[0:16:01] Magnesium Chloride for Detoxification
[0:19:02] Other Forms of Magnesium: RBC and Glycinate
[0:21:45] Magnesium Malate for Relaxation
[0:24:42] An Overview of Chelation
[0:27:00] More Forms of Magnesium: Oxide, Orotate and Taurate
[0:33:26] Magnesium for Bath
[0:37:00] Sponsors: Birdwell Beach Britches and Kettle & Fire
[0:39:02] Magnesium Absorption
[0:43:19] More Forms of Magnesium: Carbonate, Threonate
[0:46:00] Inducing Amazing Dreams
[0:48:16] Longer Magnesium Absorption
[0:56:43] Magnesium Malate with Creatine
[0:59:50] Relationship of Magnesium to Ceruloplasmin and Iron
[1:06:00] The Root Cause Protocol
[1:19:29] End of Podcast
Ben: Hey, what’s up? It’s Ben Greenfield. I hope you are ready to talk all about magnesium, but that kind of didn’t sound right because you don’t have to talk about it. You have to listen to me talk about it a lot with my friend, Thomas DeLauer, who’s really smart. I’ll introduce him shortly so that I can make this quick and snappy for you because I know you’re in a big hurry to the content, but don’t fast forward because I’ve got a dealio for you.
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Ben: Hey, folks! It’s Ben Greenfield and if I had a nickel for every time I get a question about magnesium, I would be a relatively wealthy man even though nickels aren’t worth as much these days as they used to be back in the days when Grandpa could buy a hamburger with a nickel. I digress. Anyways, I get tons of questions about magnesium like, “What form of magnesium is best in our different forms, better for different needs like sleep or brain or digestion? When should you take magnesium? How do you test your magnesium levels or know if you have a deficiency? How do you actually get magnesium to be absorbed?” The fact is, although magnesium is an incredibly important mineral, there’s lots of unanswered questions and confusion around it. So, I thought it was high time to have my friend and nutrition researcher, Thomas DeLauer, back on the show for–this would be the third time.
I first interviewed Thomas in the episode about inflammation. We did an episode on The Ultimate Guide to Quelling Inflammation. We also did an incredibly popular episode on alcohol and whether alcohol makes you fat and what kind of alcohol is the healthiest and hidden ingredients in alcohol and even how to mitigate the damage from a night of hedonistic partying. I’ll put links to all of those previous episodes with Thomas and everything we talk about today over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/mag. Not to be confused with the actress Meg Ryan, who else? Meg Foster, Megan Fox, also an actress. Mag like M-A-G, not M-E-G, folks. So, anyways, BenGreenfieldFitness.com/mag is where I’ll put the show notes.
Who is Thomas? He’s in addition to being one of the world’s leading experts in the world of chronic inflammation and the response of the body to a low-carb diet and even alcohol. He’s also noted for his personal transformation. He went from–and we told the story in the last episode at 280-pound overweight corporate executive to not only being on the cover of health and fitness magazines around the world. You’ve probably seen him if you stand there at the grocery store in Ogle, the cover of men’s magazines. But he’s also pioneered some of the mainstream awareness of autoimmune diseases and inflammation and has been highlighted in Iron Man Magazine, Muscle & Performance Magazine, Natural Muscle Magazine, ICON magazine, Platform magazine, the list goes on and on.
His actual background is in Sports Psychology and he’s currently working on a project with some docs at UCLA to identify a strain of bacteria that could help to modulate inflammation within the body. We actually talked about that in the last episode in which I had him on. So, Thomas lives in California. He has a relatively newly born son. So, if Thomas is sleep deprived and completely out of it, is probably why. How old is your son now, Thomas?
Thomas: He just turned 11 months. So, fortunately, we’re getting out of the crazy sleep deprivation stage.
Ben: That’s not too bad. I get this question a lot, man. Are you using–somebody even asked me this morning. They said are you detoxing your boys? And I wrote back and I said, “Well, young folks kind of like young cars don’t necessarily need big overhauls and detoxes and tons of mechanic work done, and my kids certainly do take a little bit of glutathione here and there, some lion’s mane before school and a good multivitamin.” But are you doing anything kind of out of the ordinary I suppose to enhance your son’s health or development?
