What You Will Learn In This Article
- How Magnesium Impacts Hormones
- Recommended Types of Magnesium and How to Use
- Which Magnesium Supplements to Avoid
Magnesium is an essential nutrient, which means your body cant produce it and you must get it from food or supplements. This key mineral is responsible for helping your body complete around 300 enzyme responses many of these responses impact on your natural hormone balance. Not getting enough magnesium can lead to detoxification issues, insomnia, inflammation, fibromyalgia, osteoporosis, and heart disease. Yet, almost half of the U.S. population is depleted in magnesium.
You can replenish low levels through magnesium-rich foods like seaweed, cacao and chocolate, cashews, cruciferous vegetables, brown rice and bananas. However, sometimes, even if you are eating all the right foods, you will still need to supplement.
You may have come across various forms of magnesium glycinate, citrate, malate, threonate, oxide, chloride.
But, before you hit that purchase button, its important to find the right type of magnesium for you.
Below, I will break down some of the most popular types of magnesium and their benefits. I will also talk about the types of magnesium I do not recommend and why.
May Improve Blood Sugar Control
Studies show that a higher intake of magnesium may be associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes .
Taking magnesium supplements may also help improve blood sugar control and insulin sensitivity.
Insulin is the hormone responsible for transporting sugar from your bloodstream into your tissues. Increasing insulin sensitivity can help your body use this important hormone more efficiently to keep your blood sugar levels in check .
One large review of 18 studies showed that taking magnesium supplements reduced blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. It also increased insulin sensitivity in people at risk of developing diabetes .
Another 3-month study found that when 71 children with type 1 diabetes took 300 mg of magnesium oxide daily, their levels of hemoglobin A1c decreased by 22%. Hemoglobin A1c is a marker of long-term blood sugar control .
Does Magnesium Help Gerd
The backflow of stomach acid and contents into the esophagus causes heartburn and its associated symptoms. When heartburn becomes chronic, it can lead to gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD. Antacids are commonly used to relieve heartburn, but stronger proton pump inhibitor medication may be advised when symptoms are more than occasional. For quick relief, however, antacids work by temporarily neutralizing excess stomach acid. Magnesium, a naturally occurring mineral, is a key component in many over-the-counter antacids. While magnesium is generally safe to ingest, it is important to know how it works, what side effects might arise and when not to take it.
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Natural Sources Of Magnesium
magnesium for GERD food sources
Magnesium is present in both animal and plant foods. Foods rich in fiber are often also rich in magnesium, like:
- Dark leafy greens, like spinach and kale
- Nuts and seeds: sesame, almonds, pumpkin seeds, etc.
- Fish, especially mackerel
- Whole grains like brown rice and quinoa
- Organic pulses and lentils like white beans, soy and black eyed beans
- Fresh fruits like avocado, bananas
- Dairy products like yoghurt and cheese
- Dry fruits like figs, prunes and apricots
Taking Heartburn Medicine 3+ Times A Week May Cause Harm
Antacids like Tums and Rolaids contain calcium carbonate and magnesium hydroxide to help neutralize the acid in your stomach. They can provide fast, short-term relief and do not have lasting harmful side effects if taken as directed. Follow dosage recommendations though because high levels of calcium carbonate in the body can cause constipation, nausea, mood changes or even heart rate changes. But acid neutralizers are considered safe when taken properly and are often used for calcium supplementation as well as heartburn relief.
H-2 Blockers and Proton Pump Inhibitors
H-2 blockers like Zantac, Tagamet and Pepcid reduce the production of stomach acid. They are effective in treating peptic ulcers and reflux in people who have heartburn a few times per month but are not intended for everyday use. Some research suggests that overuse of H-2 blockers can cause headaches, constipation and nausea, but their long-term use has not been extensively studied.
Proton-pump inhibitors like Prevacid, Prilosec or Nexium are stronger than H-2 blockers and work by blocking acid-producing cells in the lining of the stomach. They provide lasting relief from symptoms of GERD and are available without a prescription.
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Apple Cider Vinegar: Does It Help With Acid Reflux
The AlgaeCal Bone Health Consultants get this question often on calls or through email so I wanted to address this frequently asked question will apple cider vinegar help with my acid reflux?
While apple cider vinegar does have some benefits, it is not a viable solution for acid reflux, as it currently lacks efficacy. In some cases, apple cider vinegar may even increase acid reflux symptoms because it may aggravate and damage esophageal tissues.
The two main theories for apple cider vinegar helping with acid reflux are as follows:
Apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid, which is a weak version of the HCl in your stomach. Apple cider vinegar is, therefore, able to lower stomach acidity by increasing pH, so you can efficiently digest your food with fewer problems, resulting in fewer bouts of acid reflux.
