Magnesium… “For Life”…

There are many articles floating around talking about the need and benefits of why our body needs magnesium.  Truth be told most of the patient’s I see are magnesium deficient and just connect the symptoms to other health issues.

 

Along with calcium, phosphorus, sodium, potassium and chloride, ,magnesium is one of the 6 essential minerals required by our body in significant quantities.  It is involved in more than 300 enzyme reactions in the body. and we need magnesium for healthy bone formation, our muscular activity, our nerve transmission, our energy production, and even blood pressure regulation (how many folks are dealing with high blood pressure issues today?) .

It also plays a super important role in blood sugar balance, as well as the metabolism of any carbohydrates, fats and proteins we happen to eat.  Low magnesium status is directly associated with increased risk of metabolic syndrome, called type 2 diabetes, and connected to cardiovascular disease too.

The functions of magnesium are so diverse that nearly every body system depends on it to operate and yet, it is not monitored as frequently as other minerals.  Blood levels of magnesium are typically measured only when someone displays symptoms of magnesium deficiency, or when a malabsorptive disorder is suspect.

The fact really is that most Americans do not consume near enough magnesium from the foods eaten. Coupled with the American standard dietary choices which are high in refined sugar and saturated fats, which yield very little magnesium.  Therefore, a magnesium test should be considered for a comprehensive metabolic assessment.  Normal ranges for serum blood magnesium, which is measured in milliequivalents per liter (mEq/L), are:

  • Adults                      Normal range: 1.8 to 2.6 mEq/L
  • child (2-18)             Normal range: 1.7 to 2.1 mEq/L
  • infants                    Normal range: 1.5 to 2.2 mEq/L

Although these are the ranges that are accepted as normal, serum magnesium is NOT reflective of total body stores.  So that means you may test in normal range for serum magnesium but still show signs of functional deficiency.  According to some experts, by the time your serum magnesium hits the low or mid-low range, your body already has a significant cellular magnesium deficiency.  The reason for this is that your bloodstream needs magnesium in order to buffer its Ph.  If the magnesium supply in the blood is low, the body must “steal” from the bones and tissues is order to keep the bloods buffer system intact.  Robbing Peter to pay Paul.

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What causes High Magnesium?

In most cases, high levels in the blood are caused by underlying kidney issues or excessive consumption of the mineral through supplements or magnesium containing laxatives.  More specifically, high magnesium can be due to:

  • Adrenal disorders like Addison’s disease
  • Dehydration
  • Electrolyte imbalance caused by chemotherapy
  • hyperparathyroidism
  • Hypothyroidism
  • kidney failure
  • overuse of medications like antacids, thyroid meds, lithium, and certain antibiotics.

What are the symptoms of high magnesium?

Most common symptom associated is diarrhea, especially when the cause is excessive intake through supplements.  Other signs of hypermagnesemia include confusion, muscle weakness and reduced reflex response.

What are some lifestyle changes that can help?

  • Cut out simple carbohydrates like refined sugars and grains to balance your blood sugar and insulin levels.
  • drink approx. 2 to 3 liters of filtered water daily.
  • eat foods that promote kidney detoxification, such as artichokes, asparagus, melons, and parsley
  • increase your intake of foods that contain calcium, which is the main mineral that interact with magnesium and blocks its absorption in the body.

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So moving on… What causes LOW magnesium?

  • chronic stress, especially when it is due to surgery or physical injury especially severe burns.
  • diabetes or insulin resistance
  • diet high in sugar and saturated fats
  • excessive alcohol consumption
  • excessive sweating or urination
  • gastrointestinal disorders, like Crohn’s disease, celiac disease and inflammatory bowel disease
  • high calcium levels
  • high intake o coffee, tea or carbonated drinks
  • hypoparathyroidism
  • kidney disease
  • low dietary intake
  • prolonged diarrhea
  • uncontrolled diabetes
  •  the use of corticosteroids, loop and thiazide diuretics, estrogen replacement therapy, oral contraceptives ad tetracycline antibiotics
  • weight gain

Also as we age, or are recovering from illness, and even alcohol addiction raise your risk of magnesium depletion.  Lower levels are also seen in pregnant women and folks who exercise regularly.  In fact, folks who exercise all or most days need about 20% more then those who are sedentary.

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What are symptoms of low magnesium?

  • muscular and neurological symptoms like:
  • migraines
  • twitching
  • muscle spasms
  • restless leg
  • cramps
  • weakness of muscles.
  • fatigue
  • irregular heartbeat
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea
  • omitting can also be signs of magnesium deficiency.

In addition, folks with low levels may experience anxiety, depression, decreased cognitive abilities, bone loss, insomnia, constipation, blood sugar disorders, high blood pressure and kidney stones.

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Supplements:

Not all magnesium supplements are created equal.  You want to choose one that is bioavailable, has the greatest solubility and absorption, and will be well tolerated by  your body.

But typically 250-500 mg. twice a day is sufficient for most folks.  Use magnesium asparatate, glycinate (my favorite) or amino acid chelate. Supporting bone building one should balance magnesium with calcium by a 2 to 1.