Thomas: Out of the ordinary–I wouldn’t say it’s out of the ordinary, but I guess it is actually. I mean, I’m really focused on keeping his blood sugar stable. It’s like the biggest thing for me. You know, I pay close attention to that, so I wouldn’t say he eats–I mean he does eat a low-carb diet and a grand scheme of things. He’s definitely not keto. I’m not saying I’m going to make my baby keto, but I focus big time on making sure that he doesn’t have any big surges in blood sugar, keeping it nice and stable. And so, my wife and I are big on it. It seems to be working tremendously because I mean he started walking at eight months, which is quite early. He started to develop motor skills really early. So, we just really focus on that. We’re not going to deprive him of glucose. We’re not going to deprive him of carbohydrates. But we are going to introduce them in a way where he stays consistent.
Ben: Right. He’s not doing breath ketone measurements. It’s probably like my kids. We just never had like a kids’ menu at our table. When we’d have sardines or liver or avocado or anything else, we’d literally mommy bird our kids. We’d choose stuff up, put it on their plates and they would just eat what mom and I eat. And there wasn’t like the separate children’s meal of Cheerios or macaroni and cheese, or God forbid chicken wings and pizza, or the kids just eat what the adults eat. And since Mom and I kind of control our blood glucose just indirectly, the kids do, too.
Thomas: Yes, that’s exactly what we do. We just–sometimes slightly modify it if it’s a little spicy or something but like other than that, yeah, he’s eating what we’re eating.
Ben: Yeah, is she breastfeeding?
Thomas: So, she breastfed for about the first six months and then her supply–she ended up getting–actually, she got E. coli, so her supply ran out. So, we ended up using–having no choice but to go over to–Holly mix an organic goat milk formula. So, I wasn’t about to put him on any kind of other formula. So, since we had the supplement, it was interesting that there was a goat milk formula. So, obviously utilizing an A2 strain of [00:09:45 unin] versus the typical A1. So, it was a lot easier on his body and it actually worked quite well considering the unfortunate [00:09:53 unin].
Ben: You speak in my language, a lot of parents don’t even realize that a lot of the cattle are bred now with A1 protein and so if you’re going to feed your kid a milk, choose a goat milk or I mean the sounds out there but you can get it in the U.S., even like a camel milk or a water buffalo milk. The proteins are smaller and it’s that A2 protein that’s less allergenic for a kid. Especially when you consider that that breastmilk itself is highly ketogenic in terms of ketones and triglycerides. If you’re not going to do that, you might as well choose, like you’re doing a good absorbable, non-allergenic form of milk from some other mammal.
Thomas: Exactly. Yeah. He was doing baby led weaning from the time he’s about five or six months anyway, so we started introducing solid foods pretty darn early in terms of kind of mama birding it to him and just getting him introduced to foods.
Ben: Good. Cool. Well, we’re going to make an extremely awkward transition from breastmilk over to magnesium because that’s the topic of the day, obviously, the elephant in the room. So, I guess the first question I have for you, Thomas, is this. A lot of people already know the importance of magnesium. And frankly, and we can talk about the best way to test your magnesium levels here in a little bit, but a lot of people are low in magnesium or know that quite a few folks are low in magnesium, so they might be too, especially if they are athletes, if they sweat a lot, got a lot of mineral turnover. But the biggest complaint I get from magnesium, the number one thing that I want to address first because I know everybody’s wondering this is magnesium can freaking make you spray out your backside the next morning and completely destroy the toilet bowl, the wall behind the toilet sometimes. I’ve heard stories of people who take like magnesium citrate supplement at night in the form of 400 to 500 milligrams and literally just have to clinch their ass cheeks all night long and wake up and blow themselves wide open. So, is there a way around that when it comes to topping off your magnesium levels without getting this notorious loose stool? I think it was Dr. Chris Kresser who I heard described it as constarrhea, like a mix of constipation and diarrhea.
