Calcium trickery…

Fact for the day!

Following from my recent post discussing your sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems… did you know that calcium activates the sympathetic nervous system? Particularly excess calcium from supplementation and that is not eaten in balance with other minerals such as magnesium?

Excess calcium is also known to cause hardening of the arteries and can contribute to heart disease… a diet balanced in minerals, including calcium protects you against such issues, yet supplemental calcium may raise the risk by up to 22%! These figures are from a 10 year study on more than 2,700 people which was published in 2016. The study investigated the impact of dietary and supplemental calcium on coronary artery calcification and they discovered a link. Interestingly, in their article they wrote:

 

However, we found evidence that calcium supplement use was independently associated with incident CAC, whether or not we adjusted for total calcium intake. This finding suggests that calcium loading with supplements may not be entirely free of undesirable side effects, especially considering evidence for events in randomized trials of calcium supplementation like the Women’s Health Initiative.

 

NOTE: calcium doesn’t need to be from dairy – it’s not very ‘available’ to the body in that form anyway……

 

 

So, what’s the moral? Eat whole food to get your calcium – fresh seasonal fruit and vegetables, nuts, seeds, meat (if you choose to)… AVOID supplementation unless thorough and specific testing (& I’m not talking standard testing from your GP) tells you that you need it.

There is actually an important link between iron in the body and this triggering release of calcium too – but more on that another day…

Until next time!

– Kristan

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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.

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Filed under Calcium, Iron Dysregulation, Magnesium, Mineral Balance

International Health Coach Week 2017!

This week coming is ‘International Health Coach Week’ – and we want to help coach you to better mineral health.

Feel like you need to keep digging for answers?

Have you ever wanted to learn more about minerals, to get help you to understand?

Thought “wouldn’t it be great if there was someone I can talk to who could help me understand?”…

To get help so you can have a light bulb moment or two…….?

Well now’s your time to get learning! In the next week, Morley Robbins and I have scheduled TWO learning sessions scheduled to help you connect the dots, to help you understand and to support you taking control of your own health! The investment in better health is $25 US for each session.

To find out more or to book in, click on the session titles (Session 1, Session 2) and below. Sessions will be approximately 1.5 hours total including question time after the main learning session.

Please note – these sessions will have attendees from all around the world. To try to make this as easy as possible for everyone, I have included some major timezones so you can work out what your local time will be. If you aren’t sure which time to choose, please reach out for assistance!

Session 1 (now completed!)

Timezones:
Brisbane – 9:30am Wednesday 15th February
Berlin – 12:30am Wednesday 15th February
London – 11:30pm Tuesday14th February
US Central – CST – 5:30pm Tuesday14th February
US Pacific – PST – 3:30pm Tuesday 14th February

Session 2 (now completed!)

Timezones:
Brisbane – 8:30am Saturday 18th February
Berlin – 11:30pm Friday 17th February
London – 10:30pm Friday 17th February
US Central – CST – 4:30pm Friday 17th February
US Pacific – PST – 2:30pm Friday 17th February

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Filed under Health and Wellbeing, Iron Dysregulation, Magnesium, Mineral Balance

Focus on Family Webinar – with Morley and Kristan

 

This webinar was a special presentation hosted by myself with Morley Robbins and provided a great introduction to many aspects of mineral balance to those who attended.

Topics covered include:

  • What is the Root Cause Protocol?
  • How do we end up with mineral imbalances? What does magnesium do? What do other minerals such as iron, copper, ceruloplasmin have to do with anything?
  • What do minerals have to do with health conditions such as digestive and gall bladder problems, brain fog, allergies, joint and muscle pain, fatigue, sleep challenges, etc?
  • How do minerals impact on me and my daily life/challenges?
  • If I get testing done, how will I know what to do to fix imbalances? What do HTMA and blood tests show?
  • Some details on the Root Cause Protocol (Stops, Starts and some of the ‘whys’ behind them).
  • Q & A and open discussion from participants on the day.

This is a valuable session for those wishing to broaden their knowledge on the Root Cause Protocol, to gain confidence in how they slot into the protocol (or how other family/friends may slot in) and those planning on getting further testing done, but who want to understand it a little more.

Please firstly complete registration of your details so we can keep in touch about updates on this event (including letting you know of future events), and to help us in the case you have trouble down the track accessing this product.

