Psychological and Behavioral Interventions for Insomnia Disorder

Psychological and Behavioral Interventions for Insomnia Disorder

Treatment Definition
Table adapted from: Morgenthaler T, Kramer M, Alessi C, et al.; American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Practice parameters for the psychological and behavioral treatment of insomnia: an update. An American Academy of Sleep Medicine report. Sleep. 2006 Nov;29(11):1415-9. PMID: 17162987; and Buysse DJ. Insomnia. JAMA. 2013 Feb 20;309(7):706-16. PMID: 23423416.
Sleep Hygiene Education Education of patients about health and environmental factors to improve sleep (e.g., avoiding/ limiting caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol; maintaining a regular sleep schedule; avoiding napping; exercising regularly; maintaining a quiet and dark bedroom).
Stimulus Control Therapy to change behaviors associated with bed or the bedroom and to establish consistent sleep patterns (e.g., using the bedroom for sleep only; going to bed only when tired).
Sleep Restriction Interventions to limit time in bed to sleep time and to gradually increase time in bed as sleep efficiency improves.
Relaxation Training Training to reduce somatic tension and to control bedtime thoughts that impair sleep.
Brief Behavioral Therapy (BBT) Therapy that combines stimulus control and sleep restriction strategies.
Multicomponent Behavioral Therapy (MBT) Therapy combining various behavioral interventions but not cognitive therapy.
Cognitive  Therapy Interventions to change patients’ thinking about sleep by identifying, challenging, and replacing dysfunctional beliefs and attitudes (e.g., challenging notions about requisite amounts of sleep and about how sleep is out of their control; thought journaling).
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) Multimodal combination of treatments, including cognitive therapy, behavioral interventions (sleep restriction, stimulus control, or both), and education (sleep hygiene).

Lemon grass or Tanglad to fight insomia

The health benefits of lemongrass include relief from stomach disorders, insomnia, respiratory disorders, fever, aches, infections, rheumatism and edema. The defensive antioxidant activity of the lemongrass herb protects against antibiotic-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and helps in maintaining optimum cholesterol levels, cellular health, nervous system, healthy skin and immune system. It is also effective in treating type 2 diabetes, cancer, and obesity, while also aiding in detoxification. It is extensively used in aromatherapy and helps to combat fatigue, anxiety and body odor.

Lemongrass – An Aromatic Healer

Cymbopogon citratus also known as Lemongrass is an herb which belongs to the grass family of Poaceae. It is well known and utilized for its distinct lemon flavor and citrusy aroma. It is a tall, perennial grass which is native to India and tropical regions of Asia. It is a coarse and tufted plant with linear leaves that grows in thick bunches, emerging from a strong base and standing for about 3 meters in height with a meter-wide stretch.

In addition to its culinary usage, lemongrass offers a wide array of medicinal benefits and is in extensive demand due to its antibacterial, anti-fungal and antimicrobial properties across Southeast Asia, as well as the African and American continents.

The genus Cymbopogon comprises of 55 species of grass, two of which are referred to as Lemongrass. These are West Indian lemongrass or Cymbopogon citratus which is famously preferred for culinary use and East Indian lemongrass or Cymobopogon flexuosus which is used in the manufacturing of various products such as fragrances because of its extended shelf life, owing to the low amount of myrcene in that variety.

Nutritional Value Of Lemongrass

Lemongrass is an aromatic storehouse of essential nutrients providing a wide array of health benefits. It is a source of essential vitamins such as vitamin A, vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), folate and vitamin C. It also provides essential minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, manganese, copper, zinc and iron, which are required for the healthy functioning of the human body. It offers no harmful cholesterol or fats.