Whats really happening when you take apple cider vinegar: Acetic acid in apple cider vinegar is a very weak acid at least 10-fold weaker than the hydrochloric acid that the parietal cells in the lining of your stomach produce. The pH of HCl ranges from 1.5-3.5 this is the pH level required to break down food in the stomach. The pH of apple cider vinegar is ~5.5. So, acetic acid lowers stomach acidity by increasing pH, lessening your ability to digest your food, and in fact, potentially increasing bouts of acid reflux. Why? Because too high a pH in the stomach signals the LES to open and send back additional stomach acid to get the job done.
How Can You Get Magnesium
Magnesium supplements are necessary because it is a mineral that is crucial for supporting normal bone structure within the body. Although people get Magnesium from their diet, most people are still lacking it due to eating the wrong foods. Foods that are high in Magnesium are:
- Kelp, spinach, swiss chard, and other leafy vegetables
- Nuts and seeds like almonds, cashews, walnuts and pumpkin seeds
- Avocados, bananas
- Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and Brussel sprouts
- Dark chocolate
- Black beans and Quinoa
If these foods are not incorporated into your everyday diet, it is important to start taking a Magnesium supplement to ensure that you are getting the necessary amount. The recommended daily amount of Magnesium is between 310 to 420 mg for adults which depends on age and gender.
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Magnesium Deficiency And Low Stomach Acid
Magnesium deficiency does not cause low stomach acid. Rather, low stomach acid can be a factor in magnesium deficiency. One third to 1/2 of the magnesium found in foods is absorbed by the body in the small intestine. Foods high in sugar and fats are difficult for the stomach to digest. If the stomach fails to produce enough digestive acid, these foods leave the stomach without being fully digested and the intestines are unable to absorb nutrients. These foods have an additive effect on magnesium deficiency when they result in acid reflux, or indigestion. Indigestion is frequently treated with antacids, which act by neutralizing stomach acid. Overuse of antacids can weaken the acidity of digestive fluids, reducing the effectiveness of the stomach acid and resulting in more poorly digestive foods entering the intestines.
How To Naturally Combat Acid Reflux
Ten percent of the population experiences heartburn on a weekly basis, so it wasnt a surprise when I learned AlgaeCal gets a lot of questions about acid reflux and GERD . It was even less of a surprise when I learned how many of you are seeking natural remedies, often inquiring about the old standby, apple cider vinegar.
In order to treat acid reflux, we first need to know what it is and how its caused.
Acid reflux and GERD may also be terms youve heard of too. While the three terms are sometimes used interchangeably, they do differ. Heartburn is a symptom of acid reflux and GERD. Acid reflux on the other hand, is a condition where your stomach acid and other contents come back up into your esophagus through the LES . And GERD is a chronic form of acid reflux.
In fact, if you experience acid reflux more than twice a week, you may have GERD, according to the Mayo Clinic. If thats the case, you may experience additional symptoms to heartburn such as chest pain, sour tastes, belching and coughing.
Signs of acid reflux and GERD include:
GERD is typically treated with over-the-counter medications such as antacids. However, more serious symptoms may lead to prescription drug use with PPIs and H2 blockers, which have been shown to cause bone loss.
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Dosages Of Magnesium Citrate
Magnesium citrate is an active ingredient in many branded over-the-counter laxatives. Liquid oral solutions without any other active ingredients may be best for treating constipation.
Dosages vary based on the brand or concentration of magnesium citrate in the bottle. Always follow the dosage and read the instructions on the label carefully.
It is essential to mix the solution with water and drink additional water when taking magnesium citrate. Mix the dose with at least 4 to 8 ounces of water, and drink a few extra glasses of water throughout the day. This may help replenish any fluids the body loses through the stool.
Very high dosages of magnesium can cause magnesium toxicity, so always use as directed.
Always consult a doctor before giving magnesium citrate or any other laxative to children. Pregnant or nursing mothers should talk to their doctor or pharmacist about the correct dosage. Doctors may recommend other medications or supplements to help with symptoms.
Apart from using magnesium citrate to relieve constipation, people can try:
How To Take Antacids
Most commercial antacids come with some instructions. It is important to heed the contraindications and not exceed the recommended daily dose.
The need for these antacids is highly individual and regular use should only be as directed by a physician. A common recommendation is to take the antacids after meals and at bedtime. In practice, most users learn to take the antacid when they have symptoms, e.g., heartburn. A useful technique is to anticipate the timing of symptoms, such as after spicy foods or at bedtime, and take the antacid before.
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How Should This Medicine Be Used
Magnesium oxide comes as a tablet and capsule to take by mouth. It usually is taken one to four times daily depending on which brand is used and what condition you have. Follow the directions on the package or on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take magnesium oxide exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Take any other medicine and magnesium oxide at least 2 hours apart.
If you are using magnesium oxide as a laxative, take it with a full glass of cold water or fruit juice. Do not take a dose late in the day on an empty stomach.
Do not take magnesium oxide as an antacid for longer than 2 weeks unless your doctor tells you to. Do not take magnesium oxide as a laxative for more than 1 week unless your doctor tells you to.
May Help Reduce Chronic Pain
Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that causes muscle pain and tenderness throughout the body .
Some research suggests magnesium malate could help reduce its symptoms.
