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!”

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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.

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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.

Support your health with sulfur–nature’s detoxifier and “beauty mineral.”

Sulfur is part of the immune system and aids the liver in detoxifying chemicals and toxins from the body.  This helps protect us from illness, including chronic disease and cancer.

Sulfur is also necessary for repairing the body and promoting the health of hair, skin, nails, and joints.  It’s known as nature’s “beauty mineral.”

Sulfur is found in insulin, the hormone that regulates carbohydrate metabolism.

Sulfur is a component of bile, which is made by the liver to help digest fats.

Sulfur-rich foods include onions, garlic, egg yolks, legumes, and cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts, mustard greens, horseradish, radish, daikon, kale, turnips, rutabaga, arugula, bok choy, collard greens, watercress, wasabi, and mustard seeds).

Boost your immune system with a serving or two of sulfur-rich foods in your daily diet.

Note:  If you have a weak thyroid, it may be beneficial for you to lightly steam cruciferous vegetables.  Cooking reduces compounds that may interfere with iodine uptake, a nutrient needed to make thyroid hormone.  Overcooking can reduce sulfur compounds.

Nature’s Sunshine sells an MSM (MethylSulfonylMethane) supplement that is a form of organic sulfur commonly used to help strengthen connective tissues and reduce inflammation, including that in the lungs, muscles, and joints.  Find it at www.learningtobehealthy.mynsp.com.

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist, CNHP

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

Download your free guide:  10 Simple Steps to a Leaner, Healthier You! at www.learningtobehealthy.com

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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.

Fish for breakfast?

“Jesus said to them, ‘Come and eat breakfast.’ . . . .Jesus then came and took the bread and gave it to them, and likewise the fish.”  John 21:12a, 13

Jesus and His disciples started the day with a power breakfast to sustain their busy ministry.  Fresh fish is a healthy source of protein, potassium, vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 essential fatty acids.  Whole-grain bread provides energy and fiber.

People who eat lots of fish seem to have thinner blood.  Norwegian scientists discovered that eating three ounces of mackerel daily could thin the blood within six weeks and reduce the risk of clogged arteries, heart attacks, and strokes.  Mackerel has high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to help lower blood pressure.

One study in Great Britain, involving hundreds of participants, showed that those who ate a diet heavy in fish developed higher levels of the good HDL cholesterol, even higher than those of vegetarians.

A study in The Netherlands compared those who ate one ounce of fish a week to those who ate none.  The risk of heart disease was 50% less among those who ate just one ounce of fish weekly!

Fish oils also seem to help reduce the risk of many cancers, including breast, lung, pancreatic, prostate, and colon.

A study at the University of Cincinnati of people with chronic migraines reported that 60% of those who took fish oil capsules had a reduction in both severity and frequency of headaches over a six-week period.  The average number of migraines dropped from two a week to two every two weeks.

Fish is often called ‘brain food’ for good reason!

Fish and its oils contain tyrosine, an amino acid that stimulates the brain to produce neurotransmitters that help us feel more alert.

DHA is a type of omega-3 fat that helps enhance brain health, including learning and memory.  It helps keep the lining of the brain cells flexible so memory messages can pass easily between cells.  The brain and retina of the eye contain the highest amounts of DHA of any tissues in the body.

Studies also indicate that taking fish oils can have positive anti-inflammatory benefits for skin and respiratory conditions, kidney disease, and menstrual cramps.

Tips for consuming fish and fish oil:

Choose wild-caught over farm-raised fish.

Mercury levels can be higher in larger fish like orange roughy (sea perch), blue fin tuna, yellow fin tuna, albacore tuna, bigeye tuna, ahi tuna, swordfish, shark, marlin, king mackerel, grouper, and catfish.

Lower levels of mercury are found in salmon, flounder, freshwater trout, mackerel, haddock, herring, mahi mahi, tilapia, whitefish, whiting, sole, pollock, and sardines.  Canned chunk light and skipjack have lower levels of mercury than other tunas.

