Magnificent Seven: Eat Right – Vitamin D, Probiotics, Magnesium

Well, we are wrapping up the Eat Right portion of the Magnificent Seven.  I hope that you have garnered some value regarding your daily diet that will help you make some healthful changes.  In today’s post I want to briefly highlight three components that I think are also an important part of general health.  These are vitamin D, probiotics and magnesium.

We’ve all heard of vitamin D.  Much has been written regarding the significant health benefits of adequate vitamin D levels.  It is recommended that everyone have their vitamin D levels checked at least annually.  Optimal levels are 55-60 and the value to check is the 25-OH vitamin D.  Unfortunately, many people are having their vitamin D levels checked, but the wrong test is being ordered and people aren’t being treated appropriately.  Another misfortune is the fact that many are being told they are “fine” with vitamin D levels of 20-30.  This isn’t true.  Let’s take breast cancer risk reduction for example.  There is an established correlation between vitamin D levels and risk factors.  There is a reduction in risk when the serum levels of 25-OH vitamin D are 55 or greater.  Vitamin D deficiency is a common underlying cause of chronic musculoskeletal pain, autoimmune diseases (such as multiple sclerosis) and cancer.  I want to direct you to a great article written by Dr. Alex Vasquez, DC, ND, DO regarding vitamin D which I am sure you will find helpful.

Probiotics are also important.  These are the bacteria that live in your gut.  You have more bacteria in your gut than you have cells in your body…amazing isn’t it!  80% of your immune system resides in your gut.  You have more neurotransmitters in your brain than you do in your gut.  All of this is maintained and balanced by the levels of good bacteria that you have thriving in your system.  I wrote about probiotics in an earlier blog post and discuss proper strains of bacteria.

Magnesium deficiency is a very common problem in the United States for a number of reasons.  First, high intake of processed foods depletes magnesium.  Second, foods high in magnesium, such as green leafy vegetables, aren’t regularly consumed in adequate levels. Another reason is stress.  Chronic stress depletes magnesium.  Signs and symptoms of magnesium deficiency can be constipation, muscle cramps, heart palpitations, abnormal enzyme function and more.  Magnesium helps to maintain the acid-alkaline balance in your body and serves as a cellular buffer.  The most accurate way to assess magnesium status is through a RBC (red blood cell) mineral analysis.  Serum magnesium is not a very accurate approach, but may be used as a gauge, just make sure you are in the higher range of normal.

Depending on your health needs and goals, you may find it beneficial to supplement with vitamin D3, a good probiotic, and magnesium.  For constipation issues, magnesium citrate works really well as a stool softener.  It is safe, effective and may be taken long term.  Magnesium glycinate is a great form that is readily used by the cells and is the best form to replete low magnesium levels as indicated on laboratory assessment.

Additional Resources

Detoxification and Healing by Sidney Baker, MD

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