Magnesium: Hero or Hype?

Magnesium: Hero or Hype?

MAGNESIUM: HERO OR HYPE?

DO YOU SUFFER:
• Stress; anxiety, nervousness?
• Muscle cramps, spasms or tension?
• Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
• Fatigue and low energy?
• Irregular heartbeat?
• Headaches
• Difficulty sleeping
• Low bone density
• Premenstrual syndrome
• Low appetite?
These can be early signs that you are magnesium deficient!
WHY IS MAGNESIUM SO IMPORTANT?
Magnesium is a mineral that is an important part of many essential bodily processes. It is required for more than 300 biochemical reactions. Its importance for maintaining normal muscle and nerve function, health rhythm and cell energy production is most notable. However, it is essential for healthy blood sugar balance, normalising blood pressure, calcium metabolism and healthy bone, good blood circulation as well as dealing with stress effectively.
DEFICIENCY
In 1991, a study on the Australian population by the CSIRO1 found that 50% of males and 39% of females tested were deficient in magnesium. This shows the trend, that in this modern world, most people living in developed countries tend to eat more than we require, macronutrient (fats, carbohydrates and proteins) wise. However, many are still nutrient deficient. Not to the level of deficiency diseases such as rickets, but below optimal levels required to experience optimal health and wellbeing. If we lack the correct ratios of associated nutrients and cofactors that allow micronutrients to be effectively absorbed, as well as their ability to be used in the body (bioavailable) and ability to perform in the body (bioactive) our levels will be insufficient, even if eating enough of a few specific nutrients.
WE NEED DAILY INTAKE
Magnesium is excreted by the kidneys in urine, every day, therefore we need to ensure we have adequate intake daily.
AMOUNTS NEEDED VARY AND ARE INDIVIDUAL
While Magnesium is found in many foods (see the list below), especially green vegetables, grains, nuts, legumes and even chocolate, we can often still be deficient for two reasons. First, even if we eat our vegetables, the amount in food varies and depends on the soil. Secondly, our requirements for Magnesium increase when we are under stress, especially chronic stress; drinking multiple cups of tea and/or coffee daily; or have exercised, especially a strenuous or long workout.
ARE YOU DEFICIENT?
Because no one type of magnesium level test is particularly accurate, a combination of lab tests and clinical assessment is best to determine if supplementation is useful. If you suffer any or a combination of the above symptoms on a regular basis, you may benefit from supplementation.
WHAT TYPE DO I TAKE?
There are many forms of magnesium supplement, and each has its place.
TOPICALLY
The skin can be a great way to absorb magnesium. This form of supplementation may be best for those who have trouble digesting or holding minerals, such as those with adrenal fatigue or low stomach acid.
MAGNESIUM SUPLHATE
Epsom salts (or magnesium sulphate) in the bath can be great for relaxation and reducing muscle cramps and aches. In addition, it can also help draw out toxins via your pores.
By The Way, this can also be used orally as a laxative, but it is easy to overdo, potentially causing uncomfortable toilet related accidents.
MAGNESIUM CHLORIDE
For muscle aches and pains, magnesium oil or lotion (magnesium chloride) can be fantastic. This form can also be useful for soothing eczema and dermatitis!
Just a note, you may find magnesium oil makes your skin tingle, generally this reduces as your magnesium stored improve, but you can always wash it off as soon as it dries, to reduce the sensation.
ORALLY
When supplementing orally, you may need to experiment to determine the type and dose that suits you best. This is individual and a dose that is too high for you, may cause abdominal upset, diarrhoea and, maybe worse. So take care, and it may be best to seek medical assistance.
MAGNESIUM MALATE
Magnesium malate can help relax tense areas and relieve muscle pain as well as helping cells to make and use energy. May be the best form for fibromyalgia sufferers. Good to take in morning.
MAGNESIUM THREONATE
Magnesium Threonate may be great to support learning, memory formation and protect against cognitive decline.
MAGNESIUM OXIDE
Magnesium oxide is great to support movement through your digestion. So, if you are not emptying your bowels at least daily, small regular doses of this can be beneficial. It is important to note that you are not supporting body magnesium levels and toileting habits as the magnesium is also expelled.
MAGNESIUM CITRATE
Magnesium citrate is more absorbable that magnesium oxide, but it can also loosen your bowels, so take care. This form is good for relaxing muscles and the mind.
MAGNESIUM GLYCINATE
Magnesium glycinate is a more absorbable form, quick to raise magnesium levels and less likely to great diarrhoea. The amino acid glycine that it is bound to also supports better sleep.
So, now I hope it is clear that magnesium is an important mineral and supplementation is often necessary. Finding the right version and dose for you may take a little time, but it is well worth it. The best one, is the one that works for your body. You can always get magnesium from your food, but remember the content varies and supplementation is inexpensive.

