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Hello my friends! Let’s talk about Vitamin D and Magnesium. Two of the most important nutrients for the 21st century. In these episodes, you’re going to learn some things about Vitamin D and Magnesium that you’ve probably never heard before. In fact, I’m nearly 100% certain of that. The scientific research team led by a scientist named NR Parva states that, Vitamin D deficiency is becoming epidemic in the United States, and if we were to use the same statistical measures and apply it to the nutrient called Magnesium, then we’d have to say the same of Magnesium as well.
Every time a nutrient gets mentioned on TV or in popular media, I pretty much immediately get people contacting me from countries all over the world asking me about that nutrient. For many people, it’s the first time they’ve heard about it or they know very little about it generally. So, they want to know if they should be taking that nutrient that they saw on the popular media. The problem with getting your nutrition information from TV shows and other forms of popular media is that, they’re rarely objective. Television shows earn their money through advertisement and the higher the shows are rated, the more money they can charge to their advertisers.
Unfortunately, this means that most media is typically more concerned with ratings than representing information objectively. Journalism students are typically taught the phrase, ‘If it bleeds it leads.’ That’s not about facts that’s not about objectivity, that’s about catching people’s attention. Unfortunately, most people are more likely to be captured by extremes than by objectivity. Objective data typically falls somewhere in the middle of the spectrum versus one extreme or the other. Simply speaking, objectivity is rarely extreme and sometimes not the best thing for ratings, okay.
Let’s talk about Vitamin D and again, this is going to be broken into sections. Remember, I did promise my subscribers that I would cover all nutrients from A to Z. I didn’t promise that I would do it in alphabetical order. So, with Vitamin D in mind, that’s where we’re going to start. Before a laboratory test became available to practicing physicians, the belief that virtually no one needed to supplement Vitamin D and certainly no one would ever need to supplement more than 400 international units of Vitamin D in a single day. That belief was almost universal.
In fact, physicians were cautioned to avoid giving too much Vitamin D. Because they were told it could become toxic. Well, that’s true just about everything can become toxic if you get too much of it. In fact, if you drink too much clean pure water even that could become toxic, but we’re talking about ridiculous amounts obviously. So, the 400 IU rule was observed pretty strictly for a very long time for decades. Once physicians began to test people for Vitamin D, that tired old belief was shattered very quickly. To the great surprise of all the physicians that I’ve spoken with, the new blood test was showing very high percentages of people who needed more Vitamin D.
And in fact, physicians were finding that they needed to recommend not hundreds of units, but thousands of international units per week just to get their patients back up to adequate levels. Later on, I’m going to explain the difference to you between deficiencies and less than adequate levels, but we won’t cover that right now. When the world’s first minimum daily requirement was established for Vitamin D, that was back in 1941 by the US National Academy of Sciences. The world was very different than it is today. Diet and dietary choices as well as work activities and recreational activities were all very different than they are today.
In the 1940s, most people of all ages got a good deal more sunlight than they get today. Children played outside versus being glued to a video game console or computer or their cell phones nearly every waking hour of the day. Outdoor activities were the norm versus sitting in your living room. watching television. Although the process of turning whole grain into refined white flour began around 1870, most foods in the human diet were not significantly altered until many decades later. It seems as science advances in the 21st century that there are never ending ways to alter our food from its natural state.
In 1941, corporate farming was yet to be invented, much has changed since that time. Since medical physicians receive almost no training in nutrition, they rely on information from government agencies, medical associations and the various science journals to make their decisions on their patient’s nutritional needs. Throughout the history of medicine, doctors have been basically taught that if you eat right, you’ll get everything you need. In principle, this sounds great and I wish it was that simple. The fact is most people don’t make good dietary choices. For more than 50 years, people have been given misinformation about diet.
Most of that misinformation was unintentional by various medical experts acting as the health expert on TV shows and other forms of media. Advising on things that they were not experts in. The result is, the average person doesn’t have sufficient accurate information to make good dietary choices. Remember as they say in the computer world, ‘Garbage in garbage out’. If your information input is inaccurate, the conclusion that you draw from that information will almost certainly also be inaccurate.
When I was in practice, I would always ask my patients about their diet when I did the initial intake. That’s the first meeting that you have in the clinic with the patient. Almost 100% of the people who were not well, would tell me that they eat right. They make good choices in their diet, they believed that because they were acting on misinformation that they thought was true and correct. Because for God sakes they saw it on TV. It must be true or Dr so and so said it therefore it must be true. Most of the time this is simply not the case there are of course many reasons for those people not being well when they come to see a health care practitioner. Diet is a significant contributing factor in my opinion in most cases. But there are a variety of possibilities obviously.
The problem is the average person has so much conflicting information. They don’t know how to make the right choices. Even doctors are often confused on this topic. I know this because I’ve been teaching doctors for more than 30 years. Assuming that you made perfect choices, which of course is pretty unlikely. You still may come up short according to more recent scientific study. There’s something else to consider. As I said many times in an attempt to explain to people, how nutrient cofactors work with other nutritional cofactors. That biochemistry is kind of like the kids connect the dot games. In that game of course, you can’t see the full picture until you’ve connected all of the dots.