Thomas: I’ve never heard that term before. That’s perfect. Yeah, it’s pretty simple. So, magnesium is what is called hydrophilic. So, it’s got hydrophobic and hydrophilic. Hydrophobic means afraid of water or creatures from water and then hydrophilic means attracts water. So, what happens is magnesium, in general, creates this thing called passive diffusion where it draws water into the intestine. And that’s why when done properly, it’s beneficial for occasional constipation because it draws water in and gets everything moving. It’s great. The problem is when it happens really fast, there’s nothing to modulate how fast the water floods into the small intestine and the large intestine.
So, you end up with a situation where you can have this uncontrollable bout of diarrhea and that there’s just nothing you can do about it. So, the trick is having it absorb slower. It doesn’t really matter since magnesium is a mineral. It all depends on what the mineral is bound to or the kind of magnesium that it is because that means it plays a big role. It’s not like you can say take some Epsom salt or something like that and consume it with fat. Fat is going to slow it down. It doesn’t work like that. It’s like the mineral is going to absorb it. It’s going to do its thing and it all depends on what the actual mineral itself is bound to. So, like Epsom salt, although it sounds like a salt, it’s technically a magnesium, and that’s what’s going to really have the biggest laxative effect. It just draws it in immediately. So, that’s the main mistake that people are making. If they’re taking any kind of magnesium citrate or anything like that at night, yeah, they’re lucky if they wake up with a clean mattress.
Ben: Okay. But magnesium citrate is one of the formulas that’s often sold as, and marketed as something that does help with the bowel movement, or helps with sleep. Is it true that there are certain forms of magnesium that work best for different functions? I know it’s kind of a loaded question because there are a lot of forms of magnesium, but we’ve got time. So, can you walk me through the different forms of magnesium and what someone would want to use if they weren’t going to use like a citrate?
Thomas: Yeah. So, magnesium citrate is definitely one of them. It has a high bioavailability but the problem is it’s such a high bioavailability and it happened so fast that it generates a laxative effect. So, you end up in a situation where you’ve defeated the purpose because when you have diarrhea, you’re losing water, which means that you’re losing more mineral. So, you’re kind of pissing up a rope. So, you end up having this high bioavailability. You’re like, “Oh, magnesium citrate is the best one. It’s going to absorb.” But then it’s absorbing so fast that it’s just not getting absorbed. It’s coming right through you.
Ben: So, that’s the problem because it’s absorbed really fast.
Thomas: It’s absorbed way too fast. And so, it interferes with the ceruloplasmin and then it can cause all kinds of iron issues too. So, we can talk about–I’ll talk more about iron later, because I could go on and on about iron. This got magnesium chloride, which is one that you don’t see a whole, whole lot of but that’s when it’s used–usually people want to use magnesium chloride when they’re doing forms of like detoxing or when they’re looking to–sometimes they’ll be given in like heavy, heavy doses in clinical settings to support kidney function because it has a direct correlation with the kidneys. But, it’s usually only about 10% to 15% magnesium. Even though the magnesium is bioavailable, it’s not the kind of magnesium you typically want to use.
Ben: The magnesium chloride, you mean.
Thomas: Yeah. It’s not the typical one that you’d just want to add into your daily regimen.
Ben: Yeah, it is. Not to throw you off the rails here too early, but magnesium chloride is very popular with detoxification protocols like I did one recently and it involved like drinking as nasty, like a tablespoon of magnesium chloride and I just used the same magnesium salts that I take a bath in, because they do seem–like a big bag of magnesium chloride seems to be working better than say Epsom salts for like a hot bath for the muscles but a lot of magnesium chloride is recommended for detoxification. Why is that?
Thomas: Simply because of how–well for one, it does have an effect in terms of the laxative effect which–
Ben: You’re telling me.
Thomas: Yeah. That is a part of the detoxification. And then, again it comes back down to the hydrophilic aspect. So, a lot of times people think because you’ve got magnesium chloride because it’s a lower amount of actual magnesium in it, they say that, “Oh, it’s not to give you as much of a laxative effect so it’s the best one that you can use for detoxing.” It’s supposed to help by its own definition kind of chelate some of the extra minerals. So, you have magnesium that balances out calcium that has an effect on iron, that has an effect on copper that therefore transcends into zinc. It’s a whole pathway that again we can talk about. So, by bringing in a small amount of magnesium like that bioavailable form, you’re basically telling the body to chelate some of this excess iron, some of these excess minerals and also chelate with some of the heavy metals, things like that.