Step 1: Subscribe to our webinar-specific mailing list

* indicates required


Step 2: Purchase access to this paid event

Please complete payment of $25 USD to view the webinar and notes.

This webinar will be available for you to view more than once, and an email will be sent within 24 hours including extra details which are discussed during the event.  The email address used to pay with paypal will be used to send this message unless you otherwise advise an alternative.

 

PLEASE make sure you hit ‘Return to Merchant’ once you have successfully paid. This takes you to the location which will allow you to view the video.

You will be able to come back to this final page with the video details in the future. I would suggest bookmarking it if you wish to come back, or refer to your email.




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Iron, magnesium, inflammation – how do they relate?

Morley has shared before in his MAG-pie alert #3 about the relationship between iron and mag, but the connection may not have been fully obvious unless you read on. 

This quote from the paper he mentions gives you a little insight…

“This key feature leads us to postulate that when iron accumulates, chelatable iron replaces magnesium at the corresponding metal-binding site, promoting selective damage to these proteins.” 
Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18280258/

Chelate just means bonds between things – so when there is an accumulation of iron, it can end up bonding to the same sites as magnesium should be present at.
Magnesium – has two electrons to donate… (source)


Iron – also has two electrons to donate…(source)

So, when we consider Morley’s quoted figure of 3,571 proteins in the body that require magnesium to do their work… if iron accumulates in these positions within proteins and this damages them…what do you think that means for those proteins? They can no longer work. 

What about those individuals who get more and more build up of iron from the excesses in our food and environment? Less and less places for magnesium to be stored and bonded to proteins, and more and more inflammation to be present within the body.

The proteins cannot do their job and the body will switch off the functions and over time, go more and more into survival mode. This may be activating gene mutations (have you heard of mthfr?) or could be reactions happening to food or the environment, auto-immune conditions like diabetes, or so many other things. 

If there isn’t sufficient magnesium, then inflammation becomes more and more prevalent. 

Places where iron are stored and normally wouldn’t have it, also are irritated and inflamed. But now there’s insufficient magnesium to offset it, so chronic inflammation sets in. 

Consider this – relocate the excess iron outside of the body, or to places it’s needed inside the body (by building Ceruloplasmin in the blood), providing enough magnesium to build up stores, not just maintain levels, and to stop adding extra iron from non-food sources (which make the situation worse). 

But my iron results are always low?

Are they? Have you been told you have anaemia, low ferritin or low hemaglobin? Have you supplemented with iron yet it never goes up?

Do you understand what your results actually mean?

The more you supplement, the more it doesn’t seem to help (or to ‘last’), so the more medications you need to be on to support the new diagnoses you are constantly getting?

Does your healthcare professional understand what ceruloplasmin is and how critical it is? 

Have they tested your full iron panel, serum copper, serum ceruloplasmin, RBC Magnesium and understand how they relate? Do they take the time to explain it to you and discuss?

If the answer is no, maybe you should consider watching the video of Morley Robbins on his website

Get the right testing, empower yourself and don’t just blindly take things without understanding what is going on. 

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Our story continued….

My story starts 4 years ago when my third baby was born. I had twins 6 years before who I also breastfed, so I was very familiar with many challenges in this area, and to being creative with coping… how to juggle babies, but it was a different story with this baby, she was a massive challenge!

She was so sensitive to foods that me eating a couple of strawberries could have her projectile vomiting for hours, and the lingering affects for weeks. 

I have actually noted the start to my story on my blog… but this entry is the next step.


March 2013 – you wouldn’t know what we lived through day to day here!

I had gone through various specialists and testing, she had been given a diagnosis of likely eosinophilic oesophagitis (EoE), multiple food protein intolerances and possibly FPIES. Much of this by 6 months old.

She and I were on about 15 foods from somewhere around 4-5 months old until 18 months, so as many will understand, she was super sensitive!!

I started to realise that there must be SOMETHING that we can do to help her gain foods. I started to read on the ‘beyond failsafe’ and how to improve. Minerals really resonated with me too as I have an animal science biology qualification and keen interest in biology and science in general. 