As I said in one of my previous publications, no nutrient is an island onto itself. Forgive me for paraphrasing on that. All nutrients have co-factors my friends. So, for those people who think because they have internet access and they can go on the internet and look up something by who knows who, to give you information about nutrition that they’re suddenly nutritional experts: They’ve got a lot to learn. Nutritional biochemistry is very complicated, human digestion very complicated. I’m going to do the best I can to make this simple and easy to understand and hopefully to keep your attention as we’re going through this list of episodes.
So, this brings us back to the question. Do you really need to supplement Vitamin D? Physicians now know how to routinely test for Vitamin D, but they’ve not been taught that Vitamin D cannot be utilized by the body if you are deficient in Magnesium. So, should we be asking the question, do you need to supplement Magnesium? I’ll come back to that and that’s why I’ve decided to do this series of episodes talking about Vitamin D and Magnesium together. Because without Magnesium, Vitamin D is not going to be utilized by your body. And you probably don’t know a great deal about Magnesium. So, we’re going to cover them both in this blog.
I left you with two questions. Do you really need to supplement vitamin D? Do you really need to supplement magnesium? Well, that’s what we’re going to talk about in this episode. Remember, Parva and his research team states that “Vitamin D deficiency is becoming an epidemic in the US. The people most likely to be deficient are African Americans, and Hispanic Americans.” I’ll give you more information on why a little bit later. Regardless of race, people who are obese or who suffer from diabetes, are also at high risk of vitamin D deficiency.
Depending on the study that you consult, you’ll find anywhere between 39% and up to 42% of the US population are believed to be deficient in vitamin D. This is huge, and does present a very serious health concern. I’m using US statistics, but keep in mind that people are people. We are all biochemically the same. We’re all human beings. And you can take this data to the country that you live in, for the most part, maybe not the specific percentages, but the concepts, the ideas, the understandings you can use in any country.
In section one of this blog, I briefly talked about changes in conditions between the 21st century and previous centuries. Almost all jobs now are indoors. Our young people have become addicted to their digital devices, and social media. Versus their grandparents, who as children did most of their activities of their youth, primarily outdoors and in the sunlight. Sun exposure is without question a factor in the increasing number of people in the 21st century, who are vitamin D deficient.
Vitamin D is after all called the sunshine vitamin, because it can be converted from sunlight through an amazing process that requires magnesium. A person who is deficient in magnesium is almost certainly still going to be deficient in vitamin D, even if they are supplementing vitamin D. Perhaps this is why so many physicians have patients on thousands of units per week chronically, and their vitamin D deficiency doesn’t seem to get solved. Are those prescribing doctors aware of the magnesium connection? The answer is most likely no.
Scientists believe that darker skin is an adaptation to protect people from ultraviolet radiation from the sun. This theory is based on the fact that at the equator, you have the highest rate of sun exposure and solar radiation. And the closer any genetic group is to the equator, the darker their skin tone. The reverse is also true. As you go north into the Arctic Circle as an example, the skin tone of genetic groups native to those areas gets lighter. There is less sunlight available as they go north. So, in order to absorb vitamin D from the sun, skin has to be lighter. Rickets, as an example, which is a disease caused by vitamin D deficiency was very common in areas such as the United Kingdom prior to vitamin D supplementation — because they’ve had limited sunlight due to weather conditions as well as their geographic location. But one of the reasons that vitamin D deficiency is more common on average, as individual skin is darker is that the darker skin is blocking absorption like a natural sunscreen.
In this series, I’ll discuss how vitamin D affects your health. And it will become obvious to African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and other individuals whose genetics are from areas such as the Indian subcontinent and other areas where skin tones are darker why they have certain health situations that occur to them more frequently than they do to Caucasians. It’s not a conspiracy, it’s just biology. What has not been discussed in any popular media that I’m aware of, is that at least 50% of Americans are deficient in magnesium.
Some researchers believe that number is as high as 70%. In order for vitamin D to be utilized by the body, it has to work through a rather complex system of enzyme activity. All of these enzymes require magnesium. So, if you’re deficient in magnesium, you will almost certainly be deficient in vitamin D no matter how much vitamin D you are supplementing, or how much vitamin D containing foods you’re eating. Does your doctor know that? The answer is probably no.
The blood test for vitamin D is very straightforward. It’s what’s called a serum analysis. Serum is just a fancy way of saying blood. Doctors are also taught in medical school that a serum analysis of magnesium is adequate to determine if you have normal magnesium levels in your body. This unfortunately, is not correct. Only approximately 1% of the total of magnesium found in anyone’s body will be moving freely in their blood. So, a serum analysis is only going to tell you about the status of a maximum of 1% of your total magnesium.
You see, magnesium is an intracellular mineral. That is to say it needs to be inside of a cell in order to function. To have the most accurate assessment of magnesium in your body, you need a test called red blood cell magnesium or RBC mag. Most insurance companies that I’m aware of don’t cover the test, and most physicians don’t know why they should do the test, because they’re told that serum analysis will give them what they need. Once again, this is not correct.
When I was in practice, I found that RBC mag, and it’s written just that way, the letters RBC for red blood cell and mag, short for magnesium, was indeed the most accurate way to assess functional magnesium levels. Routine serum analysis would almost always show normal, when in fact the patient required more magnesium. I found this routinely with patients who had cardiac issues including arrhythmia, as well as those complaining of muscle cramps, muscle spasms, facial twitching, anxiety, difficulty in sleeping and more issues. I will explain this in the series how magnesium affects those health issues and much more in future episodes of The Nugent Report.
