Category Archives: magnesium

Magnesium deficiency can cause irritability, anxiety, and chronic degeneration

Inspirational quote: “Whenever I have a problem I sing, then I realize that my voice is a lot worse than my problem.” (and I feel better about my problem).

And then I take an Epsom salt bath to help treat irritability and the muscle cramps that can result from a magnesium deficiency. Some people may be more at risk for chronic magnesium deficiency due to intestinal malabsorption of the nutrient. Calcium may be preferentially absorbed within the intestines instead of magnesium.

Magnesium deficiency may affect levels of the brain neurotransmitter, acetylcholine, which may cause mood changes if it is not in balance with other more calming neurotransmitters. [Neurotransmitters and mood] The supplement choline is a precursor for acetylcholine and some users have noticed depressive affects with use of a high dose. [Acetylcholine and mood]

Taking the calcium supplements seemed to help reduce the elevated parathyroid hormone level but more recently they have seemed to cause a very rapid increase in muscle cramps and severe irritability. A magnesium bath every morning helped my mood change from rage to feeling like singing. It was kind of incredible to have my mood change so rapidly for reasons that were actually physical events — first I felt extremely angry shortly after swallowing a 100 mg calcium supplement and then I felt joyful after soaking in a bathtub for twenty minutes (soaking forty minutes or more can actually be dangerous because too elevated magnesium blood levels can cause an extreme slowing of the heart rate — don’t try that at home).

I haven’t had a psychiatrist tell me about the risks of magnesium deficiency to the mood or the benefits of an Epsom salt bath for the mood but I can hope, I can share information, and I can enjoy the benefits of Epsom salt baths while I wait. Eventually maybe psychiatry will recognize that the brain is connected to the body and that it is built out of nutrients, not out of pharmaceuticals.

Not surprising: People Reward Angry Men But Punish Angry Women, Study Suggests. Magnesium is effective and inexpensive and proton pump inhibitors are dangerous but patent protected. Get angry because the advice being sold as healthcare at an expensive profit may be causing harm over time. [PPIs and fracture risk, C difficile risk, FDA warning]

There may also be a gender bias regarding creativity, and provision of pain medication. There is also gender inequality in autoimmune disease — the majority of sufferers are female and the length of time between first onset of symptoms and diagnosis can be many years or even decades. Fifty million Americans are estimated to be suffering from some type of autoimmune disease (AD) and 75% of them are estimated to be female for reasons that are not clear at this time. [AARDA, Autoimmune disease in women]

“AARDA-conducted studies reveal a lack of trust in prescribing physicians, very likely fostered by the fact that the average AD patient may see more than four doctors in as many years before receiving a correct diagnosis. Also, more than 40 percent of AD patient report they have been told they were “too concerned about their health” or that they were hypochondriacs.”   –AARDA Launches “3-Second Adherence” Public Service Campaign.

I have been told that my physical symptoms are all psychosomatic so often that I really have no desire to go back  to anyone claiming to provide evidence based medicine. The evidence suggests to me that fifty million people are at risk from a system that doesn’t know what causes their condition or how to help them but who at the same time are willing to make random expensive guesses because after all they are just gambling with the patient’s time, money and long term health not their own.

Maybe eventually more health professionals will succumb to autoimmune illness themselves and then they will be more motivated to find more effective treatments that actually work on the underlying problems of nutrient deficiencies and metabolic imbalances. The body needs to be well nourished in order to make sialic acid for white blood cells to be able to properly identify damaged or improperly labeled cells such as the improperly labeled autoimmune antibodies and then to destroy the defective cells with a magnesium fueled enzymatic death (apoptosis).

I can hope, and I can share, and I can continue to try to take care of my own health.

/Disclosure: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./


Kidney dialysis may be a side effect of sugarcane production in Nicaragua; a link

Chronic kidney disease has become a problem for almost half of the adult men in Chichigalpa, Nicaragua. The disease seems to the linked to the men’s work cutting sugar cane. The exact cause of the problem is unknown but it is suspected that dehydration is a factor due to the hot working conditions with limited time for breaks. Read more: [1] Chronic kidney disease might be less of a risk associated with their jobs if sugarcane workers were allowed enough time to take breaks to prevent dehydration from occurring, as dehydration itself can cause long term harm to the kidneys. [2]

As a consumer of sugarcane products I care about whether sugarcane workers are allowed their right to protect their health during their workday. As a human I care about the worker’s pain and shortened lifespans and about their families. Chronic kidney disease and kidney dialysis treatment require the patient to follow a very restrictive diet and the treatment requires the patient to stay attached to the dialysis machine for hours every few days.  Providing adequate breaks to the workers now seems like an easier strategy in the long run, to me.

There is also a question of gender representation — Why aren’t half of the women suffering from chronic kidney failure too? If the disease was caused by something in the environment it would show up in a more even distribution, men and women would be sick in equal numbers. If the disease is associated with cutting sugarcane then maybe women aren’t getting it because more men then women are working as sugarcane cutters. Likely cutting sugarcane is very physically demanding work and male skeletal structure and muscle mass on average simply is stronger and larger than female anatomy. Machines able to navigate sugarcane fields might be invented to do the job but that solution would be taking away yet more jobs from humans and a risky job, unfortunately, is better than no job for many people because, unlike corporations, people have to eat to survive.

Working in hot conditions causes a loss of fluid and electrolytes contained in sweat and overheating may further increase the amount of sweat that is produced. Evaporation of sweat can have a cooling effect on the body. Intense physical exercise in hot and humid conditions may cause losses of up to three liters of sweat which is almost equivalent to the water content of the body’s blood supply.  [3] Workers need to have enough time to drink, eat and cool down to help prevent the risk of acute dehydration and the risk of it causing lasting damage to the kidneys.

Allowing workers frequent breaks in the shade might give their bodies time to cool down and slow down the loss of nutrients caused by excessive sweating, and allow them enough time to drink water and have a salty magnesium rich snack to replace the nutrients that were lost in sweat or used by the kidneys. The water and potassium in a piece of fruit and a salty magnesium rich snack like tortilla chips would help replace the water, sodium, potassium, and magnesium that are essential for the kidneys function. [4] The kidneys have to have enough nutrients to be able to filter out the toxins that are produced daily as a normal part of physiology and any extra toxins created by a job with hard physical labor and then still have enough nutrients to filter out any additional toxins that may have been absorbed from working around the agricultural chemicals.

/Disclosure: This information is provided for educational purposes and is not intended to provide individual health care. Please see a health professional for individualized health care./

Actually we do know quite a bit about ALS

The Life Extension Foundation is a non-profit organization focused on research into preventative health strategies. The company does sell supplements, books, and a few other products but it also helps fund research in preventative health care. The foundation publishes an academic type journal and an article from the journal is available on their website which provides a review of the current theories and research available regarding Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). [1]

The article ends with a quote or two about the limited effectiveness and negative side effects associated with the medication that is currently prescribed for ALS patients. The sad point is that at least then the doctor can feel like they provided a service by writing a prescription but if it doesn’t really help slow progress of the disease and adds negative side effects then is that prescribing doctor really “Doing no harm.”?

The article doesn’t provide vitamin or supplement recommendations or provide other preventative guidance. It is a review of current research which did provide enough information to suggest to me several strategies that might help me reduce my risk of developing ALS. I’m motivated because I fall into one of the ‘you may be at more risk for ALS if you also have this condition’ categories.

Studies suggest that ALS is more associated with some autoimmune and chronic infectious diseases and with some nutrient deficiencies or imbalances and with exposure to some environmental toxins.

A few points gleaned from the article that might help me reduce my risk of developing ALS:

  1. Avoid mercury, lead, aluminum, manganese and other heavy metal toxins.
  2. Be careful if working with herbicides and pesticides to reduce exposure.
  3. Have adequate intake of calcium and magnesium – in balance. Excess calcium and too little magnesium may increase degenerative calcification of the central nervous system.
  4. Avoid excess intake of free glutamates. There are many sources of free glutamates in the diet as they are used as flavoring agents. MSG is one better known example. *The article doesn’t recommend avoiding glutamates, it mentions that ALS is associated with glutamate toxicity. One study found plasma levels of glutamate to be significantly elevated in ALS patients compared to controls (Plaitakis et al, 1993). One theory suggests that there may be a glutamate transport problem that allows the elevated levels to accumulate. [1] *Having adequate zinc and magnesium levels helps the cells control intracellular glutamate levels. [3], magnesium also helps control transmembrane movement of the other electrolytes: calcium, sodium and potassium. [4]
    ALS is highly linked with glutamate. One proposed mechanism is a defective glutamate transport system that permits neurotoxic levels to build up (Onion 1998). A study showed significant elevations (by about 70%) of plasma levels of glutamate in ALS patients as compared to controls (Plaitakis et al. 1993). – See more at:
    ALS is highly linked with glutamate. One proposed mechanism is a defective glutamate transport system that permits neurotoxic levels to build up (Onion 1998). A study showed significant elevations (by about 70%) of plasma levels of glutamate in ALS patients as compared to controls (Plaitakis et al. 1993). – See more at:
  5. Have adequate but not excessive intake of selenium as it helps the body remove mercury. Two Brazil nuts per day provide about 200 micrograms of selenium which is the recommended daily goal. Excess selenium can cause toxicity symptoms so be careful not to take supplemental one-a-day or other mixtures that contain selenium in addition to taking selenium as an individual supplement or in addition to eating Brazil nuts regularly. Toxicity wouldn’t occur in a few days but might develop if multiple sources were eaten over a longer time period.
  6. Growth factor deficiency may be involved in development of ALS. Touch is important for stimulating human growth factor. Therapy pets and massage may also help stimulate internal production of human growth factor. *The article doesn’t mention the therapeutic benefits of touch. It only mentions that reduced growth factors are an underlying problem associated with ALS and pharmaceutical sources have been found helpful for slowing progress of the disease in some (but not all) studies. However touch can also help stimulate innate production of growth factors without needing a pharmaceutical company. [2]
  7. Spinal compression may increase risks of a similar nerve degeneration problem that can resemble ALS so /speculative/ regular exercise such as swimming might help or regular use of an inversion board at a gentle 10 degree slope might help relieve spinal pressure. /Disclosure, I do use an inversion board and find it helpful for headache and back problems but they can be dangerous so please seek individual guidance regarding their use./
  8. Some infections with long term chronic phases are associated with ALS type symptoms including Lyme’s disease, poliomyelitis, HIV/AIDs, and tertiary syphilis.
  9. Some endocrine and autoimmune diseases such as the hyperthyroid condition Grave’s disease and  Diabetic Amyotrophy are associated with ALS risk. Maintaining lower thyroid levels and avoiding thyrotoxicosis may help reduce risk of developing ALS.
  10. Some other conditions associated with ALS like problems include the neurological diseases: Pick’s Disease and Kennedy’s Syndrome; and the genetic enzyme disorders: Superoxide Dismutase, Hexosaminidase A, and Alpha-Glucosidase.
  11. /Disclosure: This information is provided for educational purposes and is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see an health professional for individual health care purposes./
  1. Lyme disease and poliomyelitis
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
Amyotrophic Lateral Scleros

Magnesium might help protect against beta amyloid placques

Working on experimental medications for a prenatal population places the infants at risk in addition to the female patients. In my professional experience instructing clients about raw pumpkin seeds and the DASH diet frequently helped prevent preeclampsia or high blood pressure problems from reoccurring for patients with a history of having had the problem during a previous pregnancy. Pumpkin seed kernels are similar to sunflower seeds, both are good sources of magnesium and many other nutrients. The DASH diet promotes eating a serving of nuts, seeds or beans daily as a source of magnesium. DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. [1]

Additional note: *Raw pumpkin seeds were my recommendation because the toasted salted ones can be very salty which would dilute the amount of magnesium naturally available in the seed compared to the large amount of sodium available from the added salt. Excess sodium can cause increased urinary losses of magnesium in the average person and may increase risk of high blood pressure in people who are salt sensitive. [5]

In a recent study conducted in 19 hypertensive patients after 2 months of adherence to a low (50 mmol/d) and high (200 mmol/d) sodium intake, the investigators observed an increase in intracellular (erythrocyte) calcium and sodium concentrations and a reduction in magnesium concentration during salt loading, primarily in salt-sensitive subjects.82 [5]

Nutritional strategies recommended to help prevent Alzheimer’s disease include increasing intake of magnesium. Research has found that low levels of magnesium promoted build up of  beta amyloid protein while high levels of magnesium promoted breakdown of the misshapen proteins.

