Magnesium’s Role in Balancing Calcium

For a review of why I don’t take calcium and how an excess is linked to osteoporosis and other chronic degenerative diseases, read Why I don’t Take Calcium Supplements #1, #2, and #3.

When calcium blood levels are high, you’ll most likely have a magnesium deficiency. Magnesium has been called nature’s calcium channel blocker, helping to keep calcium levels in check.

Studies have shown that excess calcium can contribute to calcium deposits (like kidney stones and atherosclerosis) and that magnesium helps dissolve calcium deposits.

Magnesium helps reduce inflammation by lowering excess calcium in cells that induces inflammation. This, in turn, helps keep calcium in the bones and reduces the risk of other chronic degenerative diseases.

Chronic inflammation due to calcium excess is frequently found in those with cancer. Studies have shown that those with a higher magnesium intake seem to have less risk of colon, lung, and rectal cancers. One study showed that post-menopausal women with breast cancer had a higher calcium to magnesium ratio than those without breast cancer.

It is difficult to take toxic levels of magnesium (check with your doctor if you have kidney problems). As long as an excess of calcium is present inside the cells, magnesium is needed to balance it.

Just like prescription calcium channel blockers, magnesium supplements may lower blood pressure temporarily. In those with already low blood pressure, this may be a problem. If this happens, stop taking supplemental magnesium until your blood pressure returns to normal, and then reduce the amount until it doesn’t have a negative effect on your blood pressure.

Just like vitamin C, if you experience diarrhea when taking magnesium, you can adjust the amount until you achieve bowel tolerance.

The word following magnesium (oxide, citrate, glycinate, malate, phosphate, carbonate, etc.) is called an anion. The anion helps you choose the best supplemental form. Dr. Levy, in his book Death by Calcium, recommends magnesium glycinate in his osteoporosis treatment protocol. He says it is well absorbed, is less likely to cause diarrhea, and is made from the amino acid glycine, which has other nutritional uses in the body.

My least favorite forms are carbonate and oxide, and I take Magnesium Complex, which is a combination of malate and citrate.

A good starting point is to get your blood levels checked for calcium. If you have excess blood levels, consider taking a magnesium supplement. If you do take calcium supplements (I don’t), be sure to take additional magnesium. Calcium helps muscles contract, and magnesium helps them to relax.

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist & Health Coach

1 Corinthians 10:31–“Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory!”

www.learningtobehealthy.com

The Addiction Summit is online and free this week!

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease. It does not take the place of any medical care that you may need. Consult your health care provider about making dietary and lifestyle changes that are right for you.

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Why I don’t Take Calcium–#3

In Why I don’t Take Calcium–#1 and Why I don’t Take Calcium–#2, we looked at how excess calcium in the body is a likely indicator of calcium being pulled from the bones, and that it can also contribute to inflammation in the arteries and other parts of the body, raising the risk of chronic degenerative diseases.

Next, we learned that optimal levels of vitamin C help to reduce inflammation, keep calcium in the bones, lower the risk of fracture, and reduce excess deposits and calcifications in other places. Calcium-laden kidney stones are one example of a vitamin C deficiency.

Let’s look at some various forms of vitamin C supplements:

Ascorbic acid is a common form of vitamin C, but it can upset some people’s stomach due to its acidity. Synthetic vitamin C is usually made from corn, which may be genetically modified. Look for companies that make certified non-GMO products.

Sodium ascorbate is a form of ascorbic acid that is more alkaline, so it is better tolerated when taking large doses. It does not raise blood pressure or cause fluid retention like sodium chloride.

Calcium ascorbate is a combination of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and calcium. This form is often used to help buffer excess acid, making it easier on the stomach. If you are concerned about excess calcium, this would not be the desirable form of vitamin C.

Magnesium ascorbate is a non-acidic combination of magnesium and ascorbic acid, making it easy on the stomach. Many of us are deficient in magnesium, which is also needed for bone health, making this a desirable form. Unfortunately, magnesium ascorbate can be more expensive.

