Up to 80 percent of Americans are deficient in this nutrient, which is known for helping prevent sudden cardiac arrest, heart attack, stroke and even cancer.
Yet dangerously, they don’t even know it. It’s like having a criminal on the loose.
No blood test gives an accurate reading of its status in your body, because only one percent is found in your blood. Your stores of this mineral are mostly hidden in your bones and muscles.
And most people skimp on the foods that contain it — making them a magnet for all the ‘crimes’ linked to this deficiency, and causing them to miss out on all its benefits.
So it’s time to become your own personal detective, and learn how to read the symptoms of deficiency if you have them. Keep reading and I’ll provide you all the tools and tricks below.
10-Second “Eye” Test Reveals
Do you suffer from constant, low energy? If so, then you might be suffering from this 21st century silent epidemic that’s affecting millions this very minute.
There’s a simple test you can try right now that will reveal the root cause of your low energy woes and it’s all hidden inside of your eye.
You don’t hear much about magnesium, and maybe that’s why deficiency is so widespread. Or maybe it’s because, like Vitamin D, it has so many benefits they can’t be summed up in a sentence or two.
GreenMedInfo reports that researchers now know of 3,751 magnesium-binding sites on human proteins, suggesting that its role in your health may have been vastly underestimated. And they’ve indexed more than 100 health benefits of magnesium.
Magnesium is also found in 300+ different enzymes that help relax your blood vessels, keep your heart beating strongly, promote bowel function, regulate blood sugar levels, and create energy and strong bones.
Lowers your cancer risk
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that higher levels of dietary magnesium were linked to a lower risk of tumors of the colon and rectum.1
In fact, for every 100 mg boost in your magnesium intake, your risk of colorectal tumor drops by 13 percent.
Researchers think its anti-cancer effects might be related to magnesium’s ability to lower insulin resistance, which is also linked to tumor development (and, of course, diabetes). But magnesium may also reduce colon cancer by improving bowel function. In fact, it’s a natural laxative (think milk of magnesia). And you can get diarrhea by over-supplementing with magnesium.
Prevents strokes and heart attacks
Many studies show that magnesium benefits your blood pressure and helps prevent strokes and heart attacks.
One meta-analysis of seven studies involving a total of 240,000 participants showed that those with the highest magnesium levels had the lowest risk of ischemic stroke.2
However, even these impressive benefits may be a small portion of what magnesium can do for you.
Magnesium helps you detoxify, so it helps prevent damage from various toxins and heavy metals.
Even glutathione – your body’s “master antioxidant” – requires magnesium in order to work.
Become a detective to find out if you’re deficient
Since there’s no blood test to reveal if you need more magnesium, it’s time to put on your detective hat. Even the other tests your doctor could order – a 24-hour urine test or a sublingual epithelial test – give only a hint of your magnesium levels.
You need to evaluate your possible symptoms of deficiency for yourself.
So, do you suffer any of these conditions?
- Atrial fibrillation
- Type 2 diabetes (leads to magnesium loss in urine)
- Premenstrual syndrome
- Migraine (and other headaches)
- Cardiovascular disease
- High blood pressure
- Coronary spasms
- Numbness and tingling
- Muscle contractions/cramps
- Low appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
- Fatigue and weakness
- Use of medications (diuretics, antibiotics, and some cancer drugs contribute to deficiency)
- An unhealthy digestive system (Crohn’s, leaky gut…) affects magnesium absorption
- Aging (absorption decreases with age)
- Kidney problems (contribute to excessive magnesium loss in urine)
Don’t expect a miracle cure for any of these conditions just by taking magnesium supplements, but magnesium brings significant relief and – if you have a severe deficiency – you may see an improvement that really is like a miracle cure.
To protect yourself against cancer, stroke, heart attack, and diabetes, you’ll want an action plan to improve your magnesium status.
Consider this: Your heart is a muscle. If a magnesium deficiency is giving you spasms in your leg muscles, what does it suggest for your heart?
The best way to bone up your magnesium levels
If you suspect you’re low in magnesium, your best bet is to boost your levels by eating the organically bound magnesium found in whole foods. Pills are a poor second.
The chlorophyll molecule has a magnesium atom at its center. That’s what enables it to use the sun’s light energy. So take the hint and eat a lot of green plants.
Green leafy vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard are great sources of magnesium-rich chlorophyll. Other high magnesium foods include nuts, nut butters and seeds – like almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower, flax, and sesame seeds. Avocados and some beans are also high in magnesium.
Seaweed, basil and coriander are also good options. So is dark chocolate.
Juicing your vegetables can greatly boost your magnesium levels (and those of other great nutrients), because you’re eliminating the fiber and taking in a lot more of everything else. Eight ounces of carrot juice, for example, contains far more carrots than you’re ever likely to eat at one sitting. Yet vegetable juices add hardly any calories to your diet.