Eat cilantro with your fish to help remove mercury.

Choose fish oils that are certified mercury free.

Eat fish with fins and scales, as they protect the fish from mercury, worms, parasites, and disease.

Cilantro Pesto

Process in blender until smooth:

1 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves (preferably organic)

1/2 cup raw almonds

3 large garlic cloves (peeled)

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon mineral-rich salt (more or less to taste)

1/4 cup organic parmesan cheese (optional)

To make it spicy and add a circulatory boost, add a few dashes of cayenne pepper.

Serve with fish, pasta, or fresh veggies.

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist, CNHP

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

www.learningtobehealthy.com                                                                                                     Download your free 10 Simple Steps to a Leaner, Healthier You!

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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.

Beans and chocolate–a disease-fighting duo!

Just one-half cup of cooked beans a day has been shown to reduce cholesterol by an average of 10%.  They are an excellent source of fiber, help regulate blood sugar levels, and are linked to lower rates of some cancers.  Beans contain phytoestrogens, which can help reduce hot flashes.

Flavonoids are antioxidants that help defend against heart disease and cancer, and cocoa contains three to five times more flavonoids than green tea.  In one study, the flavonoids in chocolate made the linings of blood vessels more supple, which helped to lower blood pressure and protect against a buildup of arterial plaque.  Flavonoids also help keep blood platelets from sticking together and forming clots, which guards against heart attacks and strokes.

So let’s put these two disease-fighting foods together in a yummy, healthy dessert!

Blend together until smooth:

1/2 cup cooked beans (black beans work well).  If using canned, drain them first, and make sure they have no added ingredients (a little sea salt is okay).  You could even use refried beans.

1 to 4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (raw, organic cacao powder is even better).  The more cocoa you use, the stronger the flavor.

4 tablespoons pure maple syrup (more or less).   You could also use raw honey or stevia.  Refined white or brown sugar will negate some of the health benefits.  Make sure that you don’t use “pancake syrup,” which is made with artificial ingredients and high-fructose corn syrup.

1/2 teaspoon unsweetened vanilla extract

This is really rich and makes about two servings.  One-half cup of black beans contains five grams of fiber, seven grams of protein, and zero fat.  Raw cacao powder contains one gram of protein, zero grams of sugar, and almost two grams of fiber per tablespoon.  It’s also a good source of magnesium and iron.

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist, CNHP

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

www.learningtobehealthy.com                                                                                                             (Grab your free 10 Simple Steps to a Leaner, Healthier You!)

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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.

Eat artichokes to help protect your liver!

This delicious, fiber-rich vegetable contains silymarin, which has been studied and found to reduce inflammation and growth of tumor cells in the liver.  These studies showed benefits for alcoholic and non-alcoholic fatty liver diseases, liver toxicity due to drugs and chemicals, and increased survival time among patients with alcohol-induced liver cirrhosis.  Silymarin also helped improve insulin resistance.  (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21466434).

A widely used source of silymarin is from the seeds of the milk thistle plant, commonly taken as a supplement.  Milk thistle can also be brewed as a tea.

Artichokes also contain silymarin!  They aid the liver and gallbladder by helping to break down fatty foods, which can help with the absorption of vitamins A, D, E, and K, and help to lower cholesterol.

Artichokes are a good source of fiber, magnesium, potassium, and folate, all of which are important for heart health.

You can cook fresh artichokes, buy them frozen, or keep canned artichoke hearts on hand. Canned ones (I prefer those in glass jars) should be packed in water or extra-virgin olive oil.  Read the labels!

I often top my pizza with artichoke hearts to add fiber and help digest fat in the cheese.  Many pizza places offer artichokes as a topping.  Add them to a green salad, chicken or tuna salad, eggs, meat and pasta dishes, or eat them with cheese and crackers, etc.  Try the easy recipe below for a quick dip, spread, or pesto.

