Today's podcast episode is all about the powerhouse mineral - magnesium.
Did you know that magnesium plays a crucial role in maintaining strong and healthy bones? 🦴✨
We'll dive into why magnesium matters for your bone health, especially after cancer treatment. We'll also explore some fantastic food sources that can naturally boost your magnesium levels. 🥦🍠
Plus, we'll discuss how to recognize if you might need some additional magnesium supplementation.
So grab your favorite cup of tea ☕ and tune in!
Remember to always consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplements
Referred to in this episode:
Read the full transcript below:
Laura Lummer 0:00
Hey friends, before we jump into this episode, I have an exciting announcement for you. As a certified trainer advocate, I get asked all the time, what's a good resource for high quality supplements? What are safe things to use on my body in my home? What are good foods to eat? What are good sources to find these things. So I am thrilled to announce that I have partnered with the metabolic Institute of terrain health. And I have added a store to my website, the breast cancer recovery coach.com. This store is full of products that have had their eyes on and been vetted by Dr. Nisha winters, and are approved as high quality, reliable resources. I'm so excited to be able to offer these to you everything from body care to home care to nutrition products to therapeutic care. I trust the recommendation of Dr. Nisha and the metabolic Institute of terrain health, and I believe you can trust them too. So check out the store and enjoy Dr. Naisha approved products. And now let's get into the show. You're listening to better than before breast cancer with the breast cancer recovery coach. I'm your host, Laura Lummer. I'm a certified life coach, and I'm a breast cancer thriver. In this podcast, I will give you the skills and the insights and the tools to move past the emotional and physical trauma of a breast cancer diagnosis. If you're looking for a way to create a life that's even better than before breast cancer, you've come to the right place. Let's get started.
Laura Lummer 1:40
Hey, friends, welcome to episode 310 have better than before breast cancer with the breast cancer recovery coach. I'm your host, Laura Lummer. I'm so happy you're joining me for today's Tuesday terrain talk. I've got some really good stuff for you. Today we're going to talk about bone health and magnesium and the role that magnesium plays in our bodies, some really interesting stuff. And before I jump into it, I just want to remind you, if you are a repeat listener, thank you so much for coming back to the show. And if you're a new listener, be sure to subscribe or follow depending on what platform you're listening to this podcast, whether it's YouTube or any of the podcast, audio platforms, be sure to subscribe and follow the podcast so you don't miss an episode. And every follower every subscription makes it easier for other people to find the podcast. So take a moment you can do that. Wherever you listen, it's super easy. And I appreciate it very much. All right. Let's jump into the show. So we're going to talk about a very important thing that comes up a lot with those of us who are breast cancer survivors. Now, most women most the majority of women who are diagnosed with breast cancer are diagnosed over the age of 50. Sadly, that average age of diagnosis is starting to become younger and younger. So we're dealing a lot with postmenopausal women. And even if we were diagnosed young like for instance, I was diagnosed when I was 48. So I was in perimenopause. But I was not menopausal until of course my first chemotherapy treatment. So even for those of you who are young survivors, you may have been put into chemically induced menopause. So a lot of survivors are postmenopausal or because of the treatments we go through whether you are postmenopausal or not the treatments themselves that we go through can have a big impact on the magnesium levels in our body and on our bone health. And I'll talk more about that as we go through the show. So I have a lot of clients that come to me with questions about bone health and that have concerns about some of the treatments that we do for bone health. One of the things that I do is x jiba. I've been on I was on Zometa for a long time. And, you know, again, when we take these kinds of infusions or injections, it's like being between a rock and a hard place, right, you have two difficult decisions to make. It's not like Oh, this one's so great. It's gonna make me so healthy, they have side effects. But not taking them also can put you at risk because of other treatments that we might choose to take to prolong or save our lives that affect our bone health. So the decisions are never easy, but whichever way you go, whether you're postmenopausal whether you're taking or have taken breast cancer therapies, if you're on continuing hormone therapies, all these things can