Category Archives: Calcium

The sympathetic vs parasympathetic nervous systems…

You know the feeling of nervousness, stress or panic when we perceive danger or anticipating danger? Many of us know of the ‘fight or flight’ response being related to survival – but do you know much about the physiology of it?

How it affects your body in the long term to stay in that mode all the time?

 

Once upon a time we would have had to run from a predator, another opposing tribe or flee during bad weather… but in modern life, what is defined as things to escape from have somewhat taken on a new ‘cloak’. We now have ‘stress’ around us all the time, and what is physical or perceived stress WILL impact on our bodies, and sustained stress will turn into changes in our physiology.

Our bodies are designed to have short bursts of stress, and times of recovery in between so that we can maintain homeostasis and health.

The sympathetic nervous system is the one which activates our ‘fight or flight’ response… that includes activating thyroid and adrenal glands to provide energy so we can get away from the danger.

The energy this system uses is ‘destructive’ to the body – short bursts won’t necessarily harm, but long-term, the body ends up scrambling energy from any source it can, as quickly as it can, not discriminating where it comes from – it can be using muscles and other energy stores not normally used for ’emergency’ functions.

 

Of big focus to many who watch their waistline and wonder why it doesn’t change – the sympathetic nervous system won’t necessarily burn the fat you want it to!

 

If you stay in this ‘flight or fight’ mode… you will be burning through minerals, vitamins, potentially healthy muscle and other stores, and it will be detrimental to your adrenals and thyroid over time. You may feel great now, and amazed at how you can ‘keep on keeping on’, but a more major stressful life event will happen, and “suddenly” you will have a chronic illness, an autoimmune condition or even just get everyday sicknesses all the time, and not seem to ever fully recover.

You also have a parasympathetic nervous system which is involved in nourishing, healing, elimination and regeneration of the body.

The parasympathetic system gets ‘closed down’ to minimal operation when the sympathetic is active – imagine your body not being able to give much ‘attention’ at a metabolic level to your liver, pancreas, stomach and intestines? What do you think would happen to your body……?

  • Digestive disruption (slow motility, low stomach acid levels)
  • Low energy availability (where’s that energy coming from if you aren’t digesting?)
  • “Dis-ease” in these organs – diabetes/insulin resistance/blood glucose regulation, low digestive enzyme availability, gall stones, low liver function, etc
  • Constipation or diarrhea

“So what do I need to do?” I hear you say…

Working with your body to bring it into the parasympathetic state is really important – this means REST! Also nourishing your body fully so that when it needs to go into the ‘fight or flight’ mode, it has the energy sources, minerals and vitamins it needs to do it.

If you also contend with anxiety, depression, insomnia and the like, this can be extremely difficult – all of these conditions are heavily tied to mineral imbalances, so get testing done and learn about how they impact on your body, your brain and your life overall!

A few other things come to mind…

  • Be aware of your stresses in life – remove them where you can. If you can’t remove them, consider thinking outside the box on how to reduce them.
  • Relaxation, meditation, ‘me time’, anything to give you positive thoughts – do something EVERY day!
  • Eat whole foods, know what’s in your food… avoid all additives in ALL foods – not just the ‘numbers’ you know to be bad…..iron fortification, vitamin b, calcium
  • Empower yourself to understand your own health and that of your family – read, learn, ask questions, trust your gut… if it doesn’t seem ‘right’ for you… don’t do it.

Consider checking out the options and getting your minerals tested so you have a starting point. Remember, if you are always ‘running on empty’, this can be made worse by mineral imbalances and you are likely to continue to make the imbalances worse the longer you push through it.

Mineral imbalances don’t just fix themselves…nor do over the counter ‘quick fixes’ solve them. They are just band-aids…

Until next time!

– Kristan.

Filed under Calcium, Iron Dysregulation, Magnesium, Mineral Balance

Mineral Balance, food intolerances/allergies or chronic illness and how these relate… (part 3)

(Continuing on from part 2 – here)

Vitamin D, Calcium and so many minerals… absorption can’t happen without magnesium… !

They diagnose low Vitamin D, despite many of us (in Australia at least) getting plenty of sun. They tell us to take the oral Vitamin (often D3) but don’t realise that it needs to be taken when there is sufficient magnesium in the body to absorb it… or your D3 levels are likely to never go up!

They tell us that calcium is so critical for strong bones, but they don’t tell us that without magnesium, it often cannot be absorbed either. Vitamin D3 and calcium need magnesium to be absorbed. That doesn’t necessarily mean they need to be TAKEN at the same time though. A small subtlety… but an important one.

Magnesium needs to be present in the cells to absorb nutrients from your digestion…. but if you take it at the same time as Calcium and D3, it may hinder absorption of all.

Some are familiar with magnesium… know that taking it when you are getting leg cramps may help. Take apparent megadoses of it… but you know what? You need the elemental magnesium, not just the total magnesium listed on the label. Sometimes it can say 400mg of magnesium, but it may have only 4mg of elemental magnesium in it! It also may not be well absorbed depending on the type.

There are so many complexities to how magnesium works in the body, how it is absorbed and how it helps the body to function once its there… but where to start?

Magnesium oil. Magnesium Chloride.

