I trust Robb Wolf's advice usually, but Natural Calm is where I draw the line. This stuff has been giving me near death experiences. This morning, I had leaky stool, bloody nose, clogged sinuses, muscle sorness, tiredness. On top of that walking in a straight line is hard and everytime I take this stuff, I have nightmares that are out of this world.
Do we really need Magnesium? If so, what is a whole food source of it?
Thanks in Advance!
Natural Calm contains "MSG" or "free glutamic acid"(excitotoxins) in significant amounts because it contains factory created "citrate"(from citric acid that is made from corn, usually GMO) that is bound to the magnesium. The symptoms of excitotoxicity can be anything from a headache, weird inebriation, depression, anxiety, digestive issues, zombie-feeling, brain fog, ADD-like symptoms, hyperactivity, muscle aching, restless legs, slurred speech ect. The list goes on. Sometimes a reaction takes 24 hours to even show up, even more. Some symptoms show up 1-4 hours later but the worst don't start till a day or 2 later.
MSG is one of the most consumed industrial toxins known to man right now, it's in all processed food, most vitamins, most sodas, all fast food, most restaurants you eat at.
Large quantities of CONCENTRATED amino acids like factory created L-glutamate can be deadly to the brain and cause over 80+ symptoms that are hard to track. Research "excitotoxins" on google.
I stopped taking my magnesium supplement too because it contained Magnesium Citrate as well as Magnesium Chelate and Magnesium Malate which I don't know anything about. While taking it I felt very "off" and it felt like my brain was being inebriated, kinda dysphoric, my muscles were tense and achy.
Very similar to what happens if I eat MSG-laced processed food of diet red bull(aspartame), except this is more mild cause it doesn't contain as MUCH MSG so the "drugged up MSG-symptoms/damage" isn'tt as obvious. But it's toxic and must be avoided, even if someone doesn't notice symptoms from Natural Calm(and any citrate magnesium) like most factory produced glutamates it can take a decade for some acute and toxic damage to finally show up so why risk taking this? Diet is the most important thing to work on.
I would use another source of magnesium. I am not sure which the best is and which don't also contain glutamate. You also want to avoid Magnesium Glutamate and Magnesium Aspartate. Both are excitotoxic just like Magnesium Citrate.
Here's Natural Calm's Ingredients:
Notice the Magnesium has "citrate" attached to it. That's from Citric Acid, the true culprit here.
The amount of magnesium in soil was deficient in the 1930's due to farming. Its far worse now, so you definitely need it. You don't get enough through vegetables anymore. Magnesium is not fat soluble either so it doesn't need oil. Try the "oil" form which you spray on your skin. It has less known problems with digestion. Citrate can cause digestion problems in some, but the MSG stuff sound like BS. Natural calm at first gave me problems, but now is quite nice. No issues with it now, and I have Chrohns!
I found this answer Dr Mike Eades gave to a question on his MSG article:
Mike, have you read Excitotoxins: The Taste that Kills by Russell Blaylock?
His credentials seem solid and he believes MSG is neurotoxic, as it crosses the blood- brain barrier and “over excites” neurons. I’d be interested if it does (or obviously hasn’t) changed your thoughts on this subject.
Yes, I’ve read Excitotoxins. And I found Dr. Blaylock’s arguments convincing until I dug a little deeper. It turns out that glutamate does indeed ‘excite’ neurons, and does so by allowing calcium to enter the cells. This excitation of the neuron is offset by the ‘calming’ influence of GABA, which acts in opposition to glutamate. The GABA-glutamate axis in the brain is much like the insulin-glucagon axis in the metabolic system. One needs both to function properly.
Since the tiny bit of MSG used to season foods breaks down into glutamate and sodium – both normal constituents of the human body, and, in the case of glutamate, actually made by the human body – it’s difficult for me to image how a little bit of glutamate added to the body’s large circulating stores could substantially influence the neurons. If taken in large amounts, perhaps, but a pinch, occasionally, I don’t think will hurt. And maybe if a person is deficient in magnesium there could be a problem. Magnesium is Nature’s calcium channel blocker, so inadequate magnesium might not offset the influx of calcium driven by glutamate. This is just a hunch, but, because – according to the latest survey I read – about 75 percent of Americans don’t even get the already-too-low RDI of magnesium, maybe it’s the widespread magnesium deficiency that allows whatever negative effects experienced by some people when consuming a lot of MSG to happen. I don’t have magnesium consumption figures at hand for the Japanese, but given what they eat, I would assume they get a lot more magnesium in the standard Japanese diet compared to what we do in the standard American diet.