Table 1: Selected Food Sources of Magnesium [2]

Food                                              Milligrams (mg) per serving        Percent DV*
Almonds, dry roasted,1 ounce                                       80                    20
Spinach, boiled, ½ cup                                                  78                     20
Cashews, dry roasted, 1 ounce                                      74                     19
Peanuts, oil roasted, ¼ cup                                           63                     16
Cereal, shredded wheat, 2 large biscuits                       61                     15
Soymilk, plain or vanilla, 1 cup                                     61                     15
Black beans, cooked, ½ cup                                           60                     15
Edamame, shelled, cooked, ½ cup                                 50                     13
Peanut butter, smooth, 2 tablespoons                           49                     12
Bread, whole wheat, 2 slices                                         46                      12
Avocado, cubed, 1 cup                                                   44                      11
Potato, baked with skin, 3.5 ounces                               43                      11
Rice, brown, cooked, ½ cup                                            42                      11
Yogurt, plain, low fat, 8 ounces                                     42                      11
Breakfast cereals, fortified with magnesium                  40                      10
Oatmeal, instant, 1 packet                                            36                       9
Kidney beans, canned, ½ cup                                         35                      9
Banana, 1 medium                                                         32                      8
Salmon, Atlantic, farmed, cooked, 3 ounces                  26                      7
Milk, 1 cup                                                                  24-27                  6–7
Halibut, cooked, 3 ounces                                              24                      6
Raisins, ½ cup                                                                23                      6
Chicken breast, roasted, 3 ounces                                  22                      6
Beef, ground, 90% lean, pan broiled, 3 ounces              20                      5
Broccoli, chopped and cooked, ½ cup                            12                      3
Rice, white, cooked, ½ cup                                             10                      3
Apple, 1 medium                                                             9                       2
Carrot, raw, 1 medium                                                     7                       2

*DV = Daily Value. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) developed DVs to help consumers compare the nutrient contents of products within the context of a total diet. The DV for magnesium used for the values in Table 2 is 400 mg for adults and children age 4 years and older [11]. This DV, however, is changing to 420 mg as the updated Nutrition and Supplement Facts labels are implemented [12]. The updated labels must appear on food products and dietary supplements beginning in January 2020, but they can be used now [13]. FDA does not require food labels to list magnesium content unless a food has been fortified with this nutrient. Foods providing 20% or more of the DV are considered to be high sources of a nutrient, but foods providing lower percentages of the DV also contribute to a healthful diet.

References:

1. Journal of Nutrition Research, 1991. Baghurst, K.I.; Dreosti, I.E.; Syrette, J.A.; Record, S.J.; Baghurst, P.A.; Buckley, R.A. Zinc and magnesium status of Australian adults; Volume 11; pgs 23-32

2.U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, 2019. Food database. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/. Accessed 18/10/2019

What! There’s no steam?

What! There’s no steam?

So How Do Infra-Red Saunas Work?
Why are they so effective?
Unlike a traditional sauna, infrared saunas don’t heat the air around you. Instead, they warm your body directly.
Why is this difference important?

Heating your body directly, means that Infra-Red saunas can be both more gentle as well as more effective for your body. The direct heat means the sauna is effective at a lower temperature (usually between 40˚- 60˚C / 105˚-140˚F rather than the traditional 65˚- 80˚C / 150˚-180˚F), which feels more comfortable for longer periods of time.

This lower temperature means that Infra-red heat may positively impact the health of your cells and organ systems in a way traditional heated saunas can’t.

