stand for nearest Emergency room Department

I ran across the term nErD yesterday and I wasn’t sure what it might mean. My first thought as a health professional trained in medical acronyms was that it might have something to do with the ER or Emergency Room Department. In addition to the adult ICU (Intensive Care Unit) there is also a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) but there isn’t a neonatal emergency room department to my knowledge.

To my chagrin after a few seconds of puzzlement I noticed another reference to the term — “nerd” — and I felt like I should probably go see the movie “Revenge of the Nerds” again just as a refresher course.

Emergency Rooms have been on my mind for a while so that might explain my jumping to that idea first. At some point in the past I’ve shared this idea but I’ll reshare it because it could help provide safe and effective health care at an inexpensive price.

A patient can spend a lot of time waiting in an Emergency Department, to be seen or to be treated or for the test results to be ready or for the specialist to stop by. Some of that waiting time could be spent in a relaxing and potentially healing Epsom salt foot soak or bath.

Magnesium deficiency is estimated to be a problem for as many as 70-80% of the U.S. population. It can be an underlying factor in many chronic illnesses and chronic pain conditions and can be involved in acute substance abuse or mental health situations. A foot soak in Epsom salts can take slightly longer than a soak in an Epsom salt bath to achieve results but both can be helpful for relieving muscle cramps and some other types of pain such as migraines. Mental upset due to alcohol or other substance abuse or mental health conditions can also be soothed by soaking in Epsom salts. The amount of time to soak would vary depending on how deficient the person was in magnesium and might even be helpful as a diagnostic screening for magnesium deficiency (the mineral is largely stored within the interior of cells or within the bones so blood tests for magnesium only catch extremely severe cases of magnesium deficiency).

Excessive magnesium absorption can relax the muscles too much and may cause slowing of the heart rate and smooth muscle relaxation can also cause watery bowel movements. A hospital protocol might involve having an attendant start a patient with a non-open wound pain situation or upset mood in an Epsom salt foot soak or bath. The patient would be instructed on the early symptoms of excessive magnesium absorption and to let the attendant know if/when the first fluttery heart beats or relaxation of sphincter muscles was occurring. Typically a 20 minute Epsom salt bath is a good length of time while a forty minute bath might cause excess relaxation. Research suggested the ideal routine for a patient with difficulty absorbing magnesium from dietary sources would be approximately twenty minutes in a bath with one cup of Epsom salts every other day or three to four times per week. Taking the baths more often though can lead to symptoms of excess magnesium occurring sooner than twenty minutes, based on my personal experience with Epsom salt baths.

Alcohol and some other substances that are used excessively can cause magnesium deficiency which can cause irritability and even increase the risk for violence.

So if you or a loved one is upset or in pain that is not due to an open wound then it is possible that a trip to your bathroom for a Epsom salt bath might be soothing enough to skip a trip to the nearest Emergency room Department (you know, the nErD).

Excerpt from a previous post with more info about safely taking Epsom salt baths:

Time for an Epsom bath perhaps.

Epsom salt baths can be a well absorbed source of magnesium because skin absorption will bypass a problem of poor intestinal absorption of magnesium. Calcium tends to be preferentially absorbed by the intestines, especially when there is an imbalance in vitamin and hormone D levels and poor intestinal absorption of magnesium over time can easily lead to symptoms of magnesium deficiency. Symptoms of magnesium deficiency are usually labeled something else by the medical profession because the problem is not obvious on lab tests until it is quite severe because the body takes more magnesium from the bones as needed up until the point where osteoporosis is severe  enough to cause a shortage of stored magnesium.

Soaking in a bathtub for twenty minutes that has one cup of Epsom salt to a half full bathtub, and one teaspoon of a cooking vinegar such as apple cider vinegar to balance the alkalinity of the Epsom salt, can be a cure for a bad mood as well as various achy muscle cramps if magnesium deficiency is an underlying problem. Negative symptoms can occur if you stay in the bath too long. Excess magnesium absorption can cause loose watery stools for an entire day, not just once. Falling asleep in the bath can also lead to more life threatening symptoms of a weak, and fluttery heart rate, or even lead to coma and/or death — so twenty minutes to forty minutes is probably safe for a deficient person while someone who isn’t deficient might notice a weak slowing heart rate sooner than the twenty minute average that a person deficient in magnesium might find only as calming and soothing to  their mood and muscles. A person who was deficient but who then started taking the baths regularly might start noticing the weak heart rate sooner — get out of the tub then, even if its not been twenty minutes — shower and rinse time. Research on the therapeutic use of Epsom salt baths recommended one cup Epsom salt to the half full/full bath and use up to three to four times per week, but not daily.