Health Benefits Of Lemongrass

Lemongrass contains antioxidants, flavonoids and phenolic compounds such as luteolin, glycosides, quercetin, kaempferol, elimicin, catecol, chlorogenic acid, and caffeic acid, all of which help in providing an impressive range of medicinal aids. The main componentof lemongrass is lemonal or citral, which has anti-fungal and antimicrobial qualities, while also providing a distinct lemony smell. Some of the most well known health benefits of lemongrass include:

Cholesterol: Lemongrass possesses anti-hyperlipidemic and anti-hypercholesterolemic properties that support healthy cholesterol levels. Studies have shown that the regular consumption of lemongrass has shown significant results in sustaining healthy levels of triglycerides and reducing the LDL cholesterol in the body. This helps in preventing the accumulation of lipids in the blood vessels and promotes the unobstructed flow of blood in the arteries and prevents various cardiac disorders such as atherosclerosis.

Detoxification: Lemongrass helps in cleansing and flushing harmful toxic wastes out of the body, as a result of its diuretic properties. Detoxification helps in better regulation of various organs of the body, including the liver and kidney, while also helping to lower the levels of uric acid. The diuretic effect of lemongrass helps in increasing the quantity and frequency of urination, which helps in maintaining digestive health, eliminating accrued fats, and assisting in maintaining a clean system.

lemongrassCancer: Lemongrass is effective in treating various types of cancers without affecting the healthy normal cells of the body. Research conducted to prove the anti-cancerous activity of lemongrass has shown promising outcomes in the prevention of skin cancer. Studies have shown that a certain component, citral, which is present in lemongrass, helps in inhibiting the growth of hepatic cancer cells during the initial phases and prevents any further production of cancerous cells. Another study has provided supporting evidence regarding the anti-proliferative effect of citral in impeding the growth of human breast cancer cells and the induction of apoptosis.

Staphylococcus aureus: Studies have shown that lemongrass essential oil has an anti-biofilm capacity and is beneficial against the infection caused by Staphylococcus aureus. It contains phenols which possess the capability to spread quickly through the body tissues and cure biofilms located anywhere in the body. It disrupts the growth and communication of germs which helps in inhibiting the formation of biofilms. The essential oil of lemongrass is useful for application both topically as well as internally in the diseases diagnosed with biofilms, such as Lyme disease.

Stomach Disorders: Studies have shown that lemongrass essential oil has anti-microbial and anti-bacterial properties which help in fighting the infections caused by various pathogens such as Helicobacter pylori and Escherichia coli. It is beneficial in the prevention of gastrointestinal disorders such as gastric ulcers, helps in stimulating the bowel function, and improves digestion. The anti-inflammatory properties of lemongrass are beneficial for treating constipation, ulcerative colitis, diarrhea, nausea and stomach aches.

Insomnia: Lemongrass aids in calming the muscles and nerves which helps in inducing deep sleep. Research has shown that lemongrass tea has sedative and hypnotic properties which help in increasing the duration and quality of sleep.

Respiratory Disorders: Lemongrass is widely used in Ayurvedic medicine for its healing effects in treating coughs and colds. Along with other beneficial components, the vitamin C content present in it helps in providing relief from nasal blockages, flu and other respiratory disorders such as bronchial asthma.

Fever: Lemongrass is a febrifuge and is also known as the ‘fever grass’, owing to its beneficial effects in lowering  fevers. The anti-pyretic and diaphoretic effect of lemongrass is extensively used in Ayurvedic medicine for curing fevers by inducing sweating.

Infections: Lemongrass works as an antiseptic and is effective in treating infections such as ringworm, sores, Athlete’s Foot, scabies, and urinary tract infections because of its antimicrobial and anti-fungal properties. Studies have shown that lemongrass exerts healing effects on dermatological infections, such as yeast infections, by inhibiting the growth of pathogens. Another study provided supporting evidence that demonstrated the efficacy of lemongrass over thyme, patchouli and cedar wood oil in the treatment of various diseases such as oral or vaginal candidias.

Aches: Lemongrass helps in alleviating the pain and discomfort caused by headaches and migraines due to its analgesic properties. The phytonutrients present in it improve the blood circulation and help in relieving spasms, muscle cramps, sprains, and back aches. It is valuable in treating sports wounds, including dislocations, internal injuries and bruises.