According to Dr Marc Cohen, the lower temperature is significant, because it makes saunaing pleasant. This means two things, one that because it’s enjoyable, you are more likely to actually do it, and two, this means you can comfortably sauna longer, which means you are likely to experience more of benefits.

Staying longer in the sauna, may increase your core body temperature by 2-3 degrees. Which physical therapist, Vivian Eisenstadt, MAPT, CPT, MASP, suggests could be enough to take your health results to the next level, as compared to conventional saunas.

Dr. Michael A. Schmidt agrees, explaining that the lower temperatures of the Infra-red sauna, can stimulate the release of toxins, stored in fat, by inducing a fat sweat, as opposed to a water sweat, which is what the higher temperatures induce.

These are just some of the health benefits of Infra-Red saunas. Some others may include improving your general health and wellbeing, from relaxation, to relieving your tight muscles and stiff joints, improving your circulation, boosting your immune system, and even assisting in weight loss. You can find more about all these in our blog: 5 Reasons the Infra-Red Sauna can change your health!

So how does an Infra-red sauna actually work?

Let me explain.

Infra-Red saunas predominantly use either carbon or ceramic panels, which produce invisible, infrared radiant heat. Rather than heating air or steam to heat up your body, this is a gentle heat, that is easily and directly absorbed by your body. Primarily by conduction and convection, via the surface of your skin, to a depth of up to 3.8 cm (1.5 inches) into the skin.

One explanation for the efficiency of Infra-Red saunas, is given by Ben Greenfield, who suggests that as much as 93% of the Infra-Red waves that reach your skin, are absorbed because of their similarity in length and behaviour, to the waves we emit from our own body, naturally.

Not only does this make Infra-Red saunas very effective in their heating process, Ben also believes that this could be why most people complete their Infra-Red sauna session feeling rejuvenated and revitalised, compared to the more traditional feeling of being drained and de-energised.

One article we found, describing this, was by Jessica Wang, who reported “Personally, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience as well. I found the ‘dry heat’ created by the infrared light to be much more tolerable and less overwhelming than the steam-filled variety which can often leave me light-headed”.

So if you’re looking for more energy and rejuvenation, check out an Infra-Red sauna in a gym or health provider, near you.
Have you experienced both an Infra-Red and a more traditional style sauna?
How would you compare your experiences?
We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
Hemp Seeds… Good or Bad?

Hemp Seeds… Good or Bad?

Hemp Seeds… Good or Bad?
What is Hemp?
Hemp is a plant, very similar to marijuana and is often confused as the same. While the leaf of the marijuana plant contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is activated when the leaves are heated, leading to pychoactive effects, hemp only contains tiny amounts of THC.
Used nutritionally, hemp seeds are used either whole or crushed to release the oils. Heating is avoided to keep the fragile oils, vitamins, minerals and other phytonutrients bioactive.
A Good Source of Healthy Fats
Hemp is a good source of plant-based omega 3 fatty acids. It is one of the largest sources of ALA, a precursor to EPA and DHA (the bioactive forms of omega 3 fatty acids found in wild, deep sea fish). While ALA does not convert at high levels, being a rich source of plant based healthy fats, it is very beneficial, especially for those who choose to live a vegan lifestyle.
Hemp also contains GLA, a specific omega-6 fatty acid as well as many phytosterols. Phytosterols have been shown to have the potential to actually help to remove fat build up in arteries.
A Great Source of Vegan Protein
Containing all of the 10 essential amino acids required for making and repairing proteins, hemp is a great plant source of “whole protein”. Further, while many plant sources of protein contain phytates which can be called “anti-nutrients” as they are difficult to digest, reduce mineral absorption and can create gut irritation in some people, hemp does not contain phytates.
A Real Powerhouse!
So, Hemp seeds are a good source of macronutrients (carbohydrates including fibre, fats and proteins).
Well, they are also a good source of micronutrients, containing many vitamins and minerals including: calcium; iron; magnesium; phosphate; potassium; zinc; some B vitamins (including folate); vitamin C; vitamin A; and vitamin E.
This makes hemp seeds a powerhouse of nutrition. It may be especially important as a good source of magnesium as many people these days are tend to be deficient and it is a mineral that is important in many biological functions. While magnesium deficiency can be linked to issues such as insulin resistance, cardiovascular disease and bone health. Supplementation shows promise in alleviating symptoms of PMS such as bloating, insomnia, water retention, weight gain and breast tenderness, along other things
So, Do I Try It?
Hemp seeds then, contain many healthful compounds, are a good source of proteins, carbohydrates ad healthy fats, do not contain a significant amount of THC and so far, at least, have not shown evidence of any potential negative side effects. It may then, be worth having a try, to see how it affects you, take it cautiously at first and write in a journal any changes you feel. If after a week of taking up to 2 Tablespoons a day has helped your feeling of wellbeing and hasn’t shown you any concerns (remember to read back over your journal to find any possible correlations), then maybe you can continue to use them in your health regime. If you find you don’t like the results, then maybe they are not right for you, remember, each person has a different biochemical make up, so the aim is to find things that work to support you and your unique body.
5 Reasons the Infra-Red Sauna can change your health!