The strongest argument for the harmlessness of MSG is the fact that it’s used in such large quantities in Asia by enormous numbers of Asians without any apparent epidemic of negative effects. The Japanese, for example, use MSG (and believe it’s healthful) in large quantities and outlive everyone else on earth despite the fact that most of them smoke. And they’re blowing the tops out of all the admission processes in American colleges, leaving US students in the dirt, so it can’t be affecting their cognitive abilities. If MSG were truly harmful, I would suspect the Japanese would suffer its ill effects. But, again, perhaps the greater intake of magnesium by the Japanese is protective. Which may be why they live longer, after all.
Take what you want from it, but his KGH-Style answer sure sounds way more logical and down-to-earth than all these scaremongering "OMG MSG is gonna turn you into a zombie" ones.
Leafy greens are the best dietary source. Chlorophyll is constructed out of magnesium the same way that hemoglobin is constructed out of iron. Usually with magnesium supplementation you know when you need to back off when you get the scoots. It sounds like you have reached that point and then some. It is easy to take too much of that stuff. The dosage is pretty small. You could also look into transdermal magnesium or magnesium oil to get it via the skin. This method is especially useful to people who are just starting out and have absorbtion problems because of a leaky or irritated gut. You can find magnesium oil at a good health food store or online.
In my humble view @dzone is correct in that the amino acid, glutamic acid (and aspartic acid for that matter), when not bonded with other amino acids in formed proteins, can roam free and is capable of over stimulating cells, including brain cells, all the way to cell death, also known as excitotoxicity.
That said this magnesium drink definitely does not contain MSG so I have no idea who gave him this incorrect info. Possibly someone originally wrongly drew this conclusion because it contains citric acid and some associate citric acid with MSG. (group sigh of relief @Geoff @Phoenix @No more. @Justin 2 @Jen 4 @Dave 5 @Stephen-Aegis @Aril @Kim The Nourishing Cook @FuelRestMotion @DePaw @Pedrita)
In fact a couple of years ago, when I was studying MSG, I bumped into one article on the net that states that all citric acid is MSG, and then you will find several articles regurgitating this article or referring or linking back to it. Citric acid is an entirely different compound to MSG and MSG isn’t part of the structure of citric acid at all. The person writing the article lists no credentials but much more importantly does not show how he came to arrive at that conclusion nor any proof whatsoever, he just states it. MSG, as we know, is monosodium glutamate and has a specific chemical composition of C5H8NO4Na (Carbon, Hydrogen, Nitrogen, Oxygen and Sodium). Citric acid is found in most fruits and many vegetables and has an entirely different chemical composition of C6H8O7 (Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen). It would be chemically impossible to even make MSG out of citric acid as citric acid doesn’t contain any Nitrogen (N) nor any Sodium (Na).
Also if you write to the company you’ll find that they source their citric acid from non-GMO sugar beets to avoid any GMO content and bottles have the Non-GMO Project seal on them.
When a body takes in more magnesium than it can possibly absorb or utilize, just like any other nutrient excess, the kidneys work to send this excess to the bowels. Unlike most nutrients, magnesium has a particular quality called hygroscopic, which is a nerdy term simply indicating that a substance naturally attracts liquid. It is the magnesium that is in excess that is sent to the bowels, which in turn loosens them. This is simply a sign that one took in too much magnesium at once (and one would need to spread it out) or that they just took too much magnesium period. Calcium binds and magnesium loosens, so when they are pretty well balanced one typically has neither a lose bowel nor constipation. So yes @rkmaier you took too much.
Like @Jeff 30 wisely points out, it is all about balance and of course too much of a good thing is no longer a good thing and can throw things out of balance. I mean heck, one can even get water poisoning (hyponatremia) by drinking way too much water daily which in turn dilutes ones electrolytes drastically especially sodium (and other electrolytes such as magnesium). The result is an often fatal condition called hyponatremic encephalopathy where sodium serum levels fall so low that water is no longer retained and instead seeps into the cells of the brain causing the cells to swell. This swelling dramatically damages the soft tissue that is the brain as it is housed very tightly in the skull and has nowhere to go. So does this make water dangerous and to be avoided like “H2O of Death!!!”, okay that was joke (insert groan here). Of course the pharmaceutical industry would probably like you to believe so, so that they can convince you that water is a dangerous drug, just like they try to classify natural vitamins and minerals using their medical jargon and hopefully in the future you’ll have to get a prescription for water, just like they are currently trying to do with vitamins (thank you Codex Alimentarius and your paid media scares).
As far as epistaxis (nose bleeds), there are two kinds, the more common anterior (toward the front) and posterior (toward the rear) nosebleeds; posterior nose bleeds can be caused by hypertension or calcium deficiency among other causes. As for anterior nose bleeds, one of many causes are blood thinners and seeing that magnesium is considered a natural blood thinner as it naturally inhibits platelet aggregation (clotting), this certainly can be the cause. This thinning is great news for those who are susceptible to the blood being too thick or prone to dangerous clotting. However for those whose blood already runs thin, or who naturally have low platelet count (thrombocytopenia), magnesium can potentially thin it further. One can normally tell if they have a vitamin C or K deficiency or thrombocytopenia because they will bruise very easily (pooling blood under the skins surface) and be more susceptible to nose bleeds and bleeding gums, as these are the routes of least resistance. Of course many Aspirin like drugs have a similar effect as does ginseng and the vasodilation (widening of the blood vessels) caused by alcohol consumption.