At around this time – when she was about 8 months old, a pharmacist asked me what we were doing for her magnesium levels – then going on to me that the adult dose of reflux medication she was on would be causing a magnesium deficiency….many doctors across three severely refluxy children and NONE told me this! It’s a known function of the medications 😳

Once I started to switch on to magnesium deficiency, researching more and more, I ended up in the Magnesium Advocacy Group care of a friend, and started to add mag ever so slowly to my regular routine. 
It all began when she was around 10 months old, with just 4 sprays of magnesium oil at first per day. Then a week in, I went up to 6, and then to 8 another week later. 
At this point the most mag I gave directly her was to give her some Epsom salt (ES) baths. She had been a baby who preferred to be showered so she rarely had a way to give her ES baths anyway before we made the effort to swap it in.  

When I was on 8 sprays/day, she started sleeping through at night and longer in the day too. She used to wake hourly or more anywhere starting from 10pm to 1am – depending on what I had eaten!
I couldn’t believe it! Is it the mag? No couldn’t be!!

By the time she had her first birthday, I had introduced egg directly to her (yet at 6 months old, indirect exposure via me caused screaming for days)…! I couldn’t believe it.

I continued to raise the number of sprays, and she became more and more stable just with that extra mag indirectly via me. 

A couple of months in, I traveled and got out of routine. I didn’t think it would matter that much to stop the mag. She turned right back where she was! Screaming, feeding throughout the night obviously due to pain. Sooo much worse. 

It took me a few days at home again to connect the dots, so a few days after we got home, I started again. Within 24h she was sleeping again and settled!!

After 6 months of adding magnesium slowly, I had introduced oral mag plus the topical, and I felt so much better in me too! I could get away with trying other foods at work events, and she wouldn’t react as badly or for as long. 

I booked in for a consult with Morley Robbins (from gotmag.org) about this time, and suddenly what we were seeing plus what I had been experiencing throughout my life in my own food reactions (migraines!), made sense. 

My Mum and Nan both showed signs of magnesium deficiency throughout their lives….plus what I’ve since learned to be further mineral imbalances as the mag is really a symptom of bigger things….so by the time I was born as the third child, then had twins myself, an ectopic pregnancy that nearly killed me and less than a year later, I was pregnant again with my super reactive child….it’s not really a surprise I didn’t have a lot minerals-wise to give her!!

At that point I set to start implementing Morley’s recommendations. 

I added extra salts to support my tanked out adrenal system….that’s what takes care if you during flight or fight responses – I had tanked it after yeaaaars of being under perpetual stress. 

I used digestive enzymes to help add lemon juice to make the recommended adrenal cocktail drink (oranges were a trigger of migraines in me, had been for years!)….the fear of something so naturally high in chemicals was petrifying! But I felt the challenge was needed. 

Step by step I added things. Step by step we felt better and saw changes in development and health. 

I had another consult and Morley recommended again adding whole food vitamin c – it was a huge thing to contemplate to me at that point still, soooo much chance for big reactions from all the unknown natural chemicals in a pill! It took until later to realise that metabolically, reactive kids like her NEED to have these foods in order to recover. 

I was so terrified of the implications of adding things like whole food vitamin c, yet when we did it, it was a non event reactions wise, and turned into the best way for us to get another step in improvements!

Along the way we had her tested – we had started with my (older) son and me and just implemented across the board where it seemed we could. 

When my littlest one was 24 months old, she just barely weighed 11kg.

We built up to her doing everything Morley recommended by her second birthday….at 25 months old, she was 11.5kg!!

It has continued for us and now at just over 4, she has well over 50 safe foods, we can talk about what foods she can’t have easier than what she can (!!)….she’s developing normally and is on no drugs. So many kids with her diagnosis (“eosinophilic oesophagitis”) end up on elemental formula, steroids, ending up also with other autoimmune conditions including eczema, asthma, chronic sickness…. 


This 4 year old in her natural environment…Elsa dresses and stickers!

Her reactions when she has them now are nothing like what they were, and it’s such a different path to where we were!

Her siblings are now 10 and have seen similar results – no asthma (it was severe!), eczema, constant colds in winter. 

They eat pretty much anything except gluten without issue, though we all avoid eating additives. We eat tomatoes, watermelons, mangoes, herbs, spices. 

Something else to consider – we were basically on one income throughout this period of discovery. I was made redundant from my job during 2013…so the cost of testing and supplements was something that I feared terribly. 