“Lab studies show that magnesium modulates enzymes involved in amyloid beta production; at low levels, magnesium favors amyloid beta buildup, while at higher levels it favors amyloid beta breakdown.101,102″ [2]

That article also contains good news for coffee drinkers; drinking 3 to 5 cups of caffeinated coffee per day is associated with reduced risk for Alzheimer’s disease. The article suggests that the caffeine content itself seems to provide the protective effects. [2] Coffee is also a good source of magnesium, perhaps that is a coincidence. However three to five cups of coffee is more than is recommended during pregnancy; one cup per day is likely safe while six cups of coffee per day may be harmful for pregnancy. The article also recommends blueberries and curcumin (found in turmeric which is commonly used in mustard and in curry powder) which would be safe during pregnancy.

The misshapen proteins have a protective effect against bacteria and the yeast Candida albicans so a chronic lowgrade infection may be an underlying cause of the accumulation of beta amyloid placques. [3] [4]

/Disclaimer: This information is for educational or entertainment purposes, see a health professional for individual medical guidance./

Magnesium deficiency is bad for a good mood, and can be dangerous in combination with THC

     A modern day cannibal such as the homeless man in a recent news story may not be infected with anything contagious but could be overreacting to acute magnesium deficiency. The homeless man may have been under the influence of a synthetic street drug commonly referred to as “bath salts,” a chemical substance based on the structure of the euphoric cannabinoid THC contained in medical marijuana. A study on cannabinoid effects found that research animals would kill other smaller animals when deficient in magnesium but not otherwise. Typically a mellow couch potato is the stereotype rather than raging maniac yet even mild magnesium deficiency made small doses of the THC turn the nutrient deficient animals into killers.
Education on the risks of magnesium deficiency would make a starving rage less likely to occur no matter what other chemical effects might be going on. Magnesium deficiency rage is part of the problem with alcohol abuse. Other pharmaceuticals also can deplete magnesium stores and coffee, carbonated beverages and the act of smoking also cause magnesium stores to be used for buffering the removal of waste.
The following excerpt from an endogenous cannabinoid textbook does make regulation of bath salts seem like a good idea. I am not familiar with the chemistry of the drug being sold as “bath salts” or the current news stories but I felt it necessary to mention magnesium deficiency in relation. Preventing magnesium deficiency would help prevent rage. Promoting safe access to medical marijuana products which contain a good balance of the euphoric THC and the more calming non-euphoric cannbinoids for those with documented chronic medical needs would help make a black market less profitable and reduce the risk of there even being a black market for the higher risk synthetic THC/bath salts (legal because it isn’t marijuana and is sold as “bath salts” or by some other name).
Education about stress coping skills and plenty of community support centers would help reduce demand for and support of a black market in artificial enhancements to life of whatever type – gambling, incessant video game playing or other escapes from reality.
In the excerpt below it mentions that magnesium deficiency alone could cause rodents to kill and eat other rodents. A large dose of THC given to hungry isolated rodents led to them killing other rodents when. Smaller doses of THC did not cause rodent killing unless the rodents had also been on a magnesium deficient diet for six weeks prior to the smaller dose of THC.

65. Marie-Hélène Thiébot, Frédérique Chaperon, Ester Fride, and Emmanuel S. Onaivi, Endocannabinoids : The Brain and Body’s Marijuana and Beyond, Chapter 13, Behavioral Effects of Endocannabinoids, (2006 by Taylor and Francis Group, LLC)  (p 310)

 “In isolated rats, food deprived for 22 h and then fed ad libitum for a 3-h period, a single injection of D9-THC (11 mg/kg) induced mousekilling (muricidal) behavior with enhanced aggressiveness, as indicated by the dramatic increase in the number of attacks on the dead mouse until it was completely torn in pieces (Bac et al., 1998). These authors also showed that D9-THC, at doses (2, 4, and 8 mg/kg) inactive to induce muricidal behavior in control rats, became efficient in rats suffering a magnesium (Mg2+) deprivation for 6 weeks. A severe Mg2+ deficiency (50-ppm diet) induced killing behavior by itself, and D9-THC exacerbated further attacks on the dead mouse. A moderate Mg2+-deficient diet (150-ppm) alone did not produce muricidal behavior, but all the rats became mouse killers when given D9-THC, whatever the dose. These results suggest a potentiation between both treatments to elicit aggressiveness. D9-THC would act as a trigger to induce aggression in Mg2+-deficient rats and reciprocally Mg2+ deficiency would reveal the potential neurotoxicity of a low dose of D9-THC (Bac et al., 2002).” (p310)

  • A recent study found no difference in crime statistics around medical marijuana dispensaries in the year 2009, “Report: Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Not Linked To Neighborhood Crime,” by Jason Koebler, (June 6 2012), US News: []
  • 2016 update – states that have legalized marijuana have not had increased crime rates due to marijuana,, but there may have been an increase in traffic accidents related to marijuana use – or an increase in testing for it, more research is needed because cannabis affects the body differently between individuals and is very different than the effects of alcohol.
  • Driving under the influence of marijuana is less associated with weaving between lanes than with alcohol use and is more likely to promote driving slower than average (which can also be dangerous if significantly slower than the flow of traffic,
  • There have been an increase in emergency room visits due to marijuana products which suggests to me that strains and products are being produced that have too much THC and not enough of the non-euphoric cannabinoids that promote more of a calming and relaxing effect on the brain. This report from 2015 states a problem with increased teen use but I’ve seen other articles that suggest there hasn’t been a significant increase in use by teenagers.
  • THCV is one of the non-euphoric cannabinoids that help balance the stimulating effects of the euphoria producing THC. Some strains of sativa type cannabis plants contain THCV while indica strains do not.
  • Cannabinoids are made up of phospholipids and arachidonic acid or another fatty acid. The combination forms a flexible building block for cell membranes that can be released from storage when needed as an active messenger chemical. Many types of cannabinoids exist besides THC and they all have roles throughout the body’s organ systems and in every cell of the body. Some people are born with genes that don’t function normally and the inability to produce cannabinoids has been associated with eating disorders, cigarette smoking, alcohol abuse, and to a lesser extent with cocaine use and other drug use.
  • Some tips from pros in the field of weed (pun intended) for people who have over imbibed sativa and are paranoid is to first not panic, it will pass. Knowing that the symptoms are due to too much THC may help with the feelings of anxiety. Other tips include eating a little black pepper or lemon juice/lemon peel. Both substances contain terpenes that may help balance the anxiety producing aspects of some sativa strains. Eating may also help with sativa anxiety but time may be necessary for the mood to pass. Too much of an Indica strain is likely to just cause munchies, coach lock (sleepy mellowness with no interest in moving) until sleep occurs.

The act of smoking in itself can lead to reduced levels of magnesium and vitamin C whether tobacco cigarettes or other herbs are being smoked. The craving for food a few hours after smoking marijuana commonly known as “the munchies” is related to a drop in magnesium levels. It is better for the brain and body to eat rather than to try to resist the messages of hunger – the body is hungry for magnesium though so choose foods that contain some such as whole grains, popcorn or corn chips, beans, nuts, seeds, potatoes or sweet potatoes, green leafy vegetables, bananas, figs, yogurt, chocolate,  and many other foods contain small amounts.

Having a good balanced meal before consuming marijuana may also help reduce the risk of having the munchies later. And different strains of marijuana may contain more or less of certain types of cannabinoids or terpenes which may also increase appetite for other reasons than the drop in magnesium in which case, snacking on carrots and celery sticks would contain fewer calories and have less risk of leading to excess weight gain.

Another way to improve the mood if magnesium deficiency is a problem is to take a hot bath with real Epsom salt, details here:

/Disclaimer: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./

Hypomagnesemia symptoms and causes list

Hypomagnesemia symptoms and causes – tables from [1, Slatoplosky, et al]

***This is an initial list of magnesium deficiency symptoms and causes. People with these conditions are at risk of chronic magnesium losses from bone stores and the resulting osteoporosis. Magnesium is used as a buffer by the kidneys and gastrointestinal tract when conditions are too acidic – frequently with our modern diet and beverages.

Magnesium supplements given orally during conditions of poor gastrointestinal absorption will be more likely to cause loose stools Magnesium ions can cause relaxation of the smooth muscles lining the intestines and watery bowel movements can occur – the common side effect is not similar to explosive diarrhea unless a very large dose is taken. Magnesium glycinate may be a better absorbed form. Lower more frequent doses are more likely to be absorbed well – 200 mg magnesium glycinate three times a day may result in more retention than 500 mg of a standard form two times a day. The RDA is lower and the UL – Upper Limit is a measly 325 mg but loose stools is really the only oral side effect. Intravenous use can be dangerous due to the rapid changes it can cause in the heart muscle that can trigger a stroke.Dosing Example for someone with a condition or medication that causes chronic wasting of magnesium stores:

“Maintenance therapy may require oral administration of Mg2+ oxide (400 mg twice daily or three times daily) for as long as the risk factors for Mg2+ deficiency exist. Oral Mg2+ gluconate (500 mg twice daily or three times daily) can also be used.” [1, p2293]

***This dosage is in reference to repletion needs for chronic magnesium deficiency typically due to decreased gastrointestinal absorption or increased renal losses.