Another random thought from a hematological view is that B12 deficiency can cause similar symptoms like nose bleeds, easy bruising, anemia, headaches and even weakness for that matter. As B12 mainly occurs in animal products such as meats, shellfish, poultry, eggs and milk, vegetarians and vegans are much more prone to such deficiency.
Back on the subject of vasodilation, one’s series of arteries (large blood vessels), arterioles (medium blood vessels) and finally capillaries (smallest blood vessels) that one’s blood flows though can fluctuate in width and can actually contract or dilate. Of course when these contract (vasoconstriction) there is less room internally and this generates more pressure on the blood and voila heightened blood pressure. Conversely, when these dilate there is more room and thus the pressure on the blood is reduced. A person with abnormally lower blood pressure can have their blood pressure dip lower still by the intake of too much magnesium at a time. This in turn can contribute to one’s low blood pressure symptoms, some of which @Tim 3 mentions and includes headaches, muscle pain and weakness, dizziness, nausea, fatigue, etc. Also the decreased circulation through the brain and the rest of the body due to lowered blood pressure can bring out the feeling of brain fog. @Michelle 12
The vivid dreams thing is something I am familiar with too. It is quite interesting and I am sure some of you who have ever tried a melatonin supplement have experienced similar vivid dreams to what Tim describes. It seems that larger amounts of melatonin tend to produce these dreams.
Something @Michelle 8 and @Michelle 12 would possibly be interested in is that the pineal gland, located roughly in the center of the head, depends upon magnesium for its own production of melatonin. So a body that is quite deficient typically will produce and secrete less of this hormone, which in turn can negatively impact a person’s ability to switch off at night and fall asleep. Essentially one can only bake as much cake as one has flour for. Of course the optic nerve, being connected to the pineal gland, signals the pineal gland to start producing melatonin once the sun goes down, also known as DLMO (dim light melatonin onset). A lack of light received by the retina permits this melatonin production, conversely light, particularly blue light, suppresses its production. This explains the use of “blue blocking” glasses in the later hours of the day or blackout curtains by those who have difficulty falling asleep.
Similar to a child waiting all year long for his parents to finally afford his expensive tastes in Lego, the pineal gland can be chomping-at-the-bit (eager) to produce melatonin, but lacking the magnesium, as one of the essential building blocks, to do so. As if by a stroke of luck the pineal glands owner has finally caught on to a potential magnesium deficiency and eagerly scoffs down (Brit. devour greedily) handfuls of the stuff (usually too much) and low and behold copious amounts of melatonin are rapidly produced.
Now vivid dreams primarily occur during what is considered the most important and lighter phase of sleep, closer to the morning, known as REM sleep (rapid eye movement). REM sleep is a normal part of a human’s daily sleep pattern and usually accounts for 1-2 hours of sleep a night, although occupies a majority of a new born babies sleep. And you guessed it, the hormone melatonin has been directly shown to increase REM sleep. So essentially magnesium allows for the production of melatonin and more melatonin equals more REM sleep and more REM sleep equals vivid dreams. Don’t want vivid dreams (well who does?) moderate ones magnesium intake.
And yes one really does need magnesium; in fact it is the 4th most abundant mineral that human body is comprised of, after calcium, phosphorous and potassium (in that order).
Like the occasional magnesium starved pineal gland, the individual cells love to bathe in magnesium; in fact 40% of the body’s total magnesium is stored intracellularly. This body’s system of energy production occurs within the cells, and the energy that they produce is called ATP (adenosine triphosphate). This ATP production is entirely magnesium dependent and those low in magnesium for some time can start having chronically low energy levels. In fact ATP actually has to form a compound with magnesium for it to become biologically active and as magnesium and ATP have opposite polarities this binding occurs quite readily [Mg2+ ATP4-].
Akin to the data on melatonin production above, sometimes these cells have been trying to produce energy, hindered by a deficiency in magnesium. Now give the body a dollop of magnesium and occasionally people get a rush in energy, this can keep one awake. There really is no reason to take magnesium in the evening, it is not a drug and is not time sensitive like a drug, despite what WebMD says. The body is used to getting its magnesium through its 3 meals a day and the stress is on that one maintains healthy magnesium levels, not when one consumes it.
Granted due to contemporary techniques and producing foods for profit and no longer for nutrition we are typically getting less than half the amount of magnesium through diet that the body is used to as @primallykosher correctly points out.
