A Magnesium Primer – Part 4

by Morley Robbins on March 15, 2013


Last time, I shared with you how stress, fluoride and pharmaceutical drugs can rob you of the Magnesium your body needs to stay healthy. Here are some additional Magnesium Robbers that you need to know about and protect yourself against.

Poor Diet

We all know that the standard American Diet, quite rightly known as SAD, is a major contributing factor to our nation’s ever-increasing health care crisis. Such a high fat/high sugar diet, which consists of processed, “junk” and so-called “comfort” foods, simple carbohydrates, sugar and artificial sweeteners, and other unhealthy food items is not only greatly deficient in vital nutrients, especially Magnesium, but also forces your body to use up its nutrient stores—especially Maggie!—in an effort to cope with the many negative impacts such foods have on your health.

Hopefully you have already moved beyond eating the SAD way to a more healthy diet. If you haven’t, please do. Although, as I discussed in Part 1 of this primer, it is virtually impossible to obtain all of the Magnesium you need from diet alone, it’s still important to emphasize a variety of Magnesium-rich foods in your daily meals, including plenty of green foods, Magnesium-rich whole grains such as wild and brown rice, buckwheat (it’s not a grain…), millet, and quinoa, grass-fed organ meats, along with the other “Mg-rich foods” you can find here. This simple dietary approach can make a big difference in increasing your body’s Magnesium stores.

Beverages That Rob Maggie

Various common beverages can also deplete Magnesium. Among the biggest “Beverage Bandits” are soda due to phosphoric acid, and commercial sports drinks due to their high fructose corn syrup content and other additives. These should be avoided altogether. Alcohol, coffee and other caffeinated drinks also affect Magnesium stores because of their diuretic effects. (As you’ll recall from my last article, diuretic drugs also rob Magnesium stores.) In addition, alcohol interferes with the ability of Magnesium to be absorbed in the gastrointestinal track and causes Magnesium loss in the kidneys, where Maggie helps to protect overall kidney function and prevent calcification that leads to kidney stones. While studies show that there are health benefits to drinking beer, wine, and coffee, the key is to do so in moderation (no more than one or two glasses of beer or wine or two to three cups of coffee per day), and when you do consume such drinks, be sure to increase your intake of Maggie through daily supplementation.

Lack of Healthy Fats

Contrary to popular belief, to be healthy, your body needs a regular supply of healthy fats, including animal fats. Without sufficient levels of healthy animal fats from meats and fish, your body will most likely lack enough vitamin A, an essential vitamin that plays many important roles in the body and which is necessary for the efficient uptake and use of minerals, especially Magnesium.

Calcium and Vitamin D

Of all the Mineral Robbers, these two most often cause shock when I tell people about their impact on Magnesium. While it is certainly true that both calcium and vitamin D (which is actually a hormone) are essential for optimal health, how you obtain them, and how much you take in makes a big difference!

For years doctors and nutritionists alike emphasized calcium at the expense of Magnesium, recommending that calcium intake be twice as much as that of Mg (a 2:1 ratio). Now we know better. The ideal ratio between calcium and Maggie should be 1:1, just as it is in most vegetables, seeds and nuts, these food groups that are rich in both minerals. Additionally, unlike Maggie, we can obtain all of our calcium needs solely through our diet. What throws us off is the addition of calcium supplements. Calcium supplementation sends the body’s calcium stores out of balance, leading to excessive levels that prevent the proper uptake and utilization of Maggie. Therefore, it’s not surprising—at least not to me—that calcium supplementation is now being shown by research to cause calcification in the body, including in the arteries. So here’s my rule of thumb:

Get your calcium through your diet, and get Maggie through your diet and through adequate daily supplementation!

Now for vitamin D. In recent years there has been an explosion of news stories touting its many benefits. As a result, today many doctors are recommending their patients supplement with synthetic forms of vitamin D at daily dosages as high as 5,000 IU, or even higher. More and more doctors also now routinely screen their patients vitamin D levels (if only they also screened their patients for Magnesium with a Red Blood Cell test!).