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My favorite Calcium brand that work well with my patients:

Magnesium Complex:  (click link):  

Benefits:
Highly bioavailable
Contributes to energy production
Promotes musculoskeletal health
How It Works:
Magnesium is an essential mineral. It is present in more than 300 enzymatic systems where it is crucial for energy production and other metabolic functions. The heart, brain and kidneys cannot function without adequate levels of this nutrient. Magnesium is used in reaction to form Tri Carboxylic Acid (TCA), which aids in the cells’ energy-producing cycle. It is also involved in smooth muscle contractions, affecting the heart, gastrointestinal, urinary and female reproductive tracts.
Ingredients:
Magnesium citrate and magnesium malate.
Recommended Use:
Take 2 capsules twice daily with meals.

Calcium-Magnesium, Synerpro:

Benefits:
Provides nutrients that support the structural system.
Vital nutrients for bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and skin.
May offer benefits to the circulatory system.
How It Works:
Calcium and magnesium depend on each other for proper assimilation in the body. Calcium is essential to the health of bones, teeth and muscles, and it plays an essential role in blood clotting, nerve conduction and many cellular functions. Magnesium is an integral part of more than 300 enzymes in the body and, with calcium, affects nerve and muscle functions.
Ingredients:
100 IU Vitamin D3, 400 mg calcium, 250 mg phosphorus, 200 mg magnesium, 7.5 mg zinc, 1 mg copper, plus boron, broccoli flower, cabbage leaf, carrot root, red beet root, rosemary leaf, tomato fruit, turmeric root, grapefruit bioflavonoid, hesperidin and orange bioflavonoid.
Recommended Use:
Take 2 tablets with a meal twice daily.

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Many want to reach for Magnesium Citrate and IF you struggle with inflammatory issues, you may find the citrate version gives much bowel distress.

Also, might I recommend if you have a headache try taking some magnesium before over the counter pain relievers, the headache may be caused from low magnesium, also if you  have trouble sleeping also try adding 2 Magnesium capsules about 1 hour prior to wanting to go to sleep. Magnesium helps to relax the body.

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Lifestyle changes:

  • Eat foods low in calcium, which interfere with proper magnesium absorption.  So asparagus, beets, cantaloupe, chicken, cottage cheese, eggplant, grapes, pineapple and strawberries, are great choices.
  • consume green veggies, like chard, kale, spinach, mustard greens.  Pumpkin seeds are the single richest source of magnesium.  Other good food sources include halibut, salmon, celery and bell peppers.
  • Reach for organic, free range meats as they lack chemical additives, hormones, and antibiotics.  Legumes like beans are also a good source.
  • limit or cut out soft drinks, especially dark colored doses.  The high levels of phosphates (phosphoric acid), which inhibit absorption of essential minerals. It’s also a great idea to reduce caffeine.
  • reduce stress as cortisol which is the stress hormone increases the excretion of magnesium from the body adding to lower levels.
  • If you don’t exercise think about starting…exercise prevents bone loss which decreases your need for calcium supplements.
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  • Conclusion:
  • Homocysteine, CRP, vitamin D, and magnesium are not typically included in traditional blood panels, they are of equal value hen it comes to assessing a total health pictures.  Homocysteine and CRP can provide a more accurate picture of your cardiovascular risk, as well as indicate the presence of more generalized conditions, these blood tests can play a key role in the prevention and proper diagnosis of common conditions ranging from blood sugar imbalance to osteoporosis.

If you are interested in scheduling a consultation with me you can go to http://www.jodibarnett758.com and click on services.  These consults can be in office or as a phone consultation, ( I have patients all over the United States).

 

As always thank you for taking the time to read my posts and be sure to help a gal out and share the link to others who you think could benefit.

Healthfully yours,

Dr. Jodi Barnett N.D.

Harvested Health LLC

P.S. Be sure to check out my products/supplement website as well.

www.harvestedhealth.mynsp.com (high quality affordable herbs/supplements)

 

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The Basic Metabolic Panel…Your Blood Lab Tests.

Most people typically go yearly to have a physical and also have routine blood labs drawn.  One of those routine test usually include “The basic metabolic panel (BMP), which tests for a variety of indicators of metabolic functioning, which includes glucose (blood sugar), electrolyte and fluid balance, and kidney function & operation.  Glucose, calcium, sodium, potassium, carbon dioxide, chloride, urea nitrogen, creatinine, and the glomerular filtration rate (GFR) are also included in the BMP, which is used to detect and diagnose issues like diabetes and kidney disease or malfunction.

If you are on regular medications, your Doctor may also run this panel to make sure the medication is working properly or if it’s tossing other lab values out of balance.  Example would be, diuretics used to treat someone with high blood pressure may end up throwing off the electrolyte balance and the kidneys, so a BMP is usually recommended for someone taking these prescriptions.

One of the issues with BMP tests is that “trending” lab values – numbers that are considered to fall within the normal range but are headed in the wrong directions – are rarely discussed with the patients.  In other words, “low normal” and “high normal” lab values are not typically treated as a concern.  Instead, the usual approach would be to “watch” and “wait” for a trending lab to walk into the “abnormal” zone.  By this time, a disease or other medical issue has usually had time to develop.