A healthy body should contain about 25 grams of magnesium on average. So, folks, that’s 25,000 milligrams between 50 and 60% of your body’s total magnesium will be stored in your bones because magnesium is essential to strong healthy bones. Besides the 1% found in the blood, of course, the remaining level will be in various tissues and cells. So, here’s a logical multiple choice question. Since vitamin D cannot be utilized by the body without magnesium, and at least 50% of people are getting insufficient magnesium, is the main problem for vitamin D deficiency, A, lack of sunlight, B, poor dietary choices, C, magnesium deficiency, or D, all of the above? The science indicates it’s D, all of the above.
According to recent studies, 48% of the population is getting less than adequate levels of magnesium from diet. But there are other factors that contribute to deficiencies magnesium that you may not be aware of and perhaps your doctor is not aware of. People with gastrointestinal diseases, type two diabetes, alcoholics, or those who have, let’s say chronic use of alcohol, but they are not dependent at this point. All of these people are very probably getting less than adequate amounts of magnesium to cope with their particular situations. In fact, these are the indicators that would be most likely associated with deficiencies in magnesium.
Additionally, there are various pharmaceutical drugs that can lower your magnesium including virtually all of the prescription drugs and over the counter products used to reduce heartburn for acid reflux disease. How many physicians who prescribe drugs like Nexium or Prilosec, or other proton pump inhibitors, typically listed as PPIs; how many of them also check magnesium levels and recommend magnesium supplementation? I did a straw poll of a number of people, 36 people, actually. And of course, a straw poll is not a scientific study. Okay. But I found it interesting that of the 36 people I asked who were all taking one of the prescription drugs for acid reflux, 100% of them said, no one had ever told them anything about magnesium. And as far as they knew, their doctors had never tested their magnesium levels. Well, you know what? Even if their doctors had done a serum magnesium, that may not have given them adequate information.
There are conditions where physicians have no choice but to prescribe proton pump inhibitors. I’m not telling you not to take them, that’s between you and your physician. If you need them, you need them. But be aware that magnesium has more than 600 different functions in the human body, much more than bone density, much more than utilization of vitamin D. 600 different functions, folks. Chronic use of PPIs could lead to osteoporosis because those PPIs contribute to magnesium deficiency. And calcium ions can’t be transported to the bone without magnesium. That’s only one of many issues when we’re discussing the benefits of magnesium.
In this section, I’ll be throwing a lot of numbers and values your way, but don’t panic. It’s my goal on the Nugent report to make sure that you have transcripts written, supportive data tables or hotlinks to tables. When I give you a whole bunch of numbers, I don’t want you to stress out, attempting to remember the numbers, just enjoy the episode and then go to drnugent.com to look for the numbers that you have in mind.
I want you to remember that The Nugent Report is a labor of love, and it’s not my day job. And in fact, I have two very talented, very dedicated individuals helping me on this website, and it’s not their day job either. So we’re posting these things as soon as we can. And if things don’t come out as fast as you want them to just try and be patient, please. Now back to vitamin D. As I mentioned in previous episodes, once a lab test for physicians was developed so that they could easily test vitamin D levels of their patients, the general perspective on vitamin D supplementation changed almost diametrically before the test existed. And I can remember frequently arguing with medical physicians about vitamin D supplementation. No, a very significant percentage of patients. According to study, as much as 42% are deficient in vitamin D and physicians who have been taught that vitamin D supplementation wasn’t necessary, or perhaps even toxic.
Now they find themselves recommending thousands of units for patients each week. Remember garbage in, garbage out. If the data you’re using to, with to make your decision is flawed and not accurate, it’s highly probable that your conclusion. So be flawed and inaccurate. Okay. The first step, when you have a health question, any health question, not just about vitamin D is to get the appropriate tests from the appropriate practitioner, go to a doctor who knows what they’re doing in the case of vitamin D testing. Any physician can do this for you. When you see your physician, ask them for a vitamin D blood test, a serum analysis these days it’s pretty routine. And it’s unlikely that you’ll get any arguments. When any lab test comes back from any lab, it’ll be pretty simple, right? On the printout. It will say low, normal or high. This is not rocket science.
This blog speaks many times about inadequate levels versus deficiencies. There is a distinction and that distinction is important when making decisions for your health. So let’s apply that to vitamin D. If your blood test comes back with less than 30 millimoles per liter, and by the way, that is written as lowercase MMOL forward slash upper case L so 30 millimoles per liter, less than that amount, that means it’s low. And this is typically associated with deficiencies that can lead to serious health issues. If your test comes back between 30 and 50 millimoles per liter, it’s classified as being less than adequate for bone health in already healthy individuals and amounts greater than or equal to 50 will be considered adequate for bone health, as well as general health for already healthy individuals. Now don’t panic. If I said those numbers too fast, remember the tables or hotline sports tables will be provided for you on drnugent.com.