Nervous System: Lemongrass is a nervine and has been proven to be an  tonic for the nervous system. It stimulates the mind and helps in combating convulsions, nervousness, vertigo and various neuronal disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. It is used in therapeutic baths, which assist in calming the nerves and help in alleviating the symptoms of anxiety and fatigue caused by stress.

Type-2 Diabetes: Lemongrass has been proven beneficial in treating Type-2 diabetes. Studies have shown that the citral present in it helps to maintain optimum levels of insulin and improves the tolerance of glucose in the body.

Rheumatism: Lemongrass is effective in relieving the pain and discomfort caused by rheumatism. It can be applied topically on both lumbago and sprains and helps in relieving neuralgia and other painful sufferings.

Immune System: Lemongrass helps in restoring the vital systems which are operational in the body, including digestion, respiration, excretion and nervous system. This assists in better absorption of nutrients and strengthens the immune defense mechanism of the body. Lemongrass extracts have a beneficial effect on the inflammatory actions of cytokines, which are the signaling molecules through which the cells communicate and respond in the body. Studies have shown that lemongrass exerts anti-inflammatory action and its constituents such as citral may be the cause behind its inhibitory effects on cytokine production.

Skin Care: Lemongrass has been treasured as a skin tonic and makes an effective cleanser for oily or acne-prone skin, due to its astringent and antiseptic qualities. It helps in strengthening the skin tissues and toning up the pores while also sterilizing them. Care should be taken while using lemongrass products, as the undiluted application might lead to dermal irritation in some cases.

Cellular Health: Lemongrass possesses antioxidant qualities and help in protecting the body cells from the oxygen-derived free radicals. It also helps in the cleansing of blood and strengthens the spleen to discard the tarnished red blood cells. It supports the function of the thymus glands which helps to produce white blood cells. It helps in stimulating regeneration of cells. The folate and potassium content in the stem and leaves of lemongrass aids in DNA synthesis and promotes cell division.

Edema: Lemongrass is effective in curing the condition of water retention or edema. It has a cleansing effect on lymphatic congestion and helps to soothe the swelling.

50 yr old male, with hypertension, lacks sleep and wants to lose weight

As we age, we need digestive enzymes (supplements or pineapple/papaya), do a liver detox once a month, de-stress with dancing or yoga, exercise 30 min a day like walking, cross-fit (lighter weights first – I go to nc.fit in Stevens Creek Santa Clara) and find ways to incorporate whole foods in our diet.

Background:

  • Family History: Hypertension
  • Health complaints current and past: Stress disorder. High cholesterol.
  • Diet: High carb
  • Exercise: Some light
  • Sleep: Horrible

To help a 50 yr old male who wanted to lose weight, I suggested the following:

  • Get good sleep (search this site) and add the following supplementation at night: Calcium with magnesium Vit C, Vit K and D , melatonin and add a 1/2 tsp of apple cider vinegar in drinking water before going to bed.
  • In the morning to drink warm water with lemon and maple syrup and one soft boiled egg for breakfast.  Drinks to include: coconut water, aloe vera juice, make your own home made juice of cranberries, apples, pear, grapefruit (only when not taking meds), tea and decaf coffee (avoid coffee for a month if possible, only before exercise in the morn)
  • Before noon time, exercise (30 min cross fit, walking/jogging)
  • At lunchtime, avoid pork and processed foods with trans-fat (fried), and add whole foods (colored ones, lots of sulfur rich foods such as garlic, onions, yellow colored and red) in the diet of fish and veggies. Add olive oil, avocado, walnut and sesame seeds. Avoid sugar, soda, energy drinks, alcohol, caffeine and juices (not home made).
    Remember that fiber-rich foods help in removing bad fats and sugar from our cells.
  • At dinner time, add sweet potatoes with skin, asparagus, nuts, 3 bites of favorite not fried meat.
  • Use these essential oils for mouth wash (homemade), massage or added as few drops in drinks (spearmint, peppermint, lemon grass, rosemary).  Get a foot massage (includes body) in the bay area Foot Massage spa places (costs $25 for an hour). You may bring your own massage oil and add EPSOM salts in the foot soak bath.
  • Suggested lab tests: whole blood panel for men, gut microbiome, DNA Exome WGS test and a physical exam with an internist and endocrinologist
  • Avoid being over medicated and do check with you doctor about your meds and other info (diet, supplements,health concerns).
  • Check or monitor for any symptoms such as head ache, migraine, aches and pains, skin allergies, dry mouth or skin, gum disease, eye disease and all signs and symptoms exhibited by your body (keep a note and email your doctor).
  • Avoid allergy causing substances and food (cheese, milk,corn) and for more tips email COnnie at motherhealth@gmail.com.
  • Do refer Motherhealth caregivers to homebound seniors who suffered from stroke, and other health issues , 408-854-1883
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Insomnia Associated With Increased Risk of Suicidality

Summary: According to researchers, people with insomnia are more likely to report thoughts of death and suicide during a 30 day period than those who don’t suffer from sleep disturbances.

Source: University of Pennsylvania.

Findings explain the association between suicidality and different groups of insomnia sufferers, which may reveal insights for intervention of those most at risk.

People who suffer from insomnia are three times more likely to report thoughts of suicide and death during the past 30 days than those without the condition, reports a new meta-analysis from researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. The study is the first to control for depression and anxiety and evaluate in-depth the relationship between the broadly defined terms of insomnia and suicidality to reveal trends that may inform future targeted treatment for 32 million individuals struggling with insomnia in the United States each year. The findings will be presented at SLEEP 2017, the 31st Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies LLC (APSS).

The researchers evaluated self-report survey data assessing insomnia, depression, and anxiety symptoms among 1,160 U.S. Army servicemembers (84 percent male and average age of 31). Controlling for anxiety and depression, the researchers mapped suicidality into multiple dimensions: thoughts of killing oneself, having a plan to commit suicide, intention to kill oneself, thoughts of death (wishing you were dead), and telling people you want to commit suicide. They separated insomnia sufferers into sub-groups – those who have so-called global insomnia (insomnia as a general term), initial (trouble falling asleep at the beginning of the night), middle (trouble maintaining sleep), and terminal insomnia (waking too early from sleep), and nocturnal awakenings (frequently waking up at night) – and studied the association between each of those subgroups and dimensions of suicidality.

The team found that 2.3 percent of those in the population without insomnia reported any indices of suicidality, while 13.1 percent of those experiencing insomnia reported at least one type of suicidality. The group also found a significant association between insomnia and suicide (which echoes earlier studies), but the new research parsed out the broad concepts of insomnia and suicide to explain what aspects of these two are related in a population of military personnel.

Even after eliminating the established role of depression and anxiety in suicide, people who suffer from insomnia are three times more likely to report thoughts of suicide and death during the past 30 days. Insomnia was also found to be a significant predictor for suicidality. Although waking up multiple times throughout the night was significantly associated with greater suicidal ideation, the team was surprised that having difficulty maintaining sleep in the middle of the night was actually associated with a lower likelihood of having thoughts of suicide or having a suicidal plan. This does not mean that those at risk for suicide should try keeping themselves up during the middle of the night, however.

The association between awakenings and suicidality follows senior author Michael Perlis’ “sleep of reason” hypothesis, such that, risk for suicidality is highest as someone is awake with insomnia at night when their ability to reason, think rationally, and engage in impulse control are lowest. The team’s findings suggest that the increased awakenings at night and the decreased executive function associated with it foster dimensions of suicidality in those who are pre-disposed to thinking about committing suicide.