Want to do a supplement? It can get confusing
There are many kinds of magnesium supplements on the market. I’ll try to help you sort through them.
Magnesium must be tightly bound – or chelated – to another substance. The word chelated originates from the Greek word for claw.
The Weston Price Foundation explains that chelation means a mineral is held in place by another molecule, such as an amino acid or other molecule – much as a claw would hold a small object.
Chelation prevents a normally reactive mineral like magnesium from reacting with other substances. It makes absorption easier. How much easier depends upon what’s chelated to it.
When you eat the plant food itself, you get naturally chelated magnesium via the chlorophyll. That’s why real food should be your #1 strategy.
But if your goal is to quickly boost your levels, you can try one or more of these options. Personally, I like to vary the form of magnesium I take to hedge my bets on absorption.
- Magnesium glycinate – Chelated magnesium known for high absorption and bioavailability. Considered ideal if you’re trying to correct a deficiency.
- Magnesium lactate and magnesium chloride – Contain only 12% magnesium, but have higher absorption than others with greater percentages of magnesium.
- Magnesium carbonate – About 45% magnesium with antacid properties.
- Magnesium citrate – Magnesium with citric acid. Has laxative properties.
- Magnesium taurate – Magnesium + taurine (an amino acid). Exerts calming effect on body and mind.
- Magnesium Threonate – A newer type of magnesium supplement. Can possibly penetrate the mitochondrial membrane.
- Magnesium oxide – Non-chelated. Contains about 60% magnesium with stool softening properties.
- Magnesium sulfate or magnesium hydroxide – Also called milk of magnesia. Used as a laxative. WARNING: It is very easy to overdose on these so follow instructions carefully.
The RDA for magnesium ranges from 310 to 420 mg per day, depending on your age. Some researchers think we need double that amount. Fortunately it’s quite safe so you don’t have to worry about overdosing except for the diarrhea issue.
Experts say the best way to tell when you’re getting enough magnesium is the “bowel test.” When your stools become loose, back down your amount slightly. You could start at about 200 mg per day and build to the point of bowel tolerance.
Relax your way to higher magnesium
Magnesium is readily absorbed through your skin and into your blood stream. So soaking in a bath of Epsom salts, which contain a naturally occurring magnesium and sulfate, can have powerful health benefits and help you detoxify.
Epsom salts work via reverse osmosis, pulling harmful toxins out and letting the magnesium and sulfates into your body. Allow 40 minutes – 20 minutes for detoxification and 20 minutes for mineral absorption.
So you’ve detected whether you’re deficient. And now you have three great ways to improve your magnesium status – real foods, Epsom salt baths, and supplements. Your health will thank you for your fine detective work.
On another front altogether, immunotherapy is the most talked-about new development in conventional cancer treatment. It’s the breakthrough that cured former President Jimmy Carter of late-stage cancer. But is it the real thing, or another disappointment produced by the so-called War on Cancer?
Scroll down and find out. . .
Will the Treatment that Cured Jimmy Carter
Work for You?
Mainstream Medicine “Discovers” Immunotherapy
Immunotherapy is the current rage in conventional medicine, with dozens or, for all I know, hundreds of research labs rushing to create “custom” immune system cells and molecules to attack specific cancer strains. These Big Pharma creations are very expensive if and when they do come to market. Only a few are available at this time.
This approach is the one that reversed former President Jimmy Carter’s cancer, and thereby made a huge splash in the news.
At least the new immunotherapy is an advance over the previous oncology fad — “designer” chemotherapy drugs (i.e. poisons) targeted with particular strains of cancer in mind. Outside of some successes in leukemia treatment, this fad didn’t accomplish much.
But all the recent fuss about “immunotherapy” as a “cutting edge treatment” is misplaced when you consider the core concept is more than a century old. Nearly all alternative cancer therapists focus on various ways to boost the immune system, something that didn’t interest mainstream medicine at all until recently. Now it’s on the cover of Time magazine.
And, using an approach called dendritic cell therapy, a few alternative doctors have modified the patient’s immune system cells so they’re able to identify and kill the patient’s particular type of cancer. Their approach, called dendritic cell therapy, resembles the immunotherapy now being proclaimed as a breakthrough.
But whether you call it old-fashioned or “revolutionary” as some media outlets term it, the bottom line is that immunotherapy does work well at reversing cancer. Best of all, it harnesses the body’s natural healing abilities to do so. Here’s what’s going on. . .
The REAL Reason Your Doctor Keeps Prescribing
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The immune system 100 years ago
Let’s first take a quick step back into the 19th century, to one Dr. William Coley. It was in the 1890’s that this New York surgeon first focused on the idea of using the body’s natural immune system to fight illness, through an approach he called “Coley’s toxins.”