Ben: So, things like metals and iron are chelating to magnesium chloride and in addition, it’s having a little bit of a laxative effect when those two things put together and why it’s recommended for say like a detox.
Thomas: That’s the simplest way to put it, yeah. It’s sort of a co-factor to some of that, but yeah, that’s basically what’s happening.
Ben: Yeah, and by the way, when I take a bath, the cool thing about that is you get–and I actually want to hear your take on this from what I understand, some amount of absorption from the topical magnesium but because it bypasses the GI tract, you don’t get a lot of the unpleasant laxative effect.
Thomas: That’s correct. You do absorb some. I did a video on that a while ago because it was really interesting and it did show that after taking an Epsom salt bath or taking any kind of magnesium bath or topically, you would absorb some of the serum level but it was questionable whether you were actually getting it absorbed all the way like into the red blood cells which we actually need, which again, I’ll touch on a little bit too.
Ben: Okay. So, you get absorbed into the serum but not the red blood cells.
Thomas: Yes. So, basically, I mean to make a long story short is only about 1% of the magnesium is ever really measured and that’s the magnesium that’s in the serum, in your blood plasma levels and that’s usually an indicator–that’s not the bulk of the magnesium. Most of the magnesium we want in our red blood cells, we want in our bone marrow because that’s like where it’s actually going to be functional. But when we have elevated levels of serum magnesium, a lot of times that can mean that what’s happening is you’re deficient in magnesium so it’s pulling it from the red blood cells, it’s pulling from the marrow and putting it into the blood stream. So, it can be totally confusing when people go to get their magnesium levels checked because they’re like, “Oh cool. I’m high in magnesium.” Well, being high in magnesium could mean that you’re actually low in magnesium because your body–
Ben: If you’re measuring serum magnesium.
Thomas: Precisely. So, you can ask your doctor some labs do offer RBC magnesium which stands for red blood cell magnesium and that’s really what matters when it comes down to how your magnesium levels are actually affecting you.
Thomas: Yeah. That’s what I tested by the way is RBC. I do a longevity panel once a quarter with WellnessFX and they do an RBC magnesium.
Thomas: That’s the one you got to do.
Ben: Okay. So, if you’re going to get your magnesium tested, it’s a blood RBC magnesium test. That’s like the gold standard.
Ben: Okay. Good. So, you were just getting started talking about the different forms of magnesium, you had gotten to magnesium chloride. So, we established that that would be something you would like take a bath in or use for like a detoxification protocol but it’s probably not like a good daily source of magnesium just to keep your levels topped off.
Thomas: Correct, correct, yeah. And then, you’ve probably heard of a mag glycinate before. That’s the one that a lot of doctors will recommend. It doesn’t have a laxative property. It’s transported through the intestinal wall. So, it can still have the laxative property but it’s not nearly as intense. It is a high bioavailability too. So, it is considered ideal. The problem is it’s an expensive form. It’s definitely a more pricey form. It’s a little bit more calming. This glycinate in and of itself is a calming amino. So, when you took a glycinate, you’re talking about mag that’s been basically–it’s already been chelated and then it’s bound to glycine. So, that’s what we’re looking at here. So, it can be calming and have a strong effect on what is called the NMDA receptor. The NMDA receptor is a portion of the neuron that acts as sort of a gateway and this NMDA receptor–if you picture a neuron, you picture an NMDA receptor being sort of the gate, what will happen is magnesium will usually sit on the NMDA receptor and occupies it to protect it from calcium, believe it or not, because calcium is excitatory so what will happen is if calcium is running rampant through the body and it goes and it hits this NMDA receptor, it can trigger an excitatory response causing anxiety literally. So, you could make it–is firing like crazy. Well, it can only do that if magnesium is not present. So, magnesium will sort of nullify calcium magnificence. So, if magnesium is sitting on this neuron, on the NMDA receptor, then the calcium counter or rebuts with the actual magnesium, makes it can’t get in, but if you’re deficient in magnesium, there’s no magnesium sitting on the NMDA receptor, consequently, calcium can get in. So, when you look at glycinate, because glycine is already having an effect on some of our neurotransmitters, we’re really having a powerful effect there. So, I would say that it’s one of the better ones without a doubt.
