Are you deficient in magnesium? – Podcast #93
Dr. Justin Marchegiani and Evan Brand discuss the issue of magnesium and break it down for us by differentiating the various forms. Listen as they share the top conditions that can affect or be affected by magnesium and signs of magnesium deficiency to look out for.
Find out what the different types of magnesium do the body and what they are good for. Discover what foods are nutrient dense and magnesium-rich. When buying magnesium, they advise to look for the quality and who’s selling it or what company is selling it, etc. Also learn about how magnesium & calcium and magnesium & fluoride work together. Listen to this interview and find out as well about magnesium boosting your brain function.
In this episode, topics include:
05:01 Magnesium bank
05:42 Different types of magnesium
09:52 Nutrient dense magnesium-rich foods
11:36 Epsom salt baths
15:59 Magnesium & calcium and magnesium & fluoride
21:42 Research studies on magnesium
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Hey, Evan! It’s Dr. J. It’s a marvelous Monday here. How’s it going over in Louisville?
Evan Brand: Hey! This great, this morning, man. I’ve been watching Cardinals actually all morning fly around, it’s—spring is in full bloom, so I’m happy.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: That’s great. Your mic sounds are really good today.
Evan Brand: Good.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Love it. Alright, well, let’s dig in today. We talked at pre-show we wanted to dive into the issue of magnesium. So I’ll let you open it up here.
Evan Brand: Yeah, so magnesium—everyone hears about it. A lot people likely supplement with some form of magnesium and we’re gonna kinda break those down, but by some estimates up to 80% of Americans or more are magnesium-deficient, and so there’s a real awesome lady that you and I probably need to get on our podcast which is Dr. Carolyn Dean, medical doctor who wrote the book, The Magnesium Miracle, and I think a new version of it came out in 2014, but long story short, I’m just gonna read off some of the top 22 symptoms or conditions that can affect or be affected by magnesium. So this anxiety, panic attacks, asthma, blood clots, bowel diseases, cystitis, depression, detox, diabetes, fatigue, heart disease, hypertension, hypoglycemia—which my blood sugar is a lot better now that I have more magnesium—insomnia, kidney disease—I’ve read about kidney disease being because if you’re deficient in magnesium, now calcium is going to be able to take root in your kidneys and you’re at more risk of kidney stones if you don’t have enough magnesium—you got liver disease, migraines, fibromyalgia, cramps, back pain, nerve problems, PMS, infertility, osteoporosis, tooth decay, on and on. So I mean, we could probably list a thousand things here together but the truth is even some of the early signs of magnesium deficiency are things to look out for. So this is like the numbness and tingling, muscle cramps, personality changes, heart rhythms, sometimes heart palpitations, things like that. When you’re under excess stress, which is probably the lens that we’re coming at this, and soil depletion, it’s sort of being a double whammy for being deficient. You’re burning through your mineral stores when you are in a state of chronic stress which I’d say 90% of our patients had some level of chronic stress that led to their issues.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, I totally agree. Now a lot of people here. Number one, if you’re eating excess carbohydrate or excess refined sugar, what’s actually gonna happen is you’re gonna be burning through your magnesium to help metabolize your sugar. So your body has to then take that sugar and run it through glycolosis and which basically is breaking down the sugar for energy and then it shoots it into the Kreb cycle where your body spits out FADH and—and NADH which then takes the hydrogens from that whole electrons—so it takes the hydrogens from the Kreb cycle and throws them into the electron transport chain where it generates more ATP for fuel. So if we just kinda back up, right? We have glycolysis is part one where we take that sugar and break it down, then we shoot it into the citric acid cycle aka the Kreb cycle and part of what is happening there is our body has to use magnesium and breaks down, requires magnesium to help generate energy from that sugar, so the problem is if we’re eating a whole bunch of refined sugar, what we’re not getting in is nutrients and magnesium’s one of those nutrients that we’re not getting in so we’re actually robbing Peter to pay Paul. We have to then use up more magnesium to then generate and break down energy from that glucose and/or sugar that’s coming in. So eating lots of refine sugar and carbohydrate especially if it’s not from a whole food, organic source is gonna require more magnesium for us to use than what’s actually coming in. So we start going into magnesium or nutrient debt.