Potassium ascorbate contains both vitamin C and potassium, so it should be taken only under the advice of your health care provider. Too much potassium can cause health problems, especially if you are taking large amounts of potassium ascorbate and/or taking other supplements or medications that contain potassium. On the other hand, if your lab tests show that you need potassium, this may be a beneficial form of vitamin C for you.

Ascorbyl palmitate is a fat-soluble form of vitamin C that provides extra anti-oxidant protection to cells that most water-soluble forms of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) cannot offer. Liposomal delivery (helps with deeper penetration of the nutrient) of ascorbyl palmitate has been used to slow skin aging and has been demonstrated to kill cancer cells in vitro and slow tumor growth in mice more effectively than with ascorbic acid.

Read the labels of all your supplements, medications, and even the food you eat. See if they include any of the above forms of vitamin C.

Dr. Levy, in his book Death by Calcium, recommends a Multi-C Protocol,using liposome-encapsulated vitamin C, sodium ascorbate powder, ascorbyl palmitate, and even intravenously administered vitamin C. For more information on his protocol, see his book.

Note: Vitamin C is safe and non-toxic, even in large amounts, but those with chronic kidney problems need to always check with their doctor before taking any supplements.

If you are looking for a whole-food form of vitamin C, you might consider one made from amla berries.

The free Alzheimer’s and Dementia online summit starts Monday, July 23!

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist & Health Coach

1 Corinthians 10:31–“Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory!”

www.learningtobehealthy.com

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease. It does not take the place of any medical care that you may need. Consult your health care provider about making dietary and lifestyle changes that are right for you.

Why I don’t Take Calcium–#2

In Why I don’t Take Calcium–#1″, we learned that, according to research, taking calcium supplements and/or increasing dietary intake of calcium does not reduce the risk of bone fracture. Also, that an excess build up of calcium in the body can increase the risk of heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, stroke, and other degenerative diseases.

There’s no doubt that bones need calcium to build new bones, but Dr. Levy, in his book Death by Calcium, states that “Calcium migration from the bone is not the cause of osteoporosis, but rather a symptom of it.” So, then, what is the root cause?

It might surprise you to find out (it did me) that a vitamin C deficiency in the bone can lead to a severe loss of bone-building cells and an increase in bone-dissolving cells. Vitamin C acts as an anti-oxidant to protect bones from cellular damage, which contributes to osteoporosis. Studies have confirmed that oxidative stress plays a role in the cause of osteoporosis.

Collagen is necessary in both the formation and strengthening of new bone. Vitamin C is essential to making collagen.

Clinical observations show that a vitamin C deficiency decreases calcium deposition into bones and increases calcium excretion from bones. The excreted calcium can accumulate in other tissues, like arterial walls.

There is a loss of estrogen during menopause, which results in a loss of calcium from bones. Vitamin C has been shown to strengthen bones in both post-menopausal women and lab rats who had their ovaries removed to induce menopause.

The Framingham Osteoporosis Study found that those with the highest vitamin C intake had significantly fewer hip fractures compared to those with the lowest intake.

Research continues to find that the combination of excess calcium and vitamin C deficiency is found at the tissue sites of chronic degenerativediseases. Excess calcium deposits contribute to oxidative stress, and vitamin C is an anti-oxidant to help prevent damage caused by this stress. When oxidative stress is kept in check, calcium can stay in the bones.

In the case of atherosclerosis, the body uses calcium from the blood to produce plaque in the arteries to support weak vessels (due to chronic oxidative stress). The body then pulls calcium from bones into the bloodstream so it will be available for more arterial repair. Sufficient vitamin C levels would help reduce this stress on the arteries, diminishing the need for more calcium to support the arteries.

Besides the coronary arteries, excess blood calcium can be deposited into cells throughout the body (brain, breasts, prostate, etc.). Excess blood calcium can come from dietary calcium, calcium supplements, and/or calcium pulled out of bones. When there are optimal levels of vitamin C present, dietary calcium is deposited into the bones, and any excess is excreted via the kidneys.

Eliminating a vitamin C deficiency is one important step toward improving bone health, as well as reducing the risk of other chronic diseases.

