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The Best And Worst Forms Of Magnesium To Take As Supplements

The Best And Worst Forms Of Magnesium To Take As Supplements
periodic table – Clker-Free-Vector-Images ; table of food – FotoshopTofs – pixabay.com

What Is Magnesium And Why Is It Important?

Magnesium is an essential mineral in the body — it is naturally found circulating in our blood in electrolyte form. However, like other electrolytes potassium and sodium, magnesium has to fall within normal levels in order to maintain homeostasis in the body; simply put, homeostasis means balance.

Magnesium plays a very important role in a variety of bodily functions such as the production of energy, bone development, and even the synthesis on DNA and RNA. One of magnesium’s most important roles is the transportation of calcium and potassium through cell membranes, the latter of which is responsible for muscle movement — including the movement of the cardiac muscle. [1]

Let’s Talk About Magnesium Deficiency

Normal magnesium levels are from 1.5 to 2.5 mEq/L. If you get your blood drawn and your doctor orders a blood chemistry panel, you will often find magnesium included in your test results. Of course, if you present specific symptoms of magnesium deficiency or hypomagnesemia, you can also get your magnesium levels tested separately and alone — though this is rare (doctors will usually order a full panel of electrolytes to accurately diagnose you). So what does magnesium deficiency look and feel like? [2]

If you are suffering from hypomagnesemia, expect…

fatigue
nausea, vomiting
– poor appetite

If the deficiency is severe, you can expect…

– numbness and tingling
– muscle cramps
– muscle weakness
– seizures
– muscle spasticity
– abnormal heart rhythms

Keeping Your Magnesium In Check

Typically, a healthy person receives magnesium from dietary sources like green leafy vegetables (e.g. spinach), legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. However, if your diet is unhealthy or you are sick (particularly diseases that mess with your electrolytes like kidney problems), you may need to take magnesium supplements to keep your body’s magnesium levels in check.

Best Magnesium Supplements:

There are different kinds of magnesium supplements out in the market, with varying bioavailability and other properties.

1. Magnesium Citrate

A highly bioavailable form of magnesium. Classified as a mild laxative, this supplement is a good source of magnesium for those who are also suffering from constipation. The citric acid part of this supplement is responsible for the mild laxative effects, and can also be used to manage acid indigestion. Since this form of magnesium speeds up bowel movement, it is best to avoid this is you are suffering from diarrhea. [3]

2. Magnesium Taurate

Unlike magnesium citrate, this magnesium supplement has no laxative properties, meaning it can be taken by people who aren’t constipated or suffer from frequent bowel movements. This is a great choice for people with heart conditions, because studies have shown how taurine is a vascular-protective nutritional supplement and is able to lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol-induced atherogenesis, and even prevents arrhythmias and stabilizes platelets, very similar to the how magnesium works in the body. [4]

3. Magnesium Malate

Malic acid, which makes up the malate portion of this supplement, is a great energy booster for people suffering from fatigue. In a study that involved people suffering from fibromyalgia, supplementation with magnesium and malic acid revealed that the mixture was beneficial in treating the symptoms of pain and tenderness by improving energy production of the body’s cells. This lead to better movement and a marked improvement in the subject’s quality of life. [5]

4. Magnesium Glycinate

Magnesium glycinate is a popular choice for magnesium supplementation because of its high bioavailability — meaning it is easily absorbed and processed by the body. Glycine is also known to produce calming effects, which can be helpful in relieving anxiety and stress — and can also help promote better sleep. A 2012 study found that supplementation with glycine was able to reduce fatigue and improve sleep quality, as well as reduction of sleepiness during the day. [6]

5. Magnesium Chloride

Another popular magnesium supplement is magnesium chloride; not only is this form of magnesium widely available, it is also highly bioavailable. This is the most common supplement physicians prescribe patients who are suffering from low magnesium levels. Like magnesium malate, magnesium chloride was also effective in reducing the symptoms of fibromyalgia — specifically symptoms of fatigue, muscle pain, and sleep problems. [7]

6. Magnesium Carbonate

Magnesium carbonate is widely used as both a supplement and treatment for gastrointestinal problems like dyspepsia, heartburn, reflux disease, and constipation. This is because carbonate acts as both a laxative and antacid which can help reduce various gastrointestinal symptoms. [8]