“It’s a bad thing to be awake when reason sleeps,” said Michael Perlis, PhD, an associate professor of Psychiatry and director of the Behavioral Sleep Medicine program, and senior author on the research. “Being awake at night, coupled with the decreased frontal lobe function that happens with sleep loss may explain the mechanism for how insomnia relates with suicide risk.”

Frequently waking up throughout the night was the only type of insomnia associated with four of the five dimensions of suicidality. One possible explanation for this finding may be that it is related to other comorbid conditions, such as obstructive sleep apnea and chronic pain.

“Middle insomnia might give them an external factor to attribute to their distress,” said Ivan Vargas, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow and first author of abstract. “Most of the participants in this study were not presently depressed – so they’re less likely to internalize stress and subsequently experience suicidal ideation. Following a night of insomnia, they may be more likely to attribute any daytime impairment to their poor sleep and not to themselves. In this case, insomnia would buffer their negative attributions about themselves and lower their risk for suicidality. This really speaks to the dynamic relationship between insomnia and depression in predicting suicidality. ”

Image shows an alarm clock.

The authors note that further research may benefit from studying this in additional populations, or in a majority female population.

Previous research from the Perlis team has shown that suicides are more likely to occur after midnight than during the daytime or evening and another study showing that more sleep reduces suicide risk in those with insomnia.

ABOUT THIS NEUROSCIENCE RESEARCH ARTICLE

In addition to Vargas and Perlis, additional authors on #0409 include Amy Gencarelli, from Penn, Alexandria Muench from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Elaine Boland from the Cpl. Michael J. Crescenz VA Medical Center, Jennifer R. Goldschmied from Penn, and Philip Gehrman, from Penn and the Cpl. Michael J. Crescenz VA Medical Center, and additional authors on (#0422) include Amy Gencarelli, from Penn, Waliuddin Khader, from Penn, Alexandria DiGuiseppe from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Jennifer Goldschmied from Penn, Elaine Boland from the Cpl. Michael J. Crescenz VA Medical Center, and Philip Gehrman from Penn and the Cpl. Michael J. Crescenz VA Medical Center.

Source: Gregory Richter – University of Pennsylvania
Image Source: NeuroscienceNews.com image is in the public domain.
Original Research: The research will be presented at SLEEP 2017, the 31st Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies LLC (APSS) in Boston.

Coffee and magnesium levels

Symptoms of poor magnesium intake can include muscle cramps, facial tics, poor sleep, and chronic pain. It pays to ensure that you get adequate magnesium before signs of deficiency occur.

But how can you know whether you’re getting enough?

According to population studies of average magnesium intake, there’s a good chance that you’re not.

Less than 30% of U.S. adults consume the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of magnesium. And nearly 20% get only half of the magnesium they need daily to remain healthy.1 2 3

magnesium rda intake

Estimated U.S. Intake of Magnesium Recommended Daily Allowance

DO I GET ENOUGH MAGNESIUM?

One method of assessing your magnesium status is to simply contact your health care provider and request detailed magnesium testing. Yet magnesium assessment is typically done using blood serum testing, and these tests can be misleading. Only 1% of magnesium in the body is actually found in blood, and only .3% is found in blood serum, so clinical blood serum testing may not successfully identify magnesium deficiency.

What to do?

Fortunately, it’s possible to get a sense of where your intake may lie simply by asking yourself a few questions about your lifestyle, and watching for certain signs and signals of low magnesium levels.

Learn how to read your signs below, and find out what you can do to ensure magnesium balance and good health. If you answer yes to any of the following questions, you may be at risk for low magnesium intake.