A Kaiser Permanente Study that tracked over 46,000 folks for more than a decade, demonstrated the limitations of using this approach.  According to the study, for every one-point rise in fasting blood sugar over 84 mg/dL, a persons risk of diabetes increases by approximately 6 percent!  This may seem like a minor “slight” increase, however, by the time blood glucose levels reach 90-94 mg/dL, the risk of developing actual diabetes has now increased by 49 percent!  If the blood glucose levels reach the highest normal range of 95-99 mg/dL, the risk is more than doubled for becoming diabetic.

When I discuss this with my patient’s many are shocked because the “normal” range for fasting blood glucose levels is 65-99 mg/dL, which means that their lab values which may actually warrant further considerations are treated as just fine.  More alarming is the fact that when fasting blood sugar reaches a level of 90 mg/dL – a value technically within the normal range – vascular and kidney damage can begin to jump on the scene.  For the most part, doctors do not inform patients about concerns regarding their blood glucose until their level reaches 100 mg/dL, when according to the Kaiser Study – their diabetes risk has already climbed to a staggering 84 percent!  These statistics are a testament to the critical importance of blood tests and why you should understand more about what your lab work is  indicating.  Monitoring and managing trends is just as important as treating abnormal blood values.  In the case of BMP tests, reversing a trend with diet, lifestyle changes and even supplements can help prevent the development of diabetes as well as kidney disease and other medical conditions.

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LETS TALK MORE ABOUT GLUCOSE

Glucose is a type of sugar that acts as your body’s chief source of energy.  During digestion, the foods rich in carbohydrates which  are (starches and sugars) are broken down into 3 simple sugars ” fructose, galactose, and glucose”.  Once they enter the bloodstream, glucose is transported to each of your cells.  In response to the rise in glucose in your body, the pancreas then releases insulin, which is a hormone that attaches to the cell membrane to allow glucose to be taken out of the blood and then carried to the cells, where it is supposed to be used for energy production, (ATP).

However, excessive carbohydrate and sugar intake in ones diet can disrupt normal glucose metabolism, which trigger blood sugar imbalances.  Excessive insulin release and insulin resistance can cause poor  blood sugar control, leading to chronic high blood sugar, or what is referred to as hyperglycemia.

 

Hypoglycemia occurs because too much insulin is release, which may be due to defective insulin receptors or a deficiency of one or more of the trace minerals needed for blood glucose regulation which would include B vitamins, chromium, magnesium vanadium, as zinc.  Low vitamin D can also be a cause, since the vitamin plays a role in insulin production and sensitivity.  when there is a disproportionate amount of insulin in the blood,  this causes glucose to be carried out of the bloodstream and into the cells, which results in a drop in blood sugar.  What happens next is usually symptoms of feeling anxious, agitated, some experience feeling dizzy, some people break out in a sweat or feel overall weak.

 

Besides nutritional deficiencies and defective insulin receptors, blood sugar imbalance can also be related to environmental toxins,  low thyroid hormones, low sex hormones, as well as being subjected to chronic stress.  Both high and low blood glucose are associated with diabetes, heart disease, kidney failure, and other medical issues.  Poorly controlled blood sugar is directly linked to Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s’ disease and autoimmune issues.

Typically if a routine lab test indicates that your blood glucose level is abnormal, then your doctor will more than likely order a fasting blood sugar test, which requires you to abstain from food and drink other that water for about 8 hours.  This test, which is typically used to check for diabetes, can provide a better picture of your glucose level, since it is unaffected by food and drink.  A hemoglobin A1c test, which reflects average blood sugar over the past two or three months may also be recommended.  Specifically, the test will measure the amount of damage done to red blood cells (RBC’s), which occurs when glucose molecules become attached to hemoglobin which is a protein found in RBC.  Other options are the two-hour postprandial (after eating) blood sugar test and the oral glucose tolerance test, which is usually ordered for pregnant women that they suspect may have gestational (pregnancy-induced) diabetes.

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REFERENCE RANGES FOR BLOOD GLUCOSE

Fasting Blood Glucose (mg/dL)                                     Category

Higher than 125                                                              Diabetes

100-125                                                                             Pre-diabetes (impaired fasting glucose)

65-99                                                                                 Normal

lower than 65                                                                  Low (hypoglycemic)

TARGET RANGE: 70-84 mg/dL

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If you have one or more risk factors it’s actually important that you get in a routine of monitoring your insulin levels.  If you have one or more risk factors for type 2 diabetes like insulin resistance, this is a condition where the hormone insulin does not bind to cells and activate the insulin receptors, so blood sugar is now lowered by producing insulin.  I can say that in most cases insulin resistance more times than not preceded type 2 diabetes and last for at least a decade before being diagnosed as diabetic.  This is a destructive process that connects to a host of medical issues, like Alzheimer’s, breast cancer, hypertension, kidney disease and being over-weight.  Insulin resistance is a defining characteristic of metabolic syndrome, which increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, ( yes you can get fatty liver disease even if you do not drink alcohol on a regular basis).