Evan Brand: Yup, so for me, I mean, a lot of my mood instability in my past and my blood sugar crashes and all of that, it’s not to say that the adrenals weren’t important but getting more magnesium which is why I talk about floating tanks all the time and how helpful they’ve been, just getting in more magnesium has been really helpful. Now a lot of people, they’re just gonna go do magnesium citrate like the Natural Calm which you and I both enjoy; however, that’s just one piece of the puzzle and that’s only one form of magnesium, so maybe do you wanna talk about those together? Like the different types of forms, and how, you know, like magnesium oxide which you’re gonna get at Walgreen’s or your typical–
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.
Evan Brand: Cr—crappy supplement store. It’s about a 4% absorption rate, which research is looking at, so I mean if you’re taking 400mg thinking you’re doing good, you’re kidding. Just a tiny, tiny fraction of that.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Absolutely, so first off, just to kinda wrap everyone’s head around the situation, right? Imagine you walk into this bank. The bank’s called the Magnesium Bank. Now to make a deposit in this bank, imagine it requires $2 of deposit. Like imagine there’s a $2 fee to make a deposit. So if you go into that bank and you’re not depositing $3 or more, you’re actually losing magnesium, right? So most people—imagine we have this $2 initial fee just to make a deposit. Most people are making $0 deposits if not $1 deposits, so every time they go into that bank, it’s actually costing them more magnesium than they’re actually putting in the bank. Does that make sense, Evan?
Evan Brand: Yeah. That’s a great analogy.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So kinda wrap the head around that, now you mentioned some of the different types of magnesium. So there’s like magnesium oxide which is like your conventional table chalk. So most people, when we look at their supplements, we see magnesium oxide in there and we’ll say, “Hey, you know, this is some expensive chalk that you’re buying there.” And then number two, typically if they’re doing magnesium oxide, we wanna know what the reason is. A lot of people are taking magnesium oxide because it’s cheap, number one, and some doctors will recommend it because of the laxative effects that they have. So it may not be a bad thing if you’re using it for a laxative effect. I typically will use magnesium citrate for a laxative effect because it is better absorbed, so I do like that part. And many people are getting it like in their magnesium powders or like their typical Natural Calm, they’re—that like powder magnesium. We’ll typically use that for a laxative effect. So we have magnesium oxide’s kinda the low end of the totem pole. Citrate’s one step above and then depending on the next steps, we’ll either go with a magnesium malate because malic acid kinda enters the Kreb cycle so that kinda magnesium can have—it and affect with the Kreb cycle which can be nice and it’s very well-absorbed. And same with magnesium glycinate. So we’ll use magnesium malate or magnesium glycinate. The only issue is because they’re bound to like either malic acid or—or an amino acid glycine, it’s so well-absorbed. Because it’s so well-absorbed, it tends to not create the same laxative effect that magnesium citrate or magnesium oxide has. So we’ll use magnesium malate and glycinate to have that sedative kinda absorptive nutritional repletive effect where we’ll use the citrate more for a laxative effect.
Evan Brand: That’s great. Yeah, so what do you say you use more? So you use malate more or glycinate? That’s always kind of the debate. I hear a lot of people using glycinate these days when they enter that on their—their intake forms.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, my Magnesium Supreme that I’m using currently is a magnesium malate blend. So I’m doing that more. Both are really good. I don’t think—I don’t think you can go wrong with a glycinate or a malate, both are very well-absorbed, and their amino acid chelated, so they’re bound to an amino acid whether it’s a malic acid or—or a molecule of glycine. Both are gonna be very well-absorbed. So I think either way you can’t go wrong with those two, just for helping to enhance magnesium. The next one we have is the magnesium threonate which I know you have in your supplement line, Evan, which is great because that’s one of these amino acid chelates that actually is bound to threonate, which actually can cross the blood-brain barrier. So that can help with extra bits of anxiety and they can help with brain inflammation. I find you can still get very good effects with the glycine and the malate as well, but the threonate is very good, too.