Ben: The glycinate.
Ben: Okay. And that would be because the glutamate, that’s an excitatory neurotransmitter that would normally interact with that NMDA receptor and what you’re saying is that like calcium magnesium imbalance would cause excess excitatory activity, but if you were to take magnesium glycinate, say prior to bed, you’d actually inhibit some of that glutamate excitability that could potentially keep you awake at night.
Thomas: And that’s generally what you’ll see doctors recommending. Like I said, that’s part of the glycinate because it’s pretty expensive so it’s not always–it’s a little bit cost prohibitive for people.
Then there’s magnesium malate which is really good. magnesium malate is usually set up in such a way that where it’s like dimagnesium malate where it absorbs very, very slow, where it’s a little bit more of a sustained release and you’re not having any laxative effect. A lot more powerful when it comes down to the energy cycle and also ATP production and everything like that because malate itself is very, very powerful when it comes down to energy production. So, when you actually have magnesium malate, you’re really focusing on it as from kind of energy side of things and the muscle pain side of things a little bit more–more of in a way that like an athlete or someone that’s focused on how they feel would actually be able to register a difference, like they’d really be able to see a difference in how they feel not just and be like, “Oh, I sleep better” or “Oh, I’m able to go the bathroom better.” I mean this is a little bit more of like “Oh okay, wow. My muscles feel relaxed. I feel good. I’m not getting cramps. I feel more energized.” Things are happening at more of the enzymatic level there.
Ben: Okay. Interesting. So, magnesium malate, is that something that would also cause sleepiness or relaxation?
Thomas: Well, I wouldn’t say cause. I think–I mean I don’t know if it would cause like a sleepiness but it definitely causes relaxation. It’s definitely–it’s not going to be making you groggy. It’s not one of those things. Like I take dimagnesium malate in the morning and in the evening because I actually like the sleep effects that it does give me in terms of a restful sleep but I also like the calming effect. It’s one of the tools that I use in my toolbox when it comes down to filming. I mean those of you that know me know that I’m on camera a lot. So, for me, having to be calm and having to be able to collect and being able to be articulate while I’m on camera is really important to me.
Thomas: So, there are a few things like sort of having that arsenal and mag malate is definitely one of them because I feel like I’m nice and even-keeled and I don’t feel like things affect me nearly as much because what will happen is–I mean a perfect example is like I’m filming but I also run a business. I run multiple businesses. So, things stress me out. Things hit me but what I don’t want to have happen is be in the mode of filming and have something happen. My phone will ring and get stressed out and have it completely throw-off the rest of my filming. I find that mag malate especially in a pretty decent dose for me, I mean and maybe it’s not the dose I would necessarily recommend for everybody but I’m a bigger guy, I’ve got a good amount of lean body mass so I upped the dose a little bit more but it definitely gets me even-keeled. That’s what I like about that.
Ben: And that would be considered another chelated form of magnesium because it’s chelated to make like acid.
Ben: Okay. Oh, and by the way, just so folks now in case they’re in a cocktail party and they want to impress their friends, can you give me a 30-second overview of chelation?
Thomas: Yes. Chelation basically means that it has the ability to or already has then able to lock to, usually, heavy metal. So, like in this case, like it has the ability to bind and help excrete or essentially nullify something. So, sometimes it can even be where it enhances the effect of something. It all depends on what you’re actually chelating. So, an example is like the chelation of iron, meaning that it’s binding to the iron and it’s rendering it either useless or more effective depending on whatever enzymatic pathway is being utilized.
Thomas: So, the simplest way that someone could impress someone is just use it kind of in a different context of almost say nullify. I mean that’s a good word to use for it.