1. Do you drink carbonated beverages on a regular basis?

Most dark colored sodas contain phosphates. These substances actually bind with magnesium inside the digestive tract, rendering it unavailable to the body. So even if you are eating a balanced diet, by drinking soda with your meals you are flushing magnesium out of your system.4 5 6

The average consumption of carbonated beverages today is more than ten times what it was in 1940.7This skyrocketing increase is responsible for both reduced magnesium and calcium availability in the body.8 9

2. Do you regularly eat pastries, cakes, desserts, candies or other sweet foods?

sugar and magnesium depletion

Refined sugar is not only a zero magnesium product but it also causes the body to excrete magnesium through the kidneys. The process of producing refined sugar from sugar cane removes molasses, stripping the magnesium content entirely.

And sugar does not simply serve to reduce magnesium levels. Sweet foods are known by nutritionists as “anti-nutrients”. Anti-nutrients like sweets are foods that replace whole nutritious foods in the diet, yet actually consume nutrients when digested, resulting in a net loss. Because all foods require vitamins and minerals to be consumed in order to power the process of digestion, it’s important to choose foods that “put back” vital nutrients, and then some.

The more sweet foods and processed baked goods you have in your diet, the more likely you are deficient in magnesium and other vital nutrients.

3. Do you experience a lot of stress in your life, or have you recently had a major medical procedure such as surgery?

Both physical and emotional stress can be a cause of magnesium deficiency.

Stress can be a cause of magnesium deficiency, and a lack of magnesium tends to magnify the stress reaction, worsening the problem. In studies, adrenaline and cortisol, byproducts of the “fight or flight” reaction associated with stress and anxiety, were associated with decreased magnesium.4

Because stressful conditions require more magnesium use by the body, all such conditions may lead to deficiency, including both psychological and physical forms of stress such as surgery, burns, and chronic disease.

4. Do you drink coffee, tea, or other caffeinated drinks daily?

coffee and magnesium loss

Magnesium levels are controlled in the body in large part by the kidneys, which filter and excrete excess magnesium and other minerals. But caffeine causes the kidneys to release extra magnesium regardless of body status.

If you drink caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea and soda regularly, your risk for magnesium deficiency is increased.

5. Do you take a diuretic, heart medication, asthma medication, birth control pills or estrogen replacement therapy?

The effects of certain drugs have been shown to reduce magnesium levels in the body by increasing magnesium loss through excretion by the kidneys.

6. Do you drink more than seven alcoholic beverages per week?

alcohol and magnesium depletion

The effect of alcohol on magnesium levels is similar to the effect of diuretics: it lowers magnesium available to the cells by increasing the excretion of magnesium by the kidneys. In studies, clinical magnesium deficiency was found in 30% of alcoholics.10

Increased alcohol intake also contributes to decreased efficiency of the digestive system, as well as Vitamin D deficiency, both of which can contribute to low magnesium levels.11

7. Do you take calcium supplements without magnesium or calcium supplements with magnesium in less than a 1:1 ratio?

Studies have shown that when magnesium intake is low, calcium supplementation may reduce magnesium absorption and retention.12 13 14 And, whereas calcium supplementation can have negative effects on magnesium levels, magnesium supplementation actually improves the body’s use of calcium.7

calcium and magnesium absorption

Though many reports suggest taking calcium to magnesium in a 2:1 ratio, this figure is largely arbitrary. The ideal ratio for any individual will vary depending on current conditions as well as risk factors for deficiency.

However, several researchers now support a 1:1 calcium to magnesium ratio for improved bone support and reduced risk of disease. This is due not only to the increased evidence pointing to widespread magnesium deficiency, but also concerns over the risk of arterial calcification when low magnesium stores are coupled with high calcium intake.

According to noted magnesium researcher Mildred Seelig:

The body tends to retain calcium when in a magnesium-deficient state. Extra calcium intake at such a time could cause an abnormal rise of calcium levels inside the cells, including the cells of the heart and blood vessels… Given the delicate balance necessary between calcium and magnesium in the cells, it is best to be sure magnesium is adequate if you are taking calcium supplements.”8

8. Do you experience any of the following:

  • Anxiety?
  • Times of hyperactivity?
  • Difficulty getting to sleep?
  • Difficulty staying asleep?