have an impact on our bone health. In fact, the National Breast Cancer Foundation in their bone health guide for breast cancer survivors, stated that breast cancer survivors have a 68% higher risk of osteoporosis and osteopenia compared to women without cancer. Now, just a quick side note as I go through this I'm gonna refer to different studies and different statistics and you'll find the links to all of those in the show notes for this episode at the breast cancer recovery coach.com, forward slash 310. or refer to the show notes wherever you're watching or listening to this podcast. Okay, so anyway, we're looking at breast cancer survivors who have a 68% increased risk of osteopenia and osteoporosis compared to women without breast cancer. And this increased risk is largely attributed to breast cancer treatments like hormonal therapies that lead to reduced bone density and increase a risk of fractures. So as survival rates improve, which is fantastic, because of all of the treatments and all of the therapies that we have access to and are learning more about, we're living longer, which is fantastic. So because we're living longer, oftentimes means we're taking treatments for a longer period of time as well. So maintaining good bone health becomes a really essential part of our overall well being in something we want to focus a lot on. So I looked at some studies, and I found this small study, it's only 23 women that had osteoporosis and 28 women that had osteopenia, they were all postmenopausal women. And what this study was looking at was the levels of copper, magnesium, zinc, and calcium to try to get an understanding of what was impacting their bone health. And what they found in the study was that there was a significantly lower than normal range of magnesium serum magnesium, in this population of women in this study, these participants had a more than 40%, lower than normal range of magnesium in their blood serum levels. There was this other study from 2018, another small one, it looked at 19, postmenopausal and osteo product women. And that study found that 80% of the women in that study had magnesium deficiencies. So again, these are small studies. And I point that out, because we're looking at just little tiny samples of people. There are studies out there that have larger populations, and I'll refer to some of those later on. But even the small studies are something that we want to pay attention to, we want to look at. And we don't want to discard them just because they're small populations. But we don't also want to overemphasize that that happens to everybody. So that's something to think about. In general studies show that magnesium deficiency, which is defined as low bone mineral density, because about 60% of our magnesium is stored in our bones. And generally studies say that between 10 and 30%, of postmenopausal women have this issue, and that the occurrence of low magnesium bone density issues increases with age. So magnesium deficiency is really highly associated with osteoporosis because it has a really important role in our cartilage in our bone matrix calcification and in our bone strength. So low magnesium levels, this is really interesting are also linked to lower activity of parathyroid hormone, and vitamin D, both also of which are crucial for bone development. So as we talk about magnesium in this show, this is just one aspect of bone health. This is not the blnd. And all this is not the everything. But it is an important part of overall bone health. And there's so much information on it, I just want to focus on one thing at a time to give you ideas and information on what you might notice happening in your body, what you want to may want to check in with your physician and test and look at okay, so magnesium deficiency is actually relatively common. And in the conversations and case studies that I sit in on with the metabolic health institute, I hear a lot of talk about magnesium deficiency and how common it is with the patients that we look at in a lot of these case studies. And it is especially common in populations that don't have a balanced diet. So when we have a lot of ultra processed foods when we're not looking at balancing, complex carbohydrates, lots of fruits and vegetables with healthy fats and moderate levels of protein, we can be at an even bigger risk for magnesium deficiency, but magnesium deficiency is impacted in a lot of ways. So one of them as I just talked about is diet. Another thing that contributes to current magnesium deficiencies is the soil depletion that our plants and our plant products are grown in. So the magnesium content in vegetables and other crops has declined significantly over the years due to soil to depletion. And that means that even if you do have a diet that's rich in fruits and vegetables, it may not be providing enough magnesium. This is one of the things that I love about the metabolic approach to cancer and about the work that I do as a trained advocate.