Ideally our bodies expect a balance of magnesium in everything we eat and drink. Historically it was very rich in the water and soil and nature. An increase in insulin levels is the only main way the body can react to low magnesium levels. Historically an increased appetite would lead to increased magnesium levels because it was so common in the water and food supply. However it isn’t a primary fertilizer – the plants grow with minimal amounts and water softeners and bottling companies take it out along with the calcium and other ‘hard’ minerals. Our food supply and population is low in magnesium and when there is a high calcium intake the body loses more magnesium and preferentially absorbs the calcium. Calcium was never abundant directly in the soil and food supply – bird shells and tiny fish or animal bones would be rich sources and tiny amounts were available throughout the rest of the food and water supplies. Our bodies conserve calcium and waste magnesium because that is what used to work for us.Due to who knows what historical permutations, only sodium and potassium are officially considered electrolytes and have regulation standards for content in water supplies. The soil and everything consumed and drank was rich in magnesium ages ago as our bodies were adapting – before world flooding over the millennia washed nutrients to sea (brine pits are a source of many crucial nutrients and seaweed is a source of iodine because it filters it from the sea water – ocean vegetables for the next season are going to be contaminated from the nuclear accident).  Electrolyte beverages in our current market rarely have magnesium – the Glaceau brand of Smart Water does.

Magnesium can also be absorbed through the skin from Epsom salt baths, foot soaks or skin creams that have had it added (a compounding pharmacist can make it if prescribed). [35 B, 36 B,37 B] Magnesium has been successfully used within emergency inhalers for asthma.
Clinical consequences of hypomagnesemia     [tables from 1,Slatoplosky, et al] ***symptom list
Electrolyte abnormalities
                Carpopedal spasm
                Muscle cramps
                Muscle fasciculations
                Vertigo                 / dizziness
                Nystagmus           /  involuntary eye movement
                Aphasia                /  loss of speech abilities, may be temporary [12]
                Choreoathetosis    [10]
                Ventricular arrhythmias
                Torsade de points
                Supraventricular tachycardia
                Enhanced sensitivity to digoxin
Causes of Magnesium deficiency    [1]
***triggers and conditions that lead to magnesium wasting that may be genetic, pharmaceutical side effect related or possibly preventable –ie quit drinking too much alcohol –also smoking [14] needs to be added to this list [Bruerger’s vasculitis] and proton pump inhibitors for some people.
                Chronic diarrhea
                Primary infantile hypomagnesemia
                Nasogastric suction
                Intestinal fistula
                Congenital magnesium wasting
                Bartter syndrome
                Gitelman syndrome
                Postobstructive diuresis
                Diuretic phase of ATN         [11]
                Loop and thiazide diuretics   [3,4, 5,6]
                Aminoglycosides   [7-drug names, 9 – kwashiorkor reference]
                Cyclosporin A
                Hyperaldosteronism    [8 – edematous malnutrition reference]
                Hungry bone syndrome
                Acute pancreatitis
                Blood transfusions
                Insulin treatment
                Diabetes                   [59]
                Chronic alcoholism

“In general, Magnesium deficiency is the result of either gastrointestinal or renal losses. If no cause is readily apparent, then one can distinguish between gastrointestinal and renal losses by measuring the 24-H urinary MG²+ excretion or fractional excretion of Mg2+. The normal response of the kidney to Mg2+ depletion is to reduce Mg2+ excretion to low levels. The measurement of 24-H urinary Mg2+ excretion of  more than 30 mg in a person with normal renal function and hypomagnesemia indicates renal Mg2+ wasting. If Mg2+ deficiency is suspected in the absence of hypomagnesemia, then one might consider evaluating the renal excretion of Mg2+ in response to an intravenous Mg2+ load. [20,21] this, however, is rarely done in clinical practice. In the presence of unexplained hypocalcemia or hypokalemia, a trial of Mg2+ administration is more commonly performed.” (Slatoplosky, et al, p2292 ) [1]

/Disclaimer: Information presented on this site is not intended as a substitute for medical care and should not be considered as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment by your physician./

1.   1.   []  Kevin J. Martin,  Esther A. González and Eduardo Slatopolsky, Clinical Consequences and Management of Hypomagnesemia,  doi: 10.1681/ASN.2007111194 (JASN November 1, 2009 vol. 20 no. 11 2291-2295)
3.       Michael E. Ernst and Marvin Moser, “Use of Diuretics in Patients with Hypertension,” New England Journal of Medicine 361, no. 22 (2009): 2153-2164.

“However, thiazides are now used in substantially smaller doses, and the term low-dose thiazide has become synonymous with hydrochlorothiazide at a dose of 12.5 to 25 mg per day (or the equivalent dose of another thiazide). Approximately 50% of patients will respond initially to these low doses. In the Systolic Hypertension in the Elderly Program (SHEP),34 chlorthalidone given at a dose of 12.5 mg per day controlled blood pressure, for several years, in more than 50% of patients. Increasing the dose of hydrochlorothiazide from 12.5 to 25 mg per day may result in a response in an additional 20% (approximately) of patients; at 50 mg per day, 80 to 90% of patients should have measurable decreases in blood pressure.35 Increased electrolyte losses at the higher doses of diuretics may preclude their routine use.” [3]                      (***diabetes after a year of use is also a risk)

List of Thiazide and Thazide-like Diuretics (water pills) used in the Treatment of High Blood Pressure     4.   [ ]
  • Bendroflumethiazide (Naturetin)
  • Benzthiazide               (Exna)
  • Chlorothalidone          (Hygroton, Thalitone)
  • Chlorothiazide            (Diurigen, Duril)
  • Hydrochlorothiazide   (Esidrix, Hydrodiuril, Hydro-Par, Microzide, Oretic)
  • Hydroflumethiazide    (Diucardin, Saluron)
  • Indapamide                 (Lozol)
  • Metolazone                 (Mykrox, Zaroxolyn, Diulo)
  • Methychothiazide       (Aquatensen, Enduron)
  • Polythiazide                (Renese)
  • Quinethazone             (Hydromax)
  • Trichlormethiazide      (Diurese, Metahydrin, Naqua)

Examples of loop diuretics include:

  • Bumetanide
  • Ethacrynic acid (Edecrin)
  • Furosemide (Lasix)
  • Torsemide (Demadex)
Aminoglycosides are a group of antibiotics including at least eight drugs: amikacin, gentamicin, kanamycin, neomycin, netilmicin, paromomycin, streptomycin, and tobramycin.
7. Read more on aminoglycoside antibiotics: [] – Connect to Better Health

8. [ ] Tahmeed Ahmed, Sabuktagin Rahman & Alejandro Cravioto, Oedematous malnutrition,  Indian J Med Res 130, November 2009, pp 651-654

Hyperaldosteronism may be occurring in edematous malnutrition:

Anti-diuretic factor in the urine of children with nutritional oedema: Nutritional oedema is associated with an increased secretion of an anti-diuretic substance (probably anti-diuretic hormone) which prevents the normal excretory response to water administration. Gopalan and Venkatachalam15 in a study furnished indirect proof of the effect of posture on the urinary response to water load in normal subjects and in cases of nutritional oedema. The normal subjects were found to excrete over 100 per cent of ingested water within 4 h of ingestion in the recumbent posture, while in the erect posture they excreted only 80 per cent. In case of nutritional oedema, the urinary excretion was found to be much lower than in the normal subjects in both recumbent and erect postures. The effect of dietary protein deficiency on the hepatic inactivation of ADH in rats has also been investigated. It was found that the rats maintained on low-protein, low-calorie diets showed a delayed and incomplete response to a water load, and that the livers of these animals showed a reduced capacity for inactivating ADH (Gopalan & Srikantia, unpublished).

Role of ferritin and aldosterone: Srikantia observed presence of ferritin in children with kwashiorkor16. With a view to reveal the precise role of ferritin in the pathogenesis of nutritional oedema, Gopalan and Srikantia17 investigated the sequence of changes occurring in induced protein and calorie under-nutrition with focus on oedema formation in monkeys. O n the basis of the findings, they suggested that calorie-protein undernutrition leads to structural and functional changes in the liver, further leading to defective inactivation of ADH. Active ferritin is released from damaged liver leading to increased secretion of ADH. The net result is water retention. Among other factors, aldosterone, the salt retaining hormone, which is known for influencing water metabolism by altering renal tubular reabsorption of sodium, is also known to be inactivated by the liver. Altered aldosterone metabolism has been reported in diseases of the liver. Associated hyperaldosteronism could account for the sodium retention18. In oedematous children aldosterone secretion becomes higher during loss of oedema19.

“In a clinical trial, the administration of N-acetylcysteine, a glutathione precursor, resulted in more rapid resolution of oedema in kwashiorkor31. These associations between oxidative stress and kwashiorkor indicate that antioxidant depletion may cause kwashiorkor which can therefore be prevented with antioxidant supplementation.”

9. []
Reduced production of sulfated glycosaminoglycans occurs in Zambian children with kwashiorkor but not marasmus also good –

10. Excerpt from wikipedia / Choreoathetosis 
10. []

Choreia is characterized by brief, quasi-purposeful, irregular contractions that are not repetitive or rhythmic, but appear to flow from one muscle to the next.These ‘dance-like’ movements of choreia (from the same root word as “choreography”) often occur with athetosis, which adds twisting and writhing movements.Choreia can occur in a variety of conditions and disorders.

  • Choreia is a primary feature of Huntington’s disease, a progressive neurological disorder.
  • Twenty percent of children and adolescents with rheumatic fever develop Sydenham’s chorea as a complication.
  • Choreia gravidarum is rare type of choreia which is a complication of pregnancy.
  • Choreia may also be caused by drugs (levodopa, anti-convulsants, anti-psychotics), metabolic disorders, endocrine disorders, and vascular incidents.
  • Ataxia telangiectasia
  • Wilson’s disease, a genetic disorder that leads to toxic levels of copper in the body
  • McLeod syndrome,is a genetic disorder that may affect the blood, brain, peripheral nerves, muscle and heart. Common features include peripheral neuropathy, cardiomyopathy and hemolytic anemia. Other features include limb chorea, facial tics, other oral movements (lip and tongue biting), seizures, a late-onset dementia and behavioral changes.
11. Diseases of the kidney and urinary tract  By Robert W. Schrier  page 2303 hypophosphatemia, diuretic phase of ATN, acute tubule nephropathy

Aphasia is a total or partial loss of the ability to speak correctly or to understand or comprehend what is being said. It may be caused by brain injury or disease. It’s most often caused by a stroke that injures the brain’s language center, located on the left side of the brain in most people. Some people with aphasia recover quickly and completely after a stroke. Others may have permanent speech and language problems.

  • Speech problems can range from trouble finding words to being unable to talk at all. Some stroke patients describe it as “having trouble getting words out.”
  • Some people have problems understanding what others are saying or have trouble with reading, writing or math.
  • In other cases, a person with aphasia may have trouble talking but can understand what others say perfectly.
Each person’s speech and language problem is unique. A language professional (speech therapist) can help set up a treatment plan and help others understand the needs of a person with aphasia.
For stroke information, call the American Stroke Association at 1-888-4-STROKE.
13. Garrison M. Tong and Robert K. Rude, “Magnesium Deficiency in Critical Illness,” Journal of Intensive Care Medicine 20, no. 1 (January): 3 -17.

