Are you also magnesium deficient, medication dependant and scared of MSG?
By health Researcher: Sue Visser www.naturefresh.co.za
Understanding the role of MSG in the brain
Eek! MSG (monosodium glutamate) is a no-no, assumed by some of us to be a toxic substance. Fortunately this myth has been adequately bust by the experts. Some amusing placebo-based studies produced identical reactions when subjects were told that the blank capsule contained MSG. You could say it is all in the mind. It is, because both MSG and calcium are excitatory chemicals used by the brain to facilitate our thinking and memory recall. They are partnered with magnesium in the neural synapses to prevent cortisol from blocking the receptors. When this happens, as it does when we are tense (magnesium deficient), memory cuts out and this is why both MSG (and calcium) accumulate in the brain. No toxins, nothing extra-terrestrial; just a magnesium deficiency.
Without enough magnesium to do the job, both calcium and MSG are potentially harmful! But nobody is on a tirade about foods that are calcium enhanced! MSG is the salt form of glutamine, an amino acid present in our own muscle tissue, in tomatoes and a host of other healthy foods. MSG (same stuff that they add to potato crisps) is naturally present in breast milk to facilitate its digestion. When a pinch of what we call “umami,” the savoury sensation attributed to monosodium glutamate is added to broccoli, kale and other magnesium rich foods, they taste good.
So now you know why we all have magnesium deficiencies! We season food with salt for the same reason – to make it more palatable. The advantage of using soy sauce and other natural sources of MSG is that they add more taste (pleasure-based sensations) and provide less sodium.
More magnesium versus more medications
Fixations about the “toxic, man-made chemical” called MSG that causes brain damage should include calcium as a partner in crime. Both chemicals are present in the body for many beneficial reasons but their behaviour is controlled by magnesium. Studies should include the magnesium status of partakers in trials that attempt to prove the toxicity of MSG. A magnesium deficiency is more to the point.
If you react to MSG then check out your magnesium levels before telling everybody else to avoid MSG like the plague! We also have calcium in continuous circulation and magnesium levels need to be maintained to prevent the calcification of soft tissue.
Magnesium is also essential for maintaining insulin sensitivity as without it, sugar cannot leave the bloodstream and provide cells with energy. Without magnesium, blood vessels contract and begin to calcify – so up goes the blood pressure. Some people get so depressed they become suicidal. Even a marginal magnesium deficiency seriously affects our moods, anxiety levels and attention span. It exacerbates cravings for sugar, alcohol and nicotine and interferes with blood sugar levels, shuts down the adrenals and saps our inner worth. Life becomes dull, days are too long. Can’t sleep – can’t wake up. Consider the medications, drugs and extra calories you consume in a day – just to deal with the symptoms of a magnesium deficiency?
Coping with a hidden, stealthy life-sapping magnesium deficiency
We self-prescribe our vices, the naughty stuff and ignore the vitamins and minerals needed to maintain what is sometimes a short spell of feeling normal. Some people pride themselves on not taking any pills, even health supplements. Then as soon as the benefits of adequate magnesium and co-factors like B vitamins, Vitamin D and Omega 3’s kick in, they stop taking them. All too soon, another spate of magnesium deficiencies takes over, especially when meals are scant, devoid of vegetables, protein and essential fatty acids
. Cigarettes and coffee are no compensation. Anti-anxiety pills, two slabs of chocolate, antidepressants, a few shots of red wine or a six pack of beers and 20-40 cigarettes are not addressing the cause and offer little comfort. Medications for type 2 diabetes and statins for cholesterol, antispasmodics for cramps, energy uppers or drugs for hypertension and insomnia will not treat a magnesium deficiency. At best, they smother the symptoms and generate a host of unpleasant side effects. Some of them even deplete magnesium!
Magnesium deficiencies – a universal blind spot we need to be constantly reminded of
A magnesium deficiency increases the risk of kidney stones, atherosclerosis, joint inflammation and osteoporosis. Memory lapses and dementia could be side effects of statin drugs but they, like cholesterol imbalances, are actually symptoms of magnesium deficiencies. Others include brain fog and ADD or ADHD involving fidgety, neurotic, fluttery problems. Yet we treat youngsters with habit forming drugs like Ritalin or methylphenidate that are similar to cocaine. We wonder why so many people become insulin resistant.