I can’t find the actual research study {here it is: http://george-eby-research.com/html/absorption_of_magnesium_sulfate.pdf } among the following posts of mine (see below) but Dr. Oz has an article on the baths also and recommends the twenty minutes a few times a week also: [http://blog.doctoroz.com/oz-experts/restoring-magnesium-levels-with-epsom-salt-baths]

Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.


A GMO labeling bill has passed the Senate but it may create loopholes in what will be considered GMO

Genetically modified organisms created for agricultural purposes may be required to be listed on food labels but the wording of the proposed legislation may allow some types of foods or ingredients to not be listed. Refined ingredients that would not be expected to contain “genetic” content (DNA or RNA) may not be required to be listed as GMO.

The risk to health however has to do with the proteins that the GMO DNA cause to be produced throughout the plant rather than the DNA itself. Allergens might be produced that weren’t present in the normal crops. And in Bt GMOs the Bt toxin is produced throughout the plant as an insecticide, even within the part we harvest for food use. And while it is believed to not be harmful to human health it was initially developed as an antibiotic and mineral chelator. And humans depend on having a healthy balance of microbes within the intestines and glyphosate may be harmful to them. A refined ingredient might not contain much DNA protein or much of a Bt endotoxin protein either but it would be nice to have a lab test showing that it wasn’t present in the refined ingredient rather than be concerned only about GMO DNA. Testing for glyphosate residue levels would be of interest to me also.

Read more about the Senate bill on GMO labeling, it is a bipartisan backed bill that is expected to pass the House:  http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-food-gmo-vote-idUSKCN0ZO08N

“About 75% of the foodstuffs at the grocery store are now genetically manipulated, in what has been called the world’s largest biological experiment on humans.” http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/36746-monsanto-bayer-and-the-push-for-corporate-cannabis

Sometimes progress can seem like progress but if it misinforms the public then is it really progress? A food label that claims to inform consumers about GMO content but which actually excludes major categories of refined ingredients that are based on GMO crops is providing disinformation – inaccurate information about the food’s content. Sick people who are trying to improve their health wouldn’t be able to trust the labels if the labels still allowed ingredients that were making the sick people to feel sicker. If the goal is supporting an individual’s right to know what is in their food then the labeling requirements ideally would include all types of GMO based ingredients whether the ingredient includes GMO DNA are not.

On a different but related topic — a couple recent posts [1, 2] included history about concerns I’ve had regarding excessive vitamin D and calcium supplementation, the new information I learned about glyphosate provides the likely solution – but more research is needed. The glyphosate information about CYP enzyme inhibition of vitamin D metabolism could be an explanation for the increase in low vitamin D levels observed in the U.S. population. And excessive supplementation with inactive vitamin D may not have been found to be helping as expected because of inhibition by the herbicide glyphosate.

A quote from a book on an unrelated topic: “When you solve a mystery, you destroy its power over you.”  – Dan Neuharth, Ph.D.,  If You Had Controlling Parents; How to Make Peace with Your Past and Take Your Place in the World. page 79, (Harper, 1998)

The question of why U.S. citizens had lower vitamin D levels than Canadians, when I knew our food supply had adequate amounts of vitamin D and that we would collectively be getting more sunshine than Canadians on average with most of the country being located farther south, was a mystery I’ve been pondering ever since learning of it in 2010.

And the inhibition of CYP enzymes by glyphosate could be a cause of low vitamin D levels that don’t respond well to supplementation and which could be affecting a large percentage of the population. There was a large increase of the herbicide with Round-Up ready GMO crops and with the introduction of glyphosate as a crop desiccant . (And magnesium deficiency may be another cause of low vitamin D levels when there is plenty of vitamin D available and which could be affecting a large percentage of the population, but more on that later.)

As a dietitian I was uncomfortable ethically in 2010 regarding the high dose supplements being given to people for long term treatment without monitoring the active hormone level and I am still uncomfortable about the potential risks for the minority of people who may develop elevated levels of the active hormone D. Elevated levels can cause worsening of chronic illness and even increase risk of death. A large number of studies have now been performed that have not found high dose supplements to be consistently helpful — and it turns out that the form of the supplements may be inhibited from being activated by glyphosate.

