On today’s episode, episode number one of The Modern Vital Podcast, we’re going to talk about why magnesium might be the most underrated nutrient in the body.
Our Modern Vital Fact of the Day is that the skin actually absorbs magnesium better than the gut does. This type of magnesium is called transdermal magnesium. Hence floating in a sensory deprivation float tank rich in magnesium salts, or taking Epsom salt baths is an excellent way to bolster your magnesium supplementation.
Magnesium is required by over 300 biochemical reactions and enzymes in the human body, which is made up of about 25 grams of magnesium. 50% or more of this magnesium is stored in the bones and the remainder is mainly stored in the soft tissues, such as the muscles.
The richest source of magnesium includes nuts, legumes, whole grains and fruit. But coffee and cocoa are high in magnesium as well as dairy meats and fish.
Harder water as opposed to softer water is also high in dissolved minerals and can be a rich source of magnesium. There are 11 main forms of magnesium including chloride, citrate, glycinate, lactate, malate, orotate, oxide, sulfate, taurate, l-threonate,, and each one does certain things in the body better than other forms.
For example, citrate and oxide are good for digestive health. Malate is good for fibromyalgia and chronic pain. L-threonate is good for brain health, and orotate has been studied for heart health.
Though no one can agree exactly, The Food and Nutrition Board iin the US estimates that the required daily allowance or RDA for magnesium is between 310 and 400 milligrams daily.
This is a good baseline and clearly most people are not meeting this baseline.
Magnesium deficiency is significantly underdiagnosed in the world because the body will compensate for any magnesium deficiency by reabsorbing magnesium from the bones when it needs more.
And remember, 50% of our magnesium is stored in the bones primarily for this reason. And this is the main reason that a serum or plasma magnesium blood test is not a very reliable marker of true magnesium levels in the body.
Now, a little known fact is that magnesium is also in our brain in our cerebrospinal fluid or CSF. The way it gets there is by being filtered through what’s called the choroid plexus, a network of blood vessels in the brain, particularly in the ventricles, which are fluid filled cavities that communicate with one another in the brain.
Now there are three primary causes or contributing factors to chronic disease. The first one is toxicity. The second one is deficiency. And the third one is lack of energy, or we can call it mitochondrial insufficiency.
With regard to the first primary cause of chronic disease, toxicity, magnesium plays an important role particularly in detoxification. The reason this is is because magnesium is required to make our body’s most important antioxidant glutathione, which is made by our liver and protects us from any oxidative stress.
Also, studies indicate that magnesium plays a role in brain derived neurotrophic factor or BDNF signaling. BDNF is a neuro protective protein that impacts neurotransmission, and neuroplasticity. Stressful stimuli in our brains can ramp up oxidative stress, but magnesium appears to have a positive impact on BDNF signaling.
The second contributing factor to chronic disease is deficiency. And studies indicate that up to 50% or more of the entire global population, which is now at about 8 billion, is magnesium deficient. There are a number of reasons for this. The first is that our topsoil has been depleted of magnesium, and so our food no longer contains adequate amounts of it. The second reason is that our magnesium stores are depleted under chronic stress. Interestingly, under stress, our magnesium moves out of our cells where it mainly lives, that is, intracellularly, out into our blood and lymphatic tissue, that is, extracellularly, and it does this temporarily when we’re under stress.
In other words, magnesium moves from the intracellular compartment or fluids to the extracellular fluids under stress, and then once the magnesium is in the blood, it can be filtered by the kidneys and excreted in our urine. And if this process goes on long enough or chronically, we can become severely depleted of magnesium.
The concept of allostatic load is also important here which refers to the cumulative burden and effect of chronic stress on the human organism over time. Research and Studies show how as our bodies adapt under chronic stress to maintain adequate function, our magnesium stores can be depleted.
Hippocrates, an early pioneer of modern medicine, is credited with saying that all disease begins in the gut, and this appears to bear out in today’s research.
Millions of humans do not properly absorb their nutrients. Magnesium is mainly absorbed in the small intestine, particularly in the distal jejunum and ileum. Therefore, a small bowel resection, where part of the small intestine is removed, could significantly impair magnesium absorption. Even a condition such as small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, or SIBO, where inflammation and pathogenic bacterial overgrowth are occurring in the small intestine, could greatly impair the body’s ability to absorb magnesium.
In the magnesium literature, there is something referred to as the vicious cycle where magnesium deficiency drives chronic stress and chronic stress drives magnesium deficiency. A good way to solve the vicious cycle is to create a health regimen where one gets adequate amounts of magnesium as a supplement and in food, and then one has activities planned to down regulate stress, if possible.
Finally, magnesium deficiency appears to have the potential to directly and indirectly drive calcium and vitamin D deficiency. Magnesium is an important cofactor in the production and synthesis of vitamin D in the liver and the kidneys. And it also modulates vitamin D absorption from our food, such as when we consume coldwater fatty fish, which is a fairly good source of vitamin D.
The third contributing factor to chronic disease is mitochondrial insufficiency or lack of energy. In other words, the body doesn’t have enough oomph, or energy or vitality. The adrenal glands can become depleted and tired, the thyroid can become dysregulated, the hormones can become unbalanced.
For example, testosterone stores and men can drop significantly. The batteries of the cells called the mitochondria don’t fire properly, they don’t make enough ATP, which is the energy currency of ourselves, required by our bodies for proper functioning.
Magnesium plays a vital role in our body’s ability to convert glucose from food into energy for example. Magnesium also is actually the main cofactor required to synthesize five HT or serotonin.
Though serotonin is a complex neurotransmitter, it primarily promotes wakefulness, hence, a lack of magnesium could make one more fatigued.
When our bodies are inflamed and toxic, when they are deficient. And when we lack energy or vitality, there’s a high likelihood that we could benefit from magnesium, as magnesium helps with detoxification, nutrient absorption and energy.
One of my favorite ways to take magnesium is to chew on bioavailable minerals. What are your favorite ways to take magnesium?
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If you’re looking to dive deeper into understanding the intricacies of chronic disease and its impact on your overall well-being, consider checking out Dr. Reebs’ book, “The Serpent & The Butterfly: The Seven Laws of Healing.” In this book, he discusses the laws of healing essential to resolving chronic disease and much more to help you on your journey to optimal wellness. Click here to purchase your copy: https://www.drreebs.com/serpent-butterfly-book/
Additionally, if you’re interested in a supplement designed to directly support your digestion, we recommend trying Digest: Gentian & Skullcap Capsules. These capsules are formulated with natural ingredients that can help improve and support overall digestive health. To learn more and purchase, visit: https://www.drreebs.com/digest-gentian-skullcap-capsules/
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