Laura Lummer 10:16
Naisha winters, who is my mentor, Dr. Nisha winters and who I studied under this program with has a model and she says test, assess, do not guess. And that's so important. Because just like I said, you may think you're eating a really healthy diet, and you may be eating what is thought of as a really healthy diet. But we can slip into thinking that we shouldn't have things happening with us that are happening, because we have a healthy diet. And we may not realize what nutrients are lacking in that diet. So that's why looking at labs on a regular basis is something that's really important. So another thing that increases magnesium deficiency is that we can have increased requirements. So let's say that you're always been pretty good about having good healthy levels of magnesium. But at certain stages of life, and things that we go through in life life circumstances, they can deplete that magnesium. So pregnancy and breastfeeding, intense physical activity can also increase magnesium requirements. And we may have to bump up the amount of foods that provide magnesium for us, or even supplement and I'll talk about that in a few minutes. So another thing that I think is kind of a myth is we think if we eat something, or even if we're taking a supplement, we're good. But we fail to realize oftentimes that it isn't what we eat that is as important as what our body has the ability to absorb. So health conditions, medications, gut dysbiosis, all of those can impair the absorption of nutrients, including magnesium. So if you even have things like celiac disease, type two diabetes, Crohn's disease, alcohol dependence, if you take and this was a case for me if you take proton pump inhibitors or diuretics, so there was a time when I had so much swelling and so much fluid in me that I had to be taking diuretics. But after my first breast cancer diagnosis, and that chemotherapy, I had intense heartburn and gastrointestinal disorders. I took so many times I think back now and I just blows my mind, but I, I needed to take them and then I took prescription proton pump inhibitors, which are basically just antacids, right. And I had to take those just to get through the day just to lay down like there were years that I could not sleep laying down flat. Crazy, right. But as I learned more, and as I focused more on healing the terrain of my body being very, very, very mindful of foods and food timing that got better and better. I don't think I have taken a Tums in a year and a half, any kind of an acid and I don't take diuretics at all anymore either. But it's just important to remember that these kinds of medications can also impact the your ability to absorb healthy nutrients. And that's not to say don't take them like I just said I couldn't, I couldn't have gotten through the day. My indigestion was so bad, my digestive system was just torn up after chemotherapy. So sometimes we have to take certain things, sometimes we have to turn to medications, just to be able to get through our day and to be comfortable in our body. So I'm not saying don't take those things. What I'm saying is Be mindful that you may need a bigger supply of nutrients when you're taking these things. Okay? So other medications that can contribute to magnesium deficiency either by reducing their absorption in our intestines, or increasing the excretion of our kidneys, so our kidneys will filter it out. And some of those drugs are like I just said, diuretics. And then there are the drugs for GERD, which I just talked about these antacids affect the absorption in the intestines, antibiotics, especially there's a class of antibiotics called Amino glycosides and those especially tend to have an impact on kidney function and can lead to magnesium loss. Some Tetra cycling's can also bind to magnesium in the gut, and that reduces the absorption, laxatives like and acids overuse of antacids and laxatives, especially if they have aluminum or magnesium in them. The ones with magnesium in them can actually lead to increased excretion, while they have aluminum based ones that reduce the absorption. So you gotta have to look at it. I guess it doesn't matter which way it's affecting you but either way it can be depleting you Your levels of magnesium that we need so much. Now, for all of us in this population in our community, chemotherapy drugs can impact this, they can cause electrolyte imbalances, and that includes magnesium deficiency. Insulin, high doses of insulin can lower blood magnesium levels by increasing urinary excretion again, steroids, corticosteroids and use of steroids again can lead to increased urinary loss of magnesium, psychiatric medications. And I know a lot of people need to be on these when they're going through trauma, these kinds of drugs can include mood stabilizers, and antipsychotics. And those can affect your magnesium levels as well. So that's a list and there's a lot more than the list that I just went over. But I don't want to make this whole entire podcast about medications and interactions. So look at any kind of medications you're taking, do some research, do some internet, check and talk to your doctor about it, and and see what happens. And speaking of talking to your doctor, magnesium levels are typically not something that's included in a normal lab. So as we talk about the symptoms of magnesium deficiency, know that you may be aware of some of these things happening in your body. And if you notice them, and you think that might be related to magnesium, you can always ask your physician to include a magnesium test into your blood test and check it out. Okay. So sometimes magnesium deficiencies, the symptoms of magnesium deficiencies can be really subtle at first, and especially with what we go through with the different treatments and the way that cancer treatment, and menopause impacts our gut and our gut health, we can maybe think that some of these signs, some of these symptoms are just a part of what we've