Evan Brand: Yeah, the—so a story about that is I had a female last week that I was working with that had severe anxiety issues. She was on Ativan, the prescription anxiety drug, and within a week of starting the magnesium threonate, she was able to completely stop the anxiety medication and she went from having panic attacks per day to having no panic attacks at all. And I was honestly surprised, I—I did not think that it would be that profound, just magnesium. I mean usually we’re thinking, you know, passion flower or chamomile or theanine or some of these other botanicals. Something that powerful coming from magnesium, it kinda blew me away to be honest.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, magnesium is powerful and just stabilizing your blood sugar will help, right? Because remember that magnesium bank, right? It cost $2 for a deposit. If we are mitigating the foods that are causing us to, you know, put less magnesium in our tank meaning we’re choosing foods that are stabilizing our blood sugar, because if our blood sugar is swinging less throughout the day, if we’re not on a blood sugar rollercoaster, that’s gonna help stabilize our blood sugar and we’re gonna need less magnesium to help metabolize the—the nutrients that go into the Kreb cycle. And then number two, we’re adding in nutrient-dense foods that have more magnesium. So instead of coming to that magnesium bank with $1 in deposits, we can come with 5 and 10 and 20 because we’re adding in nutrient dense magnesium-rich foods. So a couple of those foods we may talk about here are gonna be your leafy greens, very helpful. Nuts and seeds are gonna be very helpful, too. Magnesium is gonna be great and especially if you’re eating—I’m sorry, fish—especially fish, mackerel, salmon are gonna be great for magnesium as well as calcium especially if there’s some bones in there. If you eat those little small bones, they’re, you know, small enough where you can chew ‘em up. You can get extra calcium and magnesium in there together. Green beans can be very helpful. Avocado is very good. You can do even a little bit of banana; again if it’s glycemically inappropriate, you’d wanna go more with avocado but it’s higher in fat and low in sugar. You can also do high quality dark chocolate. It’s very high in magnesium. So it’s postulated that many women in and around PMS time, those cramps they’re getting get helped by magnesium, so a lot of women actually crave dark chocolate around PMS. So if you’re reaching for the high quality 85% cacao and up dark chocolate, that’s gonna significantly help with those cramps.
Evan Brand: That’s amazing, isn’t it? It’s sort of you’re having these cravings and you don’t know specifically why. You’re probably just trying to get some magnesium and obviously chocolate—dark chocolate’s delicious, but for me, I’ve had great success in recommending the citrate form, too; for some of the hormonal changes that happen, sometimes constipation’s happening around the cycle, too, that and the—the cramping have both been alleviated with the citrate. So it’s almost like I would recommend everyone having at least a few forms around and you just have to really have these in your toolbox, and then depending on what you’re trying to treat at that time, you can bring in or cycle out, on or off different types.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Absolutely, and then you have other types of magnesium such as our Epsom salt baths.
Evan Brand: Yup.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Epsom salt baths are excellent because you can absorb a lot of magnesium in the actual Epsom salt bath, and the nice thing about it is you increase the surface area because your skin’s in the actual Epsom salt bath, so you absorb a lot of that magnesium there as well, which is phenomenal. So with Epsom salt baths, you’re getting a lot of magnesium sulfate, if I remember correctly. So that magnesium sulfate gets absorbed into your skin and that can have a very positive effect.
Evan Brand: That’s it. Yeah, the other one’s magnesium chloride which a lot of people have been emailing me asking about the magnesium oils which have been really, really, really effective and really popular. You have to watch out some of these magnesium oil companies, they’re just big pyramid schemes. So you really gotta look and see who’s promoting. I won’t call them specifically, but there’s a lot of people in the health space promoting specific brands that are huge multilevel marketing affiliate-based schemes and you’re paying you know double or triple or quadruple what you should be paying and you’re not even getting what would be, you know, the highest quality, you know. So you gotta look for the quality and you gotta look for who’s selling it, what company is selling it, etc. You got—always gotta weigh that stuff in. Don’t get wooed just because someone has a—a, you know, a cool voice or a—a nice attitude to him. You gotta really look in and make sure that it’s legit.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, I’m a bigger fan of just buying a product that you like because most multilevel things they kind of coerce you into now having to be the—the buyer and seller of the product where if you just like a product, you know, you don’t wanna have to also be the seller of it, too. It’s easier just to consume it because you like it. I like that mindset better. But shifting gears back to the Epsom salt bath, you can do 1-2 cups of like the Epsom salt which is basically magnesium sulfate and you could sit in that bath for about 10 minutes and that’ll have some incredibly relaxing effects.
Evan Brand: Yeah, I do a few Epsom salt baths per week and then when I was in Austin, at least I was floating. You know, going into the float tank where you’re not getting just a cup. You’re getting a thousand pounds of Epsom salt in about 10 inches of water, and you come out feeling incredible. I was doing that about once a month but I haven’t since. So there is a place here. I just haven’t made it in there yet.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: That’s great. Like my biggest thing is having like a nice magnesium drink or like a Tulsi tea kinda decaffeinated holy basil adaptogenic herbal tea at night and then if you’re really having a stressful day, light a couple scented candles, maybe a little bit of lavender oil under your nose and then sit in a nice Epsom salt bath for 10 minutes and that will promote significant relaxation.