The above symptoms may be neurological signs of magnesium deficiency. Adequate magnesium is necessary for nerve conduction and is also associated with electrolyte imbalances that affect the nervous system. Low magnesium is also associated with personality changes and sometimes depression.

9. Do you experience any of the following:

  • Painful muscle spasms?
  • Muscle cramping?
  • Fibromyalgia?
  • Facial tics?
  • Eye twitches, or involuntary eye movements?

Neuromuscular symptoms such as these are among the classic signs of a potential magnesium deficit.

Without magnesium, our muscles would be in a constant state of contraction.

Magnesium is a required element of muscle relaxation, and without it our muscles would be in a constant state of contraction. Calcium, on the other hand, signals muscles to contract. As noted in the book The Magnesium Factor, the two minerals are “two sides of a physiological coin; they have actions that oppose one another, yet they function as a team.”8

Chvostek’s Sign and Trousseau’s Sign are both clinical tests for involuntary muscle movements, and both may indicate either calcium or magnesium deficiency, or both. In fact, magnesium deficiency may actually appear as calcium deficiency in testing, and one of the first recommendations upon receiving low calcium test results is magnesium supplementation.

10. Did you answer yes to any of the above questions and are also age 55 or older?

Older adults are particularly vulnerable to low magnesium status. It has been shown that aging, stress and disease all contribute to increasing magnesium needs, yet most older adults actually take in less magnesium from food sources than when they were younger.

In addition, magnesium metabolism may be less efficient as we grow older, as changes the GI tract and kidneys contribute to older adults absorbing less and retaining less magnesium.15

If you are above 55 and also showing lifestyle signs or symptoms related to low magnesium, it’s particularly important that you work to improve your magnesium intake. When body stores of magnesium run low, risks of overt hypomagnesaemia (magnesium deficiency) increase significantly.

HOW CAN YOU KNOW FOR CERTAIN IF YOU HAVE A DEFICIENCY?

Magnesium’s impact is so crucial and far reaching that symptoms of its absence reverberate throughout the body’s systems. This makes signs of its absence hard to pin down with absolute precision, even for cutting edge researchers.  Doctors Pilar Aranda and Elena Planells noted this difficulty in their report at the International Magnesium Symposium of 2007:

The clinical manifestations of magnesium deficiency are difficult to define because depletion of this cation is associated with considerable abnormalities in the metabolism of many elements and enzymes. If prolonged, insufficient magnesium intake may be responsible for symptoms attributed to other causes, or whose causes are unknown.”

Among researchers, magnesium deficiency is known as the silent epidemic of our times, and it is widely acknowledged that definitive testing for deficiency remains elusive. Judy Driskell, Professor, Nutrition and Health Sciences at the University of Nebraska, refers to this “invisible deficiency” as chronic latent magnesium deficiency, and explains:

Normal serum and plasma magnesium concentrations have been found in individuals with low magnesium in [red blood cells] and tissues. Yet efforts to find an indicator of subclinical magnesium status have not yielded a cost-effective one that has been well validated.”16

Yet while the identification of magnesium deficiency may be unclear, its importance is undeniable.

Magnesium activates over 300 enzyme reactions in the body, translating to thousands of biochemical reactions happening on a constant basis daily. Magnesium is crucial to nerve transmission, muscle contraction, blood coagulation, energy production, nutrient metabolism and bone and cell formation.

Considering these varied and all-encompassing effects, not to mention the cascading effect magnesium levels have on other important minerals such as calcium and potassium, one thing is clear – long term low magnesium intake is something to be avoided.


Connie’s comments: I sometimes drink decaf coffee before I exercise and eat in the morning. I take 60:40 calcium:magnesium with Vitamin D and C in the afternoon and at night. And always choose whole foods rich in magnesium since I have difficulty sleeping and relieve muscle pain.

Email motherhealth@gmail.com for supplements personalized to your body composition. I get my supplements at Life Extension and I am a wholesaler.