One way you can monitor for this is a 2 hr. postprandial blood test, in which glucose and insulin levels are measured 2 hours after eating a meal which contains 75 grams of carbohydrates, like a bagel with jelly.  The results of this test indicate the efficiency with which the body processes glucose and secretes insulin.  Reference ranges for insulin levels are below:

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REFERENCE RANGES FOR INSULIN

Insulin (mg/dL)                                                        Category

50 or above                                                                High alert

25-49                                                                            High, trending towards insulin resistance

17-25                                                                            Acceptable

TARGET RANGE: 5-17 mg/dL, with blood glucose less than 90 mg.dL

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The target range indicates the relationship between insulin and blood glucose levels, this is significant because if both blood glucose and insulin are high, you are at the peak of insulin resistance!  If blood glucose is high and insulin is very low (2 mg/dL, for example), your body is likely in the process of developing diabetes, even if your fasting blood glucose level is considered normal.  If your blood glucose level is somewhere between low and normal and your insulin level is high, you are in the process of becoming insulin resistant.

High insulin can be caused by different factors, like having a diet high in refined sugars and carbs, lack of exercise, being over-weight and genetics play a part too.  Fructose and galactose intolerance, which are hereditary issues, can also be at the root of high insulin, as can antibiotics, corticosteroids, and oral contraceptives and other medications that contribute.  If left untreated, type 2 diabetes is usually the end result.  Low insulin levels are also problematic and can be a signal of type 1 diabetes, hypo-pituitarism (having a underactive pituitary gland) or diseases of the pancreas.  An insulin level of 2 mg/dL or lower in combo with a very high blood glucose reading requires extensive testing.

While insulin is not included on the basic metabolic panel, testing for insulin resistance is crucial.   I am trying to focus on the causes, medical concerns, and recommended treatments for abnormal blood glucose levels, which will allow you to take appropriate action based on the outcome of YOUR lab test.

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WHAT CAN CONTRIBUTE OR CAUSE HIGH BLOOD GLUCOSE?

When your body does not produce enough insulin OR cannot use insulin properly, the result ends up being high blood sugar.  This is a symptom of PRE-diabetes, which increases the risk of heart disease and other health issues, even though diabetes has not fully developed.  Some causes of high blood glucose include:

  • liver and pancreatic cancer
  • chronic stress
  • diet high in simple carbs and/or refined sugars
  • environment toxins
  • hormonal changes or imbalances (estrogen in ladies, testosterone in the gents)
  • under active or slow thyroid
  • insulin resistance
  • kidneys disease
  • medications including: birth control pills, corticosteroids, diuretics, epinephrine, estrogen, lithium, tricyclic antidepressants, and salicylates
  • nutritional deficiencies in B vitamins, chromium, magnesium, vanadium and/or zinc, which all help regulate blood glucose
  • physical trauma, such as injury or heart attack
  • weight gain which can lead to insulin resistance

Borderline high blood sugar shouldn’t be ignored, since insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes are likely to happen.  So many of my patients when they are telling me their history say, “oh yeah my doctor said I was borderline diabetic”, like it’s no big deal…Let me restate “IT IS A BIG DEAL” unless you are willing to welcome the added health issue risks of… cancer, dementia, Alzheimer’s, eye disorders, heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney disease, neuropathy (which is nerve damage that is painful), and possibility of stroke!

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CAN YOU TELL YOU BLOOD SUGAR IS HIGH BY HOW YOUR FEEL?

A blood test of course will confirm if your blood sugar levels are too high, but will there also be physical symptoms that may alert you that something isn’t as it should be?  Look for out of the ordinary for YOU:

  • fatigue
  • increased hunger,
  • excessive thirst,
  • frequent urination
  • slow healing of wounds

Type 2 Diabetes folks typically:

  • gain weight around the waist.  Belly fat leads to insulin resistance

Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia):

  • anxiety
  •  blurred vision
  • confusion
  • trembling or shaking
  • emotional changes, irritable, weepy (typically in children)

Diabetics can also develop hypoglycemia in response to some types of stress and in severe circumstances, very high blood sugar can lead to ketoacidosis, or in some cases diabetic coma.  Some warning signs of this state include:

  • shortness of breath,
  • stomach pain, fruity smelling breath
  • vomiting
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EPIDEMIC: DIABETES

The number of people being diagnosed with diabetes in the United States is hitting staggering numbers, more than 11 million have been diagnosed and another 7 million live with it unknowingly.  (according to the National Diabetes information Clearinghouse)

One of the most common causes of kidney damage and failure is diabetes; dialysis clinics are popping up faster than Wal-marts in response to a growing number of diabetes patients with chronic kidney failure.

 

There ae two types of diabetes type 1 and type 2.  Type 1 diabetes, used to be known as juvenile diabetes, which is caused by a dysfunction of the immune system in which the body attacks the beta cells – which are the insulin producing cells of the pancreas.  When these cells are destroyed, the body can no longer produce insulin.  The disease, most often occurs in children, and can be triggered by a wide range of factors, including viruses, infections, vaccinations, and allergies to cow’s milk.  Until the development of injectable insulin, type 1 diabetes was usually fatal.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common type.  95 percent of people with diabetes in the United States have type 2, which was once known as adult-onset diabetes.  This term is no longer applicable, since the obesity epidemic as caused many kids under the age of eighteen to develop this condition.  The precursor to type 2 diabetes is insulin resistance.  What happens is over time, the excessive release of insulin as the body attempts to manage blood sugar burns out the beta cells, destroying their ability to make insulin and control glucose levels.  Type 2 has fully developed when blood sugar levels can’t be lowered due to poor insulin release or utilization.  People who have type 2 tend to be overweight; in fact, the disease was first believed to be caused by poor diet and lifestyle, yet new research has shown that hormonal changes, chronic stress, environmental pollutants, and nutritional deficiencies especially magnesium  can contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes.