Instead of $1000’s on Drs visits, eczema, asthma and reflux medication for just the kids, we now eat whole food, use limited supplements and see Drs to get blood test checks only…we don’t get sick like we all did (& we weren’t super sickly in the scheme of things!). We have saved thousands by having taken a leap of faith to go down this path.

This is a snippet of the changes for us…most of it since January 2014, but mag started ~August or September 2013.

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Christmas contemplation

As Christmas 2016 comes to a conclusion here in Queensland, Australia, I’m finding myself reading articles on topics seemingly unrelated to Christmas, yet really relevant all at once!

The time when we so often over-indulge in foods, possibly dealing with food reactions and that ‘food baby’ related tiredness…let alone the stress on our bodies and minds leading up to the big day….!

It all has a toll…

The first article is one I shared a couple of years ago on my personal Facebook profile discussing magnesium’s role in diabetes and insulin resistance. I just found it again yesterday, but now I understand so much more now so it seems even more pertinent now!
Read it here.  

I find this excerpt very relevant…

“A lesser known fact is that insulin also stores magnesium. If your cells become resistant to insulin, since you can’t store magnesium so you lose it, in the urine. What is one of magnesium’s major roles? To relax muscles. Intracellular magnesium relaxes muscles. You lose magnesium and your blood vessels constrict, which increases blood pressure, and reduces energy since intracellular magnesium is required for all energy producing reactions that take place in the cell. But most importantly, magnesium is also necessary for the action of insulin. It is also necessary for the manufacture of insulin. So then you raise your insulin, you lose magnesium, and the cells become even more insulin resistant. Blood vessels constrict, glucose and insulin can’t get to the tissues, which makes them more insulin resistant, so the insulin levels go up and you lose more magnesium. This is the vicious cycle that goes on from before you were born.”

So drawing on this…if this is accurate…consider that there’s a high chance the last generation or two in Australia have been low in Magnesium and/or imbalanced minerals wise, then consider what that means for each generation? Could you see each one being more   prone to insulin resistance and early onset diabetes….?

Hang on, here we are in an epidemic of obesity with our children, type 2 diabetes coming in earlier and earlier…. yet our physicians just prescribe drugs and mayyyybe say to eat better food? If an unwell person gets a ‘good’ GP, they may even send their patients to a dietitian…but then they are bound to recommend grains and often foods the body requires insulin for…perpetuating the problem! Let alone how many will put them onto foods which they may not like, know how to prepare without full support on how to succeed with the changes (recipes, meal plans, etc). 

Food is critical of course, however,  in my experience, many who would have been trying to get help from the GP can’t digest their food properly and/or have insufficient stomach acid (not reflux from too much!!), reduced enzymes to break down the food, etc….so then food alone won’t solve it. 

The second article ties in with this side of food metabolism too – this time on the topic of potassium. 

Watch the video here

So if someone has poor diet or isexperimenting  with food to an extreme (eg high protein diets), has a condition like diabetes, highly stressed people and those with adrenal fatigue…potassium gets tanked. This translates to some very serious symptoms!  

Eric even talks about how sugar has a negative impact – which we also had in the first article on mag – very important relationship!!

….those people affected by low potassium are more likely to have high blood pressure, be fatigued, have heart irregularities and even be prone to constipation!

I’m confident many who will read this have crossed this path at some stage, and may even live with it day to day. I have lived this too and only realised in 2016 how I still wasn’t managing potassium intake well for myself even with a couple of years knowing I have had severe adrenal fatigue. 

Magnesium and potassium are interrelated, so if one is low, the other often will be too. These electrolytes are part of the daily stress respond mechanism of our bodies too – so if you inherited low magnesium, you probably struggle to hold onto potassium too. Both will be harder to get up without further addressing other underlying mineral imbalances.  

Worth noting, suddenly adding too much magnesium too quickly can cause your body to offset it with potassium shifts, which can give you a headache and generally make you feel washed out like you have had a big day in the sun and dealing with sunstroke (…dehydration anyone?). 
Do Doctors generally test correctly for either magnesium or potassium? 

No. They test for serum levels, which is what floats around in the blood and is highly regulated for both potassium and magnesium. 

Do they understand the critical role these two minerals/electrolytes play?