5 Reasons the Infra-Red Sauna can change your health!

5 Reasons the Infra-Red Sauna can change your health!

Are infra-red saunas any good for you?

From the moment Alexis and I first experienced the sauna, with a remedial massage following it, we were both hooked! We found that the therapist could get in more deeply, because our muscles were already warm & relaxed, and therefore we got better results from the full treatment. Our personal experience, was our original reason for having an Infra-Red Sauna in our own clinic.
Do they actually do anything healthful themselves?
Infra-Red saunas can aid in healing specific ailments as well as improving your overall health and wellbeing. From helping you relax, to warming, softening and relieving your tight muscles and stiff joints, to improving circulation, boosting your immune system, and even assisting in weight loss.
Relaxation and mood boosting:
By triggering your body’s parasympathetic nervous system, your “Fight / flight response”, in a less stressful way, the heat from the sauna can help relieve physical and emotional tension in your muscles, warming and relaxing your whole body.
Infra-Red sauna can help lower your cortisol levels, a hormone connected with stress and stress-related health problems. As well as aid in increasing your endorphin (happiness hormone) and opiod levels (your body’s natural pain reliever). So your muscular pain and tension is reduced, you feel less stressed, more relaxed, happy and contented.
They may even improve your brain function and performance. Increasing neurotransmitters, in particular, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and norepinephrine, can enable your brain to function better, to grow new brain cells, and to more effectively protect these brand new neutrons (brain cells) from damage. Thus helping improve your cognitive performance.

Improved Circulation:
The heat created in an Info-Red sauna can increase your blood flow, bringing your blood vessels closer to the surface of your skin and enabling them to expand, to cope with the increased flow. This can assist the cells in your body to release waste and receive nutrition more easily. Further, according to Dr Chrisiane Northrup, MD., if done regularly, over time, this expansion process can help your blood vessels become more elastic. Which can improve your circulation and decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease.

Dr Cohen agrees and further suggests that this improvement in circulation, can lead to better healing ability; especially your skin and superficial muscles, as well as relieving your muscle tension, improving muscular condition, losing weight, detoxification, clearer skin and greater immune health and generally feeling great.
Relief from sore muscles:
Muscle soreness, especially in the period 24 – 72 hours after exercise, is caused by tiny tears in the muscle fibres. Your recovery, is the process your body goes through, in healing these tears. As described above, the increased blood flow, helps rapidly clear the waste, in this instance, the debris and inflammation from the torn muscle cells, and deliver nutrients to foster healing.

Weight loss:
According to Dr. Masakazu Imamura, MD study, published in the Journal of American College of Cardiology in 2001, you can burn up to 400-600 calories in one 30 minute sauna session. That’s quite impressive, when you realise that investing that same 30 minutes in jogging or swimming, typically burns around 300 calories.

When it comes to weight loss, saunas can be very effective, as part of a health focused program. For best results that last, and are healthy and holistic, not just fast, we agree with Dr. Mukai, MD statement, that as part of a program “where you’re working on both diet and exercise, the sauna can be a beneficial component [of] a holistic plan.”