Ben: Okay. Yeah, the late great Charles Poliquin. He was a fan of magnesium malate. And I saw an article from him where he was recommending malate for a lot of the same things that you say it’s good for like anxiety and kind of allowing you to relax during the day without falling asleep, but he also commented on it because he was really into supplements for performance how when you combine magnesium with malic acid, it could contribute to ATP production, is there anything to that?
Thomas: Yes. So, I mean when you look at malic acid, in general, is actually really powerful when it comes down to ATP production. It actually has to do with how it accompanies potassium, believe it or not. So, like when you’re looking at the uptake into the guard of the cells, in general, to maintain electrical balance when you have malate, it allows potassium to come in. So, if you have that balance then magnesium can do its job better too. So, when you have this accumulation, the cell ends up decreasing its potential. So, lots of water to enter the cell and ends up making it work more fluidly, more effectively. In essence, it literally aids the magnesium in producing ATP but also aids the potassium and producing ATP.
Ben: Okay. Got it. So, magnesium malate and magnesium glycinate, both of those chelated forms of magnesium, those seemed like they’re pretty good options for some of the targets that you’ve just talked about but there’s a lot of other forms of magnesium. We talked about magnesium citrate a little bit, we talked about magnesium chloride. What about some of these others like magnesium oxide is one, magnesium orotate is another. Can you address a few of these other popular ones?
Thomas: Yes. So, mag oxide is another–it’s a decent one but you have to take it in small doses throughout the day. It’s a non-chelated form. So, it’s usually bound to either a fatty acid, organic acid that way. People will actually use it more of like acid reflux treatment and it still used as a laxative as well but it doesn’t have a lot of bioavailability. So, it’s less than–I think it’s less than 5% bioavailability.
Ben: That’s magnesium oxide.
Thomas: So, it’s something you’d have to take consistently but it kind of has almost like an antacid effect but usually an antacid is obviously with calcium. So, it has that sort of effect because how it functions within the bodies so people will use it–even in some pharmaceuticals for acid reflux. Not one that you’re going to really want to be taking frequently unless you really know what you’re doing but it’s such a low bioavailability. It’s not the best bang for the buck.
Ben: Okay. Got it. Is that why you wouldn’t want to be taking a lot, just a waste of money?
Thomas: It’s kind of a waste of money. And it’s again, how much you got to take.
Ben: Okay. I’m going to throw another one. What about magnesium orotate?
Thomas: So, there’s that–have you heard of taurate as well?
Ben: Magnesium taurate?
Ben: I’ve heard of it. Yes, it’s similar to orotate?
Thomas: Yeah. So, taurate and orotate, I kind of put in the same category. So, like orotates, they’re using the body to help with DNA and RNA production. So, we’re kind of looking at a different pathway here. The unique thing about both taurate–actually taurate even more so than orotate, it’s actually able to penetrate cell membranes so it can actually help with the magnesium delivery to the inner parts of the cell. So, it’s good for really that DNA and the RNA cycles. So, where we’re actually changing a little bit more of our gene structure and how things are happening and helping out with human gene mutation and expression because you’re actually getting it deep into the cell. So, it’s more of a long-term kind of thing like there. Well, it’s pretty absorbable too. It is another chelated form like taurate is technically chelated. I’m actually not sure if orotate is chelated or not. I know that taurate is–I have to double check–but the taurate is bound to the amino acid taurine. So, that’s got high bioavailability already. And, it usually seemed kind of in calming situation. So, like the people are–I know a lot of people that are just big in the meditation, like really big in the meditation and they would megadose taurate or orotate because it would put them into this ultra-calm state to be able to meditate almost to an extreme.
Thomas: But I’d say the more clinical side of things, they’re using magnesium taurate more so for like cardiac benefits just because of how it affects a heart cell. It gets into a little bit more of the cell that way versus affecting on the service like the NMDA receptor and some of the stuff like that.
Ben: Yeah. A little mineral availability is, of course, one of the things we’ve talked about on the show as being the culprit for the very fit executive who drops dead halfway through a marathon or the Ironman triathlete who has some kind of a cardiovascular and sit in the water and drowns. And in many cases, that’s due to nervous system issues due to magnesium deficiencies or other mineral deficiencies. And so, in a case like that, would you suggest that magnesium orotate or magnesium taurate might be a good thing for the backpack of an athlete who’s beating up their body and is also stressed out in other areas of life?