Evan Brand: Yeah. So should we talk about ways that people are running out of magnesium? I kind of alluded to it—the stress, obviously, the dietary exclusion of things that have magnesium in it. Maybe we could talk about just basically people who are burning the candle at both ends and we’re kind of burning up magnesium like jet fuel.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Exactly, so a couple of things here that will influence your magnesium levels. Number one, like I already mentioned eating high sugar foods will do it. Eating nutrient poor foods will do it. Being under emotional stress like you mentioned, because magnesium has about 300+ enzymatic roles in the body according to research, right? And research tends to be, you know, under appreciate, you know, what’s happening from a nutritional perspective. So it’s probably even more and that if we’re under more stress we’re burning it up and it has that many roles, that means we need it. It’s even more important, right? Because what enzymatic system in your body do you wanna short circuit today? And most people know that feeling great meaning having at sits—all systems working on all 4 cylinders. So we know that we need about 500mg of magnesium a day. About 500mg is the upper limit of the RDA. Most people are only getting about 200mg. So if we can choose the right foods like I mentioned, so just getting that little bit of dark chocolate can get you about 300mg right there. You have an avocado and some leafy greens, now you’re—you’re cooking on all 4 cylinders there. And then if we’re choosing foods that are glycemically appropriate, not super high in sugar or not overdoing caffeine, now we’re gonna be able to hold on to a lot more of the magnesium we’re taking in.
Evan Brand: Now let me ask you this because this is a bit of a controversy. Why is calcium so promoted? I mean, I could just remember as a kid, one of my grandmothers just eating those stupid little—I can’t remember the brand of it. It was a purple box of chocolates. It was calcium chocolates and it’s so heavily promoted. I mean if we have so much research on magnesium now and we’re mostly getting excess of calcium due to all the fortification. Well, why in the world is magnesium—why is this the—the smoking gun or why is this the hidden nutrient? And calcium is so heavily to—to women especially and to people aging for the prevention of osteoporosis. It’s starting to look like the more and more research there is, the magnesium is actually gonna be one of the key players as well as vitamin D and vitamin K to prevent bone loss.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, I do think magnesium has more roles in the body enzymatically just according to what the body is gonna use, but I mean we do know the bones are a big storage site of calcium, right? It’s the largest. We also know that half your bones are protein. People forget like, okay, so we gotta eat protein, and if we have digestive issues, we can see how that can contribute to bone loss because the same mechanism that’s involved in breaking down protein is actually involved in ionizing minerals. So you can see when we start to have protein issues and digestive issues and leaky gut, that’s gonna create calcium and magnesium and other mineral problems. And then if you look at just the top 10 foods, right? We’re using HealthAlicious—HealthAliciousNess.com—the top 10 foods for calcium are very similar to the top 10 foods for magnesium. So it’s gonna be your nuts and seeds, your dark, leafy green, your high quality fish, right? Avocado, dark chocolate, a lot of your greens like I mentioned, almonds, canned sardines with the bones especially with the fish, you wanna eat the bones because that’s where more of the calcium, it’s in the fish. So if you’re getting a lot of the high nutrient magnesium foods, you’re gonna be getting a high nutrient amount of the calcium foods. The next question above and beyond diet is do you have extra stress in your life that will require supplementation, whether it’s magnesium and calcium. We always give it in our high quality multivitamin, but we’ll typically give extra magnesium where there’s stress. And if you’re trying to grow and help support bone health, then we’ll add in some extra vitamin K and vitamin D, and maybe even some vitamin A as well as the good quality magnesium and calcium foods.