It’s probably a good idea for me to go through some terms for you right now, because it occurs to me that you’ll be looking at labels. You’ll be looking at literature, you’ll be seeing things on the internet and you might see some abbreviations that will just leave you confused. So let’s do some terms and definitions right now, for many, everybody was used to looking at a dietary supplement label and they were looking for the RDA and that’s the required dietary allowance. But then there was the RDI, which means required daily intake. And then there’s the DRI, which is the dietary reference intake that by the way, is created by the food nutrition board FMB, which is part of the Institute of medicine of the national academies. And by the way, the national academies used to be called the National Academy of Sciences.
Are you confused yet? Well, hang on, there’s more, there’s also the AI and the EAR and finally the UL. Well, that is a lot to sort out, but I’m going to try and simplify each of these definitions for UDR I that’s the dietary reference intake. That’s a set of values designed for assessing nutrition intake for all ready and healthy people. Then there’s the RDA or required dietary allowance. And that’s the average daily level of intake deemed to be adequate. There’s a word again, to meet the nutrient requirements for about 97 to 98% of healthy people. The RDA is typically used to plan diets that are nutritionally sufficient. Then there’s the AI or adequate intake. The adequate intake is the level of assumed to ensure nutritional adequacy. This value is used where there isn’t enough human clinical evidence to develop the RDA.
This brings up the difference between inadequate dietary levels and deficiencies. Very often people are rated as having inadequate levels of nutrition to maintain normal health. However, a deficiency would be a level that would contribute to a significant health issue. So be aware when you’re reading the differences between inadequate and deficient, by the way, some authors are going to list it in the positive, and they’re going to use the words adequate or sufficient lots of stuff here. Well, moving on, we have two more, that’s the EAR or estimated average required. Now that’s the daily average level of intake estimated to meet the requirements of 50% of already healthy individuals, EAR is typically used to assess and plan the nutrient intakes of groups of people rather than individuals, so that roots can achieve adequate diets, but the EAR can also be used to evaluate nutrient intakes off individuals.
Finally, we have the UL, which actually is an abbreviation for tolerable upper intake level. Now that’s the safe, maximum daily intake level, which is unlikely to cause adverse effects throughout my career. Countless times people have told me that they thought, if they went over the RDA, that they were automatically toxic, they were in danger. They were afraid capers. There’s quite a span between the RDA and the UL of most nutrients. Again, tables or links to tables will be provided for you on Dr. mnuchin.com. So don’t panic, and won’t be there. Now, if you take a look at one of those tables for the dealer requirements, what you’re going to find is that in this case, the case of vitamin D the nutrient requirements for males and females is the same RDA. That’s not typical by the way, generally, you’ll find that with nutrients, it differs by age and gender, but in this case, it varies only by age and pretty significantly, by the way, sometimes you’re going to see vitamin D rated in, I use or international units.
And other times you’ll see it listed as micrograms, which is abbreviated as lowercase, M C, G. I know what you’re thinking. Why doesn’t everyone just get on the same page and just do it for simplicity sake? Just one thing, don’t hold your breath on that folks. There’s actually reasons for all this. So what you’re going to notice on the table is that between the ages of 0 and 12 months, the requirement is 400 IQ. Then it jumps up to 600 IQ all the way up to eight 70, and then starting at age 70 forward for the rest of your life. It increases for another 200 international units per day at business. Because as you age, you become less efficient at synthesizing vitamin D from sunlight. It’s again, one of those verses of age, but, you know, aging is really preferable to the alternative.
In the last section, we talked about blood testing for vitamin D and we talked about requirements and some important definitions. In this section, we’re going to be talking about sources of vitamin D conversion from sunlight, a little bit about seafood and the benefits of vitamin D. Let’s talk about how you get vitamin D. The body is an amazingly adaptive organic machine. I’m not going to argue with anybody about how the adaptations occur or why the adaptations occur. The fact is we are adaptive. We have an adaptive nature. That’s the fact vitamin D is crucially important to your health and you aren’t designed to convert vitamin D from sunlight, although you do it less efficiently as you age, and you should get your vitamin D then from sunlight and preferably food. If those first two options don’t provide you with enough vitamin D, you have to use a food supplement.
It’s the only sensible alternative. The science is very strong and very clear about the need for vitamin D for healthy bones and teeth. I think just about everybody knows that, but you may not know that it’s also very important for your immune system and it’s even important for your mental health and thought processes. So vitamin D is a pretty amazing and pretty important nutrient. Now there’s a very significant amount of science to show us that as we age our ability to digest and absorb our nutrients, as well as our body’s efficiency in producing new cells, decreases steadily. Remember that strong, healthy bones require vitamin D not just calcium and not just magnesium. And as the bones get soft, we begin to see the obvious results in the aging population. Also, as we age, as I mentioned, our ability to synthesize vitamin D from sunlight decreases, this is why the RDA for vitamin D started at 8 70 and up increases by an additional 200 international units each day.
The typical source, as I’ve mentioned, the vitamin D it’s why they call it. The sunshine vitamin is sunlight. And the most abundant source of vitamin D from food is from seafood. Well, everybody’s been told for more than 50 years now that you should eat more seafood and less land animal. And the argument is all about cholesterol and heart disease, and I’ll have different publications about that. Let’s talk about seafood. In my lectures, all around the world, I have frequently discussed the environmental decline of our planet and the ever increasing level of toxins in our waterways. There are some lakes in North America where you are warned not to eat the fish at all the food and drug administration, the FDA in the United States. They actually have a list of fish, other website that you should not eat at all.