Here are a few facts you need to understand about vitamin D. First, our bodies are designed to produce all of the vitamin D we need so long as we get adequate daily exposure to sunlight. Exposure to the sun each day for as little as 15-20 minutes is all that is necessary. Unfortunately, our modern lifestyle prevents most of us from spending enough time in the sun each day. And obviously this is not something that can easily be done during winter months if you live in cold climates.

For this reason, for many years, long before synthetic vitamin D became a hot topic in the media, many nutritionally-oriented doctors advised their patients to consider taking a tablespoon of fermented cod liver oil each day, especially when they were sick. Cod liver oil is a rich source of food-based vitamin D, and the vitamin D it provides works in the body similarly to how vitamin D produced by sunlight exposure does. (Natural sunlight exposure is still the best way to ensure optimal vitamin D levels, however.)

Given the media-coverage of vitamin D today, synthetic vitamin D supplements are now flying off the shelves of health food stores. But synthetic vitamin D is not the same as food-based D derived from cod liver oil, and certainly not the same as the D that is produced by the sun. As a result, research is now finding that excessive intake of vitamin D levels can also cause calcification in the body, and possibly contribute to the formation of kidney stones. Just as importantly, too much vitamin D supplementation interferes with the uptake of Maggie in the body, just as calcium supplements do. For this reason, physicians who understand the value of Magnesium and the potential risks of too much vitamin D supplements, like my friend and fellow Mg expert Dr. Carolyn Dean, now recommend supplementing with no more than 1000 IU of vitamin D each day if you cannot get enough sunlight exposure each day. (I will be covering in more depth both calcium and vitamin D and the ways they compete with Maggie in future articles.)

Diarrhea and Other Gastrointestinal Problems

Chronic diarrhea and other gastrointestinal complaints, such as vomiting, poor absorption, over-reliance on laxatives, and inflammatory bowel disease and, especially, celiac disease, can cause a significant loss of all minerals, including Magnesium, as well as electrolytes and other nutrients. Ironically, very often such conditions are due, at least in part, with Magnesium deficiencies. That’s because lack of Maggie can result in “leaky gut syndrome,” a condition whereby unhealthy bacteria and waste matter that belongs in the intestines until the body can eliminate it passes through the GI tract into the bloodstream, to cause a variety of health problems. Magnesium helps to prevent and reverse leaky gut syndrome by reducing the permeability of the intestinal walls so that the contents of the GI tract stay where they belong. If you suffer from chronic GI problems, be sure to test your Mag RBC levels, be sure to increase your intake of Maggie, and see your doctor. (Note: Various other non-GI conditions can also drain your body of Maggie, including diabetes, obesity, and thyroid disorders.)


If you regularly engage is exercise or other physical activities you are losing Mg, along with lots of other minerals through your sweat. That’s because sweat actually contains Maggie and other electrolyte minerals, Sodium and Potassium.

If you are a basketball fan, you may remember game 4 of the 2012 NBA Finals when, near the end of the game, LeBron James collapsed to the floor and had to be taken out of the game. At first, it was feared that he had injured himself, but it turned out he was suffering from severe leg cramps. Magnesium loss is what causes leg (as well as all other types of severe muscle) cramps.

LeBron was lucky, and was able to return to the court before the game ended. Not so lucky are the numbers of runners who drop dead every year while engaged in their favorite running sports. Generally, their cause of death is due to severe mineral depletion, especially of Maggie, which, over time, causes cardiac cell death and ultimately, sudden heart attack.

So always remember to have more Maggie during times of any sort of physical activity. And when you’re finished, instead of reaching for a commercial sports drink, do what I do. Add some mineral drops to pure, filtered, non-fluoridated water and drink up!

Okay, now you know all of the major factors that can rob you of Maggie. Now it’s up to you to make sure you take more Maggie each and every day so that you can protect yourself against all of them and give your body all of the Magnesium it needs to stay healthy.

Next time I will explain why it’s vitally important for you to monitor your body’s Magnesium status and how you can most effectively do so. (Hint: there are a variety of  tests to use!)

To your health!



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