One study in 80 women found that blood levels of magnesium tended to be lower in those with fibromyalgia.
When the women took 300 mg of magnesium citrate per day for 8 weeks, their symptoms and the number of tender points they experienced decreased significantly, compared with a control group .
Also, a 2-month study in 24 people with fibromyalgia found that taking 36 tablets, each containing 50 mg of magnesium and 200 mg of malic acid, twice daily reduced pain and tenderness .
However, other research has produced conflicting results. In fact, one recent review of 11 studies concluded that the use of magnesium and malic acid had little to no effect on symptoms of fibromyalgia .
Studies show that magnesium may help improve your mood, blood sugar control, and exercise performance. It may also reduce symptoms of fibromyalgia, though research results on this are mixed.
Doses over 5,000 mg per day have also been shown to cause toxicity, which can cause serious symptoms, including low blood pressure, facial flushing, muscle weakness, and heart problems .
Magnesium malate may also interfere with certain medications, including diuretics, antibiotics, and bisphosphonates, a type of medication used to prevent bone loss .
The amount of magnesium you need each day varies by your age and gender.
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What Are My Other Treatment Options For Acid Reflux Aside From Taking Magnesium
Prescription and OTC medications are the typical treatment options for heartburn. You can also live a healthier lifestyle to relieve your symptoms. Some adjustments you can make are exercising regularly, losing excess weight, eating smaller meals, sleeping with your head elevated, quitting late-night snacking, and tracking foods that cause your symptoms and avoiding eating them.
Pros And Cons Of Using Magnesium To Treat Acid Reflux
Acid reflux is a condition that occurs when your stomach acid flows back into your esophagus. When this happens, you may experience a sour taste in your mouth or a burning sensation in your chest due to irritation.
Living with this condition can make you feel uncomfortable and disrupt your daily life. Many patients deal with this in different ways, such as exploring the effectiveness of baking soda for acid reflux and mustard for heartburn or taking over-the-counter medications. Some of these have magnesium combined with other ingredients.
Magnesium is a mineral that plays a major role in several of your bodys functions. When combined with hydroxide or carbonate ions, it may help neutralize the acid in your stomach.
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Proton Pump Inhibitors For Acid Reflux And Low Magnesium Levels
A few people phoned and emailed me today. They read a piece in the Times about risks of proton pump inhibitors for acid reflux. The article pointed out that in some people, taking these medicines long-term can put people at risk of developing low magnesium levels in the blood.
Does it matter? Actually, yes. Low magnesium can cause a variety of non-specific problems. These include loss of energy, twitching of the muscles, irritability and even nausea or vomiting.
If it is going to happen, low magnesium usually occurs after prolonged usage. It also does not happen very often. The vast majority of people are absolutely fine on their PPI drugs and the drugs work very well. So, when I see the newspaper piece, my usual reaction is to think oh they are winding people up again. But on this occasion, the newspaper is probably doing us all a favour.
It turns out to be really easy to check whether the PPI drug is causing magnesium deficiency. You simply do a blood test to check for it.
But if the levels are low, what do you do? For people taking PPIs long-term, this can be a problem. It becomes a decision of whether to suffer the consequences of heartburn or to take the medicine. There is always the option of fundoplication surgery, so there are definitely possible ways forward.
The most important thing is that if you have strange symptoms, do think of possible hypomagnesaemia and get a blood test!
Will Magnesium Supplements Cause Diahhrea
If you have been experiencing diarrhea due to taking magnesium supplements, there are a few potential causes. For one thing, you should consider the type of magnesium supplement you are taking less easily digestible forms of magnesium will be more likely to cause diarrhea, so you should always choose bioavailable forms such as magnesium citrate as these wont be so likely to cause an upset stomach. Whats more, make sure you dont overdose on your magnesium supplements.
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Common Causes Of Acid Reflux Or Gerd
There are a number of causes of acid reflux, so you should first discover what your cause of acid reflux is. The following are some of the most common causes of acid reflux or GERD.
The hiatus is an opening in the diaphragm. Its a muscular wall that separates the chest cavity from the abdomen. Normally your diaphragm will help to keep the acid in your stomach from rising into your esophagus . But with a hiatal hernia, your diaphragm can allow food and acid to come up into the esophagus leading to heartburn. Causes of a hiatal hernia can be heredity, while exercise, obesity, and weight lifting can also cause it. According to the Esophageal Cancer Awareness Association hiatal hernias are common, occurring in up to 60% of people by age 60!
While heartburn is common and can happen to anyone, research shows that acid reflux or GERD may be more prevalent in adults who are overweight or obese. Obese subjects are 2.5x more likely to have GERD than those with normal body mass index. Why? Having excess weight around your abdominal area can put pressure on your stomach. As a result, your stomach acids may work back into the esophagus causing heartburn. This relationship between body mass and GERD has been supported by several other researchers.
Infection with H. Pylori
Insufficient Stomach Acid
- Fried foods
- Citrus juices
- Dairy if reactive to dairy protein or lactose intolerant