If you’re pregnant, you shouldn’t eat, or you should limit your amount, and then they have a list of fish that you should limit, the amount that you consume. The folks, unlike my fish, I do. And all I’m here to do is to give you objective data. The decision is yours. You’re an adult. You decide, hopefully you’ll make wise decisions. You can’t do that unless you start with objective data. And this is while you’re learning information on these episodes on The Nugent Report, much of which you’ve never heard before, because it’s important for your health decisions. I have a real thing about tuna. I love tuna, and I probably eat too much of it until that’s a decision that I make. You’ll find on the FDA website. As I say, they list the various fish.
I mean, everybody’s been told for more than 50 years that, well, gosh, seafood is the healthiest, right? Okay. Common sense. Seafood has no choice, but to be totally immersed in the water, just as the air we breathe is our atmosphere. The water is their atmosphere. And any toxin in that atmosphere is going to get into their tissue. In fact, there’s a lot of sea life that has to breathe by passing water through their tissue, which of course the water containing toxin will know as toxin through their tissue. I’m talking about all kinds of toxins and we won’t have other episodes on environmental toxins at water and food. And here we’ll talk about those in future publications, but I can tell you right now, my friends, that there are toxins that you probably don’t even want to think about right now found in a lot of waterways.
In most cases, you can’t see or smell or taste the toxin until it becomes at such ridiculous levels that it’s far above safe intake levels far above. So the majority of the time we don’t see the toxin in the air or the water. We don’t taste it. You don’t smell it. There were only a few hundred chemicals that have been tested for safety and the majority have not been tested. We just make assumptions. Doesn’t sound very good, does it? So with this in mind, you’re going to have seafood. That’s going to have in it, whatever it was swimming, it sounds kind of unappetizing. Doesn’t it again, you’re going to have to make your own decisions. And I strongly suggest that you check that list of fish that you should either not eat, or you should live it. This is getting to be a much more serious problem than people know, or perhaps I should say, then people want to know if you love the outdoors as I do.
I love nature, I just love nature. And that poem, I think that I shall never see a thing as beautiful as a tree, that’s the way I feel too, I love nature. And it, it brings tears to my eyes. That’s what I think about what’s going on. But again, that’ll be different publications. Back on track with vitamin D. So we’re going to have to limit our seafood intake. And even if we didn’t, could you get enough Vitamin D? Could you eat enough seafood to get enough vitamin D if you are not properly synthesized in your vitamin D from sunlight, remembering that in the 21st century, the vast majority of work and recreational activities are indoor rather than outdoor. And in order for you to synthesize vitamin D from sunlight, you also require magnesium.
That’s why these episodes are vitamin D and magnesium together, depending on which scientific study you read, some of them will tell you that at least 50% of the adult population is not getting enough magnesium daily. Some studies will say up to 70% suffice it to say the majority of people are not getting enough magnesium every day. This is the reason that these two nutrients vitamin to get magnesium need to be discussed together. Let’s go back to sunlight for a moment. Remember in a previous section, I discussed the fact that darker skin is a genetic adaptation to protect an individual from the potentially harmful effects of solar radiation, but genetic groups whose origin is closer to the equator will have darker skin. And then as you move farther away from the equator skin tones get lighter. Again, that’s a genetic adaptation, lighter skin tones are going to absorb vitamin D more efficiently than darker, and the darker the skin tone, the less likely you are to efficiently synthesize vitamin D from sunlight. And the reverse is also true. So imagine the health problems that one might have, if they’re getting insufficient levels of vitamin D from sunlight or from diet.
Once again, as I said, hundreds of times in my global lectures, the modern diet simply does not provide sufficient nutrient for the majority of people. And most people do not make good dietary choices. So in the 21st century, so implementation is not a luxury. It’s a necessity for the individual really cares about their health. When it’s not provided through diet, it has to be provided through a dietary supplement. In the next section, we’ll do the same thing with magnesium that we did for vitamin D.
What we’re going to do in this part is we’re going to be answering some questions about how much magnesium you need by age and gender, what the food sources of magnesium or, and the benefits of magnesium but first: What is magnesium? Well, magnesium is an essential mineral, as I’ve explained previously, essential means your body must have it, but your body cannot make it. So it must be obtained from a source outside of your body. In the case of magnesium, preferably it would be from food, but as I will discuss, the majority of people are not getting sufficient magnesium from diet alone. So we must also discuss the idea of food supplements since the body is incapable of producing minerals, the list of essential minerals are well quite low.
In fact, you would think they’re all of equal importance. If your health will decline and that decline could eventually result in death because you are significantly deficient in an essential mineral, then they must all be of little value, right? Well, maybe not. In fact, magnesium is towards the very top of my list. If I could find the time, I could probably take some real joy at writing an entire book about magnesium and its functions. However, a podcast must be by its nature. Magnesium is one of those nutrients where I would say to someone in a social setting, don’t get me started on that mineral because it could take me hours to explain it. In my lectures globally many people have heard me talk about enzymes and in most cases, the discussions have been around digestive enzymes.