This is yet another symptom of a magnesium deficiency that is being ignored by both alternative as well as mainstream practitioners. Insulin resistance makes one retain sodium which inhibits the uptake of magnesium. As a result, magnesium is excreted by the kidneys so levels of insulin as well as fat increase. Do we treat these with magnesium? Uh, no.
Menstrual cramps are treated with painkillers, not magnesium. Birth control pills and other patent drugs rob us of magnesium by inhibiting its uptake from the diet or by excreting it via the kidneys. The worst culprits are some brands of diuretics, antibiotics, painkillers, anti-cancer drugs and cortisone. Many of the chronic illnesses and especially Crohn’s disease, celiac sprue and kidney problems also rob one of magnesium. Many of these ailments are magnesium depleting but their common, underlying cause is more than likely to be a magnesium deficiency in the first place.
Adding more magnesium – too little or too much?
The easier, cheaper non-fattening option is to first try taking a balanced calcium/magnesium supplement before resorting to drastic measures. Add a slow release form of magnesium to the supplementation protocol and for good measure: B vitamins, taurine and Omega 3’s. They help to accelerate the miraculous reversal of symptoms of what many researchers now consider to be a universal yet often misdiagnosed magnesium deficiency. As a pleasurable reminder, add Epsom salts to your bath tub of hot water. Soak up the relaxing goodness and leave your miserable magnesium deficiencies behind. Feel the cramps and restless legs melt away and have a good night’s sleep. Taking a tot of powdered calcium and magnesium mixed with water before retiring for the night ensures more rapid, efficient absorption.
Here is a true story:
“A 40 year-old “irritable, anxious, extremely talkative, moderately depressed” smoking, alchohol-drinking, cocaine using male took 125mg magnesium taurinate at each meal and bedtime, and found his symptoms were gone within a week, and his cravings for tobacco, cocaine, and alcohol disappeared. His “ravenous appetite was supressed, and … beneficial weight loss ensued.” Eby has the same question about the history of depression that I do – why is depression increasing? His answer is magnesium deficiency.” (ref 1) This happy account of the alleviation of a magnesium deficiency as a primary treatment serves to demonstrate that simple supplementation is a safe, easy and economical way to treat the condition. This certainly paves the way to easily identifying the remaining ailments. Homeopathy can offer profound remedies for a cluster of symptoms relating to an individual’s magnesium-related disorders. Sucking the tissue salt MAG PHOS is a useful handbag remedy, especially for cramps, hiccoughs and tensed up arteries.
Go see your Doctor!
Presenting your list of complaints to a health professional is a good idea as they also need to be reminded of magnesium deficiencies. Our symptoms may differ but our need for extra magnesium remains the same. How can we test the blood if only 1% of our magnesium is present and our levels are strictly maintained for the sake of the heart? Magnesium reserves like calcium – its counterpart are stored in bones, muscles and other tissues.
Basically we need calcium for contraction and magnesium for relaxation. This is how we use our muscles, including heart muscles. Cramps, constipation, nervous tension, high blood sugar, hypertension and an irregular heartbeat give us a better idea of how we are being affected by a shortfall of magnesium. No fancy laboratory tests are required to determine the obvious.
Most of us are affected by magnesium deficiencies, but how much magnesium is too much? If you take a whacking dose of magnesium, you set your bowels free! Take enough to keep the waste solid. Some people are very sensitive to magnesium and run to the toilet after even a regular supplement. In such cases, take it only at mealtimes. Others need to add a pinch of Epsom salts to their powdered mineral supplement to keep the bowels relaxed and active.
Old fashioned doctors use their eyes and ears! Behavioural disturbances will also indicate the need to consider magnesium supplementation as a priority in preference to medications that do not address the true cause of these ailments. Guiding symptoms are: depression and anxiety, insomnia, chronic fatigue and lethargy, headaches, asthma, impaired memory and ADHD. The sort of every day complaints we take medications for – prescribed by doctors. What a strange way to treat a magnesium deficiency!
Beans and nuts, whole grains, oily fish and leafy green vegetables are common dietary sources of magnesium but are inadequate if your symptoms persist. We don’t all eat 3 bunches of spinach a day, so ask your practitioner to recommend a more effective supplement or scan the supermarket shelves. The slow-mag options are freely available. Add plenty of greens, nuts and grains to the shopping basket and bath in Epsom salts for good measure!
Links to excellent resources for identifying and treating your magnesium related issues – just do it!