Monday, 21 February 2011

The usual suspects.

On Facebook, on message boards and in conversation, I often see and hear:-

1. I'm down in the Winter/I keep getting infections/I have allergies/I have aches & pains.

2. I'm up & down a lot.

3. I'm down/I'm anxious/I can't sleep/I get restless legs/cramps/menstrual cramps/muscle spasms/lung spasms/migraines.

4. I've got inflamed or painful joints/skin/guts/lungs/w.h.y.

1. Vitamin D insufficiency/deficiency is widespread by the end of Winter (~90% of people have serum 25(OH)D less than 75nmol/L or 30ng/mL) due to insufficient sun exposure (or sun exposure through glass) during the Summer. A safe & effective dose is 50iu of Vitamin D3 per kg weight per day. See Vitamin D.

2. Modern diets are lacking in long-chain omega-3 fatty acids (EPA & DHA), as many people don't eat any/enough oily fish. Tinned tuna is not a good source of omega-3 fatty acids! See Omega-3 fatty acids and major depression: A primer for the mental health professional. Women of reproductive age can take flaxseed oil, if they can't/won't eat oily fish or take fish oil capsules. Women not of reproductive age & men need to supplement with vegan DHA in addition to flaxseed oil, if they can't/won't eat oily fish or take fish oil capsules.

3. Diets low in greens are low in magnesium. Excessive stress and/or alcohol consumption increases loss of magnesium in urine. Magnesium deficiency can cause all of the above symptoms. Epsom Salts are a very cheap source of Magnesium. 1 level teaspoonful/day (~4g/day) of Epsom Salts (spread the dose out over 24 hours to prevent it from having a laxative effect by dissolving the crystals in 250ml of warm water, then adding the solution to drinks to spread the 250ml out over 24 hours) provides ~400mg/day of Magnesium. See Magnesium and the Brain: The Original Chill Pill and  Magnesium in Man: Implications for Health and Disease.

4. Vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory. Inflammation that's worsened by stress and/or anxiety may be alleviated by magnesium.

Difficult-to-treat health problems such as depression are often multifactorial (with physiological AND psychological causes), so it's advisable to try 1. 2. and 3. (with your GP's consent). If you get improvement, you can discontinue supplements one at a time with a washout period of two months for 1. and 2. to see which supplement(s) was/were effective.

Here's a picture to go with the title.

And finally...
I'm so glad that I don't work with David Thorne.


praguestepchild said...

Yeah, this reminds me I really need to push my wife to take more vit D and magnesium, she's basically spaces it if I don't say anything. And she's been hit a lot harder with colds this year than me. Of course, they are just suspects, it could just be stress or something else.

Galina L. said...

I have to take magnesium supplements and follow a ketogenic diet in order to prevent migraines. Looks like it is a flue prevention as well. In my case low-carbing resolved several health issues like leg edema, frequent urinary tract infections, mood swings, but only ketogenic diet stopped all colds, viruses, yearly bronchitis. I hope most people shouldn't go that far. It is inconvenient. But for me one apple (or any fruit) a day definitely doesn't keep a doctor away.

Stephan Strickland said...

In regard to Epsom salt baths...

The few papers I have read seem to indicate that they do not cross the skin barrier. Other than blogs saying they do, have you data? I would prefer an oil/skin solution. Thanks for the information in your different posts.

Nigel Kinbrum said...

Sorry about the delay in replying, but I've been out gallivanting. I don't have any data on Mg absorption through the skin, as it's a mode of application I've never considered.

Mg salts are water-soluble, so oral consumption is the most efficient way to supplement. Oxide isn't very soluble in stomach acid, so I don't recommend it.