Magnesium is one of the most-essential nutrients in our diet. Modern food processing has all but stripped this mineral from our foods, and conservative estimates suggest 60% of Americans may suffer from a magnesium deficiency. I've had a long battle with health-related issues that were largely un-diagnosed by doctors until the recent years. It took 4 years, $50,000+ in out of pocket expenses, and a brutal journey discovery to learn how to turn things around. At the core of my issue, the one thing that offered help when nothing else did, were magnesium supplements. I'm a strong advocate for getting nutrition from diet when possible but, as I learned, this isn't always possible. What follows is my journey through discovering effective ways to recover my health and my newfound love and advocacy for magnesium .
Traditional Medicine Failed Me
These words are becoming alarmingly commonplace in modern society. People around me are suffering from chronic health issues and are constantly being turned away with little more than statins, antidepressants, or antacids. In my opinion these dismissive approaches ignore everything that is most-crucial to modern health—root cause. If someone's diet isn't well suited for long term health, they may notice a significant rise in cholesterol. Starvation diets tend to be commonly recommended actions by doctors, though offer little solace or practicality. I suppose it makes a sort of brutal sense that if food is causing you issues to start eating as little as possible. Where this approach falls short, in my opinion, is in it's failure to consider specific types of foods. For instance, diets such as the ketogenic diet have shown tremendous promise in shreading extra weight and high cholesterol levels. This diet removes so many carbs that it actually shifts ones metabolic cycle into a fat-burning state, rather than a carb-burning state. This means that your body will suddenly start using all your stored fat for energy, including that nasty arterial plaque. This is no fad diet, and there is a growing body of evidence to suggest it has applications in nearly every aspect of health. When you keep doing the same thing over and over, you shouldn't expect different results. Many conventional doctors seem content to enter patients into a vicious cycles of slapping on bandaids to contain a nasty truth—we aren't getting the nutrition we need, and our entire society is geared towards chronic health issues.
Consider your diet in terms of macro foods; carbs, proteins, fats. What percentages of each of these do you consume, and how often? If you're like the majority of Americans you'll fall somewhere into the 40% carbs, 30% proteins, and 30% fats category. Even if this consists of Organic, Non-GMO foods—it's confusing to your body. Protein is essential to any diet, and contains many constituent parts necessary for the production of many vital enzymes in the body. Protein should be at least 20% of nearly any diet. Fats and Carbs are where things get interesting. Both of these compounds can result in the production of cellular energy such as ATP. When you each carbs, your body produces pyruvic acid (pyruvate). This compound is then used to initialize our bodies' citric acid cycle—which ultimately produces ATP and many other useful compounds. When in a state of ketosis, our body utilizes ketones and free fatty acids to produce Acetyl Coenzyme A. This compound is actually a step ahead of Pyruvate in the citric acid cycle, regarded by many as a more efficient energy conversion process. To be clear, both glycolysis and ketogenesis both result in the production of the same types of energy just from different starting points. This is crazy complicated on a cellular level and science is still learning just how our bodies' react to states of ketosis. The important takeaway here is that when faced with a diet of extrememly low carbohydrates, our bodies are able to shift into a fat-burning state of metabolism. You local family doctor will like suggest statins long before they decided to wrap their head around ketosis.
Magnesium & Health
Magnesium is a compound involved in nearly 800 vital enzymatic processes in our body. When we don't have enough magnesium, there is no way to accurately predict the series of unfortunate events that may ensue. Magnesium helps produce compounds vital to the citric acid cycle, without which our body couldn't produce energy. This happens on a cellular level, and is related to a lot more than whether or not you feel like working out or not. This is systemic energy—used to fuel every aspect of our existence. Foods like nuts, meats, and leaf greens are good sources of magnesium, though modern food processing often strips magnesium from food before it reaches us. In these situations is best advised to proceed with the use of magnesium supplements. There are many different types of magnesium supplements, each of which represent a unique function. Magnesium malate is a combination of malic acid and elemental magnesium as 1 Mg2+ molecule and 2 malic acid molecules. This type of magnesium is regarded as being the best suited for helping to support natural energy production, such as the citric acid cycle. Malic acid (as malate) is one of the final intermediaries in the cycle before Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH), which helps drive redox reactions on a cellular level. This is the end product of the citric acid cycle, and vital to energy production. Other forms of magnesium include glycinate, citrate, taurate, oxide, and many more. Generally speaking, magnesium malate, citrate, and glycinate are regarded as the best-absorbed types.
When I feel bad, and don't know why, I take some magnesium. It helps calm my nerves, keep me regular, and support my body's natural energy levels. Magnesium deficiency is rampant in our society now, yet rarely addressed in routine doctor offices. I went through enemas, colonoscopies, endoscopies, tons of blood tests, and many recommendations for surgery before anyone thought to examine my magnesium levels. I was woefully deficient, and upon massive supplementation I quickly put on some much needed weight and started to thrive. Magnesium is such a fundamentally important compound that it can be the root cause of many health conditions.