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Magnesium: The Miracle Mineral

July 14, 2017 by  
Filed under R.McAllister

Woman wit her eyes closed under the wind.

How’s your magnesium level? If you have no idea, you have plenty of company! Magnesium is a mineral that many of us don’t think about—even though it’s an essential mineral that your body needs to function properly.

Truth be told, even if you did know your magnesium level, there’s a good chance it would be too low. Most Americans are deficient in magnesium.

But here’s the good news: If you’re able to get enough magnesium, it can benefit your body in many ways. Magnesium can…

  • Offset the negative effects of stress: Most people suffer from the stress of trying to do too much, too perfectly, and too fast.
  • Soothe the gastrointestinal tract: Magnesium also offers laxative properties.
  • Boost brainpower: This is especially the case in people with memory problems.
  • Increase energy: If your magnesium level is low, your body has to work harder to do even basic tasks, which can make you feel tired. Studies have shown that women with magnesium deficiencies had higher heart rates and required more oxygen to do physical tasks then they did after their magnesium levels were restored to normal.
  • Ease anxiety and/or insomnia: Magnesium helps to promote a sense of calm and can facilitate more restful sleep.
  • Cure a migraine pronto!

The recommended daily intake of magnesium is about 300 milligrams for women and 350 milligrams for men. One way to get more magnesium is to eat a handful of almonds, hazelnuts, or cashews.

Another easy and tasty way is with a supplement called Natural Calm, which has been a best selling supplement for 9 years. It’s a flavorful powder that dissolves easily in water, tea, or other beverages. Natural Calm supports heart health, bone health, better sleep, and natural energy production. It comes in a variety of delicious, organic flavors that are naturally sweetened with organic stevia. It’s also vegan, gluten-free, and non GMO. You can buy Natural Calm online and in health food stores for around $15. Visit NaturalVitality.com/natural-calm for more information.

About the author: Rallie McAllister, MD, MPH, is a family physician and mom of three sons in Lexington, KY. She’s the co-author of the Mommy MD Guide books, including The Mommy MD Guide to Pregnancy and Birth.

Don’t Get Burned! Sunscreen Safety Redefined

July 30, 2013 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

Summer is finally here, which means it’s time to enjoy some fun in the sun. However, before you grab your swimsuits and make a beeline for the nearest pool, let’s take a minute to discuss sun safety. We all know that increased exposure to the sun can lead to skin cancer, but did you know that your brand of sunscreen may not lower that risk and may even pose new risks of its own? This week, with insights from True Goods medical advisor,sunscreen expert Dr. Debby Hamilton, we’ll review what to look for in a sunscreen in order to maximize protection and minimize risk so you can have a worry-free summer.

Broad-Spectrum

A good sunscreen should be broad-spectrum, protecting against both UVA (aging) and UVB (burning) rays. Most sunscreens provide good burn protection, but the long-term damage done by UVA rays can be much more harmful. Sunscreens with higher SPFs (50+) are especially guilty of misleading customers, touting increased safety over lower SPF options when in fact, they are less protective against UVA rays and only marginally better protection against UVB rays. Luckily, broad-spectrum sunscreens are becoming more popular due to growing awareness of this issue and new FDA regulations requiring manufacturers to label their products more accurately.

Lotions, Sprays, Powders—Oh My!

Sunscreens now come in a variety of applications, including aerosolized sprays and brush on powders alongside the more familiar lotions. Of these options, lotion is the easy winner. While not all lotions are nontoxic, all sprays and powders come with the additional risk of inhalation, which can introduce harmful chemicals into your lungs and bloodstream much more easily than through skin absorption alone. It is also much harder to get even coverage with a spray or powder. So don’t be fooled by claims of convenience, and instead make safety and protection your primary concerns.

Active Ingredients

As Dr. Hamilton describes in her new book, Preventing Autism and ADHD: Controlling Risk Factors Before, During, and After Pregnancy, most sunscreens fall into one of two categories, both of which come with risks. As with anything that enters your body through your skin, it’s important to understand how ingredients may affect us. Chemical sunscreens work by absorbing into your skin and deactivating sunlight within your cells. The concern is that common ingredients can oftentimes act as hormone disrupters, causing problems if absorbed into the bloodstream. Additionally, exposure of ingredients to UV rays can create free radicals within your skin cells, which are known to damage and potentially mutate DNA. Oxybenzone, one of the most popular SPF ingredients on the market, perpetuates both of these risks. Other offenders include phenol, octinoxate, octocrylene, and PABA.

On the other hand, mineral sunscreens are promoted as the safe alternative to chemical sunscreens. Instead of absorbing into your skin, the active ingredients (generally zinc oxide or titanium dioxide) sit on top of your skin and act as a physical barrier, reflecting the sun’s rays. In the past, these mineral sunscreens fell out of fashion due to their chalky white color and unpleasant texture, but newer sunscreens are now being offered with micronized versions, or nanoparticles, of the minerals. This recent technology allows the use of these minerals with less of the pasty look and feel. The problem is that any particle under 50 nanometers in size can be absorbed into your skin. These particles have the ability to absorb a lot of heat and energy from UV rays, which can cause them to break down into free radicals at the cellular level within your skin. Anatase titanium dioxide is of particular concern after it was shown that sunscreen containing this ingredient was able to break down the coating on steel roofing material that had come into contact with construction workers’ sunscreen-coated skin.

Dr. Hamilton stresses the point that toxicity should be taken into consideration when choosing mineral sunscreens. “Although both zinc and titanium are used in sunscreens, there is a difference between the two substances. Zinc is an essential mineral that is often low in diets. On the other hand, titanium is a toxic metal, and we don’t know the long-term effects of titanium on the body. I have often seen elevated titanium levels in children with autism. Titanium is also a very allergenic metal, similar to nickel, that causes skin rashes.”

With so many options and important considerations, you may be asking yourself what the best course of action would be to minimize sun damage this summer. Public health agencies recommend skin coverage and timing your exposure as good first-line precautions against sun damage. So Dr. Hamilton suggests that you cover your skin with protective clothing, seek out shade protection, and avoid the strong midday sun. Her recommended second-line defense is sunscreen. “I recommend sunscreen products with zinc oxide as their only active ingredient.”

For more information and resources, check out the Environmental Working Group’s comprehensive 2013 Guide to Safer Sunscreens.

 

From our friends at truegoods.com


The information on MommyMDGuides.com is not intended to replace the diagnosis, treatment, and services of a physician. Always consult your physician or child care expert if you have any questions concerning your family's health. For severe or life-threatening conditions, seek immediate medical attention.