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NUTRITIONAL DEFICIENCIES CAUSED BY BLOOD SUGAR LOWERING MEDICATIONS

DRUG                                          

Ace inhibitors ( captopril, enalapril, fosinapril, lisnopril, quinapril, Ramipril, trandoapril)

 NUTRIENT DEPLETION:  

Sodium & zinc

ASSOCIATED SYMPTOMS:

  • decreased immunity
  • slow wound healing
  • smell & taste disturbances
  • anorexia,
  • depression
  • night blindness,
  • joint pain
  • involuntary eye movements
  • changes to skin, nails & hair
  • women may experience menstrual irregularities

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DRUG:

Metformin

NUTRIENT DEPLETION:

CoQ10, folic acid and B12

ASSOCIATED SYMPTOMS:

  • CoQ10 depletion can lead to blood sugar imbalances
  • heart problems
  • lowe energy
  • muscle weakness
  • decreased immunity
  • folic acid depletion can result in blood sugar dysregulation
  • cervical dysplasia
  • increased risk of cancer
  • birth defects
  • Low B12 leads to anemia
  • depression
  • fatigue
  • cardiovascular risks
  • skin tingling and numbness

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DRUG:

sulfonylureas

NUTRIENT DEPLETION:

CoQ10

ASSOCIATED SYMPTOMS:

  • blood sugar imbalance
  • heart problems
  • low energy
  • muscle weakness
  • decreased immunity

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NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENTS FOR SUPPORT                

 

GARLIC:  is used to protect the heart & blood vessels and is reported to help decrease oxidative stress markers, including those related to blood sugar regulation.  Garlic also has been reported to decrease the formation of advanced glycation end-products (AGEs), which are implicated in heart disease, kidney issues and cancer.  Garlic is not reported to interfere with blood thinners. and may be helpful in reducing liver enzymes and fatty liver issues.

ALPHA-LIPOIC ACID: may help with blood sugar uptake and use in the body, and helps detoxify the body, protect the kidneys and improve cholesterol levels.

BILBERRY: has been shown to protect against eye problems that may result from blood sugar imbalance.

BITTER MELON: when combined with chromium and glutathione, bitter melon is reported to help lower blood sugar and hemoglobin A1c as well as helping with weight loss.

CINNAMON: studies have shown cinnamon to improve insulin sensitivity and acts like an antioxidant.

FIBER: Guar gum is a great source of soluble fiber. Flax meal, chia seeds, oat bran, psyllium.  Drink with plenty of water

CHROMIUM: is important for blood sugar and insulin regulation.  people who have a diet high in refined carbs like sugar may also be low in chromium.

MAGNESIUM: supports bone building and balance calcium intake.  Magnesium helps to support blood vessel function and insulin resistance, in addition to decreasing LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol and triglycerides.  Also essential for phase-1 liver detoxification.  If you experience loose stools after taking magnesium, cut your dose in half and gradually increase over the course of a few months.

N-ACETYL CYSTEINE (NAC): is an antioxidant reported to help protect against blood vessel damage and clots due to insulin resistance, diabetes and other blood sugar regulation issues.  It helps improve the body’s capacity to decrease the harmful effects of exposed toxins. and has been reported to improve kidney function in studies, and support glutathione production in the kidneys.

OMEGA-3: excessive inflammation is common in folks who are insulin resistant and diabetic, and can lead to other health issues like immune imbalances sleep issues and heart disease.  Fish oil acts as an antioxidant and decreases inflammation in the body, in addition to supporting heart and blood vessel health.

ZINC: is important in helping our immune system and acts as an antioxidant.  it has been reported to help regulate blood sugar.  May also be used by men to treat low testosterone and support prostate health.

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SEEK OUT A PRACTIONER THAT IS TRAINED IN “NUTRITION”

I highly recommend working with someone who understands healthy nutrition to begin to make dietary lifestyle changes.  There is so much information floating around on the internet that many folks really do get confused as to what works and which way they should go.  Many get so overwhelmed that they just do the best they can out of frustration.

Incorporating the use of particular nutritional enzymes to assist a weakened digestive system (which includes the pancreas), to offer assisted digestion is also recommended.  So work with a nutritionist who is familiar with incorporating enzymes into their practice as I do.  They are a critical addition that should  be implemented.

 

Switching out refined sugar for the popular artificial sugars isn’t the answer, sugar-free this and that; actually make it much harder to control your blood sugar levels.  Not to mention they are what is referred to as “excito-neurotoxins), they actually pump up your fat cells and make you fatter.  It’s not about just the calories, it’s about what is your body supposed to “do” with it once it’s in there….

The next topic I will address will be the calcium aspect of your blood tests, and help you understand the reference ranges and what you are looking for and what nutritional changes you can incorporate.  Until then…. thank you for taking the time to follow, and share my posts.