Detoxification:
Studies suggest that all of us have chemical toxins and heavy metals residing in our bodies’ fatty tissues, particularly in our liver and blood plasma. These toxins can contribute to various diseases, such as autoimmune diseases, autism and arthritis. Dr Christiane Northrup, MD, explains that whilst usually our sweat comprises of 95-97%water and the rest is salt, when using an Infra-Red sauna to induce it, as much as 15-20% of our sweat, is “made up of cholesterol, fat-soluble toxins, heavy metals, sulphuric acid, and ammonia, as well as sodium and uric acid”. This, would, indicate she suggests, that using an Infra-Red sauna, to sweat, may enable your body to excrete these toxins. Dr Cohen agrees, and reminds us, that if you actively want to clear the toxic chemicals out of your body, it’s important to mop up the sweat from your skin with a towel, or else the toxins will just be reabsorbed into the skin.
Clearer skin:
This detoxification together with the improved circulation, mentioned earlier, can assist directly, to clear out waste and toxins as well as rapidly bringing in nutrients, leaving you with cleaner, clearer and revitalised skin.

Immune system:
When it comes to the Immune System, both Dr Christiane Northrup and Dr Gini Mansberg agree that the perception of the role of heat, in the body’s fight against infection, has changed. It’s not just about creating fever, as part of the immune system’s battle against the infection. They believe, that heat does more than that. It actually “stimulates and “activates the immune system”, possibly stimulating increased production of white blood cells and antibodies. Further, they suggest that heat from Infra-Red saunas, may do this as well.

So if you’re looking to significantly improve your overall health and wellbeing, boost your immune system or enhance your weight loss program, in a relaxing, enjoyable way, you might like to consider one, or even a series of visits to a local gym, spa or health and wellness provider, for your own relaxing, healthful Infra-Red sauna experience.

Have you used an infra-red sauna? What benefits have you noticed? Tell us in a comment below!

Having Trouble Shaking Those Autumn Croaky Throats and Achy Flues?   Here are our Top 3 Healing Herbs to Boost Your Immunity!

Having Trouble Shaking Those Autumn Croaky Throats and Achy Flues? Here are our Top 3 Healing Herbs to Boost Your Immunity!

As we travel through the turbulence of change, again, that is Autumn, here are our Top 3 Healing Herbs to Boost Your Immunity.

First let’s start with our immune system, what is it?

Our immune system is a vital part of our body, it keeps us safe from disease. Everything from a simple cold or flu, to more severe illnesses such as cancer.

It’s what defends our bodies from diseases and is also often the reason we feel unwell when those same diseases are trying to take hold.

Please be aware, even healthy bodies can feel unwell whilst fighting infections. A strong immune system, is not necessarily one that doesn’t ever feel unwell. It’s one that goes through the disease process more rapidly and recovers more quickly.

So what can we do, to boost it and get through the disease process faster?

Great question, here are 3 herbal suggestions that may help you.

  • Echinacea
  • Garlic
  • Vitamin C

Echinacea:

Throughout history echinacea has been used to treat scarlet fever, syphilis, malaria, blood poisoning, and diphtheria. Today, people commonly use it to reduce the duration and intensity of symptoms of common colds and flu, as well as for respiratory tract infections, ear infections, sinusitis, tonsillitis, sore throats, coughs, and fevers.

Traditional health practitioners have used Echinacea for its suggested antiviral, anti-microbial and antioxidant properties. It can enhance the activity of our immune system and reduce inflammation. Primarily echinacea defends us against disease by strengthening our body’s immune system. It does this by stimulating the cells involved in tissue repair, “fibroblasts”, as well as activating the process of “phagocytosis”, where special white blood cells scavenge bacteria, very much like “Pacmen”. No wonder Echinacea has become a herb of choice for immune support.

So what can Echinacea really do for me? In a review of over a dozen studies, Scientists from the University of Connecticut School of Pharmacy, found that echinacea reduced the chances of developing a cold by 58% and the duration of a cold by 1 – 4 days. (The Lancet Infections Diseases (July 2007 edition) http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/252684.php).

