In today’s episode, Dr. Lisa and Dr. Toni discuss what you need to know about magnesium. Magnesium is one of our favourite nutritional supplements because of its role in hormone balance, aging and mood. Are you experiencing symptoms of low magnesium? Find out why you might need to have more magnesium in your life!
Why is magnesium so important?
Involved in over 300 enzymatic reactions in your body
Found in your bones, cardiovascular system, nervous system and in every cell in your body – less than 1% of magnesium in your body found in your blood
Acts as a natural muscle relaxant
Calms your nervous system
Plays an important role for your energy production
Influences GABA for relaxation and melatonin for sleep
Influences your love and bonding hormone oxytocin
Supports your liver detoxification pathways to promote breakdown and elimination of excess estrogen, which is linked with breast tenderness, fibroids, heavy periods, endometriosis symptoms (see Episode 21 for more info)
Important for your thyroid function – research links magnesium levels with thyroid health (see Episode 42 for more info)
Low magnesium levels are linked with high oxidative stress and low grade inflammation associated with signs of aging like cognitive decline, wrinkles, etc.
Important modulator of your receptors in the brain like NMDA receptors which are involved in memory function and depression
Can protect you against calcium deposits in your soft tissue like calcium oxalate kidney stones or calcifications in your arteries
Supports your utilization of vitamin D
Helps insulin work to control your blood sugar
What are symptoms of low magnesium?
Low mood, anxiety, panic (see Episode 81 for more info)
Muscle aches and pains
Menstrual cramps, PMS, hormonal imbalances (see Episode 21 for more info)
Blood sugar imbalances (see Episode 45 for more info)
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Stay safe and healthy everyone!
Disclaimer: The information provided in this presentation is not meant to replace treatment with a licensed health care practitioner. It is for informational purposes only. Consult with a Naturopathic Doctor or other licensed health care professional to determine which treatments are safe for you.
In today’s episode, Dr. Lisa and Dr. Toni discuss the spectrum of how you can react to gluten, from celiac disease to non-celiac gluten sensitivity or gluten intolerance. Gluten issues can cause more than tummy troubles if you are sensitive and needs to be considered whenever you are experiencing any kind of inflammation. Common reactions can include: brain fog, fatigue, skin rashes, joint pain, headaches, boating and more.
Gluten sensitivity is estimated to be 6 times more prevalent than celiac disease, which affects about 1% of the population, but about three quarters of people are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed with other conditions.
There are 3 major categories of gluten or wheat–related conditions:
gluten sensitivity (aka non-celiac gluten sensitivity or gluten intolerance)
Research by Dr. Fassano from Harvard shows that the frequency of common symptoms of gluten sensitivity:
abdominal pain (68%)
eczema or rash (40%)
“foggy mind” (34%)
numbness in legs, arms, or fingers (20%)
joint pain (11%).
What is gluten?
Gluten is a mixture of proteins found in common grains like wheat, rye and barley. It provides a gummy consistency.
What is celiac disease?
Celiac disease is a multi-system autoimmune disorder that is triggered by the ingestion of gluten in genetically susceptible individuals. Autoantibodies can be produced in your body and can be tested in the blood, along with genetic markers.
If your antibodies are positive, the second step is a small intestinal endoscopic biopsy to look for atrophy of the villi along your intestinal tract. You have to be regularly consuming gluten for the test results to be accurate.
This inflammatory autoimmune condition breaks down your gut lining, manifesting digestive symptoms and/or extraintestinal symptoms. Celiac disease is a serious disorder, resulting in an increased risk for nutritional deficiencies and development of other autoimmune disorders.
The classical or typical symptoms of celiac disease include:
Malabsorption of macronutrients like protein, healthy fats and micronutrients like iron, vitamin B12 and other B vitamins, vitamin D and calcium
Other symptoms of celiac disease are often considered as non-classical or atypical:
Anemia, osteoporosis or osteopenia due to nutritional deficiencies, also dental enamel defects
Oral ulcers and burning tongue
Skin issues like eczema or dermatitis herpetiformis (raised blister with intense itching and burning)
Hair loss and brittleness
Liver enzyme elevation
Infertility (causes unexplained infertility in 5.9% of women), miscarriage, gestational diabetes
Migraines, joint pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, muscle aches and pains
Neurological problems like depression, anxiety, peripheral pain or tingling, balance issues
Children with celiac disease can have:
Gluten sensitivity can be indistinguishable from celiac disease or wheat allergy based on your symptoms alone. Lab testing is needed!
Research suggests that gluten sensitivity may be linked with the activation of your innate immune response, which causes an inflammatory response without the damage to your intestinal tract that happens due to the specific immune response that happens with celiac disease.
See Episode 8 to learn more about leaky gut and your microbiome and how gluten and other foods may be impacting your health.
Research also links the high intake of gluten containing grains during pregnancy with an increased risk of type 1 diabetes in kids.
What are sources of gluten?