Evan Brand: Yeah, see those are the more important pieces and I don’t know if there’s not as much money involved or if it’s just old science or what it is, but you’re never gonna hear your mainstream physician or practitioner promoting magnesium so heavily, but this and vitamin D and vitamin K like and—and protein and good digestion, and making sure you don’t have parasites, all that—this is the real deal. This is the real way to prevent the age degeneration that really does happen, you know, as we get older. I mean, my grandpa, for example, I think he shrunk already like 1-1/2 inches and it’s like, what if I were to give him this information 10 years ago, how much of that would I’ve been able to prevent or maybe even reverse as we start getting these things back in check and not just, you know, having the doctor try to throw him on calcium supplements every time he goes into the office.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, your body can heal, too, right? Vitamin K helps bring calcium into the tissue back into the bone where it belongs, right? Typically calcium will go out into the tissue as a means of inflammation. We know these like little calcium plaques that could hit in the arterial walls of the vasculature in the heart for instance. Well, why is that calcium going in there? That’s part of the Band-Aid process from inflammation. So if we can reduce the inflammation and we can make sure we have enough vitamin K to keep the calcium where it needs to go and then if we can use a lot of our nutrients to help reduce inflammation along with a healthy diet and healthy gut microbiota, we’re in a much better place.
Evan Brand: That makes—that makes sense. So mainly it sounds like, you know, and maybe this is a tangent but the inflammation piece is really the issue here, and then if you have that addressed and you have your digestion addressed, all that—and you have the diet, some of these things are gonna kinda work themselves out. You’re not gonna need these—these conventional interventions.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Exactly, people can’t forget how important antibiotics are, too, right? Antibiotics can really, really screw up our gut function, and we need to have very good gut function so we can absorb a lot of our nutrients. So that’s—I think something we cannot forget about are the antibiotic effects.
Evan Brand: Yup, amen.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, I know for instance they talk about fluoride having negative effects on magnesium as well because magnesium binds the fluoride to form a magnesium fluoride and that can drain your body of magnesium. Because if you’re constantly taking in fluoride, you have a lot more of these fluoride molecules that your magnesium will be binding to. So the more we’re getting in fluoride from our drinking water, which is not very healthy unless it’s coming at a natural calcium fluoride source. If it’s the hydrofluorosilicic acid that’s added to our water supply for the dentin thickness or to help improve the outer structure of the teeth, it’s actually shown to be ineffective when it comes to calcium taken internally. It’s like trying to protect yourself from the sun by putting suntan lotion in your water. It’s much better from a topical perspective, not internally taking it in.
Evan Brand: It’s a great analogy. It makes us seem really stupid.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, yeah, exactly. So I mean, for instance there’s one article right here, I’m reading it from the British Medical Journal. It was a research facility out of New Zealand that showed that women who simply take calcium supplements are at a much higher risk of heart disease. Nothing is said about magnesium. People were just left up in the air. Some doctors are saying, “Yeah, don’t take calcium anymore.” Nobody’s talking about magnesium as being the balance point. So I think if anyone’s gonna air in taking something alone, take magnesium alone. I believe people should be on a high quality multivitamin and if you’re taking something by itself, if you wanna get extra calcium it should always be taken with magnesium just because of these—some of these studies showing these negative results of calcium by itself but if you were to take one out of the two by itself, make sure it’s magnesium by itself and if you’re gonna do extra calcium, make sure it’s at least in a compendium of magnesium at a 1:1 or a 2:1 ratio.
Evan Brand: Yup, so here was another study British Journal of Cancer. This is a new one, December 2015. It looked at 66,000 men and women, aged 50-76, and it—they were basically—they were in this vitamin and lifestyle, they called it a vital study first and then eventually they were kind of looking at the incidents of pancreatic cancer by magnesium intake categories. Long story short, the people that had, for example, every 100mg that they went up in magnesium—or no, they actually have it backwards here. So every 100mg less per day of magnesium, you add in 24% increase in the incidents of pancreatic cancer. So let me just—I’m gonna repeat that just to make sure it’s clear. For every 100mg per day of magnesium less that was consumed, your risk went up 24% every 100.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Wow.
Evan Brand: That’s a lot. 24%–
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: That is. That’s—that’s big. Yeah.
Evan Brand: So–
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: That is really big.
Evan Brand: So I think maybe I’m gonna supplement with some right after this podcast today.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, I’m gonna read one more study here. I think it’s important we have a little bit of study—we wanna be more in the clinical side but we wanna kinda back up what we’re talking about. But there was one study here looking at the effect of magnesium supplementation on primary insomnia in the elderly, and it was a—a double-blind placebo-controlled trial. That means the patients didn’t know what they were taking and the doctors administrated. The patients didn’t what they were taking. One group has the—the magnesium. The other group typically had a—a placebo that was innocuous. And what they found that supplementation of magnesium appears to improve subjective measures of insomnia, including sleep efficiency, sleep time, sleep onset and early morning awakening and likewise, insomnia objective measure such as concentration as well as looking at like serum renin, which looks at kidney function, as well as looking at melatonin levels and the serum cortisol in the elderly. All these things improved while taking basically the magnesium supplementation.