14. Satoru Torii et al., “Magnesium Deficiency Causes Loss of Response to Intermittent Hypoxia in Paraganglion Cells,” Journal of Biological Chemistry 284, no. 28 (July 10, 2009): 19077 -19089. (free article)[]
*** Magnesium deficiency is found to reduce the normal response to hypoxia (lack of oxygen) of increasing adrenal gland production of erthyopoietin and endothelial vascular growth factor. This could suggest fewer red blood cells and weaker capillary and blood vessel structure in the magnesium deficient individual with breathing issues or other reduced oxygen situations (smokers).

15. “Possible Interactions with: Magnesium,” [ 000968.htm.]

16. B Grimaldi, “The central role of magnesium deficiency in Tourette’s syndrome: causal relationships between magnesium deficiency, altered biochemical pathways and symptoms relating to Tourette’s syndrome and several reported comorbid conditions,” Medical Hypotheses 58, no. 1 (1, 2002): 47-60.

17. G Eby, “Rescue treatment and prevention of asthma using magnesium throat lozenges: Hypothesis for a mouth–lung biologically closed electric circuit☆,” Medical Hypotheses 67, no. 5 (2006): 1136-1141.

18. “Nut consumption and risk of coronary heart disease… [Curr Atheroscler Rep. 1999] – PubMed result,” []

19. “Magnesium deficiency and metabolic syndrome: stres… [Magnes Res. 2010] – PubMed result,” []

20. “Magnesium and the inflammatory response: potential… [Arch Biochem Biophys. 2007] – PubMed result,” []

21. “[Magnesium and inflammation: lessons from animal m… [Clin Calcium. 2005] – PubMed result,” []

22. P Chambers, “Lone atrial fibrillation: Pathologic or not?,” Medical Hypotheses 68, no. 2 (2007): 281-287.

23. “Complementary vascular-protective actions of magnesium and taurine: A rationale for magnesium taurate,” []

24. Abe E. Sahmoun and Brij B. Singh, “Does a higher ratio of serum calcium to magnesium increase the risk for postmenopausal breast cancer?,” Medical Hypotheses 75, no. 3 (9, 2010): 315-318.

25. “Epidemiological evidence associating dietary calci… [Am J Nephrol. 1986] – PubMed result,” []

26. “High fructose consumption combined with low dietar… [Magnes Res. 2006] – PubMed result,” []

[27. ..AppDataRoamingMozillaFirefoxProfiles5z5xh8vb.defaultzoterostorage4MGSRXSW9789241563550_eng.pdf ]  Cotruvo J, Bartram J, eds. Calcium and Magnesium in Drinking-water : Public health significance, Geneva, World Health Organization, 2009.

28. “Protein peroxidation, magnesium deficiency and fib… [Magnes Res. 1996] – PubMed result,” []

29. E Planells et al., “Effect of magnesium deficiency on vitamin B2 and B6 status in the rat,” Journal of the American College of Nutrition 16, no. 4 (August 1997): 352-356.

30. Sivan Ben-Avraham et al., “Dietary strategies for patients with type 2 diabetes in the era of multi-approaches; review and results from the Dietary Intervention Randomized Controlled Trial (DIRECT),” Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice 86 Suppl 1 (December 2009): S41-48.

31. “Utility of magnesium as antiarrhythmic agent reviewed. – Health & Medicine Week | HighBeam Research – FREE trial,” []

32. Barbara Chipperfield and JohnR. Chipperfield, “Relation of Myocardial Metal Concentrations to Water Hardness and Death-Rates from Ishchaemic Heart Disease,” The Lancet 314, no. 8145 (October 6, 1979): 709-712.

33. Barbara Chipperfield et al., “Magnesium and Potassium Content of Normal He3art Muscle in Areas of Hard and Soft Water,” The Lancet 307, no. 7951 (January 17, 1976): 121-122.

34. “Regulation of Contraction in Striated Muscle — Gordon et al. 80 (2): 853 — Physiological Reviews,” []

35. “Potassium, calcium, magnesium, and sodium levels i… [Clin Lab. 2010] – PubMed result,” [ ]

36. “Magnesium: Its proven and potential clinical significance.(Statistical Data Included) – Southern Medical Journal | HighBeam Research – FREE trial,” []

37. “Magnesium Treatment for Sudden Hearing Loss – The Annals of Otology, Rhinology & Laryngology | HighBeam Research – FREE trial,”[]

39. “Magnesium supplementation decreases oxidative stress in diabetic rats. – Biotech Week | HighBeam Research – FREE trial,” []

40. “Magnesium requirement of kittens is increased by high dietary calcium – The Journal of Nutrition | HighBeam Research – FREE trial,”[]

41. Daniel G. Chausow et al., “Experimentally-induced magnesium deficiency in growing kittens,” Nutrition Research 6, no. 4 (April 1986): 459-468.

42. Yuhei Kawano et al., “Effects of Magnesium Supplementation in Hypertensive Patients : Assessment by Office, Home, and Ambulatory Blood Pressures,” Hypertension 32, no. 2 (August 1, 1998): 260-265.

43. Robert E. Kleiger et al., “Effects of chronic depletion of potassium and magnesium upon the action of acetylstrophanthidin on the heart,” The American Journal of Cardiology 17, no. 4 (April 1966): 520-527.

44. Andrew D Hershey, “Current approaches to the diagnosis and management of paediatric migraine,” The Lancet Neurology 9, no. 2 (2, 2010): 190-204.

45. A M Gordon and E B Ridgway, “Cross-bridges affect both TnC structure and calcium affinity in muscle fibers,” Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology 332 (1993): 183-192; discussion 192-194.

46. Karin Ladefoged and Kikki Hagen, “Correlation between concentrations of magnesium, zinc, and potassium in plasma, erythrocytes and muscles,” Clinica Chimica Acta 177, no. 2 (October 14, 1988): 157-166.

47. “Common genetic variants of the ion channel transient receptor potential membrane melastatin 6 and 7 ( TRPM6 and TRPM7 ), magnesium intake, and risk of type 2 diabetes in women.(Research article)(Report) – BMC Medical Genetics | HighBeam Research – FREE trial,”[]

48. M Fu et al., “Association between Unhealthful Eating Patterns and Unfavorable Overall School Performance in Children,” Journal of the American Dietetic Association 107, no. 11 (11, 2007): 1935-1943.

49. “Antenatal magnesium treatment and neonatal illness severity as measured by the Score for Neonatal Acute Physiology (SNAP) – Journal of Maternal – Fetal & Neonatal Medicine | HighBeam Research – FREE trial,”[]

50. “Acid-Base Status Affects Renal Magnesium Losses in Healthy, Elderly Persons1 – The Journal of Nutrition | HighBeam Research – FREE trial,” []

51. “Ancient Minerals Launches Comprehensive Online Magnesium Health Resource. – PRWeb Newswire | HighBeam Research – FREE trial,”[]

52. K Michaelsen, “Inadequate Supplies of Potassium and Magnesium in Relief Food? Implications and Countermeasures,” The Lancet 329, no. 8547 (6, 1987): 1421-1423.

53. “High Dietary Intake of Magnesium May Decrease Risk of Colorectal Cancer in Japanese Men1,2 – The Journal of Nutrition | HighBeam Research – FREE trial,”[]

54. “Magnesium – The Clinical Advisor : For Nurse Practitioners | HighBeam Research – FREE trial,” []

55. “Magnesium prevents chemotherapy side effects.(Editorial)(Report) – Townsend Letter | HighBeam Research – FREE trial,”[

56. J Caddell, “Magnesium Deprivation in Sudden Unexpected Infant Death,” The Lancet 300, no. 7771 (8, 1972): 258-262.

57. “Magnesium builds bones in pre-pubertal and adolescent girls.(ABSTRACTS OF INTEREST)(Clinical report) – Original Internist | HighBeam Research – FREE trial,” []

58. J D Potter, S P Robertson, and J D Johnson, “Magnesium and the regulation of muscle contraction,” Federation Proceedings 40, no. 12 (October 1981): 2653-2656.


Victoria Shanta-Retelny, RD, LD, The Magnesium-Diabetes Connection, Today’s Dietitian, Vol. 6, No. 11, p. 37, November 2004