However, there are thousands of enzymes. Only a small number have anything to do with digestion. Remembering my statement that no nutrient is an island onto itself. Magnesium is one of those examples. Magnesium is an essential cofactor in at least 300 different enzymes. The systems regulate a very wide range of crucial functions in the body. Some of which we will cover in the next few minutes, magnesium is an intracellular mineral. That means it functions inside of cells, not just in serum or blood. So as an essential mineral it’s essential for really an astounding number of biochemical reactions in your body. And we may only be able to touch on the surface of those in this spot. The majority of people that I’ve interacted with more than 40 countries seem to have their understanding of magnesium, generally limited to LC of utilization. There are a few exceptions, of course, however, it’s rare to find someone who understands the broad range of functions of this incredibly important mineral.
Through my career every time I’ve recommended magnesium, the first literally knee-jerk reaction that I’ll get will be something to the effect of when I take a calcium magnesium product or there’s calcium magnesium in my multiple vitamin, then I have to explain to them that calcium will use up whatever magnesium it requires for transport. And if you require additional magnesium or specific functions of calcium, magnesium supplement will typically not do the job. It’s absolutely true that calcium ions cannot be transported without magnesium. And therefore magnesium is as important for bone health as calcium is. In fact, there are some experts who are telling us that the modern diet provides too much calcium. I talk more on that here, but if you haven’t heard that before, they’re telling us that the modern diet is giving us far too much calcium for many people and far too little magnesium. Some of those experts are recommending that we stopped supplementing calcium and increased supplementation of magnesium.
I’ll discuss this idea in further detail later, but anyone who’s ever had a heart attack or a heart attack victim has at least some limited knowledge of the importance of potassium. However you may not know that potassium like calcium can only be transported by interacting with magnesium few people know. And I can tell you from my lectures, that few doctors know that magnesium is also a central for blood sugar control, blood pressure regulation, protein synthesis. Yes, normal, healthy levels of blood sugar and blood pressure are both impacted and are significantly dependent on the presence of magnesium. The process, as it relates to blood sugar is called glycolysis. And it’s an enzymatic process, which involves magnesium in 10 primary steps. Each with a separate enzyme. I won’t get into the full complexity of glycolysis in this podcast, but rather just give you some basics.
You will recognize some of the things that I’m about to discuss. It begins with glucose, which is then converted. And then the steps continue so that you have the production of something called ATP, the full name of it, which is an Adenosine triphosphate, also results in the production of something called an NDH. This multi-step process is too complex to cover the podcast, but suffice it to say that energy production through glycolysis will not occur with a magnesium. Yes, the very same mineral required for relaxation and sleep is also required to produce energy. It’s all about which enzyme systems it’s reacting with. Magnesium is also essential for managing oxidative stress.
When you hear the letters DNA, of course, it conjures up lots of genetics, which is correct, but you may not know that magnesium is required for its production. In fact, magnesium is required for the synthesis of both DNA, the Deoxyribonucleic acid, and RNA that’s Ribonucleic acid. Magnesium is also vital for muscle function. The most important muscle of your body obviously is your heart muscle, and magnesium is required for nervous system function. It is also essential for the regulation of your heart rhythm. Sometimes arrhythmia or the heart out of rhythm means that you have a deficiency in magnesium, but that is not always the case. There’s a caution here for everyone. Arrhythmia can be caused by a number of different factors. So if you’re experiencing irregular heartbeat, contact your physician right away, don’t fool around with this, get an expert opinion at the appropriate tests as quickly as possible.
What about muscle cramps? Well, again, most people think calcium first calcium causes your muscles to contract and magnesium causes your muscles to relax. Very often muscle spasms and muscle cramping is due to having insufficient magnesium in the muscle. Adding more calcium for the cramps may actually make things worse. Remember the previous discussion on blood tests with magnesium. Although serum calcium is an accurate way to evaluate your calcium levels, serum magnesium is typically not. It has been my experience at working with physicians for decades, that many of them had no idea how crucial magnesium was or that patients in particular situations required supplemental magnesium, because they relied on serum magnesium as their only gauge, which almost always shows normal since only 1% of your body’s total magnesium is in your blood. This goes back to one of my earlier questions in this publication.
When someone is showing a deficiency on vitamin D, do they really need magnesium supplementation? It’s been my experience that they often do. On drnugent.com you will find the tables you need for reference, the dealer requirements from the food nutrition board or F and B of the American national academies and the food sources from the US department of agriculture, better known as the USDA. Magnesium is required at every age and as you will see from the reference charts on this website, there are some pretty significant increases in magnesium required at certain ages, starting with the minimum requirement for infants up to six months, old of 30 milligrams daily, by the time a person reaches the age of 31 males require a minimum of 420 milligrams and females 320 milligrams. As I mentioned before, generally but not always, males require higher levels of most nutrients than females.
If you’re pregnant or nursing, you will want to consult the chart because that differs not only between those two factors, but also with age. And those two factors is I always say the best way to get your nutrition is from food, that after all is the way your body was designed. However, as we’ve already established, the modern diet often provides a less than adequate levels of various nutrients and that’s why we turn to supplements. On drnugent.com. You will see a chart of common food sources for magnesium provided by the national institutes of health, how you adjust your personal diet and the choices you make is entirely up to you. But if you’re getting less than adequate levels of magnesium from your dietary choices, you need to start supplementing magnesium right away, depending on which source you consult. You may see authors that say as few as 48% of people, or as many as 70% of the population are getting less than adequate levels of magnesium from diet alone.