7. Magnesium L-threonate

Magnesium L-threonate is a form of magnesium supplement that has recently been gaining popularity because of its brain boosting abilities. In 2013, Wang, et. al. found that magnesium L-threonate was able to prevent and restore memory deficits in people affected by neuropathic pain. This kind of supplement is also easily absorbed through the blood-brain barrier, wherein another study in 2010 showed how this supplement was able to aid learning and memory by elevating levels of magnesium in the brain. [9][10]

8. Magnesium Stearate

Stearic acid is typically used as a filler in the manufacturing of mineral supplements. It “lubricates” the powdered mineral, making it easier to pass through the machines that form the tablets or capsules. While stearic acid levels in each tablet or capsule are generally very low, concern has been raised regarding its gradual accumulation with prolonged intake of supplements. While this concern is valid, a study in 2009 has actually found that stearic acid actually lowered LDL (bad cholesterol) compared to other saturated fatty acids. [11]

Magnesium Supplements You May Wish To Avoid:

1. Magnesium Oxide

While magnesium oxide isn’t really dangerous for you (you can actually find this easily in more pharmacies), it has poor bioavailability, meaning it is poorly absorbed the body compared to other kinds of supplements — this makes magnesium supplementation harder to complete, since it takes a while before your magnesium levels get to where you want them with this kind of supplement. The National Institutes of Health report the bioavailability of this supplement to be at four percent only. [12]

2. Magnesium Sulfate

Magnesium sulfate is the standard form of magnesium used in hospitals and medical centers to correct hypomagnesemia. Intravenous administration of this form of magnesium can easily correct low magnesium levels in 12 to 24 hours but since it is quite potent, you can easily overdose on it if you are taking it outside of a monitored medical setting. [13]

3. Magnesium Glutamate And Aspartate

This form of magnesium supplement should be avoided because it contains glutamic acid or aspartate, a component of the artificial sweetener aspartame. Aspartame has been linked to glucose intolerance through the alteration of microbes in the gut. A study found that when gut microbiota is exposed to aspartame, they are less sensitive to glucose and because of this, circulating sugar levels become much higher — which is ironic, since you’re taking artificial sweetener to avoid hyperglycemia in the first place. [14]

Further Reading:

Important Facts About Magnesium And Your Health

Magnesium – The Missing Link To Better Health

This Is Why Magnesium Is The Most Powerful Relaxation Mineral Known To Man

References:

[1] National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements. Magnesium. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/#h2

[2] Healthline. Hypomagnesemia (low magnesium). https://www.healthline.com/health/hypomagnesemia

[3] Medscape. Magnesium citrate. https://reference.medscape.com/drug/magnesium-citrate-342017

[4] McCarty, M. (1996). Complementary vascular-protective actions of magnesium and taurine: a rationale for magnesium taurate. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8692051

[5] Russell, I., et. al. (1995). Treatment of fibromyalgia syndrome with Super Malic: a randomized, double blind, placebo controlled, crossover pilot study. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8587088

[6] Bannai, M., et. al. (2012). The Effects of Glycine on Subjective Daytime Performance in Partially Sleep-Restricted Healthy Volunteers. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3328957/

[7] Engen, D., et. al. (2015). Effects of transdermal magnesium chloride on quality of life for patients with fibromyalgia: a feasibility study. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26343101

[8] ScienceDirect. Magnesium carbonate. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/neuroscience/magnesium-carbonate

[9] Wang, J., et. al. (2013). Magnesium L-threonate prevents and restores memory deficits associated with neuropathic pain by inhibition of TNF-α. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24077207

[10] Slutsky, I., et. al. (2010). Enhancement of learning and memory by elevating brain magnesium. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20152124

[11] Hunter, J., et. al. (2010). Cardiovascular disease risk of dietary stearic acid compared with trans, other saturated, and unsaturated fatty acids: a systematic review. http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/91/1/46

[12] Firoz, M. & Graber, M. (2001). Bioavailability of US commercial magnesium preparations. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11794633