Evan Brand: Did it say what form they were taking there?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Let me see if I can extract that here. They just talk about it being magnesium. They did not go into any detail here. Let me see here. They talk about—no, they did not go into the exact kind of magnesium. Let me pull up the—the full article and I can break that down here. But any comments on that? I think the sleep part is so important because sleep affects your adrenals, your thyroid, it helps your immune system. There’s so many benefits that happen with sleep and we know that with poor sleep, we increase our chance of all-cause mortality and we increase blood sugar issues. We become more insulin-resistant the less quality of sleep we get.
Evan Brand: Yeah, so I wanna add a couple of other comments back about some research on the magnesium threonate. One was looking at when you can elevate the brain and magnesium levels so when you can cross that blood-barrier that you’re gonna change your fear conditioning—they call it fear extinction in the pre-frontal cortex and the amygdala, sort of the fear center of the brain, that when you get more magnesium in there, you’re gonna be able to shut down that Fight or Flight response. So if we’re talking about people that we’re treating with adrenal issues, a lot of times that could be sort of a PTSD-type scenario, so whether it was war or whether it was just significant stress that contributed to PTSD, we can use this as well to try to basically free up that lock that the brain is stuck in that’s keeping them in that chronic stress state. Now another piece of it here, too, was looking at enhancement of learning and memory by elevating brain magnesium. So if you’re looking for like cognition, you know, everybody’s interested in boosting their function, this form of magnesium is something that’s very simple and you don’t really have to go in to some of the heavy hitting nootropics that I’ve written about. You may not have to do that. That may be like phase 2 or phase 3. This might be phase 1 for you to really help with, you know, some of your mood issues and then the last one I wanted to mention was—it was just another study here—on the stress effects. So you got kinda of an anti-aging sleep, cognition, relaxation, memory recall, PTSD, anxiety, all of this stuff can be—can be helped here.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Got it. Excellent. Oh by the way, I was checking that study just to kinda give you a whole, kind of a full perspective is that they were only looking at, in that study, magnesium oxide.
Evan Brand: Wow. And that gave that–
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.
Evan Brand: Good a results even.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, that gave—that a significant result. Now if you break it down though, there’s a couple of things that are looked at in there. I’m trying to get the exact definition here. So magnesium oxide’s the most dense form. We already talked about and basically only 4% of it is absorbed, right? That’s like the elemental magnesium portion of the magnesium oxide. So for instance, if we’re taking like a 500mg tablet, that’s about 12mg. Now in this study, interestingly enough, they did—let me pull it up again here. I got the full study right here. They did magnesium oxide which was very, very interesting, but about 125mg of that was magnesium, elemental magnesium.
Evan Brand: Ah, so you’re thinking that—that’s—that’s the winner. That’s why it happened.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, so they—but they gave—they administered magnesium oxide twice a day. Each tablet contained 414mg of magnesium oxide, as 250mg elemental magnesium. And we know that typical magnesium oxide is about 4%—4% elemental magnesium. So what that means to me is that they had some magnesium oxide that had extra elemental magnesium in it, so these peeps right here in this study were getting—if we do the Math here one more time—they were doing 2 capsules a day. They were getting about 830mg of magnesium oxide and they were getting about half of that was the elemental magnesium which is far better absorbed.
Evan Brand: Yup, so that takes us right to where—where you were talking about 4 or 500mg per day that you actually want to get. Not 4 to 500 on the label, 4 to 500 that’s gonna actually do something.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Exactly. Yup, big time. And that’s why we like the magnesium glytate—gly—magnesium glycinate and the magnesium malate because of the better absorption with it.
Evan Brand: That’s awesome.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So kinda looking at everything here, a couple of things I wanna mention. I already highlighted earlier, but there’s a couple of medications that can actually cause magnesium deficiency. Obviously any of your diuretics to help reduce blood pressure because they reduce minerals in general especially sodium because sodium holds on to water, right? Increased water means increased pressure, so diuretics will decrease magnesium. We also have—and again like these are like Lasix, these are things that we give for high blood pressure and then we also have things like medications such as antibiotics, like gentamycin and tobramycin which have an effect of creating magnesium deficiency. Things like prednisone or Deltasone, these are like corticosteroids, which again if you have excess inflammation, guess why you’d be taking those? Well, to help reduce the inflammation. Doesn’t fix the underlying cause. They also can create more blood sugar issues which we know causes further magnesium deficiency and we know they also can weaken the bones, right? So that means we can have an increased need for calcium and magnesium, and then we also note antacids, right? Antacids will cause our body to decrease HCl and less HCl means less ionization of the minerals especially magnesium. And we know insulin. Insulin as a drug can reduce magnesium absorption, but we also note we also stimulate insulin, Evan, eating what?