Dr. Coley’s treatment began by prompting bacterial infection in cancer patients using strep bacteria. His aim was to “jumpstart” their immune systems. Once revved up, he hypothesized the immune system would launch a fever, and that cancer cells could not survive the high temperatures.
Dr. Coley’s approach was celebrated at first because it was better than anything else at the time. But it was still regarded with doubt, largely because nobody understood the immune system. And without that missing piece of the puzzle, there was no explanation as to why the treatment sometimes worked and sometimes didn’t. Besides that, it was hazardous to infect people with serious diseases.
Over the course of five years, Dr. Coley used this approach on roughly 900 confirmed cases and had a five-year survival rate of 50%. This was impressive for the time, given conventional chemotherapy 120 years ago offered a 2.5% survival rate.
Yet, after Dr. Coley’s death in 1936, his approach fell out of use. In 1963, the FDA stated Coley’s toxins were an ineffective cancer treatment and banned their use altogether. Despite this, a few doctors used it, including the late Dr. Robert Atkins (famous for popularizing the carb-free diet).
The medical files that launched a movement
Dr. Coley’s immune-system treatment idea was revived when his daughter, Helen Coley Nauts, began researching her father’s life as a doctor while prepping to write his biography. She uncovered and analyzed around 1,000 patient files that involved Coley’s toxins.
Helen Coley Nauts went on to start the Cancer Research Institute with the goal of understanding the immune system’s role in cancer. Her work was inspired by her analysis of her father’s files, where she found incredible success rates for healing certain cancerous tumors, but not for others.
Today, thanks to Coley and Nauts, hundreds of researchers have pieced together a dramatic understanding of the immune system. In fact, immune-focused treatments can be found for various cancers, including cancers of the stomach, lung, and kidney, along with leukemia and melanoma.
That’s what’s behind the treatment used on former President Jimmy Carter for advanced melanoma: using the power of your own immune system to wipe out cancer cells.
How immunotherapy made President Carter cancer-free
Melanoma cancer has been described as very sneaky, because it’s able to produce a kind of “shield” that blocks your immune system’s T cells from being able to kill it. But in immunotherapy, “monoclonal antibodies” are created that are able to overcome the melanoma cancer cell’s shield so the T-cell can do its job.
Jimmy Carter was given an immunotherapy drug called Keytruda. This particular drug, manufactured by giant drug company Merck, works to block those shields so his immune system could better recognize and destroy his melanoma cancer cells.
President Carter’s cancer was initially detected when doctors found four small lesions on his brain (thanks to stage four skin cancer that had spread to his liver and brain; this cancer would normally be considered hopeless).
He was soon treated with targeted radiation and the new immunotherapy drug, along with having ten percent of his liver removed. The drug was administered intravenously. Four months later, his lesions had cleared up and doctors pronounced his cancer “undetectable.”
Mr. Carter has continued immunotherapy treatments every three weeks to help ensure the cancer won’t recur and to keep him in long-term remission.
The prognosis for most people who use this therapy in a clinical setting is quite good, especially for early stage cancer. Don’t count on the kind of luck the former President had with late stage metastatic cancer.
The downside is that it’s exorbitantly expensive. Side effects can vary, particularly if a patient is treated with multiple types of immunotherapy drugs. But the side effects aren’t as drastic as those of traditional chemotherapy. A patient doesn’t have to worry about hair loss or similar symptoms.
Immunotherapy also goes by the title “biologics” or biologic therapy. At present, it’s approved for use in cases of advanced stage melanoma and non-small cell lung cancer, and clinical trials are underway for colorectal cancer, multiple myeloma, and 30 other different kinds of cancer.
Is medicine finally coming full circle?
Several doctors predict this is the future of medicine, and I’m glad to see that the future includes working with the body instead of against it. What would be even better is to find an herb or vitamin or supplement that can prompt the same reaction but at a fraction of the cost.
One additional benefit to immunotherapy worth mentioning is that it brings hope to older people suffering from cancer. Jimmy Carter is 91, and in the past someone of his age might not have been offered such treatment because the logic is that the risks outweigh the benefits (the logic is also that if you’re 91 it’s time to go, but doctors probably aren’t going to put it that crudely).
Chemo for late-stage cancer would be expected to extend the patient’s life by only a few months – or even a few weeks. And it’s enormously expensive. The new immunotherapy is also expensive, but it’s less harsh and at least it’s effective. So people of advanced age – or any age – may now find this a viable option.
And to think, every treatment in use today that harnesses the power of the immune system to fight cancer really began with the work of William Coley over 100 years ago.