Yes and no. They get taught of the importance, but they also get taught about wonderful drugs and medications which can ‘manage’ things like diabetes too. 

Imagine if the population as a whole got the right testing on basic minerals and it was found we were lacking, but that it would be pretty simple to improve outcomes and help 1000’s off medication?

I think some big pharmaceutical companies may not be fond of that….

Want to understand more? 

Watch this space, and head over to gotmag.org too and review the articles and ways to determine your mineral levels. 

Merry Christmas and a happy festive time to you!

– Kristan. 

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Why did I persevere with breastfeeding a reactive baby?

I just replied to a post in a special group where many Mum’s are in the same shoes that I have been in for the last 3 years…it got me thinking it was time for a new post.

Why do Mum’s like myself, continue to endure the challenges that come from breastfeeding a baby who reacts to the foods we eat? To keep taking more and more foods (it seems) away, when you never know when it will stop?

The poor Mum who asked it has a very unhappy 4.5 month old, and was curious on what had kept other Mum’s going.  She’s not the first person to ask me this… and I thought I would share, because I’m sure someone else will read this who needs a little encouragement to continue the hard work!

SO these were what came to mind…

1) Since she was so reactive, we expected formula would make it worse even the hydrolysed ones

2) Couldn’t afford formula (though its not as if the Dr’s visits etc are cheap… but then we could have had formula AND that)


3) We would have to challenge foods/triggers directly with her, whereas I could lessen the blow by doing it through me

4) It unlocked insight into my own health and made me a healthier person (though this took a lot longer to realise)

5) The protection to her digestive system from the easier-to-digest food and probiotic component I provided… the increase in minerals she needed as I healed me was apparent in her

6) (and this should probably be higher) the comfort I could provide when she was reacting. To be able to breastfeed her, and often feeding in bed and continuously feeding so I got *any* sleep….. if she was formula fed and reacting, I had no way to comfort her pain besides potentially more drugs

7) Related to 3… could challenge foods and find safe ones while she was exclusively BF so that we had some insight into what would be safe foods for her to wean onto.

You have to decide to keep going for reasons that are relevant to you. Only you can decide. Do NOT let others decide for you, to tell you that you have to do give up feeding because your milk is “bad”… especially if you feel that there’s more to it than that.

You need to trust your gut. That is the real root reason I think I continued. It felt right, and stopping didn’t.

Good luck Mummas!

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Filed under Health and Wellbeing, Reactive babies and children

It’s time to share… where did all this start?

Have you ever stopped to realise that something that has been a pretty harrowing experience in your life, was the best thing that could have ever happened to you?

That’s what this “little” story is all about.

I’m actually not really sure where to start, because while my road to discovering our family’s underlying health conditions started after the birth of our third child, there really were warning signs years before in my older children’s health, and dating back to my own childhood and beyond…

So, I’m going to start this current part to the story when our youngest was born, and with time, I’ll go back and cover the other realisations I have had since.

Her arrival has meant so much more than just the joy of another child in our family. So much more than the joy we get from seeing her growing up into a gorgeous little girl with personality plus. She’s meant that ALL of our family – within our own direct family unit, but also further afield… and many families outside of our network, have come to learn more about their health.

All from one little girl… and a somewhat determined mother I suppose too…!!

Let’s backtrack a little to October 2012. I was due with my third child… I had just completed the sale of our business of nearly 10 years, and had literally JUST finished the majority of the handover process the day before she ended up arriving.

Her siblings are twins, at the time they had just turned 6… they had significant health issues at birth (premature) plus silent reflux which caused no end of pain for our eldest (“K”) and all of us who didn’t get sleep in blocks longer than 40 minute stints until they were nearly 1. Food intolerances were found, more drugs (& different types used) and voila, reflux gone. Problems gone, right? Maybe not… but at the time we thought it!

By the time I got to the arrival of our youngest daughter “L”, I was much more armed with knowledge to push the typical “its reflux and that’s just the way it is” with her.

I had a natural delivery – VBAC too after being pressured into a c-section with the twins… so a big achievement in itself. I specifically requested no antibiotics to be given to either of us unless absolutely necessary… and it wasn’t needed – BONUS! (My research had taught me that AB’s during pregnancy and just after birth could lead to gut imbalances and reactions, so I fought hard for this).

