Monday, February 8, 2016

Magnesium and Calcium: Are You Deficient?

We hear a lot about the importance of calcium and magnesium to our health. I’ve attended several seminars recently where this was emphasized. One presenter said he checks for calcium, magnesium, and other minerals on all his clients. Why are minerals so important to us?  They assist the body in energy production - minerals contain no calories or energy.  They work with vitamins and enzymes to fuel all our metabolic processes.  Our health cannot be optimized if these processes are impaired.

In the month of February we think of Valentine’s Day and hopefully heart health. Magnesium and calcium are two of the most important minerals for a healthy heart and cardiovascular system.

Another presenter stated that 74% of the US population is deficient in magnesium. In preparing for this article, a quick Google search reveals another website saying 80%. Quick searches state similar high numbers for calcium deficiency.

Why so much deficiency? My answer is simple. Minerals come from plants that are grown in healthy mineral rich soil or from animals that ate plants that are grown in this soil.  The first problem is that plants (vegetables) are under-consumed in most American diets. The second problem is that most of the plants are grown in nutrient depleted soil. There are many studies showing the significant drop in the vitamin content of our vegetables and fruits compared to pre-1950 levels. And the third problem is that most of the animals are not eating healthy plants!

My last article described the healthiest foods to eat. If you missed it, you can find it on my blog The Road to Better Health Starts with Food:

Now, let’s take a closer look at these two essential minerals.

Magnesium is one of the most important minerals to the body. It is needed for over 300 different bodily processes. Magnesium aids in enzyme activation. Enzymes make everything happen in the body! 
It helps metabolize blood sugar and produce cortisone.  Keeping your blood sugar levels under control is the key to health!  Another important role of magnesium is to support healthy nerve and muscle function.  It works with calcium to keep the nerves firing and the muscles moving!  It is involved in nerve signal transmission, muscle contraction, and heart rhythm.  Along with calcium and phosphorus it is one of the 18 nutrients critical to forming and maintaining bones and teeth.

Magnesium helps prevent heart attacks by regulating the neuromuscular activity of the heart and maintaining normal heart rhythm. It helps prevent calcium deposits, kidney stones, and gallstones. Magnesium is needed for proper Calcium and Vitamin C metabolism. And, it has been found to aid in bowel regularity.

A shortage of magnesium can show up in a variety of emotional symptoms such as nervousness, tension, and confusion. On a physical level it can result in tremors, muscular excitability, gallstones, kidney stones, or constipation. It has also been linked to blood clots in the heart and brain, along with brittle bones.

As you can see, this is definitely something we need to consume!  Magnesium is found in many vegetables. The highest amounts are found in artichokes, avocadoes, legumes (black beans, green beans, navy beans, pinto beans), nuts and seeds (cashews, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds), dark green vegetables (broccoli, spinach, Swiss chard), organ meats, seafood (halibut, salmon, shrimp), and tomatoes.

If you drink alcohol or eat a lot of sweets, you need to keep a close watch on your magnesium levels as alcohol and sugar deplete magnesium in the body.

Calcium is one of the most talked about minerals and for good reason.  It supports strong bone structure, teeth, and muscle tissue, aids in blood clotting function, supports cardiovascular and nerve functions, and helps in normal functioning of many enzymes.  We often hear about calcium deficiencies in conjunction with osteoporosis.  As mentioned above it is one of the 18 nutrients required to build bones.  

What else contributes to our calcium shortages? Would you believe soft drink (soda) consumption?  The reason is that phosphorus is added to them.  Phosphorus and calcium need to be in a specific relationship in our body.  So, when we take in excessive phosphorus and don't have sufficient calcium intakes, our body must take it from a storage location.  You guessed it - the bones!

The best sources of calcium are of course from food.  It is also a misconception that this has to come from milk.  Leafy green vegetables are a great source of calcium.  For calcium choose: bone meal, cheese (best are Cheddar, mozzarella, and Swiss), collard greens, flaxseed, liver, milk, molasses, mustard greens, sesame seeds, spinach, turnip greens, wheat germ and yogurt.

Bernard Rosen, PhD is a Nutrition Consultant and Educator. He works with individuals, groups, and at corporations to create individualized nutrition and wellness programs. His office is in Mequon. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, e-mail at, call (262) 389-9907 or go to

Monday, February 1, 2016

February 2016 Newsletter - Happy Valentine's Day and Heart Health

The beginning of February means Valentine’s Day is approaching and with it our attention turns to matters of the heart. Last year I attended two excellent seminars on the heart. The last one I attended was presented by Dr. Michael Gaeta in December 2015 which was his synopsis of Mark Anderson’s Back to School for Doctors 2015 presentation along with his own special insights from his over 25 years of practice. Some interesting tidbits of information and my summary articles are in the first feature article below.