In past writing I’ve included information about types of infection that may be affecting hormone D metabolism in some people but infectious disease is likely to affect a smaller number of people than the population wide levels of low vitamin D that have been observed. Some pathogens are known to modify the vitamin D receptor metabolism. Inhibiting the vitamin D receptor would reduce immune function of the cell and allow the microbe to infect the cell. Infection likely is affecting vitamin D levels for some people but a food contaminant would likely affect a larger percentage of the population.

A GMO labeling law is progress but the law wouldn’t include crops that use glyphosate as a desiccant in addition to excluding some refined but GMO derived ingredients from being listed as GMO and it may be the glyphosate itself – the Round-up herbicide – in Round-up ready crops that is the biggest risk to health– not the genetically modified DNA. And similarly it may be the Bt toxin itself that the genetically modified DNA encodes for rather than the DNA that is a risk to health. The Bt toxin may be causing harm to the intestinal bacteria and may have been modified enough from the original Bt toxin that the genetically modified Bt toxin is now also a risk to the cell walls of human intestinal and red blood cells unlike the Bt toxin that previous research has been based on. Research with the GMO seeds by private research labs or scientists is being limited by the companies that own the GMO seed patents.

Intestinal bacteria can affect mood positively or negatively and an imbalance in magnesium, vitamin D, and calcium can also affect mood. My condolences to all of the families and individuals who have lost loved ones or friends to gun violence. Part of the reason I’ve been concerned about the excess supplementation of vitamin D is because an imbalance in vitamin and hormone D can lead to an imbalance in calcium and magnesium which can lead to severe irritability and even homicidal violence. Epsom salt baths are inexpensive and provide a form of magnesium that can be absorbed well even when there is an imbalance in the vitamin and hormone D levels which tends to promote calcium absorption in the intestines and increased magnesium losses in the kidneys.

Calcium is also important but the average U.S. diet tends to include many calcium rich sources and promote calcium supplements more than magnesium. Magnesium however is necessary for converting vitamin D into 25 hydroxy D and 1, 25 dihydroxy D in addition to CYP enzymes so magnesium deficiency might also be an underlying factor for low vitamin D levels that don’t respond well to vitamin D supplements.  “Data indicate a reduced risk of insufficient/deficient vitamin D status at high magnesium intake and an inverse association between circulating 25-hydroxy vitamin D and mortality, particularly cardiovascular mortality, among those with magnesium intake above the median.”  ~ People with more magnesium intake also had better vitamin D levels and reduced risk of death, particularly less risk of death due to heart disease.   http://bmcmedicine.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1741-7015-11-229

Unlike most other nutrients the blood levels of vitamin D can be affected in a number of different ways as it is actually a hormone rather than being simply controlled by intake of food or supplements. And levels of blood calcium and magnesium are also carefully controlled in a number of ways because they are electrically active. Excess calcium can cause muscle contractions and magnesium helps muscles relax. Excess calcium is associated with more severe coronary artery disease and magnesium deficiency is associated with heart attacks and strokes. Elevated hormone D tends to promote elevated calcium levels and may lead to heart disease and osteoporosis. Elevated calcium levels is also associated with increased risk for kidney failure. the following link has a chart that compares risks of elevated blood cholesterol and calcium and the difference is startling. http://blog.parathyroid.com/high-blood-calcium-risks/

Many nutrients are important (all of them in fact), and an older article (2013) reviews a variety of nutrients and research on violence and aggression and diet or other factors affecting violence such as psychiatric pharmaceuticals. Adequate omega 3 fatty acids may be protective. Cholesterol is essential too, low levels of it is associated with increased aggression according to the article. The review of research was in response to the increase in school shootings (2013): http://www.westonaprice.org/uncategorized/violent-behavior-a-solution-in-plain-sight/ – that link is to a site that promotes a diet based on the foods that are believed to have been available to ancient people. The article reviews a large number of nutrients and other topics and their possible role in promoting or preventing violence. Magnesium is just one of the many nutrients essential for health but it is also essential for a good mood. There were many other results for the search terms that I used, “magnesium deficiency violence aggression‘: https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=magnesium%20deficiency%20violence%20aggression

Solving the mystery has led to information that has helped my health and a GMO label law might make it easier for me to avoid GMO products but it might not be that helpful if the law is written so that many types of GMO ingredients wouldn’t be included and a GMO-free label actually meant only possibly GMO free. The labels wouldn’t be reliable if foods might still contain refined GMO ingredients and yet not be required to have the GMO label.