Thomas: It certainly can, it certainly could be. You do have to still be concerned a little bit with the laxative effect. It’s still going to have a little bit with that so we don’t want to run a situation where you’re, of course, already mineral depleted, you’re already going through a marathon or you’re doing as tough mudder or something like that, and then, all the sudden you’re having to find a porta potty.
Ben: That’s just part of the race man. That’s the fourth leg of the race. A lot of people say it’s nutrition, right? Swim, bike, run, nutrition but I think it’s swim, bike, run, porta potty.
Thomas: That’s what they call the Tough Mudder.
Ben: Yes, exactly. That’s gross. Okay, so, magnesium oratate and taurate, they’re pretty similar. Taurate is chelated whereas, oratate is not in those would be more like the heart cells in the nerve cells. And then, what about lactate, magnesium lactate? Are you familiar them one?
Thomas: Nope. Other than just a couple of high-level things, I don’t know much about magnesium lactate. I know that it’s been played around with athletes, messing around with it. Do you know much about lactate?
Ben: No, no, I was going to wait until this episode to ask you.
Thomas: Yes, magnesium lactate is one that is up until like the last five or six years, there hasn’t been a whole lot of research done on it and I just know that obviously, being bound to lactic acid so it’s being something that’s a little bit more–people would use it post workout because then there are going to have a higher bioavailability of it as it is. So, that way, any of the magnesium that becomes unbound can still be bound. So, other than that, I don’t understand what people are getting out of it. So, I feel like people are wanting to utilize that lactate simply because it sounds cool. I don’t really know much about it other than why someone would want to take it right surrounding a workout that has a higher availability of lactate already.
Ben: I haven’t seen a lot of chatter about it. I haven’t seen many supplements with that in it so it might just be an inferior form for those reasons. I realize its incredibly unscientific analysis but magnesium lactate doesn’t appear to have a lot going for it. I mentioned Epsom salts recently and obviously people are very into this concept of float tanks where you go in and you float a joint bed of magnesium sulfate which is technically often sold as Epsom salts. In terms of sore muscles, like I mentioned, I’m a bigger fan of magnesium chloride because I’ve messed around up with Epsom Salts, I’ve messed around with these magnesium bath flakes, I buy them from Ancient Minerals. So, these are the big bath Lakes will dissolve in water and I literally drag an infrared light into my bathroom and I bathe myself an infrared light to assist with the health of the mitochondria while at the same time, taking a bath in magnesium chloride but magnesium sulfate is the more popular one that people take baths in to do things like relieve sore muscles. Are there any other benefits aside from that, for something like magnesium sulfate or the oral use or something like that?
Thomas: Well, the oral use is probably one of the most powerful laxatives that you can have. It’s pretty easy to overdose with sulfate even though it’s a high degree of again, bioavailability so you’re going to be in this situation where it’s absorbing fast but also causing a laxative effect. Epsom salt baths are really interesting. I’ve been actually wanting to conduct my own study on this because there are one or two smaller scale studies that abound that you don’t really absorb it through the skin in such a way that people think, that it can affect your serum levels just temporarily but the interesting thing was, and you’re going to get a kick out of this, is when they actually back some of the research up, they started to say, “We actually don’t know if people are absorbing this because they’re sitting in it or they’re absorbing it because they’re breathing it in.”
Ben: Oh, interesting.
Thomas: Yes, so, the higher levels of magnesium that show up in the blood, they’re like, “Wait a minute. Well, is this coming in through the skin or is this actually coming into the breath?” Because when they actually measure the breath, you get almost the same amount of absorption as people get when they’re sitting in a bath, so, which one is happening? There’s just not enough research out there so I kind of want to look at my own study and do that because it actually makes sense like considering the kind of blood flow that we would end up getting when we bring something in that might get a better absorption that way, which makes me wonder if you were like to hover over just a hot bath of Epsom salts, are you going to ultimately end up with a laxative effect at some point? I don’t know. I mean, because eventually, it’s going to hit your intestinal tract but not to the degree as when you took it orally.