In the next newsletter, I’ll explore various types and benefits of vitamin C supplements and their therapeutic uses.

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist & Health Coach

www.learningtobehealthy.com

1 Corinthians 10:31–“Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory!”

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease. It does not take the place of any medical care that you may need. Consult your health care provider about making dietary and lifestyle changes that are right for you.

Why I don’t Take Calcium–#1

Throughout my nutritional studies, I learned that whole food, in its original God-created form, is the perfect “software” for our bodies. The design is perfect! I also learned that man-made synthetic supplements are not the perfect “software”. At best, they are only partially assimilated, so even if the label says 100% of the recommended daily value for a nutrient, you may only be absorbing about 10%. What’s happening to the other 90%?

The other consideration when taking supplements is that neither too much nor too little is beneficial. Both an excess and a deficiency of nutrients are determined by a fairly narrow range. Random supplementation can upset this balance. Small insufficiencies and excesses can contribute to many health problems.

Often, people ask me about taking calcium and other supplements. As a rule, I don’t recommend isolated supplements. Instead, I recommend eating a better diet and using supplements made from real, whole foods.

With that said, I am going to devote the next several newsletters to why I don’t take calcium and how it can actually be toxic in excess. I will be referencing the book Death by Calcium by Thomas E. Levy, MD, JD, which is based upon much scientific research and many clinical studies over 25 years.

People in the US take more calcium than anywhere else in the world and have the highest incidence of osteoporosis. We are ranked 33rd in life expectancy and yet are number one in how much we spend on health care.

The current paradigm says that if we have weak bones, we must have a calcium deficiency, so therefore, we need to take calcium. Dr. Levy does not agree with this model.

To clarify, calcium is essential for bodily function but can be toxic in excess. It can promote disease where this excess accumulates. The crazy thing is that these calcium deposits can trigger more calcium to be released from the bones!

Almost without exception, those with osteoporosis have toxic levels of calcium outside of bone tissue. This excess can contribute to heart attack, kidney failure, stroke, high blood pressure, and cancer. Excess calcium has also been implicated in fueling and accelerating chronic diseases.

Fifteen independent clinical studies indicate that taking an extra 500 mg. of calcium per day can increase the risk of heart attack by 30% and the likelihood of a stroke by up to 20%. There is also a greater risk of death from coronary heart disease and cancer. To make matters worse, the calcium supplementation failed to improve bone strength.

A study of more than 61,000 people over 19 years reported that those with a calcium intake of over 1400 mg. per day had a 40% increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease and a 114% increased risk of death from reduced flow of blood to the heart muscle.

Over one-third of Americans over the age of 45 have some arterial calcification. Much of this plaque is the accumulation of calcium salts.

Advanced MRIs found calcifications in 95% of malignant prostate glands.

Calcifications are frequently found on mammographies of women with breast cancer. Many breast biopsies are done due to these findings. Studies show that breast cancer patients who have calcifications are less likely to survive the disease than those who don’t.

A recently published study found a strong association between increased calcium levels and death from any cause.

Inhibiting calcium uptake seems to make cancer less invasive and less prone to grow new blood cells.

Chronically high levels of calcium in cells seems to play a significant role in degenerative neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Lou Gehrig’s (ALS).

Calcium channel blockers are a group of drugs designed to inhibit the uptake of calcium into cells. They have been used effectively to treat high blood pressure and to reduce the events associated with high blood pressure. By limiting the uptake of calcium into cells, calcium channel blockers have an anti-atherosclerosis effect.

Studies that were done involving over 175,000 patients, using three common calcium channel blockers, found that all three significantly reduced death from all causes.

You may be wondering why you’re not hearing about this from your doctor. Between 2010 and 2013, there has been much published in medical literature journals about how calcium can accumulate in the body and become toxic from supplements and excess dairy consumption. Sadly, this information is buried and seldom read. Not to mention, that it is an overwhelming task to change the current business model that includes the medical establishment, dairy industry, and supplement companies, to an individual healthy lifestyle approach.

So, the real problem seems to be not that we have a lack of calcium in our diets, but that calcium is being relocated from our bones to other areas of the body. I’ll continue to explore this further in future newsletters.