Evan Brand: Sugar.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, bingo! So like I mentioned before, the blood sugar part, right? We’re trying to go over core fundamental things here. Fundamental foundational issues is keeping blood sugar in check and then also having an unhealthy digestive tract, right? Any kind of inflammation in the gut, whether it’s an autoimmune condition, whether it’s just a regular gastritis or just a SIBO or a chronic infection, those can also drive nutrients malabsorption issues because again, our gut lining’s irritated. When we’re irritated, we’re less likely to digest and absorb and utilize and assimilate these nutrients.
Evan Brand: Alcohol’s another one, too, that we haven’t mentioned.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: That’s sugar basically, right? So yeah.
Evan Brand: Yeah.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. Totally agree.
Evan Brand: Think of your alcoholics and some of the issues that they’ve developed, it makes sense that the magnesium deficiency is part of this.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Absolutely, so I think everyone here, one, they should be eating a nutrient dense anti-inflammatory whole food, low toxin diet. That’s number one. And number two is we should be on a high quality multivitamin, so you can click on the link to visit Evan’s site and/or mine. We have some really good high quality multivitamins that we use ourselves personally and with our patients. They are chelated to amino acids like glycinate or malate to help with maximum absorption, and then taking it supplementally if you’re under extra stress, right? Most people in this day and age are gonna reach for the glass of wine at night or reach for benzo, like the Xanax or any of those other family of medications. Just reach for a little bit of magnesium instead. That’s a much better, more of a constructive vehicle to help with relaxation.
Evan Brand: Absolutely. Imagine all of the bars just serving magnesium tonics instead of vodka or who knows what else. I think about that all the time about the thousands of people that are trying to relax and de-stress at the end of the work week, but they’re doing it in the most damaging and least effective method possible.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Totally. So we’ll put a lot of our references in the show notes, so make sure you subscribe so you can get the emails for that. Evan, do you wanna kinda wrap things up on your end and I’ll do the same after?
Evan Brand: Yeah, I would say just—this is another thing to have in your toolbox. It’s not to say that you need to put all your eggs in one basket–
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right.
Evan Brand: And magnesium is gonna be capable of changing your life, but definitely go pick up the book or—or rent it at your library, The Magnesium Miracle. That book was what really convinced me to really look in to this and–
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh-hmm.
Evan Brand: To utilize this more. So I would say that’s just another resource for further research.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I like it, yeah. Number one, take a look at your diet, right? Make sure the foods are anti-inflammatory, nutrient dense and low toxin foods. Make sure they are glycemically appropriate, the right amount of carbohydrate for your specific levels and then number three, make sure your digestion’s working and make sure you don’t have a gut infection, and again—oh, I didn’t even touch upon it—objective testing. What do we like? Well, I like magnesium serum above 2 for your typical Lab Corp range, and I like a red blood cell magnesium 5 or above—5 or above. So magnesium serum is like what’s in the blood. Red blood cell magnesium is what’s actually inside. One’s intercellular, one’s extracellular. Extracellular means what’s outside of the cell, alright, what’s—what the blood cell is floating in, the serum, and then what’s inside the cell. So magnesium serum, 2 or above and then red blood cell magnesium 5 or above if you wanna be more objective regarding some lab testing to assess it. So again, if it’s your first time dealing with this, reach out to myself or Evan if you need more help or guidance in dealing with these issues.
Evan Brand: Sounds great.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Awesome, Evan. You have a great day!
Evan Brand: You take care.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Bye.
Evan Brand: Bye.
Why Do You Eat The Food You Eat?
By Dr. Justin Marchegiani
The first question I have for anyone who is looking to be healthy, “Why do you eat the foods that you eat?”
This is a foundational question that everyone needs to answer before any diet changes are made in your life. Our bodies are in a constant state of building up and breaking down every day, this is known as either anabolism (building up) or catabolism (breaking down). The foods we eat and even the timing of when we eat, have a drastic effect on which state are body is in.