In a related story just this last week, the Express from the United Kingdom featured an article illustrating how the conventional medicine solution of taking a statin for heart health has been linked to an increased risk for diabetes. You can read that article by clicking here:

Last month’s newsletter featured several articles about what to eat and how to exercise. I noticed that I have changed a few ideas about the top foods to eat, so I have written a new article to summarize which I call “The Road to Better Health Starts with Food.” You can link to it here:

Many of you have asked about my trip to Argentina. It was fantastic, once we got there! It was great to meet and be with Susana’s family and to meet some of her closest lifelong friends, to spend time on the beach, relax, and to see the city of Buenos Aires. Some of you were following the adventure on Facebook. There was a bit of drama with American Airlines. If you want some entertainment you can read the details below!

Dr. Michael Gaeta and Heart Health
Here’s a few of the tidbits Dr.Gaeta shared that I thought were of interest to pass along.

One half of all deaths in the United States are caused by clots. This includes heart attacks and strokes. Thus preventing clots can go a long way in life extension. The solution to preventing clots is a natural substance called rutin. Rutin is part of Vitamin P, which is part of the Vitamin C complex. Vitamin P stands for permeability. It is the collagen formation factor. We need collagen for tissue and vascular integrity. Collagen keeps the body tissues strong. It is the “glue” that holds them together. Plaquing occurs when there is low collagen. Plaque is made from calcium and cholesterol. It is placed where there is inflammation in the body. Damage to the vasculature has caused inflammation. There is not sufficient collagen to repair, thus in comes the plaque. 

For more detailed information regarding heart disease and stroke and rutin I encourage you to see my heart health series of blogs. 

Part 1 – Introduction and Heart Rate:
Part 2 – Rhythm of the Heart:
Part 3 – Toning the Heart:

More tidbits:
One third of the United States population is diabetic or pre-diabetic. 90% of those who are pre-diabetic are unaware.  Two-thirds of US adults are overweight and one-third of US children are overweight.

Synthetic vitamins have been shown to increase the risk of death by 8-16%. This is why I use food based vitamins in my practice.

Since statins have been in use the studies show that cardiovascular disease risk has gone down (as the drug companies will point out), but..all death mortality has increased. There is a 43% increase in the cases of diabetes if they are taking statins. The bottom line – the statin is causing something else to kill you before heart disease!

The ideal spread for blood pressure is 40 points. That is where the traditional 120/80 comes from. The bigger the difference between the two numbers, the greater the stress is on the arteries. Interestingly enough, one-half of strokes take place in people with normal blood pressure. Since that is the case it puts into question the concept that high blood pressure causes strokes.

For the full blog article on tidbits from Dr. Gaeta click here:

If you'd like to learn more about Dr. Gaeta, here's a link to his website:

The Road to Better Health Starts with Food
With the New Year upon us many of us make the resolution to be healthier. In most cases that is interpreted as losing weight. Many of us will join the gym and begin to exercise. For some that will be sufficient as the last few holiday pounds come off. However, to ensure better health in the long term that is not the solution. The road to better health starts with food and drink – what we are putting into our body. 

My purpose in this article is to be straight forward and make it simple. Here are the foods I recommend you eat on a regular basis, unless of course you are allergic. These foods emphasize what lacks in many American diets – vegetables and fruit for vitamins and minerals to fuel our metabolism, healthy sources of protein to build our bodies, and healthy fats that are sources of Omega 3’s and vitamins A, D, E, and K. If you want more details about these foods see my blog and other nutrition resources.

For the rest of the article click here:

American Airlines – Not A Healthy Company
While Argentina was great I have nothing good to say about American Airlines. In summary we missed connections, were delayed over 12 hours, and after all that our bags did not arrive with us. And the worst part of all is they really did not seem to care. For my mental health and for your amusement you can read all the details and the back and forth communication.

While I know it has nothing to do with my health. The stress of the whole ordeal with American also was not healthy. My experience and the customer rankings that were in a recent Wall Street Journal article I reference suggest you can make a better choice of who to fly with and I would encourage you to do so.

My complaint letter, truly one for the ages!!

Their non-customer oriented response, basically a form letter filling in my name and dates:

My response back, telling them I was not satisfied with their offer:

And their final short and sweet back to me telling me to get lost:

I have since filed a complaint with the FAA and they have forwarded that to American. Hopefully I’ll get a more customer focused person.