 

Healthfully yours,

Dr. Jodi Barnett N.D.

Harvested Health LLC

http://www.jodibarnett758.com

References:

James B. LaValle, RPh, CCN “Cracking the Metabolic Code”

Dr. Kurt W. Donsback “Lee Foundation of Nutritional Research” & “Super Health”

https://divisionofresearch.kaiserpermanente.org/projects/distance

http://theamericanchiropractor.com/2012/12/24/defining-food-enzyme-nutrition-an-interview-with-howard-loomis-dc/

 

 

 

 

 


The Call of Addictions….

I felt the need to talk on this topic… well because it’s a big topic and it affects not only the people who struggle with addiction; but those connected too the person who struggles with addiction.

When it comes to interacting in this world, NOTHING is ever just about one person, there is and always will be a ripple effect, everyone our lives touch especially those we love, are draw into any addiction phase on some level if not on many levels.

There are many area’s  that people can find themselves held hostage:

  •  Emotional addictions,
  • alcohol dependency,
  •  caffeine,
  • prescription drugs,
  •  tobacco,
  • sugar, foods;

anything that draws us to a point where we don’t feel we can function without IT, whatever IT is for that person.

What might emotional addiction look like? Well… emotions control a lot of what someone either feels passionately about or is crippled by .  Yet emotional addiction can also fall in a place where someone gets addicted to being treated in a particular way, they have to have it in their life or they seek to create the atmosphere. I believe sexual addiction blends into the emotional slot, because I believe most are drawn into sexual addiction due to emotional addictions.

  •  OCD issues, which means control; most of these actually function from some element based in “fear”, fear of being alone, fear of crowds, fear of being away from a particular daily routine, fear of starting anything new, fear of failure that hinders them from ever sticking their toe in the water to embark on anything new, fear of rejection, fear of feeling loved, fear of not being loved. It ends up feeling like a perpetual cycle of one sorts or another.

Addictions really are all around us, and they are terribly difficult for folks to want to acknowledge let alone talk openly about them.

An addiction really is a dependency that creates any compulsive or habitual need to repeat a particular experienceSome addictions fall into  mild up to sever, socially acceptable to unacceptable.” (Steven Horne AGH)

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HOW DOES SOCIETY ACTUALLY MAKE ADDICTION A SOCIALLY ACCEPTABLE FORM OF LIVING?

There are addictions that fall into the socially acceptable zone, like tobacco & alcohol, and sexual addictions, they seem so common place today most folks don’t waste a second blink when the topic comes up.

Yet it’s socially acceptable for folks to go out to drink  to spend time together, and folks laugh about who drank so much they couldn’t remember the evening, or was so sick they called off work the next day.  No big thing in society, it’s called socializing!
Those who smoke cigarettes already know that it’s causing some form of damage to their lungs, heart, cardiovascular system. Not so long ago smoking was allowed on prime time programs, and commercials. Certain brands through advertising tried to glamorize the hunky, handsome cowboy smoking their  brand.   It is wonderful that things are changing where smoking is concerned, and more and more states are making it illegal to smoke in public places to protect everyone, and more and more people are finding the strength to eliminate the habit .

Ok alcohol and tobacco are obvious addictions, what’s another socially acceptable one….

Caffeine Oh man, it’s a biggie, coffee shops popping up all over, and if you think getting a fancy mixed drink can end up being pricey, well, have you gotten any fancy expresso, frappuccino or latte  coffee lately  $5 dollars and up per cup.   Peeps just cannot get their day started without the java, and it’s socially acceptable when someone admits “I can’t  even think about conversation  UNTIL I’VE HAD AT LEAST MY 2ND CUP OF COFFEE”… means, their brains don’t feel like they can socially connect without it, now toss in the mix caffeinated pop’s, energy drinks and popular energy caffeine shots sold at every single gas station in America.  Think we have a caffeine issue in our country?

 

Move onto the socially acceptable addiction with foods/sugars more than 80% of the people in our country fall into the overweight

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DO COMPULSIVE BEHAVIORS CLASSIFY AS ADDICTION?

What about behaviors…. are those really addictions?  Well, you decide, we have television programs that showcase folks who need help with hoarding , they suffer from being compulsive about having certain things. Then there is:

  • gambling,
  • shopping,
  • sex, these behaviors again fall into the emotional addiction because much of our behavior is guided by open or buried emotions.
  •   When we have any behavior that we cannot bring ourselves to stop, even when we know its damaging to ourselves and those in our lives, its an addiction!

 

Why does it seem like having a issue with an addiction is so easy to fall into and so difficult to pull out of?
It’s the human desire to “feel” good!  When people become addicted to certain substances or behaviors certain neurotransmitters are released in their brain & nervous system, like endorphins, dopamine or epinephrine.  Most addictive substances either mimic or trigger the release of these chemicals, they elevate moods and do what they are supposed to do, “make us feel good !”  Then our body comes to depend on this outside trigger to release these chemicals and the circle of dependency begins.

Our human nature, and its driven need for ritual, love of pleasure, cravings, these  are deeply carved, making moderation for many, easier said than done.

