Nutrients

  • Magnesium For Proven Stress Relief

    Magnesium is a Calming Mineral for Women’s Health and Wellbeing

    Magnesium is perhaps the most important mineral in the body and is crucial to Women’s health and wellbeing. It is also the most important nutrient for stress relief. A simple way of describing why we need Magnesium so much during, and after stress, is to consider that our bodies still have the same stress response as we did in Prehistoric times.  We obviously have much different stressors now though.  In the past if we were stressed, it was likely our life was in danger.  Now we might just be sitting in traffic or experiencing chronic daily stress over matters beyond our control. 

    When our life was in danger in the prehistoric times, our clever body’s wanted us to survive, so the best way to help us to respond to stress effectively (fight or flight – run for your life), was to dump our most calming mineral reserves – our precious reserves of magnesium. Our bodies are often entering fight or flight (aka sympathetic nervous system dominance) mode multiple times a day. When we are in fight or flight mode we are unable to enter rest and digest (parasympathetic nervous system) mode. We are chronically stressed and not taking the time to recover in between bouts.  Couple that with low levels of magnesium and other minerals in foods, due to low levels in the soil, and you have a recipe for deficiency.  To top it off, many of us do not have adequate gut function to absorb vitamins and minerals effectively.

    Symptoms of Deficiency

    Magnesium deficiency causes fatigue, anxiety, agitation, irritability, restlessness, panic attacks, vertigo, unrefreshed sleep, poor concentration, daytime sleepiness, cramps, twitches and shakes. Magnesium relaxes the whole nervous system.  As mentioned above it is lost rapidly during stress. Magnesium helps with depression and plays so many roles in the body. It is essential for Women’s health.

    Am I low?

    You won’t know if you are low in magnesium from standard blood tests as we store 25,000mg of magnesium in our body and only 1% of it is in the blood. Magnesium blood tests are also not commonly run by doctors unless specifically requested. The best way to assess if you are low in magnesium is to look at the symptoms above and consider how affected by stress you have been over the last few years.  If you are depleted you will need a supplement, food is ok to maintain levels if you have a very well balanced diet, but you will not reverse deficiency with food alone. I will also sometimes use an HTMA – Hair mineral tissue analysis to test mineral reserves and heavy metals in the body.

    Magnesium Supplements

    Not all magnesium supplements are the same. Yes magnesium is magnesium, but it is what the supplement producer’s bind the mineral to, that effects absorption.  Of course if you have any form of gut disorder your absorption will also be compromised. Some poor forms will cause gastric upset, and those forms are even marketed as laxative’s in different areas of the health store.  Also we have to consider what the capsule is made of, and whether fillers are added as some additives block absorption.

    Glycinate and Citrate are two of the better forms. If you have some of the more severe symptoms above, I would highly recommend working with me to look at all factors involved. I take a holistic and individual approach. I don’t just prescribe one magnesium supplement to everyone. Magnesium deficiency is only one of the possible nutrient deficiencies that you may have in some of the above conditions. In my practice I prescribe practitioner only forms of magnesium, some of which can cross the brain blood barrier rapidly, like Magnesium Threonate, so are really great for mental health support or when you need rapid, acute support.

    I would avoid buying the cheapest magnesium supplement you can find. For all of the reasons stated above. You are not really saving money if you are not absorbing the magnesium in the supplement.  The dose should be considered of course. In the case of deficiency I use researched therapeutic doses.

    This post may seem comprehensive, but I have barely even scratched the surface, that is how important magnesium is. I’ve talked about how it helps with PMS and perimenopause in the past, but it also helps many more conditions. So many of our body processes rely on magnesium and it is so important for both energy and sleep.

    Magnesium is only one of the minerals that you may need to restore your health.  If magnesium alone is not providing relief with any of the symptoms or conditions listed above, then it is a good time for a consultation with me so I can get to the root of the issue. As a Holistic Nutritionist I am an expert in mineral deficiencies and getting to the root of why they exist. Most of my clients are busy A type Women who are suffering the ill effects of stress. It is also very important to address lifestyle issues to help you reduce stress, and protect your precious reserves of magnesium.  Read more about working with me here.

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  • Zinc Deficiency – The signs and Solutions

    Along with magnesium Zinc is probably the mineral that I find most commonly deficient in Clients.  Severe zinc deficiency is rare but marginal zinc deficiency is very common.

    What are the benefits of zinc?

    • Zinc strengthens the immune system
    • Zinc fights inflammation
    • Zinc promotes wound healing
    • Zinc is important for skin health and aging
    • Zinc is really important for adequate stomach acid
    • Zinc helps keep your metabolism healthy
    • Zinc can help improve your sense of taste and smell
    • Zinc helps balance thyroid function
    • Zinc is important for hormone balance
    • Zinc is essential for fertility

    Signs of zinc deficiency:

    • Bleeding gums and gingivitis
    • Loss of appetite
    • Poor growth and fussiness in Children
    • Hair Loss
    • White spots on the nails
    • Poor sense of smell and taste
    • Symptoms of low stomach acid
    • In men – infertility and prostate enlargement
    • Night blindness
    • Acne
    • Poor wound healing
    • Poor immunity
    • Thyroid disease
    • Increased body odor
    • Hormonal imbalance

    Who is most at risk of deficiency?

    Pregnant Women and the Elderly are particularly susceptible to zinc deficiency.  Teenage boys tend to be another at risk group especially around age 13-14 which is the peak time of acne.  Zinc deficiency in pregnant Women is very common and statistics suggest 82% of  pregnant Women are considered zinc deficient.  This is due to the fact that they require almost triple the amount of the daily recommended amount of zinc for fetal growth.  Most of us are not getting enough zinc in our diets anyway, and the amount we require does not decrease as we age.  Vegetarians and Vegans are also at risk of deficiency as animal foods contain the highest levels of zinc.  Even if Vegetarians and Vegans increase their zinc rich plant based foods these foods are less bioavailable as they contain phytates which may bind to zinc and inhibit absorption.  If you are relying on plant based foods for nutrients you need to consider soaking, sprouting and fermenting to reduce phytate levels.

    If you have recently been unwell you are also at risk of zinc deficiency and when your health is not optimal your body becomes depleted easily.

    How much zinc do you need?

    All RDA’s differ but a general amount to prevent deficiency is – 8mg Women, 11mg Men, 3-5 mg Children, 25 mg Pregnant Women

    We should be aiming to get this from our diets.  If this is not possible a supplement is required.  Zinc supplements are generally at a maintenance dose at health stores, or at a higher dose (which is needed for anyone at risk of or with a deficiency) via Practitioners like myself.

    Zinc rich foods include – Meats, Seafood, Poultry, Dairy products, Whole grains and Nuts.

    Can you get too much zinc?

    Yes you do need to be cautious.  Minerals work in balance with one another.  Too much zinc could lead to imbalance in other minerals.  It is unlikely to occur from food, but be aware with supplements.  It is always best to work under the guidance of a qualified health practitioner like myself.  If you experience Nausea, Vomiting, Stomach pain, Fatigue or Lethargy when supplementing you should back off and consult a health professional.  If you experience slight nausea make sure you are taking it with a meal.

    How do you know if you are low in zinc?  Zinc is not routinely tested by GP’s in New Zealand and Australia.  You need to request the test from your doctor or lab, and in some cases you maybe asked to pay for it yourself.  I also offer Hair Mineral Analysis which gives you a very comprehensive look at all of your minerals, their ratios and also heavy metals that maybe present in your body.

    Some References:

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