Magnesium references From Bibliography for Dietitian Recommends Stop Vitamin D and Calcium ASAP 
8B. Assadi, F., Hypomagnesemia, An Evidence-Based Approach to Clinical Cases, (Iranian Journal of Kidney Diseases, Vol 4, No 1 (2010)
18 B. Magdalena Bujalska, Helena Makulska-Nowak, Stanis³aw W. Gumuka Magnesium ions and opioid agonistsin vincristine-induced neuropathy , Department of Pharmacodynamics, Medical University of Warsaw, Krakowskie Przedmieoecie 26/28, PL 00-927 Warszawa, Poland
19 B. Magnesium: an emerging drug in anaesthesia, , Editorial I, M. F. M. James, British Journal of Anaesthesia, 103 (4): 465-7 (2009) DOI:10.1093/bja/aep242
23 B. Dai Q, Shrubsole MJ, Ness RM, Schlundt D, Cai Q, Smalley WE, Li M, Shyr Y, Zheng W., The relation of magnesium and calcium intakes and a genetic polymorphism in the magnesium transporter to colorectal neoplasia risk. ( Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 Sep;86(3):743-51)
24 B. Joan L Caddell, Geriatric cachexia: a role for magnesium deficiency as well as for cytokines?, Letter to the Editor, , (Am J Clin Nutr 2000;;71:844-53. pp 851-853)
25 B. Carl J Johnson, M.D., Donald R. Peterson, M.D., Elizabeth K. Smith, PhD, Myocardial tissue concentrations of magnesium and potassium in men dying suddenly from ischemic heart disease, (Am J Clin Nutr 32: MAY 1979, pp 967-970)
29 B. Geeta Sharma and Charles f Stevens, A mutation that alters magnesium block of N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor channels, Pub: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of The United States 93.n17 (August 20, 1996): pp9259+. InfoTrac General Science Collection.
30 B. Beasley R, Aldington S, Magnesium in the treatment of asthma..Medical Research Institute of New Zealand, Wellington, New Zealand.,, Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol. 2007 Feb;7(1):107-1
32 B. Maged M. Costantine, MD, Steven J. Weiner, MS, Effects of Antenatal exposure to Magnesium Sulfate on Neuroprotection and Mortality in Preterm Infants: A Meta Analysis, Obstet Gynecol. 2009 August; 114(2 Pt 1): 354-364 DOI:10.1097/AOG0b013e3181ae98c2
33 B. Burton M. Altura, Bella T. Altura and Anthony Carella., Magnesium deficiency-induced spasms of umbilical vessels: relation to preeclampsia, hypertension, growth retardation. Pub:Science, 221 (July 22, 1983): pp376(2)
34 B. Burton M. Altura, Bella T. Altura, Asefa Gebrewold, Harmut Ising and Theo Gunther, Magnesium deficiency and hypertension: correlation between magnesium-deficient diets and microcirculatory changes in situ.,. Pub: Science, 223.(March 23, 1984): pp1315(3).
37 B. [] Line of skin care products containing magnesium.
42 B. Magnesium intake from food and supplements is associated with bone mineral density in healthy older white subjects. (elderly health), Kathryn M. Ryder, Ronald I Shorr, Andrew J. Bush, Tamara Harris, Katie Stone and Frances A Tylavsky. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 53.11 (Nove 2005): p1875-1881. Academic One File. Web. 13 Dec. 2010
43 B. DASH Diet May Cut Heart Disease Risk, – source John Hopkins Medicine, Today’s Dietitian, Vol . 12, No. 10, Oct. 2010, p 25
44 B. Christine Feillet-Coudray, Charles Coudray, Zjean-Claude Tressol, Denise Pepin, Andrzej Mazur, Steven A Abrams, Exchangeable magnesium pool masses in healthy women: effects of magnesium supplementation, Yves Rayssiguier, Am J Clin Nutr 2002;75;72-8
45 B. [] “Researchers Identify Protein that Regulates Magnesium and Can Restart Stem Cells.” Targeted News Service. Targeted News Service LLC. 2010. HighBeam Research. 16 Feb. 2011 . “An international team led by researchers at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School has published new findings that demonstrate how a specific protein controls the body’s ability to balance magnesium levels. Magnesium is an essential element for good health and is critical to more than 300 biochemical reactions that occur in the body. “Currently more than half of the US population does not consume an adequate amount of magnesium in their diet,” said Alexey G. Ryazanov, Ph.D., one of the study’s authors and a professor of pharmacology and member of The Cancer Institute of New Jersey at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. “Magnesium deficiency may be associated with many medical disorders including hypertension, atherosclerosis, anxiety, asthma and a host of other disorders.” “The team of researchers from the United States, France and Poland demonstrated for the first time that a protein called TRPM7 plays a key role in the maintenance of magnesium homeostasis (balance within the body) and is essential for proliferation of embryonic stem cells.”
77 B. Neuromed Phamaceuticals and Merck and Co., Inc. Announce Agreement for Novel N-type Calcium channel Compounds, from Business Wire, March 20, 2006, High Beam Research – **Neuromed is a pharmaceutical company focusing on calcium channel blockers. “blocking pain signaling through the N-type calcium channel is a novel approach for the treatment of pain” said Christopher Gallen,MD, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer of Neuromed. **Providing adequate magnesium would be a less novel way to block nerve pain caused by overexcitation by excess calcium. Citation #9 demonstrated that diabetic neuropathy pain could be reduced by magnesium injection alone – why bother with the opioid or the synthetic calcium channel blocker. They are an expensive and dangerous class of pharmaceuticals that would be pretty much not necessary if we weren’t being drained of magnesium reserves by excessive calcium and acidity intakes.
95 B [also 3/PPI article].     []  Kevin J. Martin,  Esther A. González and Eduardo Slatopolsky, Clinical Consequences and Management of Hypomagnesemia,  doi: 10.1681/ASN.2007111194 (JASN November 1, 2009 vol. 20 no. 11 2291-2295)
96 B.    [] Karl T. Weber, William B. Weglicki, and Robert U. Simpson, Macro- and micronutrient dyshomeostasis in the adverse structural remodelling of myocardium,  (Cardiovasc Res. 2009 February 15; 81(3): 500–508.) Published online 2008 October 3. doi: [10.1093/cvr/cvn261].
Disclaimer: Eat to live, not eating doesn’t end well. I hope to have helped, not harmed. A blog spot is for informational purposes only and is not the same thing as individual counseling. Abruptly stopping medications can result in death. For questions about my research or to seek individual or group services please contact me at:

Autistic kids wash up happier in an Epsom salt bath

***What should autistic kids eat? For some of them weight gain is a problem and the short term answer is anything they are willing to swallow. With time and patience more variety may be accepted but the children may be avoiding some foods because they make them feel worse. forcing a “balanced diet” from all food groups may not be in their best interests. Food sensitivity testing can identify more types of sensitivities that traditional allergy tests miss.The following article provides physiologic guidance towards why some foods may be preferred or despised. Allergens can have an addictive effect due to an opioid like reaction. We can crave what is good for us but we can also crave what is bad for us – it can be exciting physiologically speaking. Some of the chemicals that build up can have neurotransmitter activity in the brain – literally over stimulating the brain cells. Can bananas and tomatoes kill brain cells? Not in everybody but maybe in autistic bodies overloaded with toxins.

Excerpts from: Autism, an extreme challenge to integrative medicine. Part II: medical management. 
by Parris M. Kidd

Magnesium sulfate (Epsom salts) can benefit the autistic child through a novel route of delivery. A parent reported her child’s oppositional behavior disappeared overnight after a bath in Epsom salts. (67) Other parents who used the treatment soon reported improvements in speech, mood, cooperation, and motor development.
*** Over soaking in an Epsom salt/magnesium sulfate salt bath can lead to too much absorption of magnesium and produce temporary side effects of a fluttery/weak heart and possibly diarrhea. A soak for 20 minutes to 40 minutes at the very most seems an effective time for me. I use about 1-2 cups of the Epsom salt to a full bath.

I have also been adding a little vitamin C powder or spoon of cooking vinegar to balance the pH. The Epsom salt gives about an 8 pH and a 7 is more skin and hair friendly. I use pH strips to check the acidity after adding a little vitamin C powder or cooking vinegar (apple cider vinegar leaves me smelling like apple pickles). Kids and all of us love a hot bath, however warmish is better for the body than too hot. Pruney, wrinkly finger tips can be a easy sign for children to see for themselves – the body absorbed as much extra fluid as it can hold and now the skin is all ripply – cool and cold, water and cool, wrinkly fingers means its past time to get out of the tub.    [17,18: links about Epsom salt baths]

Vitamin B6 and Magnesium (excerpt con’t, by Parris M. Kidd)
Vitamin B6, in its active form of pyridoxal-5-phosphate (P5P), is an essential cofactor for a majority of metabolic pathways of neurotransmitters, including serotonin, gamma-amino-butyric acid (GABA), dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. Magnesium is an essential macronfineral required for a wide range of enzyme-catalyzed metabolic pathways. Rimland recently reviewed 18 autism studies conducted with vitamin B6, especially in combination with magnesium, (22) and concluded that all provided positive results with no significant adverse effects. While no cures of autism by vitamin B6 are known, many cases of remarkable improvement have been documented.

A 1988 paper by Rimland provided an in-depth review of the history of vitamin B6 for autism. (29) In 1966, Heeley and Roberts reported vitamin B6 corrected abnormal tryptophan metabolism in 11 of 19 autistic children. (30) In 1968, Bonisch (cited in Rimland, 1988 (29)) reported vitamin B6 (100-600 mg per day) improved behavior in 12 of 16 autistic children. According to Rimland, three of Bonisch’s subjects spoke for the first time while participating in this open trial.

After conducting an exploratory, non-controlled study in the early 1970s, (31) in 1978 Rimland published the findings from a small double-blind trial that involved 15 children with autistic symptoms. (32) In this trial only half the children involved qualified as ASD by current criteria. (32) In this crossover trial, each child received vitamin B6 at a dose of 2.5-25.1 mg/kg body weight/day (75-800 mg per day) or a placebo. Following a complex, five-phase protocol, each child continued taking whatever vitamins, minerals, or drugs they had been receiving prior to the study and the duration of B6 dosing was individualized. Rimland stated they also received “several hundred” mg per day of magnesium and a B-complex vitamin to guard against overdosing with B6. (22) Statistically significant benefits emerged from this trial, including better eye contact, less self-stimulatory behavior, more interest in surroundings, fewer tantrums, and better speech. (32) Rimland began to suspect for many children autistic symptomatology might be a type of vitamin B6 dependency syndrome. (29)

Taken together, the studies seem to establish that vitamin B6 can benefit as much as half of children and adults with autism, and that its efficacy and safety are improved when combined with magnesium. None of these studies reported any significant adverse effects, even though the vitamin B6 doses ranged as high as 1,000 mg per day. Rimland emphasized that thousands of autistic people have been taking large daily doses of vitamin B6 (as much as 1,000 mg) for decades without experiencing problems. One publication reported on seven cases of peripheral neuropathy from daily intakes of more than 2,000 mg vitamin B6. (37) These patients were not taking magnesium or other B vitamins, as usually recommended when taking large vitamin B6 doses; nor were they taking the active form–P5P–that has not been associated with toxicity. In a later study, doses of 30 mg/day of B6 as pyridoxine hydrochloride (equivalent to as much as 2,100 mg for a 70 kg adult) were administered with 10 mg/kg/day of magnesium lactate to 11 autistic children for eight weeks; behavior significantly improved and no adverse effects were evident. (38) The latest ARI parent ratings in 2002 (24) reported a B:W ratio for vitamin B6 used alone of 4.1:1, for magnesium alone 5.2:1, and for the combination of vitamin B6 plus magnesium, 11:1.

Cases of hereditary impairment of pyridoxine metabolism have been described, sometimes manifesting as seizure disorder and autism symptomatology. (39) Conversion of vitamin B6 to its active form P5P by the liver can be compromised in some autistic children. For these cases P5P supplementation may work more effectively, although hyperactivity is a possible adverse effect. (40) An intake threshold for achieving benefit may be approximately 200 mg vitamin B6 (as pyridoxine) and 100 mg magnesium per day for the 70 kg individual. (41) In any case, the cumulative results from the double-blind trials and numerous other studies and case history reports are consistent with impressive efficacy of the combination of vitamin B6 and magnesium for autism, superior to either nutrient alone. (38,42-44)

Vitamin C
Vitamin C has a reputation for its involvement in a plethora of metabolic, antioxidant, and bio-synthetic pathways, and as a cofactor for certain enzymes necessary for neurotransmitter synthesis. In a double-blind trial for 30 weeks, vitamin C (8 g/70 kg body weight/day) improved total symptom severity and sensory motor scores. (50) Its current parent B:W ratio is an excellent 16:1, from 1,306 questionnaires.

(***That is an awful lot of vitamin C but it is water soluble and is not stored. We need it daily. The B vitamins are also water soluble and non-toxic. “Expensive pee” is the joke but if it is helping the body on the way through than it isn’t that expensive compared to ill health.)

Among its many functions, zinc is needed for the development and maintenance of the brain, adrenal glands, GI tract, and immune system. Serotonin synthesis relies on zinc-activated enzymes; and zinc is also essential for antioxidant enzyme activity and other proteins important for growth and homeostasis. Breeding experiments with rodents indicate a zinc deficiency in the mother can be passed on to the offspring and negatively influence immunity and brain development. (51) Zinc currently has a very favorable B:W ratio, 17:1 from 835 questionnaires.