Then you have many well-meaning folks who think , ” if it’s not good for you, just have the will-power to say no”!  It is critical to understand that to overcome addictions by willpower definitely  won’t be everyone’s way to achieve success, the proof is in the relapse numbers.  There has been a chemical imbalance that some of these substances are meeting a need for physically.  There is a nutritional deficiency in place that needs addressing, and many need assistance addressing repressed  emotional triggers.
Support and accountability are key in overcoming any sort of addiction issue. As is nutritional balancing they both need to go together!

Sad truth …when trying to over-come one addiction another is usually substituted to take  it’s place, so spending time dealing with all root issues is paramount to success…. many reach for junk foods, sugars, etc. or some replace one behavior addiction with a different one.

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NUTRITIONAL SUPPORT KEY PLAYER

Beginning to nutritionally give your body what it’s been lacking, and bringing back a balance of nutrients, then the body has the ability to produce the chemicals that make one feel good by design.

Nutritional changes have to be incorporated for success, you can’t stop alcohol or drug dependency living on processed junk foods and expect positive results for any long term length of time.
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CODEPENDENCY

Then there are those who are drawn into this emotional addiction circle through someone else’s addiction.  We see this frequently when someone has been in a relationship with someone or a family member or friend who is struggling  with dependency on alcohol,  drugs even behavior addictions.

They can get emotionally addicted to trying to fix others that they have coping mechanisms that can end up being counter productive  for themselves and all involved. They are experiencing  their own heightened levels of stress and also need good nutritional  balance and an emotional  support outlet.

I believe that each and every person is touched by this category in one area or another, it’s epidemic in my opinion.  Which is why I chose to write about it.  Truth is, it’s touched my life since my childhood on multiple planes,  I understand the emotional rollercoaster of emotions that can be experienced watching people you love dearly struggle.

There is a depth of healing that takes place both from those who have the addiction to those that fall in the ripples zone.

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ALCOHOL

Lets move onto the alcohol.  For all basic purposes alcohol  is a refined carbohydrate, which contributes to hypoglycemia.

Over-consumption now well, that over a period of time we know damages:

  • liver,
  • brain,
  • nervous system,
  •  kidneys,
  •  pancreas,
  •  personal relationships,
  •  employment,
  •  It’s a big contributor in traffic accidents even fatalities while driving, which brings with it legal fees that further adds to the stress cycle of not being able to cope.
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NATURAL OPTIONS THAT MAY BE HELPFUL

So one can physically ease the craving for alcohol by improving the quality of nutrition that goes into their body.
When poor nutrition is happening; what might that look like? Well   replacing the alcohol with lots of sugar which is typically what happens because sugar can also raise dopamine levels in the brain,  increased use of caffeine, junk fast food . What happens as a result over time the craving for alcohol creeps back into being, refined sugars raise the blood alcohol levels especially when yeast overgrowth in the body is involved.

So balancing the blood sugar swings will be helpful:

  •  Chromium GTF (click on the product name if you want to read more about it) can help stabilize blood sugar levels in the blood and reduce alcoholic cravings.
  • A good B Complex Vitamin
  • evening primrose oil helps reduce the cravings for alcohol. It also is a source of Gamma-linoleic Acid, an important essential fatty acid that helps the immune system and supports the circulatory system.
  •  Vitamin C ascorbate daily along with large amounts of magnesium that the alcohol robs from the body.

Some find their nerves feel frayed and some get headaches:

An excellent formula to aid the recovering alcoholic

  • Kudzu  is a vine common to the southern states with the properties of reducing high blood pressure, relieving pain and cramps.  Studies have demonstrated it also posses the ability to help control ravings for alcohol.
  • St. Johns wort adds the benefits of bringing the nervous system back into balance and helps to dispel negative emotions associated with alcoholism.

One of the more addictive aspects where beer is concerned isn’t just about the alcohol; its the hops used in making the beer.  Hops is an herb that contains a sedative substance with a mild addictive effect.

  • Hops can be taken to reduce cravings for beer, providing a similar relaxing affect without the negative issues that go with the alcohol.

We have to include and talk about the liver here because this organ ends up working overtime to neutralize alcohol when levels are too high in the blood, its the liver that breaks down after long abuse.  We call it Cirrhosis.  The liver is one of those organs that can repair itself; all it needs is a break.

  •   Milk Thistle can be helpful for protecting the liver from the effects of alcohol, and helping the liver to heal.  When this organ has suffered sever damage due to alcoholism, Milk Thistle and
  • SAM-e along with topical application of
  • helichrysum essential oil over the liver area will promote healing.

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 CAFFEINE

Let’s move onto the caffeine, I bet this one would fall into the most widely used drug, partially because its not regarded as a one, yet it’s used in lots of over the counter headache meds.

I remember taking a medication as a teen-ager for migraine headaches called Cafergot,caffeine listed as top I gredient which caused me to go into convulsions and required a transport.

Caffeine isn’t regarded by most as dangerous.  Our nation is literally on use over load.

Adults use it freely, and kids are drinking it in their pop like Mountain Dew which has a high caffeine ratio.  In spite of the numerous jokes folks make about gotta have their caffeine or cannot function, excessive use of it can cause serious damage to the brain and central nervous system.