There are three different species of echinacea are commonly used for medicinal purposes: Echinacea angustifolia, Echinacea pallida, and Echinacea purpurea. And different chemical compounds that play a role in its therapeutic effects: polysaccharides, glycoproteins, alkamides, volatile oils, and flavonoids. These are found in different parts of the plant. The roots tend to have high concentrations of the volatile oils, while the above-ground parts of the plant tend to contain more polysaccharides; the substances that trigger the activity of the immune system. Echinacea can be bought as tinctures, capsules, tablets and ointments. These preparations can contain one, two, or even all three species and one or multiple parts of the plant. Like with any other herb or supplement, it’s best taken under the supervision of a knowledgeable health care practitioner.

The magic of Garlic:

Garlic can help boost your health on many fronts. From boosting your immune system to combat chest infections, coughs, colds and congestion http://healthylivinghowto.com/1/post/2014/01/amazing-health-benefits-of-garlic.html.  

It is a powerful natural antibiotic and also has anti-fungal and anti-viral properties. Garlic is a great source of vitamin B6 which is needed for a healthy immune system and the efficient growth of new cells. This vitamin B6 can also assist with mood swings and help maintain your positive attitude, through the challenges of this ever changing season of transition!

The most potent known part of Garlic, is a compound it contains, called allicin. Allicin is a fragile compound that only survives for a few hours, once the garlic clove is opened. So the most effective way to consume it, is to eat it – grilled or roasted, crushed or sliced. At the first sign of your next cold, why not try the old folk remedy of eating a clove of garlic that has been dipped in honey, and see if it works for you?

Simple Vitamin C

Chronic stress can weaken our ability to fight disease. Vitamin C and other antioxidants can boost our immune system. Vitamin C specifically, is needed perform their task, especially phagocytes and t-cells, helping to repair and protect the cells of our body (http://www.mensfitness.com/nutrition/what-to-eat/eat-to-beat-stress-10-foods-that-reduce-anxiety/slide/3).

By having more antioxidant-rich fruits such as: oranges, lemons and limes, as well as blue berries and kiwi fruit, and vegetables like leafy greens, broccoli, tomatoes and capsicums, we can boost our immune system (http://www.pcrm.org – Physicians commit for responsible medicine).

Blueberries look small, but just a handful, pack a powerful punch of antioxidants including vitamin C, making them a great stress-busting and immune system boosting snack. Try some with a handful of nuts on your next break.

Hints for choosing supplements:

Fresh, from whole foods is always the best way to go. But if you’re looking for a convenient, cost effective and consistent way to optimise your intake on a daily basis, even on the days you don’t quite eat the way you know you should. Or if you’re wanting to kick start your healing process or have specific deficiency or weakness you want to manage… Here are some things to look for, in choosing them.

Make sure that they are plant based, organic and are not genetically modified (GMO). Choose ones that use the whole plant. That is the best way for our bodies to recognise it as a food and so digest it as such. This also enables our body to use it effectively, rather than a chemical version that it doesn’t recognise, and therefore can’t use properly.

Organically grown, means that we’re not putting toxins like pesticides, in our body, when we’re focusing on enhancing our health. And if the company takes the extra step of monitoring the vitamin & mineral levels of the soil to ensure that they are in there, then you know you’re actually getting the vitamins and minerals that you’re looking for. Quite simply, if the vitamins & minerals are not in soil, they can’t be in plant.

How do they process the supplement? This will affect the freshness and potency of the ingredients in the supplement. Look at the way they process it, how long it takes, and what do they use to form the tablet or capsule. All of these will affect which nutrients get into the product in the first place and if they are still in the product at the point you take it. For example, as we mentioned earlier, the Allicin in garlic, only lasts for a few hours. The processes used to create garlic tablets can destroy it. If you decide to take garlic in tablet form, it’s best to use one that is created within only a couple of hours.

Finally, what kinds of plants are being utilised in the supplement? Are they using a variety of plants, including specific and less accessible ones? For instance, fruits such as guava, acerola cherries & pomegranates, are very high in particular vitamins and minerals. Acerola cherries, for example, have 65 times more Vitamin C than oranges and are not commonly found local green grocer.

So, increase your garlic and Vitamin C levels with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, this Autumn. You may like to have some echinacea tablets on hand, as well, to boost your immune system and get through the disease process, to have you back on your feet faster!