Amazing Artichoke Topping

Blend until smooth:

Approximately 10 jarred artichoke hearts (drained)

1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 tablespoon dried Italian herbs (basil, oregano, thyme, marjoram, rosemary, etc.)

1/8 teaspoon mineral-rich salt

1 or 2 cloves of garlic (pressed)

Eat as is, or get creative and blend in some fresh spinach or parsley, pine nuts, or beans.  Adjust liquid (a little water or liquid from the jarred artichokes) and seasonings to taste.  Add a dash of cayenne for a spicy version.

Eat with 100% whole-grain crackers, cheese from grass-fed cows or sheep, and/or raw veggies.  Use as a sandwich spread.  Mix into pasta or rice, or use a topping for chicken, fish, or beef.

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist, CNHP

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

www.learningtobehealthy.com                                                                                                     (Download your free 10 Simple Steps to a Leaner, Healthier You!)

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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.

Two Brazil nuts a day may help keep the doctor away!

Brazil nuts contain selenium, a trace mineral essential to health.  Some of selenium’s impressive benefits include:

*Acts as an antioxidant to protect cells from damage.

*Helps maintain elasticity of the skin and other tissues.

*Aids function of the pancreas.

*Helps prevent hardening of the arteries and has anti-clotting effects in the blood.

*Helps convert thyroid hormone T4 to T3 (important for energy and metabolism).

*Reduces heavy metal toxicity.

*Enhances the immune system by increasing the production of white blood cells.

*Helps improve male fertility, and important for the normal development of a baby during pregnancy.

*Helps prevent cataracts.

*Helps with dandruff and seborrhea.

Consider the following research:

Studies have shown that low levels of selenium are associated with heart disease, skin problems, cataracts, muscular dystrophy, various infections, growth retardation, and inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, eczema, and psoriasis.

There is a strong link between low levels of selenium and cancer, especially of the colon, prostate, ovary, breast, skin, bladder, and lungs, as well as leukemia.

Studies have shown reduced fertility due to selenium deficiency.

In Australia, studies show that there may be a relationship between crib death (SIDS) and selenium deficiency.

Research in the 1970s demonstrated the following benefits of selenium:

*Helps protect against radiation.

*Helps detoxify heavy metals such as mercury by preventing their absorption and aiding in excretion.

*In animal studies, selenium detoxified the cancer-fighting drug Adriamycin without interfering with its actions.

Selenium is best obtained from whole foods like Brazil nuts (by far, the top source), 100% whole grains, fish, onions, broccoli, tomatoes, asparagus, mushrooms, sesame seeds, and butter and beef from grass-fed animals.  Brazil nuts are also a good source of vitamin E, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and iron.  Eat them whole or add them to your salads or smoothies.

The amount of selenium found in foods depends upon several factors:

*The condition of the soil–higher levels of selenium are generally found in western parts of The United States.  In areas where selenium levels are high, males show significantly lower overall cancer death rates.

*Fertilizers that contain sulfur can prevent the absorption of selenium from the soil by the plant.

*The benefits of selenium are reduced by heat, processing, and cooking.  Refining grains (enriched wheat, white rice, quick oats, etc.) can reduce selenium content up to 75%.  Selenium is in the bran of wheat and the polishings of rice.  Steel-cut oats are more nutritious than quick oats.

Supplementing with selenium can be tricky.  The safest and best absorbed forms are selenium yeast and selenomethionine.  The inorganic forms that are not well absorbed are sodium selenite and sodium selenate.  Sodium selenite may also inhibit absorption of vitamin C.  If you are taking a multi-vitamin/mineral or another supplement that contains selenium, check the label to find out which form it is.  The inorganic forms of selenium are often added to processed foods.

Have a cup of hibiscus or milk thistle tea for some added selenium!

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist, CNHP

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

www.learningtobehealthy.com

Get your free download–10 Simple Steps to a Leaner, Healthier You!

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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.