Gluten is commonly found in wheat, spelt, kamut, rye and barley. Other grains that contain gluten are wheat berries, spelt, durum, emmer, semolina, farina, farro, graham, khorasan wheat, einkorn, and triticale (a blend of wheat and rye).
Oats are naturally gluten free, however commercially available oats often contain gluten from cross-contamination when they are grown near, or processed in the same facilities as the grains listed above.
Gluten is also sold as wheat gluten, or seitan, a popular vegan high-protein food. Less obvious sources of gluten include soy sauce, modified food starch and personal care products like shampoos
There also may be cross-reactivity with other foods like oats and corn.
How do you go gluten free?
Gluten free grains include:
Brown, black, red, white rice
Gluten free doesn’t automatically equal healthy – check your labels!
It’s key not to rely on processed gluten-free foods that may be high in calories and sugar, and low in nutrients, such as gluten-free cookies, chips, and other snack foods. Consider gluten free grains as filler foods and focus more on getting your carbohydrates from vegetables. Listen to your body!
Other things you need to know about gluten:
A low gluten diet has been shown to increase the release of Peptide YY, which binds to your brain receptors to decrease your appetite and make you feel full after eating.
Gluten is different in North America vs. Europe!
Faster processing of bread and pasta in North America
Overnight to allow enzymes in yeast to break down peptides in Europe; 2 hours in North America
Certain pesticides are not used in Europe
Traditional forms of wheat are used in Europe instead of more modern and genetically modified wheat in North America
Glyphosate is the core ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide sprayed on many crops, including gluten containing grains like wheat. Research on rats has found a disruption in beneficial gut bacteria at doses considered safe. Levels of glyphosate found in the human bloodstream have spiked by more than 1,000% in the last two decades!
Lab testing to consider:
Celiac screen – IgA tissue transglutaminase antibody (TTG), endomysial antibody (EMA) and deamidated gliadin peptide (DGP)
Endoscope and biopsy
Other antibodies – IgA/IgG anti-gliadin, IgE wheat
Genetic markers – (HLA-DQ2 and HLA-DQ8 genes)
C Reactive Protein, Iron levels, vitamin B12 and D
IgG food sensitivity testing
Comprehensive Stool Testing with zonulin
What do you do if you are diagnosed with celiac disease, wheat allergy or gluten sensitivity:
Eliminate gluten containing grains to lower antibody and inflammatory levels in your body
Can consider re-introduction to tolerable levels if you have gluten sensitivity
Re-test antibody levels if you have celiac disease to confirm you have not been exposed to gluten unknowingly
Consider full hypoallergenic elimination challenge or food sensitivity testing
Support gut healing with bone broth, glutamine, NAG, aloe, probiotics, digestive enzymes, DGL, slippery elm, marshmallow, mastic gum
Consider immune support with vitamin D, fermented food, probiotics, prebiotics like arabinogalactans
Today’s Mama Must Have:
Dr. Lisa is a big fan of the gluten free bread by Slice of Life and Un-Bun, along with Glutenberg gluten free beer.
Dr. Toni loves her favourite gluten free pasta – black bean spaghetti by Explore Asian and Liviva, which is yummy, and higher in protein and fibre than regular pasta.
In this episode, Dr. Lisa and Dr. Toni provide some updated info you need to know about sleep, especially if your sleep has been impacted by perimenopause and the pandemic. Want to stop gaining weight and craving carbs and sugar? Want more energy and better moods? Want to lower your risk of cancer, dementia and diabetes? Don’t wait to sleep when you’re dead!
Did you know?
2/3 of people in developed nations fail to sleep at least 8 hours a night!
Why do you need to get a good night’s sleep?
Research shows that the less sleep you get, the shorter your life.
You can’t make up for a poor night’s sleep by sleeping more the next night.
As you age, your sleep can be more fragile and sensitive than when you’re younger.
Insufficient or poor sleep can:
Double your risk of cardiovascular disease
24% increase in heart attacks after lose an hour with daylight savings time change in spring
Make otherwise healthy people appear prediabetic on blood tests (even just after a few nights of poor sleep)
Contribute to weight gain
crave more simple carbs and sugar
insulin increases, can lead to insulin resistance
it takes 40% longer to regulate your blood sugar after a high carb meal
lowers leptin and increases ghrelin, impacting your appetite
4-5 hours of sleep a night can increase daily calorie intake by 300 and contribute to gaining an extra 10-15 pounds over a year
Reduce your cognition or ability to think and problem solve
Put your body in fight or flight mode
cortisol increases which can make it more difficult to sleep, can become a vicious cycle due to overactivity of stress response pathway in brain
Double your risk of getting cancer when you get less than 6 hours sleep a night
Make you more likely to catch viruses such as the common cold
Cause your amygdala to be more activated, so you are more emotionally reactive
Reduce the work of your glymphatic system to clear out amyloid plaques and prevent dementia
even after 1 night of 4 hours sleep, more amyloid plaque in your brain is possible
Cause more accidents from drowsy driving than drugs and alcohol
Less than 5 hours sleep makes you 3 times more likely to crash your car
What can you do if your sleep is interrupted?