[13] Fulop, T. (2017). Hypomagnesemia Treatment and Management. https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/2038394-treatment

[14] Suez, J., et. al. (2014). Artificial sweeteners induce glucose intolerance by altering the gut microbiota. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25231862

Snail Slime Skin Creams Becoming Popular In The United States

Snail Slime Skin Creams Becoming Popular In The United States
Photo © HQuality – shutterstock.com

If you aren’t into beauty and lifestyle, you probably don’t know that the hotbed of innovative technology in skincare is Asia — specifically countries like Korea and Japan. One surprising innovation is the use of snail slime in creams and other various skin care products. Can you believe that the icky trail of slime snails leave behind is actually good for our skin health? Because of its popularity in Asia, these snail slime-infused products have been recently gaining popularity in the US. If you head over to your local mall, you’re now likely to find some sort of snail slime skin product — whether it be a cream or face mask.

The Benefits Of Snail Slime

Despite the recent trend, it’s actually not a new thing. Historically, snail slime has been used since the time of the Ancient Greeks, when Hippocrates reportedly used the ingredient to soothe inflammatory skin conditions. Similar uses have been found in folk medicine; in Southern Italy, snail slime is used on warts, calluses, acne, and other similar skin conditions. Further research was done when Chilean farmers noticed that their skin lesions healed much faster after handling snails; this interesting phenomenon became the focus of several studies on snail mucus and skin abrasions. Today, topically-applied snail slime creams are increasingly growing in popularity. [1]

Science has also focused on the popularity of snail slime skincare products — and the reason why this ingredient is so popular. It all boils down to how snail slime has significant antioxidant properties that help fight off aging. Snail slime’s restorative properties are due to its ability to give the skin a youthful appearance by reducing hyperpigmentation, scarring, and wrinkles. These claims have made snail slime products incredibly popular among older people who want to regain the suppleness of young skin and among younger consumers who want to keep their skin the way it is — young and fresh. [1]

The Impact Of The South Korean Beauty Industry

Did you know that the South Korean beauty industry is the 8th largest in the global market? That’s why a lot of American and European-based companies have been getting inspiration from their Asian counterparts — in both make-up and skincare. From BB creams to cushion foundations, the latest craze is snail creams. These snail products were first introduced in the South Korean market in the early 2000s, with one of the earliest snail cream products coming from “Missha”, a popular Korean beauty company, back in 2010. Missha also confirmed Chile as one of the first places snail slime was topically used to manage skin abrasions. Today, you can find similar products (or even the Korean brands themselves) in your local drugstore or department store. [2]

If you have particularly sensitive skin, your best bet is still to ask your dermatologist for advice regarding snail cream products. Most of these products have been dermatologically tested (and Korean companies are quite stringent with testing) but it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you aren’t allergic, then why not give snail slime a try? It might be the answer you’re looking for in keeping your skin young!

References:

[1] Liu, L, Sood, A. &Steinweg, S. (2017). Snails and Skin Care—An Uncovered Combination. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamadermatology/article-abstract/2642949

[2] Missha. Super Aqua Cell Renew Snail. https://www.misshaus.com/landing_super_aqua_cell_renew_snail

Should You Eat Three Big Meals Or Many Mini-Meals?

Should You Eat Three Big Meals Or Many Mini-Meals?
Photo – leeroy – lifeofpix.com

Is there an ideal meal frequency to optimize weight loss and to promote metabolism? This is one of the most widely debated topics in the nutritional world. Conventional wisdom suggests the need to eat smaller amounts more often to control hunger pangs and to burn off calories. This waistline-friendly dieting approach has been promoted by many fitness gurus.

The other side of the debate argues that eating smaller meals has no effect on metabolic rate and weight loss. This side forwards the value of eating fewer than three meals which may be best in terms of controlling calories.

Let’s take a look at several studies to determine how often you should really eat to achieve your weight management goals. It’s about time to cut the pseudoscientific, marketing nonsense and get down the conflicting approaches to meal frequency: eating a few large meals versus eating more frequent smaller meals.

Eating More Frequently Will Increase Your Metabolism?