Zinc operates in a relationship with copper, i.e., when zinc levels go down, copper levels often go up. Bradstreet and Kartzinel assert zinc is deficient in 90 percent of ASD cases and copper in excess in 90 percent of cases. (14) Walsh analyzed copper and zinc in the blood of 318 ASD subjects and reported finding abnormally elevated copper:zinc ratios in 85 percent. (52) A smaller sampling of 22 subjects had 100-percent incidence of abnormally high, unbuffered copper (unbound to ceruloplasmin proteins)–about four times normal. Walsh’s findings corroborate recommendations by Adams (25) and others that autistics should exclude copper from their multiple vitamins.

(***Minerals can be dangerous at chronically high doses and the balance can be crucial. Wilson’s Disease is a copper overloading disease caused by a genetic defect. Pumpkin seeds, the green shelled part, are an excellant source of zinc and can be crisped by lightly toasting them in a skillet. Pepitos are another name for the Mexican snack version. Pre-toasted and salted pepitos can be quite salty unless you find raw pumpkin seeds at a health food store.)

Essential Fatty Acids Studies on EFA deficiency in autism are few, but with consistent results. Bradstreet and Kartzinel found omega-3 fatty acids are deficient in nearly 100 percent of ASD cases. (14) Vancassel and collaborators reported DHA 23-percent reduced, total omega-3s 20-percent reduced, and omega-6s unchanged in plasma phospholipids. (57) Hardy and Hardy studied 50 children with the more inclusive diagnosis Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), and reported almost 90 percent omega-3 deficient via red cell analysis. (58)

Amino Acid Abnormalities
At least two-thirds of autistics have abnormal amino acid levels, as measured in 24-hour urine or lasting blood plasma. High phenylalanine is rarely seen (one per several thousand autistics) but can occur without overt phenylketonuria (PKU), which may be observed in children from countries that do not test for PKU at birth. High histidine (histidinuria and usually concurrent histidinemia) is seen in one per 250-500 autistics, and also can mimic autism. High urine levels of several amino acids (generalized hyperaminoaciduria) almost always indicate toxic chemical exposure and consequent liver damage. Such is also attributable to heavy metal contamination and Wilson’s disease, Fanconi syndrome, cystinosis, fructose intolerance, galactosemia, and several other hereditary disorders. (6)

Low urine threonine suggests malabsorption. In maldigestion, anserine and carnosine are high, while the essential amino acids are low. Anserine and carnosine may also be high due to zinc insufficiency. When citrulline, methionine, ethanolamine, and phosphoethanolamine are elevated, functional magnesium deficiency is likely. Elevated sarcosine indicates toxic exposures and/or folate deficiency. And, when detoxification capacity is limited, the cysteine/cystine ratio, and methionine, taurine, and glycine levels tend to be abnormal.

Amino Acid Abnormalities
Autistic subjects who poorly metabolize tryptophan can carry its potentially toxic metabolite indoylacrylic acid (IAA) in their blood. IAA would normally be detoxified by combining it with glycine to make indoylacryloylglycine (IAG). Organophosphate pesticide contamination may shunt tryptophan down the IAG pathway. (6) Tryptamine, found in tomatoes and all types of bananas, may also raise IAG levels. Certain citrus fruits also may contain tryptamine-like substances. Assays for IAG are not routinely available and are easily contaminated.

(***Tryptamine may act as a neurotransmitter and is part of tryptophan, melatonin, serotonin and the psychoactive chemical in Psilocybin mushrooms and LSD. Tomatoes and bananas may not be good for some autistic people due to an enzyme defect and removing dairy protein and wheat protein improved symptoms for up to 80% of ASD subjects.)

Removing Casein and Gluten Foods from the Diet
There is a great deal of evidence that foods containing casein or gluten contribute significantly to ASD and should be eliminated from the diet. In well-conducted studies, as many as 80 percent of ASD subjects improved following strict dietary exclusion of these proteins. (13,14) Implementation of a strict casein- and gluten-free (CFGF) diet almost always leads to symptomatic improvement, and lays the foundation for a diet that can markedly benefit the condition.

It has been suggested that the adverse brain effects associated with dietary casein and gluten are likely due to opioid-acting peptides (small amino acid polymers, also called exorphins) metabolically generated from these proteins. (15) In their Sunderland Protocol for autism, Shattock and Whiteley note that clinical improvement often occurs on the CFGF diet even when laboratory tests fail to detect such peptides in the urine. (14) They suggest autistic subjects could be biochemically processing casein and/or gluten into other bioactive derivatives not being detected; or, while urinary levels measure normal, the quantities reaching the CNS could be high, perhaps due to abnormal permeability of the blood-brain barrier. Yet another possibility they suggest is children subjected to oxygen deprivation or other perinatal brain insults may have heightened vulnerability to even “normal” levels of the offending peptides.

Reichelt et al studied 15 ASD subjects (5 girls and 10 boys, age 3-17 years) for one year after implementing casein and gluten restriction. (16) They reported that 13 of 15 showed some degree of behavioral improvement and none got worse, as judged from parent-teacher consensus. Seizure activity was decreased in 3 of 4 subjects; gross motor behavior improved in 13 of 15; social contact increased in 10 of 15; eye contact improved in 9 of 15; ritualistic behavior decreased in 8 of 11; language improved in 10 of 13; and sleep patterns normalized in 9 of 11. These investigators concluded that incomplete digestion of casein or gluten-gliadin by digestive peptidase enzymes could be a biochemical cause of autistic syndromes.

Since abrupt simultaneous removal of casein and gluten from the diet can cause withdrawal symptoms, a two-step phased withdrawal is appropriate. The first phase is removal of casein via removal of milk and other dairy products. From a 1995 trial, Lucarelli et al reported 66 percent of subjects showed benefits from this intervention. (17) Benefits can manifest quickly–usually within 2-3 days in young children or 10-14 days in adults. However, a much longer period is required for casein to be fully cleared from the body.

Shattock and Whiteley documented the known metabolic dangers to children from consuming cow’s milk. (14) Milk consumption is linked to increased autism incidence among the immigrant population in Sweden as compared to the indigenous population. (18) Some children are clearly addicted to cow’s milk and will drink large quantities. Symptoms linked to casein intake include projectile vomiting; eczema, particularly behind the knees and in the crook of the elbow; white bumps under the skin; ear discharges and infections; constipation, cramps, and/or diarrhea; and respiratory disorders resembling asthma. Shattock and Whiteley report that casein withdrawal symptoms can be severe, especially in young children. (14)

Some higher-functioning ASD children voluntarily cease casein intake, apparently sensing it is not good for them. Gluten products, on the other hand, stir strong cravings and children are less likely to refuse them. (19) Gluten exclusion requires the removal of several common cereals from the diet, wheat, barley, rye, and oats, in particular; but many other foods contain hidden gluten. (19-21) The elimination process usually takes a minimum of 3-4 weeks, and a trial period of three months is appropriate. The urinary gluten profile persists for much longer than does the casein profile, and correspondingly the withdrawal effects are usually milder in severity than casein’s, but typically more prolonged.

Full clearance of dietary casein-gluten symptoms is a long-term process. Withdrawal can be evident for three months or longer. (16) Whiteley’s group (19) found a mere 26-percent reduction in urinary levels of gluten after a five-month exclusion diet. In some cases dramatic improvement emerged a full 7-9 months after initiating the diet, but maximal improvement can require up to two years of rigid dietary exclusion. Shattock and Whiteley advise against adding these foods back into the diet, since severe opioid symptoms could result. (14)

Sensitivities to Other Foods
Whereas children with neurodevelopmental disorders frequently have sensitivities to common foods, ASD children seemingly have extreme sensitivity to a wide range of foods. These sensitivities may contribute to the perceptual and processing difficulties that typify autism, yet are difficult to objectify. The classic allergy symptoms such as stuffiness, eczema, wheezing, and itching may be absent, yet cognition and behavior remain affected. (2)

Once the main sources of food intolerance–casein, gluten, and gliadin–are removed from the diet, other foods may emerge as sources of symptoms. Parents, particularly those who keep food diaries, can often associate the child’s consumption of a particular food with deterioration in behavior, sleep patterns, or performance. Beef, pork, rice, and potatoes are only occasionally implicated; whereas, foods that consistently cause problems are eggs. tomatoes, eggplant, avocados, red peppers, soy, and corn. Seroussi (21) described how corn was revealed as a problem food only after strict removal of gluten and casein from the diet. If a particular food is suspected, it should be removed from the diet for a trial period of at least three weeks and any improvements noted. On being reintroduced into the diet, it will likely trigger an exacerbation of symptoms.

1. Kidd, Parris M.. “Autism, an extreme challenge to integrative medicine. Part II: medical management. (Autism).(Brief Article).” Alternative Medicine Review. Thorne Research Inc. 2002. HighBeam Research. 14 Mar. 2011 <>.

*** Chocolate is the main food eaten by one little girl with autism spectrum disorder in a later link. As a dietitian in a public health program I have worked with several autistic children and “crisp” was a popular food group. I personally love Lundberg rice cakes because they are more dense and crispy than regular store brand rice cakes. A varied diet has benefits but excluding allergens and enzymatically indigestible foods has benefit as well. The chocolate itself is a healthy start but continuing to offer variety and to enjoy variety as a role model of healthy eating generally will help a child find more foods that help more than hurt.

The tomato and banana news surprised me – I don’t eat either after my migraine history. Both were early “avoids” and since becoming less sensitive I just haven’t enjoyed them much. Dairy is a big congesting no-no for me and I still avoid gluten in general. Rice feels better, and seems to help me think and move better.

Chocolate is an excellent source of minerals and B vitamins. A hundred grams of pure dark chocolate (no sugar or cream) contains 556 calories, 136 mg magnesium, 56 mg calcium, 559 mg potassium, 8 mg iron, 2 mg zinc, 1 mg copper, 1.4 mg manganese and 3 mcg selenium. It is also a good source of B vitamins and is one of the few known sources of cannabinoids. See the page Bbliography on iodine and autism for a little more info.

2. “SWEET RACHEL LIVES ON CHOCOLATE DIET; Autism feeds plight.(News).” Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland). Media Wales Ltd. 2004. HighBeam Research. 14 Mar. 2011 <>.
3. “The little girl who can only eat chocolate; AUTISM GIRL’S FOOD FAD.(News).” The Mirror (London, England). Media Wales Ltd. 2004. HighBeam Research. 14 Mar. 2011 <>.
5. Garston, Helen. “Sad chocolate drop kid eats only 15 bags of buttons a day.(News).” The People (London, England). Media Wales Ltd. 1998. HighBeam Research. 14 Mar. 2011 <>.  (***This is a second chocolate eating autistic spectrum child. I’m not recommending a milk and chocolate diet. It is more an example of a craving that might have some physiologic basis.)