The list of foods that might be sources of glyphosate or Bt toxin:

It is our right to protect our health and I find my health is improved when I avoid or moderate use of some of those foods, I wasn’t aware of the specific oils on the list but had been avoiding excess poly-unsaturated oils in general because it may increase inflammation to have too little omega 3 fatty acids and too much of certain fatty acids found in poly-unsaturated fats..

  • An imbalance in the two types of fats has also been associated with increased aggression per a link provided earlier:  (2013):  http://www.westonaprice.org/uncategorized/violent-behavior-a-solution-in-plain-sight/
  • And having certain types of controlling parents has also been associated with increased risk for aggression or violence per the book I quoted earlier in this post: “When you solve a mystery, you destroy its power over you.”  – Dan Neuharth, Ph.D.,  If You Had Controlling Parents; How to Make Peace with Your Past and Take Your Place in the World. quote page 79, (Harper, 1998)

Glyphosate and the  GMO Bt toxin may be affecting our intestinal bacteria which can affect our moods. Disrupted vitamin D metabolism can lead to an imbalance in calcium and magnesium which can affect our moods. When the body works it seems simple but it isn’t.

The GMO labeling law has language that will identify ingredients as GMO by how refined they are rather than whether the whole food was a GMO or not. Information about GMO content would be helpful but a refined ingredient might still contain glyphosate residue or Bt toxin or other unknown allergens that may have developed during the genetic modification of the organism. Research and testing of those chemicals would be helpful. Labeling laws would be a challenge for the food industry to comply with. Working on using less glyphosate and GMO crops (that have been shown to potentially be hazardous to humans or the environment), seems like a more direct route to improving health to me.

/Disclosure: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./

Electrolytes are essential, magnesium helps protect brain cells

     Our bodies are like an ocean, not a fresh water lake. Our blood and cell fluid has a balance of salts and proteins that are essential for keeping things flowing and interacting as needed. Salts in our body are called electrolytes and they work in a buddy system.
Sodium and potassium are buddies that chemically can donate one electron for chemical bonds or energy interactions and calcium and magnesium can donate two electrons each. These minerals power nerve signals, muscle contractions and the movement of chemicals across cell membranes. All four are equally essential to have in our diet everyday.• Salt (Sodium chloride) has been a valuable trade commodity in ancient cultures. Seafood and salt mines are good sources.

Potassium is found in all fruits and vegetables.

Calcium is found in hard water, in dairy products, almonds, sesame seeds, beans, greens, canned fish, fortified foods.

Magnesium is found in hard water, beans, nuts, seeds, greens, whole grains, chocolate and a little in most foods.

     Having too much or too little of any of the four essential electrolytes in our blood and body fluid can be life threatening. They work together as teams that balance each other. Salt is not bad for us, we just need potassium in similar amounts. Processed foods tend to be overly salted and low in potassium. If we eat that way occasionally, no big deal, but if we eat that way most days then we may become low in potassium.

We lose electrolytes everyday in sweat and in the urine and feces. Muscle cramps can be a symptom of potassium deficiency and heart attacks can occur with abrupt drops in potassium. Muscle cramps may also be a symptom of magnesium or calcium imbalances.

Sweating a lot can leave us low in sodium and other electrolytes. Heatstroke can be due to excess heat [3] but it may also be due to hyponatremia or low sodium blood levels which can leave you feeling weak, dizzy and confused. Drinking plain water without also having a salty food may leave you feeling sick to your stomach if you are too dehydrated. Having a little salt or salty food first and then sipping the water might feel better when trying to rehydrate after a workout. The stomach controls what it lets into the more fragile intestine. If the stomach fluid is too thin and watery or too concentrated and acidic then the stomach will reject the fluid and cause vomiting. If the body has enough stored fluid and electrolytes then the stomach has systems for drawing in what it needs to digest whatever you eat. If you are dehydrated from excessive sweating then your stomach would not have those extra stores to use.