been through or medications that we're on. And those include things like loss of appetite, nausea, fatigue, vomiting, and weakness. And then if that's just a mild deficiency, and as deficiency increases, or worsens, I would say we can experience numbness, muscle cramps, tingling, personality changes, arrhythmias, so abnormal heart rhythms, even coronary spasms. And that's extreme, right? That's going to be an extreme deficiency. Hopefully, none of us get to that point. But again, you want to if you have any of those things, and you think, Oh, my gosh, I've been going through that, or I have a lot of that, you just might want to test or ask your doctor about it to be on the safe side. Okay. So let's talk about what levels of magnesium should be what's a healthy level? What's the optimal level? What does it look like? So you can have some kind of a guideline, especially if you already have labs that show magnesium. So an important thing to remember is, when you do a blood test for magnesium, there's only about 1% of the body's magnesium found in the blood. So it doesn't necessarily reflect the whole total magnesium content that's in our body. But it is a blood test, right? I mean, we're not going to go digging through our bones to find out so it's a blood test. And it's the the test that's most commonly used to assess magnesium status, so we can get an idea of what's going on through the blood test. So adequate magnesium levels, and that means that when we say adequate, it means that the range of your server magnesium is what it needs to be to ensure the proper functioning of your nerves of your muscles. And many enzymatic processes. Magnesium does a lot of stuff in our body. So adequate level of magnesium is considered to be between 1.7 and 2.2 milligrams per deciliter or mg Ford slash DL, if you see that on your labs, or you may see it written as millimoles m m O l forward slash out millimoles per liter millimoles per liter would be point seven zero 2.95. So 1.7 to 2.2 for deciliters and point seven zero 2.94 liters if you see those on your lab results, okay? That, again, is the adequate, that's what we're looking for to say, Okay, we need to be at least at this level, so that we have enough magnesium to do the things it's supposed to be doing. And again, remember, that's an average right? Every human body is different. Every human body uses things differently, absorbs things differently excretes things differently and may have a higher need for more. So again, if you feel like your body is showing some symptoms, you want to check it out. And we'll talk about how you can improve your diet to increase your intake of magnesium as well. So a deficient magnesium level is a certain magnesium levels below 1.7 or point seven zero milliliter. So the low end of adequate if you get underneath that you consider to have a deficiency in the optimal level. This is the level that We look at when we're looking at the metabolic approach to health, an optimal level of magnesium is considered to be from five to 6.8 milligrams per deciliter. So that's a considerable difference, right. And that goes back to what I was saying may be adequate isn't adequate for you. So if you notice you're having consistent symptoms like constipation, headaches and nighttime leg cramps and nausea, and maybe something you want to consider eating more foods that increase your level of magnesium. So I mentioned that magnesium has many roles that it plays in the functioning of our body. And of course, one of them as we're focused on is bone health. So magnesium helps with the assimilation of calcium into the bone, so it helps pull calcium in. And it plays a role in activating vitamin D in the kidneys. So optimal magnesium intake is associated with greater bone density, improved bone crystal formation, and a lower risk of osteoporosis in women, especially after menopause. It plays a role in cardiac health and blood pressure regulation, magnesium, it's amazing. It's important for maintaining a healthy heartbeat. It naturally competes with calcium. So this is really interesting. So calcium is essential for heart contractions. So magnesium since it's competing with calcium, it blocks calcium, which means it helps relax heart muscles. So magnesium helps regulate blood pressure levels by relaxing blood vessels. And you may have heard of people using magnesium or taking magnesium at night to relax and get better sleep. So it plays a role also in muscle function. And in nervous system regulation. Magnesium plays a role in muscle contraction and relaxation. So when we talk about having nighttime leg cramps, that should make a connection there for you. It plays a role as a neurotransmitter function, which means it helps nerve cells to communicate effectively with each other and that's what influences muscle relaxation, calmness, and sleep. So if you are disturbed by these things, again, maybe you want to check magnesium. Magnesium plays a role in migraine prevention. And study suggests that magnesium deficiency increases migraines, which is why people who get migraines are often referred to take a supplement or recommended supplements for migraine prevention. It plays a role in mental health and mood regulation. Because magnesium is vital for brain function. Its low levels have been linked to increases in depression. And some studies say that supplementing with magnesium may help reduce symptoms of depression, an important thing because it's another thing that is a very common struggle for breast cancer survivors, especially after treatment. And that's a multifaceted thing. Also, that's not going to be cured by magnesium, there can be several roles in that PTSD, trauma, gut dysbiosis. But also maybe magnesium and other nutrient deficiencies affect that all is one big happy family inside our body. And so that affects our brain. And that affects our mood whenever it happening in the rest of our body. Magnesium is also important for enzyme function. So it's a cofactor