If you want to start a conversation about this topic, feel free to post your questions or comments in the Facebook group.

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist & Health Coach

1 Corinthians 10:31–“Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory!”

www.learningtobehealthy.com

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease. It does not take the place of any medical care that you may need. Consult your health care provider about making dietary and lifestyle changes that are right for you.

The Connection between Artificial Sweeteners, Blood Sugar, and Weight Loss

If you are using artificial sweeteners as a way to help control your weight or blood sugar, think again!

An Israeli study in 2014 found that artificial sweeteners (aspartame, saccharin, and sucralose) raised blood sugar levels in mice.  They followed up with research on approximately 400 non-diabetic individuals and found that consumption of artificial sweeteners increased their blood sugar levels similar to those found in the mice.

Artificial sweeteners also alter gut bacteria, which is an important part of blood sugar regulation.

It is well documented that chronic high blood sugar levels can lead to obesity.

A recent study of more than 3,000 pregnant women and their infants found that mothers who consumed more beverages containing artificial sweeteners were twice as likely to have children who were overweight than those who used less.  (Research led by Meghan Azad, assistant professor of pediatrics and child health at the University of Manitoba.)

If that’s not enough to make you cautious about your intake of artificial sweeteners, here’s a few more thoughts:

A 2015 press release pointed out that the Center for Science in the Public Interest recommends that consumers avoid aspartame (NutraSweet is a brand name) and has urged food manufacturers not to use it.  CSPI based their recommendations on studies that link cancer, including brain tumors, to the consumptiontion of aspartame.

A study at the University of Iowa of almost 60,000 women found that, on average, those who consumed at least two or more diet sodas per day had a higher body mass index, as well as higher rates of diabetes and high blood pressure.  All of these conditions can contribute to heart disease.

A 2014 study at the University of North Dakota found a connection to neurological heath.  Those participants who maintained a short-term high-aspertame diet were more depressed and irritable. They also performed worse on spatial orientation tests.

The Journal of Applied Nutrition (1988) reported the results of a survey by the late Dr. H. J. Roberts, a diabetes specialist that analyzed the reactions of 551 individuals to NutraSweet (aspartame) consumption.  He found the most common reactions were headaches, dizziness, memory loss, confusion, vision problems, depression, irritability, and anxiety attacks.

Dr. Roberts wrote a book, Aspartame Disease:  An Ignored Epidemic (published in 2001), in which he documents a more detailed account of the above reactions, along with less common reactions, like low blood sugar, bloating, skin problems, restless leg syndrome, abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, shortness of breath, thinning hair, blindness, burning urination, and joint pain.

Read the ingredients on all foods, beverages, gum, vitamins (especially children’s), and even over-the-counter drugs.  Aspartame alone is in an estimated 6,000 diet and sugar-free products!

If a label says it contains “phenylalanine,” aspartame is one of the ingredients.

Avoid saccharin, Sweet ‘n Low, sucralose, Splenda, aspartame, NutraSweet, and other artificial sweeteners.  You are not made of artificial ingredients, so they have no place in your body!

For a more complete list of artificial sweeteners, visit this link:  https://www.doctoroz.com/article/list-names-artificial-sweeteners

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist & Health Coach

1 Corinthians 10:31–“Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory!”

www.learningtobehealthy.com

Need some help with planning healthy meals, along with daily health tips and motivation?  Check out my 6-Week Health Transformation!

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.  It does not take the place of any medical care that you may need.  Consult your health care provider about making dietary and lifestyle changes that are right for you.

Synthetic Food Dyes–the Toxic Truth!

How can something so pretty and colorful be so bad for you?  Synthetic dyes, also known as artificial colors, are made from coal tar and petrochemical residues.  Thousands of foods and drinks contain added colors.  These toxic chemicals can also be recognized by their numbers, like FD&C #5.