But if one is going to supplement with magnesium, put it in a water bottle and sip it throughout the day, this spreads it out more evenly and allows potentially more to be absorbed in the small intestine and utilized by the cells, bones, muscles, endocrine system and organs that depend upon it.
As @matt H rightly points outs that chlorophyll, that lends the green color to plants, is created around an ion of magnesium, it is literally the central molecule and thus chlorophyll isn’t produced and doesn’t exist without magnesium. And indeed the greener the plant, typically the more magnesium it contains e.g. kale, spinach, etc. And it isn’t actually true that one would “need a little oil or fat to absorb magnesium”, magnesium is water soluble, not fat soluble, and does not require oil or fat at all. In fact the only substance that I know of that specifically assists magnesium is pyridoxine (Vitamin B6) as it increases the amount of magnesium that can enter a cell.
As @Tim 3 asks, what is a whole food source of magnesium? First off magnesium is a mineral and is actually a metal, so regardless of its source it will be this same inorganic (not once living or capable of life), metallic molecule with its same properties. Its absorption only influenced by what it is bonded to i.e. the various potential magnesium compounds. Magnesium is actually never found in nature by itself and if always in compound form, so you have over 20 different magnesium compounds, the magnesium part of the compound being identical between all of them. As above, green leafy vegetables are a great source, as are nuts, almonds and cashews. Soybeans, bran, wheat germ, oats, potatoes, peas, beans and bananas are also strong sources of magnesium.
Admittedly I am quite nerdy and abnormally obsessed with the subject of magnesium and bias. I take 3 teaspoons of the Calm product every day, but then again I like to run marathons and tough mudders and I am obsessed with Jujitsu, so I most definitely burn through more magnesium than most.
I hope some of this is helpful.
That sounds terrible. How much are you taking? I know that leaky stools is a sign of taking too much. How is your dietary intake of magnesium? Maybe you are getting too much.
I tracked my dietary intake for a while, and realized that I needed a couple of things, but i'm only taking a half dose of magnesium for now.
I would stop taking it and see how you feel - your symptoms are unacceptable and you need to address them now! I hope that you start to feel better Tim!
I just happened to stumble across this because I was looking to see if there is anyone else who feels awful after taking this stuff! After taking Natural Calm this morning, I have a horrible headache, my stomach has some aches/cramps, others on here described a "fog", that's exactly what it is! I can't even think straight. I also notice a lot of nervous energy or something, or maybe that's because I feel so f*cked up and my system is out of control! My body aches, it's just weird. I'm about to take some Valium to ease these symptons. I only have one valium left, so I was REALLY hoping that Natural Calm would actually help, not hurt. Thankyou all for your replies. At least I know I'm not alone.
strong text Interesting! I have been taking Natural Calm plus Calcium for 2 days...except today. I have had diarrhea that is dark green almost and today it was grainy...and I have had terrible gas and bloating issues too and I am taking 1/2 tsp twice a day. I am just now starting to feel better after not taking it at all today. I also have gastritis and found that magnesium tablets kill my stomach, which is why I went for the Natural Calm...guess I will not be taking it anymore...on the other hand I love spinach salads and almonds :)
I was just searching online to find if someone else has intense back pain with magnesium supplements and ran across this thread. I get relief from insomnia and charley horse type muscle spasms with the supplements, but after a few days get terrible pains in my spine, both upper and lower. Terrible neck aches and stiffness, or terrible radiating pains from my lower spine down my legs, along with some intense congestion and sometimes a terrible foggy headiness. My local health food store recommended I change from Natural Calm to another form of magnesium to a buffered magnesium glycinate chelate, but after a couple of days I get the same symptoms. Although whole grains are listed as the foods naturally highest in mag, you can also get good amounts from dried herbs, squash and watermelon seeds, cocoa powder, sesame and sunflower seeds, brazil nuts, almonds, cashews, pine nuts, and molasses in addition to green leafy vegetables. You'll get more from veggies grown on organic farms where they work on soil conditioning, most of the green stuff in grocery stores has really negligible amounts of mag. So I personally plan to work on eating more nuts and seeds and organic greens and seeing if I can just cut out the mag supplements completely.
Bone broth is a great source of balanced minerals: calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, sodium, sulphur, as well as proline, glycine, and hyaluronic acid. What I'm getting at is that it provides your body with a balanced intake of all the stuff you need for your cells to function correctly. I like it because it's not one mineral or amino acid in isolation.
I swear bone broth has changed our life, drinking some every day has totally balanced my hormones, made my skin great because of the gelatin, and makes everything you cook with it taste delicious.
The other way you can get magnesium is to take Epsom salt baths, you'll absorb quite a bit through your skin if you're convinced you need magnesium.
Best of luck, it sounds like you're just not a natural calm candidate.