Put this on your skin, and it is well absorbed. It bypasses the need for the gut and gets to work in your body. Start slow, use 4-6 sprays per day in the first week. Then increase by 2 sprays per day, each week. So week 1 = (say) 4 sprays per day. Week 2 = 6, week 3 = 8 and so forth. Each Magnesium Oil spray will be a different concentration, but, the one I use is 66mg of Elemental Mag per 4 sprays… so I’m working towards the suggested total of 5 x my body weight (in pounds) in milligrams. So for a 150 pound person, that would be 750 mg per day TOTAL. So if you are taking any other supplements with magnesium, that would be included.

If you want to minimise tingling/stinging, spray only on the soles of your feet. Perhaps just before bed, or while watching tv/doing quiet activities in the evening and then wipe off the oil residue before bed.

(I started on my feet and have worked out since that my belly doesn’t tingle, so I put all of mine on there now, and wear an old shirt to bed so it doesn’t go on my sheets/good PJs)

For us, I noticed a change quickly. My breastfed baby started sleeping ‘through’ when I was up to 8 sprays per day. If I have deviated from that, she has started waking again. Tested several times sadly! In times of stress, you may need even more.

Something I noticed, and I didn’t fully think of this until much later. I started to tan on my feet for the first time in my 30-something years of life. Where was I putting the mag oil? On my feet. I wasn’t out in the sun any more, I wasn’t doing anything different to other recent years… it was only spring time too – not hugely intense sunlight… but… I developed a sun tan. Fancy that… more magnesium, more conversion of sunlight in the body to all the ‘good stuff’…?

Once you get started and see a difference, consider having a hair analysis done and getting some guidance on your own personal mineral status… more about that on another post, but if you are desperate NOW… go to ‘gotmag.org’ and have a look around. Get Morley to do an assessment for you…!

Some useful links about Vitamin D and absorption:

  • Magnesium, vitamin D status and mortality: results from US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2001 to 2006 and NHANES III: Click Here
  • A very interesting ‘take’ on how so many physicians demand their patients to take Vitamin D, and explanation as to why they probably don’t improve! Click here
  • Some more information about Vitamin D/mineral absorption: Click here

Filed under Calcium, Health and Wellbeing, Magnesium, Mineral Balance

Mineral Balance, food intolerances/allergies or chronic illness and how these relate… (part 2)

Magnesium and Zinc…

(Continuing my discussion from Part 1)

When we overdo it, we get run down and can experience low zinc and magnesium as a direct result of stress. Copper often then shoots up and it prevents us getting the other two back to optimum levels again. We get run down, constantly sick. Just start to get better again, BANG, sick again.

We get problems with depression, reoccurring low moods. How we think starts to change – feeling more negative, submissive, doubting ourselves. Anxiety may kick in (read more here). Our mood starts to negatively cycle back onto our body, self image often takes a hit. We don’t exercise as much, or are too busy doing one thing or another. More stress. More depletion of minerals.

We just get on with things, just survive. Our digestion doesn’t work properly because the metabolic pathways with the right enzymes become dysfunctional because the raw ingredients (minerals) it needs to happen, are low or absent.

More critical pathways shut down or slow. We get kidney stones and gall bladder attacks as our bodies are unable to process the chemicals fully in our body with what we are consuming and the minerals present in our blood. Our bodies work overtime trying to keep our blood sugar stable. We put more weight on, eat more comfort food. Get more depressed because we are overweight. Our bodies are in survival mode, but it looks like we are purely overindulging.

We don’t have time to exercise. Its too hard to get started, our chronic illnesses now stop us from doing more than a little bit, and with all the images around of skinny, fit people doing it ‘easily’… we start to doubt we CAN even do it.

Even if we do manage to exercise, it takes SO much more effort to lose the weight. Our metabolism seems to be so slow. We take supplements to fix this, that and the other. We take broad multivitamins but they are so broad, they don’t necessarily address the deficiencies anyway and often give us things at the same time which can compete for absorption. Tests that Drs carry out often don’t pick up the root mineral balance issues due to poor choice of tests, or looking too narrowly at only certain things.

How can we move on from this depletion? Get a good base picture to begin with. Look at practitioners who do comprehensive Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA) and will do a consult with you. I am currently getting assistance from Morley at GotMag.org

Some relevant links to this discussion…

  • One of my favourite Magnesium information websites… Got Mag
  • Read more on the brain and magnesium/mineral balance here
  • Want another more scientific explanation on The Stress Cycle and what I’ve covered? Check this out…
  • Have insomnia problems? Sleep not come easy? Check out Magnesium’s role in that… here.
  • Stress, Natural Enemy of Magnesium, Calcium, and Zinc…here. (Though I don’t necessarily agree with the supplementation suggested because I think its such an individual thing which needs to be reviewed by an experienced person/practitioner)
  • Adequate mineral levels can reduce stress… here.
  • Magnesium is being researched to help with concussion recovery. Just for interests sake! Check it out here.
  • Magnesium and migraines… interesting read here. (Worth noting: I recently had great success with supplementing minerals when I had a migraine – no painkillers. )
  • I have a number of other magnesium links on my other page which covers things I often mention in passing when I’m talking to people about Thermomix’s… scroll down to the heading ‘Magnesium’ and have a look here.
From http://www.thedietandfitnessblog.com/tag/magnesium-pills

From http://www.thedietandfitnessblog.com/tag/magnesium-pills

The next post in this series can be viewed here.

Filed under Calcium, Health and Wellbeing, Magnesium, Mineral Balance, Zinc