6. “It’s hard to cry for Kieran …we know it’s not what he would have wanted; Tribute to 10-year-old meningitis tragedy boy.(News).” Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England). Media Wales Ltd. 2011. HighBeam Research. 14 Mar. 2011 <>. **This is a different boy, autistic, loved chocolate, unfortunately died of meningitis.)

7. Javier Fernández-Ruiz, Rosario de Miguel, Mariluz, Hernández, Maribel Cebeira, and José A. Ramos,  Endocannabinoids : The Brain and Body’s Marijuana and Beyond, Chapter 11, Endocannabinoids and Dopamine-Related Functions in the CNS, (2006 by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC) ,  

“Previously, the existence of anandamide analogs in chocolate had been demonstrated (di Tomaso et al., 1996). It is thought that chocolate and cocoa contain N-acylethanolamines, which are chemically and pharmacologically related to anandamide. These lipids could mimic cannabinoid ligands either directly by activating CBRs or indirectly by increasing anandamide levels (Bruinsma and Taren, 1999).”

8.   Nutrient Data Base # 19902:  Chocolate, dark, 45- 59% cacao solids

10. “Great Culinary News for Individuals with Autism.PRWeb Newswire. Vocus PRW Holdings LLC. 2010. HighBeam Research. 14 Mar. 2011 <>.

11. “Easy Steps to Convert Favorite Recipes to be Gluten (and Dairy) Free.PRWeb Newswire. Vocus PRW Holdings LLC. 2010. HighBeam Research. 14 Mar. 2011 <>.

12. Jessica Werb. “Sick to the stomach.” The Scotsman. ECM Publishers, Inc. 2000. HighBeam Research.14 Mar. 2011 <>.

13. Cormier, Eileen; Jennifer Harrison Elder. “Diet and child behavior problems: fact or fiction?(Primary Care Approaches)(Clinical report).” Pediatric Nursing. American Nephrology Nurses’ Association. 2007. HighBeam Research. 14 Mar. 2011 <>.

14.  Treating Autism with Stem Cells, Immune Support, Nutrition and Anti-fungals., David A Steenblock, M.S., D.O.

© copyright 2010 Regents of the University of Michigan – University of Michigan Integrative Medicine
Monica Myklebust, M.D. and Jenna Wunder, M.P.H., R.D. For questions and licensing information please call 734-998-7874 or email
The Healing Foods Pyramid™, created in 2005 and updated in 2009, is an illustration of a balanced way of eating in which food is regarded as a source of healing and nurturing rather than simply a way to gain energy.

Healing Foods Pyramid™

Dark Chocolate ImageDark Chocolate is included in the Healing Foods Pyramid™ as part of a balanced, whole foods, plant-based diet. This Food Pyramid emphasizes foods that nourish the body, sustain energy over time, contain healing qualities and essential nutrients, and support a sustainable environment.

What are the recommended servings per week?
Up to 7 ounces per week, average 1 ounce per day

16. Magnesium, Iodine and Autism  Magnesium deficiency measured in 95% of 116 Polish children with ADHD: 78% low hair, 59% low RBC’s, 34% low serum.[7]”

17. Magnesium Chloride Vs Magnesium Sulfate  According to Daniel Reid, author of The Tao of Detox, magnesium sulfate, commonly known as Epsom salts, is rapidly excreted through the kidneys and therefore difficult to assimilate. This would explain in part why the effects from Epsom salt baths do not last long and why you need more magnesium sulfate in a bath than magnesium chloride to get similar results. Magnesium chloride is easily assimilated and metabolized in the human body.[1] However, Epsom salts are used specifically by parents of children with autism because of the sulfate, which they are usually deficient in , sulfate is also crucial to the body and is wasted in the urine of autistic children.”

/Disclaimer: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./

Obesity in America – look in your glass and then in your mirror

I know something about obesity. I have had success with my own over-weight problem and have worked with women and young families regarding their personal concerns – high or low weight gain. A loved infant who isn’t gaining weight can tug your heart strings as much as the youngster who can hardly move well from too many rolls of flesh in the way.
     Weight control is a multi-faceted problem. I have peeled off several layers of lifestyle and health problems that hindered my progress towards a stable healthy weight. Pysch-social features can be as difficult as lack of money or knowledge. I have been fortunate in having access to healthy foods and the money and knowledge to use them but I still struggle with choosing to take care of myself versus living in the moment of work or pleasure. Quick easy snacks don’t nourish in the long run as well as balanced meals, but I choose a carrot and an apple a day to help keep the cancer surgeon away. I also choose water as my main beverage choice.
     Juice, milk, soda pop, sports drinks, sweet tea, and other beverages can add up in calories and acidity. The calories pack on weight in the obvious way – more in plus less out equals weight stored for the long haul. A piece of fruit has more concentrated calories than vegetables but juice is even more concentrated. A 12 ounce soda or glass of juice has around 180 calories – roughly the calories of three small apples. The apple would fill up the stomach sooner and send a stop eating signal to the brain. The fiber would also help strengthen the intestinal jelly lining, the glycocalyx, and help strengthen immunity.
      The acid content of most beverages promotes obesity by draining magnesium stores. The kidney uses magnesium to flush excess acid waste in the urine. Our long term stores in the bones start running out as we get older or have had children. Anorexics, alcoholics, intensive care patients and burn victims are a few types of people that use excessive amounts of stored nutrients quickly and can show deterioration in health over a short time. Coffee can pack on calories and weight from sweeteners and creamers but the acidity of black coffee may add to weight problems too.
      The body’s reaction to magnesium deficiency is to increase insulin levels. Insulin increases appetite which increases eating. Historically, our ancestor’s food supply would have provided plenty of magnesium from most foods. Our farm soil, however, is no longer as rich and there isn’t much magnesium in most fertilizers. More calories are required to be eaten in order to provide the same amount of magnesium that was provided in the past, unless more nutrient dense food sources are chosen. Our appetite is telling us we are missing something and “will power” has to rein in the subconscious hunger that is signaling a nutrient deficiency and eventually eating too many calories ultimately leads to weight gain.
     Choosing low calorie pH neutral beverages can help make weight gain  a problem for other people worry about instead of you.
     I may be over encouraging the nut/bean/seed group as good magnesium sources; potatoes also have magnesium and our nation is eating fewer whole potatoes. Deep-fried fries aren’t great, potato chips are simply crispy salt delivery units in my mind – a negative treat – but American skillet fries or oven baked potato wedges are good and good for us.
     Portion control and variety is key to good health. A half cup of root vegetable with a cup of lower calorie vegetables like onions, peppers and broccoli would make a good skillet scramble. Add a half cup of tofu or an egg or 1/8th cup of walnuts for protein an you have a great brain wake up for the day.
     /Disclosure: This information is provided for educational purposes and is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./

We are what we eat.

“The cattle are as good as the pasture in which they graze.”
-Ethiopian proverb
We can build better bodies and better babies with normal healthy food. Tweaking ratios in our supplements and formulas would make it easier to get what we need but in the mean time moderate use of typical foods can feed us well. Babies would benefit from more human milk use whether from individual mothers or donated milk banks. It would help infant’s neuro-development and might help prevent some colic and sleepless nights. If infant formula is necessary than an occasional quarter teaspoon of Milk of Magnesia might prevent problems from the slightly high calcium/magnesium ratio (cow’s milk is quite a bit higher in calcium and protein than the modified formula product and is not suitable for use with young infants).
The levels of a  few nutrients in breast milk can be adversely affected by diet or health and magnesium is one of them. The average is around 30 mg/liter but the level can drop to the low 20’s and does in malnourished populations and teen moms and it can be elevated around 45 mg/liter in diabetic moms.
Young women, aka teen moms, are also more at risk for preeclampsia, as are mothers of twins. Both of these groups have increased nutrient needs – they are eating for baby plus more. These two sub-populations are linked with malnourished women in third world country studies by the unusually low magnesium levels in their breast milk. The high levels in the diabetic women suggests to me that the cell membranes are allowing too much out – that they have become leaky somehow.
We need more vegetables, nuts, seeds, and beans for magnesium but they also give us protein and fiber. The healthy starches are necessary for a strong protective intestinal lining. White blood cells patrol and pick off allergens, infection and other information and send it up to lymph nodes. At the lymph nodes more specialized work takes place to identify the foreign proteins and replicate defensive antibodies if needed. Nature provided us this natural oral vaccination method but healthy foods are necessary to build blood cells and make the glycocalyx jelly lining around the intestinal folds.

The United Kingdom recently released the nutrition recommendation to eat less red meat. Americans were told to eat less red meat a while ago . . . and we did, however we started eating more chicken, and cheese intake also increased — from a USDA report on 1909 to 2000 US nutrient intake. [2 -Table 32] Between 1970 and 2000 red meat use dropped fifteen percent! But chicken use increased 80 percent and cheese 150 percent. Chicken in the form of nuggets and other breaded and fried forms has become a staple that had been a special occasion food . The hidden added oil of fried chickend and the saturated fats of the cheese made “eat less red meat” a nutrition recommendation that worked and failed. We are eating less red meat than we used to in America but we are eating more cheese and chicken .

I would like to encourage a positive spin of less red meat and more beans, nuts and seeds for a protein source that also provides healthy fiber and many other trace nutrients. Having a variety of types of foods daily or throughout the week will generally provide more trace nutrients. We need hundreds of types of chemical compounds, not just ten or twenty vitamins and minerals. A few trace nutrients are considered essential for our health because our bodies can not create them out of other simpler chemicals. However other trace chemicals may become more important to consume in the diet or take as supplements if a person has a problem with some of the conversion steps necessary to make important enzymes or proteins or other more complex molecules. Eating liver and onions once a month may provide a boost to our health because it provides fully formed enzymes that can be more easily reassembled by the body after they are broken down and absorbed during digestion.

Using a variety of protein sources throughout the week or mixed in the meal may provide more variety of some of the more unusual types of essential sugars. A rich beef stock made from marrow rich bones will yield glucosamine, one of the essential sugars or glyco-nutrients. Many people use it as a supplement for arthritis pain. It can have a positive effect after taking it for a few weeks. Glucosamine is found in the synovial fluid that cushions the area between the bones of the knee and other joints in the body. A supplement recommendation is 1500 mg/day. [Synovial and plasma glucosamine concentrations in osteoarthritic patients following oral crystalline glucosamine sulphate at therapeutic dose, S. Persiani, Ph.D, et. al., Osteoarthritis and Cartilage, Volume 15, Issue 7, July 2007, Pages 764–772]
Supplements may be from a shellfish source as it is frequently derived from crustacean shells so people with shellfish allergies should look for a vegetarian source.
Glucosamine is also found in the chitin of insects. The use of insects in the diet may have helped prevent kwashiokor in young children in tropical regions. The intestinal lining in some individuals, possibly those who had a recent infection, seems to malfunction in the ability to convert other sugars into glucosamine. The use of a rich broth from a bone stock might suit more people’s taste than insects. Although there are chefs presenting some appetizing dishes. . . . citations to follow when I am more awake.
Moderate use of dairy products like cheese, milk, yogurt and other calcium rich foods would benefit bone health without sacrificing magnsium absorption. Two to three dairy servings per day would provide adequate calcium. Supplements are not generally needed.
The food pyramid and is a nice start but I tend to recommend:
    • a bit less grains – swap some starchy root vegetables for the carbohydrate calories,
    • and a bit more vegetables -AICR – recommends 5-9 veg and fruit per day as anticancer medicine.
    • Juice is concentrated and limiting to 4-6 oz/day is healthy – especially for small bodies.
    • A bit less meat and dairy groups and use the calories for nuts, beans, and seeds.