Several studies posited why people should eat more frequently, which may offer benefits by decreasing hunger and food intake. In April 2015, the Journal of the Academy of the Nutrition and Dietetics published a study that revealed the link between a larger number of small meals and improved diet quality and lower body mass index in 2,696 American and British men and women aged 40-59 years. [1] The authors highlight the implications of their study’s findings for behavioral approaches to controlling the obesity epidemic.

One study confirmed the effect of increasing meal frequency on decreasing hunger and improving appetite control at subsequent meals. This study also linked increased meal frequency to the preservation of lean body mass in athletes. [2] Another study underlines the positive impact of the frequency of meals on cholesterol and insulin levels. This research affirmed the metabolic advantages of increased meal frequency. [3]

Eat Like A King Two To Three Times A Day?

Despite the availability of scientific evidence that eating more often is associated with more opportunities to burn calories, research suggests why eating more often may not be optimal or does not enhance metabolism. In 2013, the journal Physiology and Behavior published a study that showed the effectiveness of skipping breakfast as a means for controlling calories. [4] According to the study, people who skipped breakfast only consumed about 400 fewer calories for the entire day compared to when they had breakfast.

Eating larger breakfast was found more beneficial for type 2 diabetic patients than six smaller meals during a day. This study assessed the effect of six meals and two meals a day on the patients’ body weight, hepatic fat content, insulin resistance and beta cell function of the subjects. [5]

In April 1997, the British Journal of Nutrition reported on the inverse relationship between a “nibbling meal pattern” and avoidance of obesity. The article assessed pertinent studies and found out that there was very weak epidemiological evidence on the metabolic advantage of nibbling meal patterns. [6] This very same journal also published a 2010 report that downplayed the correlation between increasing meal frequency and body weight loss in individuals who had a two-month energy-restricted diet. [7]

Which Eating Pattern Is Better For Everybody?

Based on the studies discussed above, it is safe to conclude that meal frequency is not the final determinant for speeding up metabolic rate or aiding fat loss. Some individuals are grazers by nature while others folk eat by the clock. People need to have a great food plan and to ensure that their calorie intake is controlled. The better approach is to go by how one feels and to find a meal frequency that is in sync with your nutrition plan.

There is no one best meal frequency because fat loss is attributed to total calories and macronutrient composition. [8] Probably the best idea for timing your meals is to eat only when truly hungry, stop before you are “stuffed”, and repeat the first two indefinitely.

Further Reading:

Super Chart Of Ways To Boost Your Metabolism For Increased Energy And Natural Weight Reduction

Mindful Eating – Suddenly, You Have Power Over Food

10 Ways You Can Boost Your Metabolism Plus 10 Metabolism-Boosting Foods

6 Superb Morning Rituals To Improve Metabolism

References:

[1] Aljuraiban GS et al. The Impact of Eating Frequency and Time of Intake on Nutrient Quality and Body Mass Index: The INTERMAP Study, a Population-Based Study. http://jandonline.org/article/S2212-2672(14)01764-X/abstract

[2] La Bounty PM et al. March 16, 2011. International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: meal frequency. https://jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1550-2783-8-4

[3] Jenkins DJ et al. October 1989. New England Journal of Medicine. Nibbling versus gorging: metabolic advantages of increased meal frequency. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2674713

[4] Levitsky DA and Pacanowski CR. July 2, 2013. Effect of skipping breakfast on subsequent energy intake. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23672851

[5] Kahleova H et al. April 9, 2014. Diabetologica. Eating two larger meals a day (breakfast and lunch) is more effective than six smaller meals in a reduced-energy regimen for patients with type 2 diabetes: a randomised crossover study. http://www.diabetologia-journal.org/files/Kahleova.pdf

[6] Bellisle F et al. Meal frequency and energy balance. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9155494

[7] Cameron JD et al. April 2010. Increased meal frequency does not promote greater weight loss in subjects who were prescribed an 8-week equi-energetic energy-restricted diet. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19943985

[8] Tom Venuto. 2008. The Body Fat Solution: Five Principles for Burning Fat, Building Lean Muscles, Ending Emotional Eating, and Maintaining Your Perfect Weight. https://books.google.com.ph/books/about/The_Body_Fat_Solution.html?id=Zk2qcGPklQIC&redir_esc=y