The reason these numbers vary so much, just because of the way they’re making their comparisons, suffice it to say the majority of people are probably not getting sufficient magnesium from diet alone. My experience from using RBC magnesium, as well as serum magnesium, is that the numbers lean closer to the 70% mark, but we’re not going to split hairs in this podcast. I’ve provided you with the information regarding the minimum daily requirements and the food sources. So now the rest is up to you ensure that you get the appropriate tests. If you’re experiencing any symptoms such as heart arrhythmia, make sure that you see your physician and get the appropriate tests don’t fool around with this. My friends, your health is your most valuable thing.
In this section, we are going to conclude our series on vitamin D and magnesium. You may remember in section 3, I explained to you the differences between a nutrient deficiency and nutrient inadequacy. That section addressed the vitamin D, but in this section, we’ll focus on magnesium. First we’ll address deficiencies. Magnesium deficiency typically needs to become quite severe before a person starts to show any symptoms. One of the many duties of the kidneys is to limit the amount of magnesium that can be excreted at any time. Individuals who are alcohol dependent or who consume consistently high levels of alcohol are among the first to become magnesium deficient. Another group that’s at risk, but rarely gets the attention that they require, in my opinion, are individuals who are using proton pump inhibitors or PPIs have also discussed this. Previously, these drugs are used to kill the acid producing pumps in the stomach are typically prescribed for chronic heartburn and acid reflux.
They also contribute very significantly to magnesium deficiency. In my opinion, it’s prudent for individuals to supplement magnesium. If they’re using PPIs chronically the prescribing physician may or may not be aware of this. Once again, remember the amount of magnesium in your blood is only 1% of the total magnesium. And if that’s the only investigation your physician is doing, it’s probable that he or she may not know that you need to supplement more magnesium people with type two diabetes, by the way, are also often prone to magnesium deficiencies. If you’re in one of these categories, I would advise to ask your physician, if he or she thinks that you should be supplementing magnesium at request the appropriate tests, ultimately your health decisions should be made jointly between you and your physician. At this point, you might be thinking, how would I know if I’m deficient? What kind of indicators might I look for?
Once again, my first recommendation is consult your physician and get the appropriate tests. But there are some indicators that might motivate you to talk to your physician, perhaps a little bit sooner. Keep in mind that nutritional biochemistry is not a set of absolutes and symptoms can vary between individuals. So having one on the long list of symptoms, doesn’t confirm that you have a deficiency, nor is it necessary for you to have all of the symptoms to confer that you have a deficiency. So I’ll give you a list of things, fatigue, weakness, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite. These are all common. And they’re common in the early stages of deficiency. The longer the deficiency goes on and the more deficient you become, you may begin to experience symptoms that relate to the nervous system, such as numbness or tingling, or even seizures in extreme cases. Remembering that muscles require magnesium to relax, calcium causes your muscles to contract.
You may begin to experience muscle contractions that some people describe as Charlie horses. Muscle cramps may occur if you are deficient in magnesium. Remembering that magnesium is essential to brain health, you may be experiencing personality changes, particularly anxiety. Returning to the idea that your heart is the most important muscle cardiac arrhythmia may also occur. Once again, as I’ve cautioned before cardiac arrhythmia may have several different causes. So consult your physician if your heart is not beating in normal rhythm and make sure that you get the appropriate tests from that physician. Remember also that magnesium is required for the transport of calcium and potassium. This may result in something called hypocalcemia, which is low calcium or hypokalemia, which is low potassium. And finally, remember my theory that many people with vitamin D deficiencies actually require magnesium supplementation to solve those deficiencies.
There are also several gastrointestinal disorders that can cause chronic diarrhea and fat malabsorption individuals who suffer from these conditions may find themselves deficient in magnesium. It’s also important to note that individuals who have had gastrointestinal bypass or resection, they also become magnesium deficient as mentioned previously, magnesium is essential to produce energy through glycolysis. It’s also essential to maintain normal, healthy blood sugar through a rather complex set of steps in type two diabetics, depending on the amount of insulin that they are producing, as well as people with insulin resistance, the kidneys may excrete higher than normal amounts of magnesium as a result of these concentrations of glucose in the kidneys. So this can also contribute to magnesium deficiency. According to study, as we age, our intake of magnesium reduces to compound the problem. Typically magnesium absorption decreases and magnesium excretion from the kidneys increases. And these can be significant contributing factors to magnesium deficiency in the elderly.
Let’s talk about high blood pressure. There are those in the nutritional community that will swear by magnesium or lowering blood pressure. If you study the mechanics, it’s very logical to assume that it would have a positive effect on blood pressure. There are some medical studies. However, that show that the effect is small, although positive. Why is there a difference? The study is only as good as its design. And as I’ve mentioned before, and will no doubt say often in the future, garbage in garbage out, that’s a common phrase taught to new information technology students in college. It applies to scientific study as well. You can have a brilliant researcher. The researcher may be a master of statistics, but if that researcher begins with a design or begins with information, which is flawed, then their testing method is going to be flood. They will end up with a flood result since magnesium is an intracellular mineral, and only 1% of your body’s total magnesium is found in the serum.