What happens is with continual habitual use of caffeine reliance, regardless if your fix comes from :

  • coffee,
  • pop,
  •  tea
  • , Red Bull, or other commercial energy drinks loaded with caffeine and sugar, when you use it for energy and  to sustain it, a regular pattern begins to establish.

But let me walk you thru what happens in the body, caffeine stimulates epinephrine production, which speed up the function of your central nervous system.  When you rely and habitually use caffeine as your source for revving up your inner engine, it causes :

  • adrenal fatigue,
  • anxiety,
  • nervousness,
  •  insomnia and other nervous symptoms.

Since it depletes the adrenals, which causes fatigue, one needs to begin to rely on more caffeine intake to keep from dropping due to exhaustion, or the mid day crash and burn while at work.

 

We are seeing more and more young people having heart attacks, and being hospitalized due to cardia related symptoms who are drinking lots of energy drinks that are heavy in the caffeine load.

 

Prolonged caffeine use is linked to:

  •  Ischemia,
  •  cyanosis,
  • EKG changes,
  •  muscle pains,
  •  tachycardia,
  • bradycardia,
  • hypertension,
  • numbness,
  • tingling,
  •  vertigo,
  • neurological issues,
  •  vascular headaches. (hint, caffeine dehydrates body tissue and dehydration contributes to lots of these symptoms too).

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NATURAL NUTRITIONAL OPTIONS

There are some herbal options that strengthen the adrenals like:

  •  licorice root,
  •   Adrenal Support and 
  • Nervous fatigue formula these can be helpful with helping one thru caffeine withdrawal.

These same herbal products can also prove helpful with sugar addiction which is often like hand in glove to caffeine addiction.

There are healthier pick-me ups that won’t damage the adrenals, cause the headache from hell like caffeine,

  •  Energ-V,
  • Solstic Energy (just pour one packet in your bottle of water shake and go)
  • Target Endurance, these are healthy safe ways to increase energy levels.
  •   I love, love , love, Liquid Chlorophyll ES added to my water for a natural energy boost.  I frequently put in the water bottle I take to the gym.

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DRUGS

Lets move to the drugs that cause addiction,  there is a list of these that I am not going to go into depth by name or category with in this post because there are so many.

What I want to point out is drug addictions are a compulsive psychological and many times a painful physiological craving.

Withdrawal from drug addiction requires BOTH detoxification and nervous and glandular system support!

Professional assistance should be sought after for help with drug withdrawal, but GOOD nutritional and supplements can be helpful, they are only one piece of the puzzle towards recovery.  Emotional, physical, and nutritional aspects have to be dealt with!

Whatever the drug, one thing is certain.  It will become a burden on the liver.  So, herbs which help to detox the blood and strengthen the liver are probably central to any nutritional program for drug withdrawal.

  •  Milk Thistle Combination
  • , All Cell Detox or
  •   Enviro-Detox. Although the amounts will vary from person to person based on the advice of your Practitioner.  It is important to drink lots of water to help flush the drugs from your system.

Anyone withdrawing from drugs is going to experience mental and emotional stress.  so a nervine formula such as :

  • Stress-J 
  • Stress Relief, or
  • Nervous Fatigue Formula would be helpful during the withdrawal phase.

As with alcohol & tobacco addiction, adrenal support can prove helpful because blood sugar imbalances are often part of addictive behavior.

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SUGAR

I also want to briefly tough  on the addiction with sugar/foods…

The compulsive urge to eat sugar usually comes from a glandular imbalance.  Yep when there are adrenal and pancreatic imbalances what happens is there ends up being a deficiency of protein or a lack of proper protein digestion and metabolism.

Many also lack good fats and trace minerals in the diet.  Yeast infections usually play a huge role too.  Food addictions in general signify glandular and biochemical imbalances.

Folks are also emotional eaters, people are taught as children that food is a reward system.  Get good grades let me bake you some cookies, or something to celebrate lets go get cake or pie, (how do we celebrate birthdays?  with what?) why and how did that cycle ever come into being that cake is what needed to be symbolized for celebrating a birthday? No I really didn’t want to research that part.

People compensate using different foods, i.e. snacks, for various emotional highs and lows in their lives.  Excessive cravings for sweets or food in general can also come from a fealing of lack of sweetness (joy) in ones life which causes one to seek pleasure thru their foods.

So dealing with addiction in this area definitely requires taking the time to bring the body back into balance, digestive enzymes can be helpful, as would probiotics.  Considering a yeast detox thru diet and/or food elimination.  Adding Essential fatty acids, higher fiber, lots of water and some good whole food multi-vitamins.

Each person is unique and the beauty of working in the field of Naturopathy, I treat each person as an individual and allow the body to be the messenger, vs. a one-size fits all approach.

I really didn’t want this post to be this windy and stretch out this long, yet when I started writing, there were things that just felt important to place in it.  I will write more individually on each of these areas so I can dig in deeper.

If you’d like help with your Nutritional Battle Plan in tackling any of these addictions.  You can go to http://www.jodibarnett758.com and click on my services tab.

Any of the products I spoke of in this post can also be found thru the products link there as well.

Thank you all…

Hebrews 11:1 NLT ” Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.”

With addictions there IS HOPE, have the FAITH to reach for it…

Healthfully yours,

Dr. Jodi Barnett N.D.

Harvested Health LLC.