for literally hundreds of processes within the body. It's involved in chemical reactions that include protein synthesis, so making protein, muscle and nerve function, like we talked about blood glucose control, blood pressure regulation, and on and on, I'm not going to name hundreds of them. But lots, alright, magnesium is really important. It's also a digestive aid. So it helps the body digest proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. This one all of us ladies are always happy to hear it increases skin hydration. And so magnesium actually improves the appearance of your skin, which is really cool. So let's talk about how you get magnesium into your body. And again, remember, we're going to talk about food because my philosophy is always food first. If you're not incorporating nine to 15 servings of vegetables into your diet on a regular basis, then there's a lot of room for improvement. And because you do do that, because maybe you are eating nine to 15 servings of vegetables and you think about some of the symptoms that I've talked about anything. I still have those again remember absorption is different excretion is different gut health. All these things are going to impact how much magnesium is actually in your body. But foods that are really valuable and high in magnesium include leafy green vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains and legumes, some of them that are really rich in magnesium, almonds, cashews, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, and flax seeds. So a one ounce serving of almonds provides about 80 milligrams of magnesium Whole grains whole grains like quinoa, wheat, brown rice, oatmeal buckwheat, a cup of quinoa, for instance offers 118 milligrams of magnesium, leafy green vegetables like spinach kale collard greens, Swiss chard, one cup of cooked spinach contains 157 milligrams of magnesium pretty good. Legumes, like beans, lentils, chickpeas, soy beans, they're all very rich in magnesium. So a cup of cooked black beans has about 120 milligrams of magnesium fish one of my favorite foods in the world, certain types of fish, especially the fatty fish again, my favorite kind salmon mackerel is not my favorite kind, but my girl is important halibut. So half a fillet of salmon provides about 53 milligrams of magnesium. Another one, this one is a little slippery slope is dark chocolate. So dark chocolate, obviously we love a one ounce piece of dark chocolate that 70 to 85% dark chocolate contains about 64 milligrams of magnesium, avocado, another one of my favorite foods, 58 milligrams of magnesium in a medium avocado. And it's also packed with good healthy fats and fiber, bananas, which I really don't eat anymore. And I miss because I did love bananas but they're really high in carbs for my specific nutrient needs. A one banana provides about 32 milligrams of magnesium along with some potassium and vitamin C. And then yogurt and kefir also very good products for you. And they have about 47 milligrams of magnesium per cup. So there's lots of delicious healthy foods you can incorporate into your diet and take the food first philosophy towards getting more magnesium into you. So then there's Do you supplement Do you not supplement? Well, that's something you really need to talk with your doctor about. Because some people may need supplements. Most likely people who have documented magnesium deficiencies overall are people that have type two diabetes, people that have afib, that have had bariatric surgery, or that take a lot of acid reducing medications, the proton pump inhibitors that I talked about, we know that those populations generally show to have magnesium deficiencies. So I've listed other things that can affect it that may be influencing your life and your lifestyle and leading to that deficiency as well. But first test, right, don't guess, because overuse of magnesium over supplementation and magnesium that can cause toxicity to and it can cause diarrhea and gastrointestinal disorders. And we don't want that we just want this is for informational purposes. Right? That's why I do these Tuesday train talks to give you something to think about. And if you think about anything, let me test first. Let me see where is magnesium, magnesium level out? Even if you've heard some of the symptoms, you think, oh, gosh, I have those things test first. Do you have a magnesium deficiency? Talk to your doctor about it? If you do, talk to your doctor about it if you don't, and yet you still have these symptoms that you think may be related. Look at your diet and see, can I increase these foods? Do I have enough of these foods? Do I have enough whole grains, leafy vegetables, dark green leafy vegetables? Do I have enough of these healthy foods, seeds and nuts in my diet? And work on that first, right the more we can focus on our diet and get our nutrition through natural food sources and absorb that, of course, important that's the most important and I think the healthiest and safest approach food is more often than not the safest approach. And then supplementation should always, always, always be consulted with a licensed health care professional, especially if you're dealing with health condition and on other medications. All right, safety. First always. I hope that this has helped give you a little bit of insight into the importance of magnesium into the role magnesium plays in supporting your body's health and your body's ability to be in its optimal health state which is exactly what we want. If you want more coaching and support on these areas you can improve in your life. Come and join me in the better than before breast cancer life coaching membership, where we coach one on one, we've got 90 days of wellness in there and lots of other things that can guide you through ways to improve the health of the train of your body so you can have optimal health. All right. I will talk to you again very soon. And until then, be good to yourself. Take care