Lydia newborn 15 October 2012

Just minutes old… photo credit to Jen Shipston from The Heart of Motherhood (http://theheartofmotherhood.com.au/)

One step forward, two steps back…

Catch 22 came, when our gorgeous little 8 pound (3.6kg) munchkin arrived, she was tongue tied and didn’t feed properly, which I am sure contributed to me getting mastitis. We had the tie snipped when she was 4 days old, but the damage was already done…

By the time she was 8 days old, I was on Augmentum as I had tried every non-AB option I could in combination with guidance from my midwives. Within 24 hours, she was a screaming mess.

Worth noting here that this is what I feel to be an extremely significant (backward) step in our journey. To this point she had been fairly content and feeding ok (within the realms of expectation for a tongue-tied newborn!), sleeping “ok” as a newborn will, etc. Then she just stopped sleeping and would only do so if completely upright. Projectile vomit, horrible explosive nappies… it was never-ending. I had been used to two severe reflux babies… and handling this ONE child, was more work than they were.

By the time she was 2 weeks old, a friend suggested me looking at becoming gluten and dairy free – it had helped her with her second child a couple of months before. This seemed fairly logical as we knew the twins had reacted as babies to dairy… but I had never gone to the extent of removing it from my diet (even though they were breast and/or express milk fed, I didn’t connect the dots for it – even though I realised other foods which definitely impacted on them like onion and garlic!).

Sooooo… from that day, my world changed. Dramatically.

Have you ever seen how much gluten is used in every day foods you buy? Have a look at the labels of every single product you buy. I bet if you have a ‘standard’ Australian diet without already being restricted… foods you buy have either got dairy, or gluten, or both in them.

She did improve at least a little with this, but was still overall very refluxy and reactive.

Next step was what I had tried to avoid… reflux medications.

….step 1… Infant Gaviscon

Credit to my GP here… he wanted to try the ‘gentler’ things before the strong medications I was asking for… to help ease the symptoms while we worked out triggers. He never once suggested I wean her to formula to help. He never once tried to coerce me into doing things that I didn’t want to do with the exception of trying to slow down the heavy meds… I didn’t understand at the time, I just wanted pain relief for my baby, but, I quickly realised it was worth a try.

It did actually help at the time to ease the symptoms, especially while she was probably in withdrawals, as was I no doubt too. Not thinking straight. After a month of varying uses of it and regularity of doses, etc… plus gradually taking out obvious triggers from my diet that came along… it was time for the ‘big guns’.

….step 2…. Losec (Omeprazole)

This medication actively reduces the amount of stomach acid which is going to burn and hurt in an individual with reflux. It makes a difference in pain and is used so commonly in children and adults alike. They are called “proton pump inhibitors” (PPI).

By reducing the amount of acid in the stomach, it also means that food particles may not be broken down into the smallest unit they can, and then if gut damage exists (which clearly in L it did, and many other babies with reflux it does too)…… these larger molecules can then go into their blood stream and put a massive strain on their bodies to break them down where they shouldn’t normally need to.

It also has serious impacts on health when used long-term, but these parts don’t get talked about. Mineral deficiencies they cause…. making food intolerances worse… yep… awesome. These parts were never discussed more than a glean… by multiple physicians. More about that later.

….step 3…. Zoton (Lansoprazole)

For some reason, the way my kids responded to the PPI drugs wasn’t “normal”… they didn’t actually get much relief from Losec, it helped a little, but didn’t solve a lot long-term. All of them ended up on Zoton and that’s where the changes in behaviour happened at least… pain relief… rest… recovery… (and some more mineral deficiencies)

This is the medication that helped us to find baseline with more significant diet changes… this is what let us see the huge amount of inflammation that was happening in L’s body… but its also what probably contributed to a longer recovery.

Luckily when she was about 8 months old, once I had gone through very extensive dietary changes beyond the dairy and gluten, a single pharmacist clued me up to the magnesium deficiency that would be created by her ADULT doses of this drug. A tiny little baby, borderline failure to thrive… and she was barely kept “maintained” reflux wise on something which actively pumps magnesium out of the body’s stores.

As quickly as I humanly could, we dropped the medication. Weathered the withdrawal symptoms (everything gets worse for a bit!) and found she was remarkably happy off them, but using the gaviscon again to manage symptoms of flares. At the same time, or soon after, we introduced magnesium via epsom salts, and via transdermal magnesium for me…. and that then led to a whole different path.