/Disclosure: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./

*2015, edit, I’m not sure why I included this chart in 2011 but I’m leaving it here for now.                nutrient data base

Vit D IU
Vit A IU
Whole milk no added A or D
1 cup
7.67 gr
7.98 gr
276 mg
24 mg
5 IU
395 IU
Human milk, mature
1 cup
2.53 gr
10.77 gr
79 mg
7 mg
7 IU
522 IU
Infant Formula, similac
100 gr x 2.43 = 1 cup
3.3 gr
8.62 gr
124 mg
10 mg
95 IU
479 IU

**Note that the example infant formula is fortified with vitamin D at 13.6 times the amount of human milk and 19 times the amount in cow’s milk. There are more nutrients but the blog is narrow.

1.  Marcel Dicke, Arnold Van Huis are professors of entomology at Wageningen University in the Netherlands.  (2-19-11, The Wall Street Journal, pC3)  The Six-Legged Meat of the Future, Insects are nutritious and easy to raise without harming the environment. They also have a nice nutty taste

2. Gerrior, S., Bente, L., & Hiza, H. (2004). Nutrient Content of the U.S. Food
Supply, 1909-2000. (Home Economics Research Report No. 56). U.S. Department of Agriculture,
Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion.
 Effect of Diabetes Mellitus on Protein–Energy Wasting and Protein Wasting in End-Stage Renal Disease, Nazanin Noori1, Joel D. Kopple1,2Article first  published online:13 APR 2010DOI: 10.1111/j.1525-139X.2010.00705.x  Semin Nephrol. 2009 Jan;29(1):39-49. Causes and prevention of protein-energy wasting in chronic kidney failure. Dukkipati R, Kopple JD. Division of Nephrology and Hypertension, Los Angeles Biomedical  Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, CA 90509, USA. Semin Nephrol. 2009 Jan;29(1):75-84. Nutrition support for the chronically wasted or acutely catabolic chronic kidney disease patient.
Ikizler  TA.Department of Medicine, Division of Nephrology, Vanderbilt University School of  Medicine,Nashville, TN 37232-2372, USA. J Kidney Dis. 2005 Sep;46(3):387-405. Multinutrient oral  supplements and tube feeding in maintenance dialysis: a systematic review and meta-  analysis. StrattonRJ, Bircher G, Fouque D, Stenvinkel P, de Mutsert R, Engfer M, Elia  M.Instituteof Human Nutrition, University of Southampton, UK. New Insights into the Role of Anabolic Interventions in Dialysis Patients with Protein Energy Wasting Jie Dong and T. Alp Ikizler1 Curr Opin Nephrol Hypertens. Curr Opin Nephrol Hypertens. 2009 November; 18(6): 469–475.doi: 10.1097/MNH.0b013e3283 31489d.
 “Economic Implications of Nutritional interventions It is also important to assess the impact of nutritional supplements not only in terms of changes in nutritional parameters, but to extrapolate these observations to potential improvements in hospitalization, mortality, and cost-effectiveness. In a recent study, Lacson et al showed that a hypothetical increase in serum albumin concentration in the order of 2 g/L in 50%  of the United States dialysis population would be associated with  projections of approximately 1400 lives saved, approximately 6000 hospitalizations  averted, and approximately $36 million in Medicare cost savings resulting  from a reduction of approximately 20,000 hospital days over one year[68]. This is a reasonable estimation since 2 g/L increase in serum albumin is the average improvement reported in most nutritional intervention studies.”

***The above paper is suggesting that giving them growth hormones  and other anabolic steroids along with protein will help them to stop catabolizing. They have had success with the strategy, but wouldn’t magnesium plus protein (ideally magnesium foods) be cheaper than hormones and protein.

Electrolytes are essential, magnesium helps protect brain cells

     Our bodies are like an ocean, not a fresh water lake. Our blood and cell fluid has a balance of salts and proteins that are essential for keeping things flowing and interacting as needed. Salts in our body are called electrolytes and they work in a buddy system.
Sodium and potassium are buddies that chemically can donate one electron for chemical bonds or energy interactions and calcium and magnesium can donate two electrons each. These minerals power nerve signals, muscle contractions and the movement of chemicals across cell membranes. All four are equally essential to have in our diet everyday.

Salt (Sodium chloride) has been a valuable trade commodity in ancient cultures. Seafood and salt mines are good sources.

Potassium is found in all fruits and vegetables.

Calcium is found in hard water, in dairy products, almonds, sesame seeds, beans, greens, canned fish, fortified foods.

Magnesium is found in hard water, beans, nuts, seeds, greens, whole grains, chocolate and a little in most foods.

     We can die with too much or too little of any of the four essential electrolytes. Salt is not bad for us, we just need potassium in similar amounts. Processed foods tend to be overly salted and low in potassium. If we eat that way occasionally, no big deal, but if we eat that way most days then we may become low in potassium.

We lose electrolytes everyday in sweat and in the urine and feces. Muscle cramps can be a symptom of potassium deficiency and heart attacks can occur with abrupt drops in potassium. Muscle cramps may also be a symptom of magnesium or calcium imbalances.

Sweating a lot can leave us low in sodium and other electrolytes. Heatstroke can be due to excess heat [3] but it may also be due to hyponatremia or low sodium blood levels which can leave you feeling weak, dizzy and confused. Drinking plain water without also having a salty food may leave you feeling sick to your stomach if you are too dehydrated. Having a little salt or salty food first and then sipping the water might feel better when trying to rehydrate after a workout. The stomach controls what it lets into the more fragile intestine. If the stomach fluid is too thin and watery or too concentrated and acidic then the stomach will reject the fluid and cause vomiting. If the body has enough stored fluid and electrolytes then the stomach has systems for drawing in what it needs to digest whatever you eat. If you are dehydrated from excessive sweating then your stomach would not have those extra stores to use.

Magnesium may not be as familiar of a nutrient as calcium but it is just as essential to life. Excessive sweating during sports has been associated with sudden stroke later in the day in young athletes. It has been suggested that a sudden drop in magnesium from sweat losses may be the cause. Magnesium acts as the gate keeper in cell membranes and prevents calcium from flooding in from the blood. Calcium turns things on in the body and magnesium turns them off.

Calcium causes muscle fibers to contract and magnesium allows them to relax again. Calcium activates the energy production in the cell’s mitochondria and too much calcium flooding into a brain cell at once can overwork the cell to the point of cell death.

Glutamate and aspartate are amino acids that also act as brain neurotransmitters and their movement is carefully controlled by the protein channels in our cell membranes. Magnesium keeps the protein channels shut, so a sudden drop in magnesium may also cause stroke due to excessive flooding of brain cells by glutamate or aspartate. It might be better to avoid drinking beverages that contain Nutrasweet (Aspartame contains aspartate) by themselves in sweaty situations. A magnesium containing electrolyte beverage like Glaceau’s “Smart Water” would provide the brain cells with magnesium which is needed to prevent calcium, glutamate and aspartate from entering the cell.

 Sweaty situations call for rehydrating with water, and a potassium rich fruit or vegetable or juice and having a salty snack. Have beans, nuts, sunflower or pumpkin seeds with your salty snack and you have your magnesium losses replaced as well.

Re-hydrating is also important if you are losing fluid in diarrhea or vomit. It’s also worth remembering to hydrate after night sweats or during high fevers. Darker yellow urine is a sign that you are dehydrated. Dry, chapped lips and skin are also symptoms.

No extra money is needed for a fancy bottled beverage when you understand your body’s electrolytes and know which foods and drinks are good sources. Dehydration is a frequent reason that people go to the hospital emergency room but with planning it is a problem that can be prevented.

Thinking about good hydration may help to be more aware of thirst signals. It can be easy to misinterpret thirst as hunger, so sometimes you can save calories and cut back on mindless snacking by trying a drink of water first.

Excerpt: Scientists See Dangers in Energy Drinks, By Jane E. Brody (NY Times, Pub: January 31, 2011) [link]

“The authors noted that “four documented cases of caffeine-associated death have been reported, as well as five separate cases of seizures associated with consumption of energy/power drinks.” Additional reports include an otherwise healthy 28-year-old man who suffered a cardiac arrest after a day of motocross racing; a healthy 18-year-old man who died playing basketball after drinking two cans of Red Bull; and four cases of mania experienced by individuals known to have bipolar disorder.”

/Speculation/ The seizures, cardiac arrest, death after athletics, and mania could all be due to sudden changes in magnesium and potassium levels. The caffeine increases urine volume and urinary magnesium losses and the athletes also lost magnesium in sweat. The protein channels that have inadequate magnesium allow calcium to over-flood cell interiors. The calcium can trigger muscle spasms which may lead to cardiac arrest or stroke. Brain cells would also be vulnerable to over-excitation by calcium or the free amino acids, aspartame and glutamate. Brain cells that are constantly active could be associated with mania or seizures.

We could help prevent brain damage by adequately protecting our cell membranes with more frequent intake of magnesium containing foods and beverages. Seizures, strokes, migraines and mania are related to brain cells getting over stimulated and  the resulting lack of oxygen and energy stores can lead to cell death. The glutamate receptor rich areas of the brain are frequently the most devastated in the brains of sufferers of senile dementia.

 An Easy Solution: put magnesium back in beverages – it is in ground water and it is an essential electrolyte. The U.S. regulated it out in the past and bottlers have been removing it ever since – our intestines are suffering. [water policy history review – a 1920 Water Power Act had to do with hydroelectric water rights more than mineral content. I haven’t found more information about a bottled water act yet, []
Every sip of a beverage that does not contain magnesium requires magnesium to be drawn to the intestines and stomach from our stored reserves – which are our bones – our structural support. If we want to stop osteoporosis then we need to be sipping and eating foods with a reasonable quantity of magnesium throughout the day. Any time we consume foods or fluids that have an electrolyte content that doesn’t match the concentration that is normal for our body requires our bodies take nutrients out of the reserves stored within our bones, those reserves run out eventually, leaving bones brittle from osteoporosis.

/Disclosure: This information is provided for educational purposes and is not intended to provide individual health care. Please see a health professional for individualized health care./