Food dyes are proven carcinogens, and some people are more sensitive to their effects, especially children.  The following conditions could possibly be triggered by artificial colors:

attention deficit disorder (ADD)

learning/behavior problems

migraine headaches

colds/flu (the body’s way of detoxifying)

sinus and respiratory problems

joint problems

joint pain

irritability

fatigue

depression

seizures

Those with asthma seem to be particularly sensitive to food dyes, with many fatal and near fatal reactions reported.  Yellow Dye #5 (also known as tartrazine) seems to be the main culprit.  It is a coal tar derivative that belongs to the aspirin family, proving especially dangerous for those with aspirin sensitivity.

The accumulation of these dyes over time can lead to chronic disease, including cancer.  Eating a whole-foods, unprocessed diet can help detoxify and protect the body against damage from toxic chemicals.  Including six or more daily servings of a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables is a good natural defense against disease.

Eat a rainbow of colors found in nature–green spinach, yellow squash, oranges, purple eggplant, red beets, blueberries, and white onions.  These colors contain God’s pharmacy of nutrients to detoxify, repair, and build our health.

Read the ingredients on all packaged foods and drinks!  You’ll find artificial colors in an enormous number of products:

pickles/relish

ice cream/frozen treats

chips/crackers

candies/cookies/snack bars

frozen and canned foods

cereals (especially those marketed to children)

salad dressings/sauces

cake mixes/frostings

sports/energy drinks/sodas/fruit punch

supplements/medications

chewing gum/mints

puddings/yogurt/gelatin

some butter and cheese products

breads/biscuits

pie fillings/canned fruit/maraschino cherries

For more information:  List of food dyes to avoid

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist & Health Coach

1 Corinthians 10:31–“Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory!”

www.learningtobehealthy.com

www.learningtobehealthy.com/30-day-healthy-start-challenge.html

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This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.  It does not take the place of any medical care that you may need. Consult your health care provider about making dietary and lifestyle changes that are right for you.

 

Date nut bread–a delicious and healthy Christmas treat!

Date nut bread is one of my favorite recipes that can be eaten for breakfast, dessert, or as a healthy snack.  If you are gluten intolerant or don’t eat wheat, substitute the whole wheat flour with almond flour or coconut flour.  If you don’t care for pecans, try walnuts, Brazil nuts, cashews, pistachios, almonds, etc.

The recipe:

2 eggs (whole or just the whites)

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (or expeller-pressed grape seed or avocado oil)

1/4 cup raw honey

1/2 cup whole-wheat flour (or almond or coconut flour)

1/4 teaspoon mineral-rich salt (optional)

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

8 ounces coarsely chopped dates

2 cups raw pecans (or other nuts)

Beat eggs with honey and oil.  Mix flour, salt, and cinnamon, then stir into egg mixture.  Fold in dates and nuts.  Grease a baking pan with oil (coconut, olive, grape seed, or avocado).  Bake at 350 degrees until toothpick inserted into batter comes out clean.  A 9 x 5 x 2-inch loaf pan takes about 45 minutes.  An 8- or 9-inch square pan takes about 25 minutes.  Cool and cut into squares or slices.

The nutritional value:

Dates, nuts, and raw honey contain boron, a trace mineral which helps boost blood levels of estrogen and other compounds that help prevent calcium loss and bone demineralization.

Dates are high in natural aspirin and have a laxative effect.  They are linked to lower rates of certain cancers, especially pancreatic cancer.

Nuts are a key food among Seventh-Day Adventists, who are known for their low rates of heart disease.  Most nuts are high in vitamin E, shown to protect against chest pain and artery damage.

Nuts and cinnamon help to regulate insulin and slow down blood sugar spikes.

Whole-grain wheat contains selenium, a trace mineral important for the immune system and thyroid.

Extra-virgin olive oil is a good source of vitamin E, making it beneficial for heart health.

Egg yolks contain vitamin D and choline, a B-complex vitamin needed for liver and brain health.

Date nut bread makes a yummy Christmas gift.  I often bake it in mini loaf pans for this purpose.

Make your holiday celebrations delicious and nutritious!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist & Health Coach

1 Corinthians 10:31–“Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory!”

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This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.  It does not take the place of any medical care that you may need. Consult your health care provider about making dietary and lifestyle changes that are right for you.