So beyond the gluten and dairy, then medication… what did I do to help her?

That’s for another day… please check by and I’ll link to the next post soon.

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Filed under Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Health and Wellbeing, Mineral Balance

Magnesium… where do I start?

OK so I get asked ALL the time where to start with magnesium supplementation. There is no one single “best” option – it all comes down to the individual and the need they are trying to fill.

Transdermal

Firstly, I would suggest for the most sensitive individuals especially, starting with magnesium only on your skin is likely to minimise reactions and start your body adjusting to having some magnesium available.

Epsom Salts can be sprinkled into a bath or even a bucket with some warm water (for a foot soak) and are a great way to help in detox’ing and short-term magnesium boost in the body. It DOES NOT help to replenish deficiencies to any large degree (being used up/flushed out of the body in a matter of a few hours)

Magnesium Flakes/Magnesium Chloride/Magnesium Oil can be used in the bath as well, or in liquid (magnesium chloride in water is magnesium “oil”, or you can put it into alcohol and make a less tingly, quicker drying ‘alcohol rub’ – see recipe here).

Oral – tablets

This area is absolutely huge, and no two people who know anything about magnesium, probably agree…

This is one summary of the types.

This is another…

My personal preference is for glycinate based chelates – my reading points me to this being one of the more gentle-on-the-stomach types which is also well absorbed. More below on what I have chosen to do for my family…

Doctors Best Magnesium from iherb is my ‘go to’ tablet these days…

Start with only one or two each day… take it slow. Try one before bed – if you have disturbed sleep, try one in the morning a day or so later. Most people will sleep better at night having had some magnesium… it will help to relax your muscles and promote quality sleep.

You may find that one morning and one at night works for you… or you may feel that you want to increase it some more beyond that. I would recommend getting guidance before adding too many tablets/capsules to your regime of any oral magnesium. Certain types WILL have a quicker laxative effect than others…!!

Oral – liquid

For Australian readers, Aussie Sea Minerals (ASM) are a very good way to get magnesium and many other good salts and trace elements into your body. International Readers can also purchase, but it may be branded as a different name in your locality.

I source my ASM at my local Health Food Store – so don’t be afraid to ask them if they can order it in. They may not stock it, but may do if there is demand.

There are other liquid magnesium supplements similar to ASM, but I am not personally familiar with them. Discuss with your health care provider or

Supporting your body when starting magnesium

You cannot launch yourself into taking a huge dose of magnesium because you decide you are really deficient. It will only make you feel sick and/or end you up on the toilet.

You should ease into it steadily – increase each week as the body adjusts. If you take a lot suddenly, your body will potentially pump out a lot of electrolytes to offset the sudden increase, and you may end up feeling dehydrated, with a headache and feeling very much like the magnesium was causing a reaction. It kind of was. Start slow, and increase in small steps.

Also, supporting your adrenal system sufficiently and consuming enough electrolytes is critical. Electrolytes are the salts which make your cells work. They go in and out of your cells continuously and allow transfers of all the important components in and out… not enough electrolytes = headaches, sickness and feeling pretty yuck!

Have you always had it drummed into you that salt is bad? Salt as most people refer to it (sodium) as well as other types of salts are absolutely critical to our body being able to function from day to day. I challenge anyone who blindly believes that salt is the sole cause of high blood pressure – and encourage you to read up on mineral imbalances and how much things like magnesium will naturally help to reduce BP.

This video gives an amazing insight into how salts and electrolytes are important to the body.

I use the ‘Adrenal Cocktail‘ a lot… its been a big part of my journey looking into mineral balancing – finding that my adrenal system was nearly exhausted when I was first tested in early 2014… and on its way to better health in late 2014/early 2015! I don’t need quite the same support now as I did when I started, but its really just changed (regular testing is important!).

But what do YOU supplement with Kristan?

My personal experience with introducing magnesium was back in about August 2013 and was taking a small amount of a basic magnesium supplement (to use up some I had purchased along the way to help with my aching neck!)… and then to add in just FOUR sprays of magnesium oil to my skin each day. I did that for one week, then upped it to SIX sprays per day.