Magnesium may not be as familiar of a nutrient as calcium but it is just as essential to life. Excessive sweating during sports has been associated with sudden stroke later in the day in young athletes. It has been suggested that a sudden drop in magnesium from sweat losses may be the cause. Magnesium acts as the gate keeper in cell membranes and prevents calcium from flooding in from the blood. Calcium turns things on in the body and magnesium turns them off.

Calcium causes muscle fibers to contract and magnesium allows them to relax again. Calcium activates the energy production in the cell’s mitochondria and too much calcium flooding into a brain cell at once can overwork the cell to the point of cell death.

Glutamate and aspartate are amino acids that also act as brain neurotransmitters and their movement is carefully controlled by the protein channels in our cell membranes. Magnesium keeps the protein channels shut, so a sudden drop in magnesium may also cause stroke due to excessive flooding of brain cells by glutamate or aspartate. It might be better to avoid drinking beverages that contain Nutrasweet (Aspartame contains aspartate) by themselves in sweaty situations. A magnesium containing electrolyte beverage like Glaceau’s “Smart Water” would provide the brain cells with magnesium which is needed to prevent calcium, glutamate and aspartate from entering the cell.

 Sweaty situations call for rehydrating with water, and a potassium rich fruit or vegetable or juice and having a salty snack. Have beans, nuts, sunflower or pumpkin seeds with your salty snack and you have your magnesium losses replaced as well.

Re-hydrating is also important if you are losing fluid in diarrhea or vomit. It’s also worth remembering to hydrate after night sweats or during high fevers. Darker yellow urine is a sign that you are dehydrated. Dry, chapped lips and skin are also symptoms.

No extra money is needed for a fancy bottled beverage when you understand your body’s electrolytes and know which foods and drinks are good sources. Dehydration is a frequent reason that people go to the hospital emergency room but with planning it is a problem that can be prevented.

Thinking about good hydration may help to be more aware of thirst signals. It can be easy to misinterpret thirst as hunger, so sometimes you can save calories and cut back on mindless snacking by trying a drink of water first.

Excerpt: Scientists See Dangers in Energy Drinks, By Jane E. Brody (NY Times, Pub: January 31, 2011) [link]

“The authors noted that “four documented cases of caffeine-associated death have been reported, as well as five separate cases of seizures associated with consumption of energy/power drinks.” Additional reports include an otherwise healthy 28-year-old man who suffered a cardiac arrest after a day of motocross racing; a healthy 18-year-old man who died playing basketball after drinking two cans of Red Bull; and four cases of mania experienced by individuals known to have bipolar disorder.”

/Speculation/ The seizures, cardiac arrest, death after athletics, and mania could all be due to sudden changes in magnesium and potassium levels. The caffeine increases urine volume and urinary magnesium losses and the athletes also lost magnesium in sweat. The protein channels that have inadequate magnesium allow calcium to over-flood cell interiors. The calcium can trigger muscle spasms which may lead to cardiac arrest or stroke. Brain cells would also be vulnerable to over-excitation by calcium or the free amino acids, aspartame and glutamate. Brain cells that are constantly active could be associated with mania or seizures.

We could help prevent brain damage by adequately protecting our cell membranes with more frequent intake of magnesium containing foods and beverages. Seizures, strokes, migraines and mania are related to brain cells getting over stimulated and  the resulting lack of oxygen and energy stores can lead to cell death. The glutamate receptor rich areas of the brain are frequently the most devastated in the brains of sufferers of senile dementia.

 An Easy Solution: put magnesium back in beverages – it is in ground water and it is an essential electrolyte. The U.S. regulated it out in the past and bottlers have been removing it ever since – our intestines are suffering. [water policy history review – a 1920 Water Power Act had to do with hydroelectric water rights more than mineral content. I haven’t found more information about a bottled water act yet, [waterencyclopedia.com]
Every sip of a beverage that does not contain magnesium requires magnesium to be drawn to the intestines and stomach from our stored reserves – which are our bones – our structural support. If we want to stop osteoporosis then we need to be sipping and eating foods with a reasonable quantity of magnesium throughout the day. Any time we consume foods or fluids that have an electrolyte content that doesn’t match the concentration that is normal for our body requires our bodies take nutrients out of the reserves stored within our bones, those reserves run out eventually, leaving bones brittle from osteoporosis.

/Disclosure: This information is provided for educational purposes and is not intended to provide individual health care. Please see a health professional for individualized health care./

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