Like many health practitioners, I learn a lot through exploring my own health and various treatments. My most recent health-related adventure has been all about minerals. I have always been taught that most of us are deficient in magnesium. I also knew through personal experience that taking too much magnesium can send you running to the bathroom! I also had the experience of a magnesium supplement causing acid reflux. The whole thing has been frustrating, and other than eating certain foods and topical applications, I wasn’t sure how to remedy the situation of deficient magnesium.
A couple of months ago I came across an interview with Morley Robbins, who is known as the “The Magnesium Man.” He examined peer-reviewed scientific literature from around the world and determined that magnesium deficiency is epidemic. The issue is more complicated than simply supplementing magnesium. Rather, due to conditions of modern life, we are also suffering from a deficiency in bio-available copper, which leads to an excess of unbound iron in the body. This excess of iron causes systemic inflammation.
Could all disease be caused by mineral dysregulation?
Morley makes the statement “There is no such thing as medical disease. There is only metabolic dysfunction, due to mineral dysregulation.” This may sound like a strong claim, but I do think there is a lot of truth to it. His claim is based on the fact that our energy, which is produced in our cells, is dependent on vital minerals and nutrients. If we are lacking in nutrients, our bodies can’t heal themselves. In other words, we need to balance our minerals in order to fix all other imbalances.
A lightbulb that went on for me when studying this information is the connection between minerals and connective tissue, and the fact that the gut is made up of connective tissue. Many of us are suffering from leaky gut issues and food sensitivities. See the July/August 2016 issue of the Red Clover Clinic Newsletter for more information about leaky gut.
It is such a struggle to heal a leaky gut. Merely avoiding certain foods to decrease inflammation and supplementing with pre- and pro-biotics to support the microbiome doesn’t seem to be the ultimate fix. The tissue in the gut won’t heal without restoring proper mineral regulation.
Why are we so deficient in magnesium?
There are many reasons we are so deficient in magnesium, but one of the biggest factors is stress. As soon as our bodies experience stress, we start losing magnesium. The modern world is so full of stress that our need for magnesium is huge. Often we experience stress as self-perpetuating. If we take a magnesium supplement or a bath with magnesium chloride or epsom salts, we are often able to experience some relaxation and rest, ultimately breaking the stress cycle.
Other factors that cause magnesium deficiency are:
- mineral depletion in the soil leading to mineral deficient foods
- fortification of calcium and iron in food
- fluoride in our water
- consumption of processed food, coffee, sugar, alcohol, and medications
Another thing we need to consider is that magnesium status drops as we go through life, and this trajectory accelerates as we get older.
Why is magnesium so important?
Magnesium is involved in over 300 different processes, including the production and use of ATP (the energy carrier in our cells). ATP doesn’t work without magnesium. Generally speaking, magnesium keeps enzymatic functions in the body working.
How does iron cause our bodies to rust?
Iron accumulates as we go through life. It is the mineral that ages us. It triggers further loss of magnesium, affects the mitochondria, and stops production of ATP. It causes the body to “rust,” signified in the breakdown of tissues, leading to pain and inflammation. Pathogens feed on iron, which is often why people struggle with chronic immune issues.
How did we become toxic in iron?
- 1941–Iron fortification of food began, mostly in wheat and wheat products.
- 1971–The amount of iron added to food increased by 50%, in spite of opposition by scientists.
- 1980s–Introduction of high fructose corn syrup – lowers copper and increases iron
- 1990s–Introduction of GMO foods – lowers copper and increases iron
Basic mineral balancing
Magnesium, copper, iron, and calcium need to remain in proper balance for normal metabolic function. (See image below.) Unfortunately, the modern diet, environment, and lifestyle, tend to decrease magnesium and copper, and increase iron and calcium stores. This imbalance leads to aging, from aches and pains to disease. As we go through life, magnesium and copper decrease and iron and calcium increase. We should focus on restoring proper mineral balance rather than simply treating the symptoms of inflammation and disease.
How is this new information affecting my practice?
As I listened to the Morley Robbins interview, I knew that I had stumbled across something very important that would be helpful, not only to my health, but to the health of my clients. I quickly found someone I could work with who was trained by Morley and have made the decision to take his training the next time it is available. In the meantime, I have begun to add various parts of his protocol into my Nutrition Response Testing sessions, and have begun to see good results in the areas of immune and endocrine issues, fatigue, anxiety, insomnia, inflammation, and other conditions. It can take time to get the minerals balanced out, but once they are, symptoms can begin to improve quickly.
More information to come
In Part 2 of this article (November 2018), we’ll delve a little deeper into the biochemistry behind restoring proper mineral balance in our bodies. If you’re currently supplementing with vitamin D, iron, and/or zinc, take heed; the second installment will be of special interest to you. In Part 3 (January 2019), we’ll discuss the basic protocol of restoring mineral balance.