Each night I would apply the sprays to the soles of my feet before bed. That’s it! I did have to deal with sheets which got the mag oil on it (later could be stopped by wearing socks, but I’ve never been a big sock-wearer at night)… but you know what, after 3 weeks, and only increasing to 8 sprays per night between my two feet… I had a baby who slept the whole night through, and I had never felt better sleep-wise!

NOTE: I had put *none* on her… it was all via me, and then her being a breastfed baby… nothing else was varying in our lives… we both ate the same food every… single… day… and if I stopped the magnesium, she would revert back.

I then gradually increased week by week with the spray, and from time to time I added some ‘Natures Own’ Magnesium capsules. One at a time, reducing the number of sprays of the mag oil I did each day for a while until I adjusted. I was very paranoid by this stage of not overdoing anything new (about 11 months of being on a very limited diet will teach you to be careful!)…

Within 6 months I was taking or applying 1000mg worth of elemental magnesium (ever heard the term “equivalent to xx mg elemental magnesium” ?), spread across three different forms of magnesium. I spread it through……

  • Doctors Best Magnesium tablets (after I used up my Natures Own ones – cheaper from iherb and it has a combination of mag sources which I responded to extremely well)….
  • Magnesium Oil (I ended up DIY my own with magnesium flakes + water)
  • Aussie Sea Minerals

Please DO NOT start doing that amount of magnesium quickly nor without getting guidance. This is MY story, and it may not be something that will work for you.

HOW MUCH do I need to take?

The Magnesium Advocacy Group I am a part of on Facebook has discussed this topic many times – the amount to take. The general guideline discussed is a maintenance level of magnesium which is about 10x your weight in kilograms, in the unit of milligrams (mg) – so a 50kg person would look at needing a maintenance dose of 500mg of elemental magnesium. I am a lot heavier than 50kg, but no where near 100kg… but I found that I hit ‘gut tolerance’ (laxative effect) from oral magnesium when I got around 1000mg elemental magnesium between the three types I use. So this level is helping me to improve my deficiency and to feel in the best health I can be.

If I used one more of one type than the others, I wouldn’t feel as good and balanced. No matter how many times I hoped I could do it in a simpler way. That’s just how my body worked best at that stage (early 2013)… I have adjusted it along the way in times of stress increase (more mag!) or when I’m relaxed (less mag).

I still do a combination of all three each and every day. Now I can get away with missing some here or there and I’m ok, but if I don’t get doses fairly regularly over a matter of days, I will start to notice a dramatic change.

There are national guidelines on Magnesium, and I encourage you to review them if you are cautious on this. It is a LOT lower than what I have talked about here… and interestingly, those national guidelines are a LOT lower than what they were in days gone by. Say the 60’s? Since when have our needs for magnesium reduced?

To me it seems like its been easier to drop the recommended amounts and the ‘normal’ ranges for testing to reflect on the results being seen, not the actual amounts that the body needs nor what has been previously set for good reason!

A little note on children…

My children all get varying amounts of the same three magnesium sources… but they also get the magnesium flakes and epsom salts added to their bath water every single time they have a bath. The change in them when we consistently use it is amazing and warrants its regular use!

For everything except their baths, I still broadly use the guide of 10 x their weight in kg… so a 30kg child will need about 300mg of magnesium each day to MAINTAIN their magnesium levels, not to fix deficiencies…

It is safe to give them magnesium, but start small too and go up in smaller amounts.

HTMA or the like is highly recommended in my experience to make sure you give them co-factors of other things they may need beyond just magnesium.

Where to go beyond magnesium?

There is so much more to regaining health and balance in your body beyond magnesium… mineral balance is a complex part of the human body – it underlies every single part of how your body ticks! It is also very individual… so while we all need lots more magnesium as a general rule, we do NOT all need the same thing with other minerals and vitamins.

I have an extremely good personal experience and seen a huge change in our family from using Morley at gotmag.org for our consults. He has taught me so much and unlocked a massive amount of how our WHOLE family ticks health wise, all the way through to my Mum and her Mum…. Morley’s consults are more than just giving you a label of a certain diagnosis for Pyroluria or a syndrome or disease… he helps you understand your individual biochemistry and mineral “make-up” and where  you need particular support.

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Filed under Health and Wellbeing, Magnesium, Mineral Balance