There is a time and a place for napping for sleep deprived moms.
A research study by NASA in 1990s showed that even 26 min naps increased alertness by 50% and increased performance on a task by 34%
What is a good night’s sleep?
Adults: 7 to 9 hours a night
Total sleep time, not just your time in bed
Fall asleep within 20 minutes
Wake up zero to several times a night with the ability to fall back asleep easily
Wake before alarm
Optimal bedtime depends on which chronotype you are
40% of people are morning types or morning larks
30% are evening types or night owls
30% fall somewhere in between
Signs you are not getting enough sleep:
1. After waking up in the morning, could you fall back asleep at 10 or 11 am?
2. Can you function optimally without caffeine before noon?
3. Do you need your alarm to wake up?
What controls sleep?
Circadian clock: your inner time-keeper, which is temperature and enzyme dependent
Cortisol – regulates metabolism, blood sugar and inflammation
supports memory, salt/water balance, blood pressure, immune response and more
Helps body respond to stress
Melatonin – made in pineal gland
Darkness triggers release
Daylight stops release
Supports sleep and detoxification
Promotes bone health and immunity
Antioxidant and potential cancer-protective effects
Can influence reproduction and hormones
Adenosine – inhibitory neurotransmitter that inhibits the bodily processes associated with wakefulness
Adenosine exerts sleep pressure by accumulating in your bloodstream when you’re awake which makes you sleepy
As we sleep, we breakdown adenosine via an enzyme and your brain’s rate of adenosine metabolism determines the quality of your deep sleep
Caffeine – from green or black tea, coffee, chocolate, soft drinks – Stimulates you by blocking adenosine binding to receptors so you can’t fall asleep or get into deep sleep
This reduction in adenosine activity leads to increased activity of the neurotransmitters dopamine and glutamate
Lowered body temperature
Your body temperature must fall by 1 degree C to trigger and support sleep
Act as a sedative, not producing true sleep
Doesn’t allow your brain to consolidate memories like regular sleep does
Associated with increased cancer risk when you use more than 3 times over one year
THC acts as a sedative, not producing true sleep
Can create rebound insomnia if you stop
Can create dependence and paranoia
CBD may help your sleep without negative effects of THC
What can cause you to have a poor sleep?
External causes like:
Sounds and movements from your kids, pets, partners, neighbours
Blood sugar issues
Stimulants like caffeine
Alcohol and certain medications
Internal causes like:
Stress and anxiety
Restless Leg Syndrome
Sleep apnea and snoring
Skin rashes or itchy skin
Lab tests and investigations you need to consider:
DUTCH for melatonin, cortisol and other hormones
Snoring: food sensitivities, allergies
Pelvic floor physiotherapy
Pain: acupuncture, osteopathy, physiotherapy, etc.
Sleep study with medical doctors specially trained in sleep science
How Can You Get a Good Night’s Sleep?
Get daylight exposure
Exercise earlier in day
Balance your blood sugar and limit your sugar intake
Limit caffeine intake
Half life is about 6 hours and quarter life is about 12 hours, as you get older, you can tolerate less
Consider no caffeine after 1pm or for 12 hours before bed
Limit alcohol intake
Acts as a sedative – not real sleep – dulls down impulse control
Fragmented sleep with many short waking intervals more regularly and not deep sleep
Not restorative sleep with less time in REM
Reduce bladder irritating foods like citrus, spicy foods, carbonated beverages
Journal before bed – unload thoughts and “to-dos”
Reduce screen exposure
One study found even reading on an iPad versus a print book suppressed melatonin levels by 50% and delayed the onset of sleep by many hours.
Sleep in a cool, dark room
Turn thermostat down to 15-19 C or 60-67 F
Try out essential oils like lavender or cedarwood – diffuse or mix in carrier oil and put on bottoms of feet
Calming bedtime routine like meditation and a warm bath or shower helps cool you down by creating vasodilation after
Cortisol-balancing herbs in tea or supplement form:
TEAS: Tulsi, Chamomile, Lavender, lemon balm
0.5 to 3mg is usually enough, while 5-10mg or more can shut down your natural production and produce more side effects like morning grogginess
Best used for jet lag from travel or as we age
Progesterone support if needed
Consider a sleep divorce – sleep in a separate room from your partner if they snore
Don’t lay awake in bed longer than 20min so you don’t associate context of being awake with your bed
Seek out a psychologist trained in CBT-I for more personalized support
Sleep tools you can use:
Sleep cycle app, Oura ring, Whoop strap
Meditation apps like Insight Timer
Blue light glasses
White noise machine, fan, humidifier, air purifier
Red light bulbs and night lights
Weighted blanket like Zonli
Today’s Mama Must Have:
Dr. Lisa loves putting a tea bag or two of lemon balm or chamomile tea in Stuart’s bath and using Badger sleep balm on the backs of Stuart’s hands and his feet for extra sleep support.
Dr. Toni is a big fan of Cyto-Matrix’s Mag Matrix magnesium liquid for Frankie and Bach Flower Rescue Remedy night spray for the whole family.