Are foods that you’re consuming anti-inflammatory, nutrient dense and low in toxins? Depending on how sick you or how healthy you want to be, 80 to 99% of the food you put in your body needs to meet this criteria.
In the chart below you will see that the highest rates of nutritional foods all come from the vegetable, fruit and animal sources. It is been hammered into our heads by the mainstream media that we need to consume grains everyday, heck it’s the foundation of our food pyramid. But as you can see grains tend to be the most nutrient poor food source, not to mention the most inflammatory!
It’s important to notes that many grains, refined sugars and high glycemic foods (foods the break down into sugar in your body very fast) can be addicting. Foods especially like refined dairy products and grains actually break down into morphine like products (gluteomorphines and caseomorephines). These morphine like compounds fit into the opiate receptor in your brain causing a similar response like heroin or vicodine. As you change your diet to nutrient dense, low toxin and anti-inflammatory foods, it is common to experience cravings.
Foods like Oreo cookies are actually shown to be more addicting then cocaine in laboratory experiments. It’s important to note the main compounds in Oreo cookies are refined flour, sugar and trans fats (1).
I know many of you are thinking, now that I’m changing my diet to healthier foods, “What can I do to help curtail the cravings?”
I find many of my patients have timing problems regarding when they eat their meals. Especially patients who have adrenal fatigue and or blood sugar issues need to be eating every 3 to 5 hours, especially within the first hour of waking.
One of the biggest stressors on your hormonal system is blood sugar stabilization, if your body is so concerned with stabilizing blood sugar it will have less ability to manage the other priorities in your endocrine system such as thyroid function and ovarian function to name a few.
When most people convert over to an anti-inflammatory or a paleo type of diet I find they are not eating enough healthy proteins and fat. The types of fat people are consuming aren’t high quality fats from animal products such as healthy saturated fats from coconut, grass fed butter, grass fed meat, wild salmon and other pasture raised animals.
As your body gets adapted to burning fat for fuel (ketones) the less cravings you will have, in the early phases of this transition your body is used to burning carbohydrate and glucose for fuel, so as your blood sugar goes up and down throughout the day cravings can occur. Now that your body is relying more on ketones, there will be less reliance to burn glucose and sugar.
When many people learn about ketosis or fat burning they get scared and confuse it with ketoacidosis. Ketoacidosis involves people that are type I diabetics that are not receiving enough insulin and or alcoholics with liver damage. Ketosis (keto-lipolysis) is a normal physiological process the body goes through either when it’s fasting or when relying on less carbohydrates and sugar for fuel.
The important difference between fasting and a low carbohydrate diet is is an important one. When you are fasting there is a deficiency of protein coming into your body, therefore your body is more apt to breakdown structural protein (muscle) for fuel. This may not be good thing if your goal is to be strong, lean and look good. If you are eating enough protein you don’t have to worry about your body breaking down muscle for fuel. Most Dietitians spread this myth so I couldn’t ignore the opportunity to dispel it.
Depending on your body composition and your weight loss goals carbohydrate recommendations can vary from person to person. If you are at or within 10 pounds of your ideal body weight and don’t have blood sugar markers that are elevated consuming a little bit of low glycemic fruit and safe starches (not from grain sources) may be okay (you should be consuming more vegetables than fruit and starch). These individuals tend to be on the hypoglycemic side and have more of a petite or leaner frame.
If your goal is to lose weight and you’re having problems with higher blood sugar or insulin resistance it’s important that you get most of your carbohydrates through non-starchy vegetables. The best time to consume carbohydrates if you are trying to lose weight would be post exercise. In the post exercise window a little bit of low glycemic fruit should be okay, but vegetable should be consumed at all other times throughout the day as your carbohydrate source.
If you are feeling hungry at all throughout the day, this is putting additional stress on your hormonal system to stabilize blood sugar. The goal is to eat enough food to feel satiated for at least 3 to 5 hours. If you are not feeling satiated you need to look at how much you are eating as well as if you’re eating enough fat and protein at your meals.
Supplements that are helpful in reducing sweet cravings:
5-HTP or L-tryptophan, L-tyrosine or Mucuna pruriens, and L-glutamine. It’s very important that 5-HTP and and L tyrosine are taken in a proper ratio of 10:1, I do not recommend taking these without being under a physician or nutritionists supervision.
The next article will be about specific recommendations regarding protein and fat consumption. And also what to do if you’re having a problem digesting all this great protein and fat.