The studies that measuring serum magnesium as their only gauge for change already sacrificed the possibility of having complete data and virtually in none of those cases with any researchers I’ve spoken with. Were they aware that there are better ways to test for magnesium, including what I’ve previously discussed regarding red blood cell magnesium tests? So whenever I look at a study on magnesium absorption, the first thing I look at is their testing methods. There are many forms of magnesium available for supplementation as well, and that can also affect the results of a scientific study. Some forms of magnesium supplements are not well absorbed. Well, others have almost astounding absorption rates. Sometimes when there’s a lack of solid data, assumptions are made based on correlation. As an example, patients using proton pump inhibitors for acid reflux may become deficient in magnesium over time. However, we must also factor in that they are continuing to age as well.
This means that their ability to efficiently digest is almost certainly decreasing with age at the same time. So we need to separate the reduction in magnesium absorption due to age factors versus reduction in magnesium absorption, due to acid reflux, drugs, or magnesium absorption, as it’s known in various forms of magnesium dietary supplements, all of these variables have to be considered in the beginning of this series of podcasts on magnesium and vitamin D. We of course started speaking about osteoporosis. Most people, when you say bone health, the reflex response is to think calcium. However, as we have previously covered, magnesium is required to transport calcium ions to the bone. And magnesium is also required for the conversion and utilization of vitamin D. So this brings us back to the beginning. Scientific studies are quite expensive. There has to be a significant motivation to spend that money.
This is why are more studies on drugs than there are on nutrients. It’s also why some nutrients have very few studies women all over the planet have been thoroughly psychologically conditioned to believe that they need more calcium for bone health. Most of them have no idea that other nutrients are required. So many studies on calcium bone, but many fewer on magnesium in bone health. One notable study done on post-menopausal women showed that adding 290 milligrams a day of magnesium in the form of magnesium citrate supplementation suppressed bone cell turnover, as compared to the placebo. What does that mean in play? Likely it means that this is an indicator of supplemental magnesium decreasing bone loss in post-menopausal women. By the way, calcium citrate is not as well absorbed as some other forms of calcium. So the numbers in this study have they used a different, better absorbed form of calcium might’ve been much stronger. Remember garbage in, garbage out.
Finally, let’s end this segment about magnesium by talking about the potential toxicity if you take too much. Throughout my career, I’ve been asked the same common questions. When talking about dietary supplements, what do I take? How much do I take? How long will it take for me to get results? And also ask questions about safety on a pretty regular basis. One of those questions is how much is too much? Magnesium toxicity is quite rare. Toxic effects of magnesium or typically experienced in doses greater than 5,000 milligrams per day. That’s for people with normal kidney function. But for those with impaired kidney function, symptoms of toxicity may come at much lower amounts. But my friends, this concludes the series on vitamin D and magnesium. I hope you found this information useful. I hope you will apply it to your personal health program.
Until next time, be safe, be sensible, be objective.
-Dr. Steve Nugent
I hope you enjoyed this blog from The Nugent Report. Visit our website at drnugent.com for more objective facts about health and nutrition and email your questions and feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at the Nugent report. Stay informed, get the facts with the Nugent report.
Don’t have a lot of time to read? Listen on the go! This blog is a consolidation of Dr. Nugent’s popular Vitamin D and Magnesium podcast series, which you can listen to here.
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每当电视或大众媒体上提到一种营养素时，来自世界各地的人们几乎都会马上与我联系，向我咨询有关这种营养素的信息。 对于许多人来说，这是他们第一次听说这种营养素或对此了解甚少。 因此，他们想知道自己是否应该摄入那种在大众媒体上看到的营养素。 但是，从电视节目和其他大众媒体获取营养信息的问题在于，这些信息很少是客观的。 电视节目通过广告赚钱，节目的收视率越高，就可以向广告商收取更多的广告费。
有时又会用微克，缩写形式是小写的mcg。我知道大家的内心想法。为什么不能统一一下，免得这么复杂？大家不要过分苛责。这其中包含几个原因。大家会在表格上注意到：0到12个月之间的需求量是400 IQ，后来升到600 IQ，再升到870，然后从70岁到生命结束，一直处于上升状态。它每天额外增加200个国际单位。因为随着年龄增长，人体中阳光合成维生素D的效率会降低。这是衰老的另一个副作用，但是，衰老总好过于早逝。大家知道，下一阶段就是离开人世。我们之后将探讨维生素D的来源、将阳光转化为维生素D，以及维生素D的益处。下次见。我是Dr. Steve Nugent，请大家多保重，保持理智，保持客观。
再次强调一下，我在世界各地的讲座中已经说过，现代饮食无法为多数人提供足够的营养，而且大多数人的饮食选择并不理想。在21世纪，补充剂不是一种奢侈品。对于真正关心自身健康的人来说，它是一种必需品。如果饮食无法提供，就需要由饮食补充剂提供。在下一期节目中，我们将以同样的方式探讨镁元素。下期见。我是Dr. Steve Nugent。请大家多保重，保持理智，保持客观。
感谢收听本期Dr. Nugent报告。访问DrNugent.com，获取更多有关健康与营养的事实性信息。如有问题或反馈意见，可发送邮件至info@drnugent.com。请在Facebook、Twitter和Instagram上关注Dr. Nugent报告。获取事实性信息，资讯先人一步。
没有很多时间阅读？ 边走边听！ 该博客整合了 Nugent 博士广受欢迎的维生素 D 和镁播客系列，您可以在点击这里收听。