Ben: I want to be the person in the study who gets to take the nice warm bath versus hovering over the bathtub just sucking in the fumes.
Thomas: Yes, how nice to sit for six hours in the bath.
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You know, it’s kind of relate to a bigger picture question though because they’re–I mean you’re no doubt aware of all the companies that sell magnesium sprays, topical magnesium lotions and they’re often advertised as a way to, not only relieve sore muscles but also to actually get transdermal absorption through the skin. Have you looked into that much or you’re seeing much data on the amount of magnesium that gets absorbed in some of these lotions and sprays?
Thomas: Yeah, so it’s interesting. I mean, I dive into it more and more all the time because it’s really intriguing because anything transdermal when it hits, when it actually gets inside the body, when it actually has its degree of absorption in somatic reactions that occur especially in the skin. So many things change. So, whatever form of magnesium that you might be trying to get topically might be a completely different form and it injures your body. You know, it’s that’s what’s wild. It’s kind of the same thing with testosterone cream and stuff like that. You have the DHT conversion in that entire process changes the entire makeup of the entire compound. But, when you look at magnesium, it’s the same kind of thing and it’s along the same vein as the magnesium sulfate bass. It’s like you’re putting yourself in this situation where you don’t know how you’re increasing your magnesium levels and if it’s truly doing anything directly. I can arguably say that you’re not going to get a spot relief. You’re not going to run that magnesium in one given area and just see relief in that area. You might get a more pronounced effect upon application. Are you saying that magnesium is absorb better topically or are you saying that you could just isolate a spot by putting magnesium? The problem I have is with a lot of the topical marketing is the kind of these catch-22’s in there. They say, “Oh, you’re going to get right to the location without all these other effects,” but then, in the same vein, they’ll be like, “Oh, well you’re getting it all absorbed. It’s all-absorbing.” Am I isolating it on one spot or I’m absorbing it throughout its entirety? So, it’s like, makes me wonder, there’s no real solid evidence either way.
Ben: Yes, I mean, obviously, we know that the skin is a mouth and a lot of things get topically absorbed through the skin. They all have these studies, for example, they’ve had men use shampoos that have parabens and PCBs and then, test them afterward and found them in the urine. Just from a pure anecdotal perspective, this might be a bit of a rabbit hole but I’ll use topical CBD on muscles and definitely feel relief and I even, myself and my wife use a THC sex lube and you can actually feel almost like a localized high for your crotch. It’s actually a very good kind of a hack for the bedroom. We use this stuff called Bond and THC seems to get absorbed very rarely through the skin. I definitely don’t discount the idea that magnesium gets absorbed. I certainly feel some amount of muscular relief. There is one situation after Ironman Hawaii. This would’ve been 2014, I had what appeared to be an alien popping out a stomach because my abdominals, my rectus abdominals went into an intense cramp right after the race. I laid down and my friend and podcast co-host, Brock, was standing there and he witnessed the whole thing. I mean, my abs just begin to pop out and I always have that magnesium lotion on me post-race. I grabbed it and just rubbed it into the muscle and the cramps subsided almost immediately. I realized that’s purely anecdotal but I think there’s something to this topical application even if it’s just for muscle relief or cramp relief.
Thomas: Yes, I’m careful to say anything one way or the other about it just because I just feel like there’s just not enough research yet. I’ve had experience, it’s funny–I don’t know if you’re at liberty to say what brand of the topical CBD we use but I’ve kind of messed around with it as well and it’s kind of like not the cannabis sex lube or anything like that but I’ve messed around with topical CBD is that I’ve got I’m actually felt better effect from that, utilizing the CBD.
Ben: I usually use this–You would like this has got curcumin in it the BioCBD stuff.
Thomas: Oh, got you. I’ve seen some ads. Interesting, now, I’m curious.
Ben: We covered a lot of the forms of magnesium that are out there. We just finished up talking about magnesium sulfate or bath salts, there was one other that I wanted to ask you about and there might be some others I’m unaware of that you could speak to as well, but what about magnesium carbonate? Have you heard of that one?
Thomas: So, I’m not too savvy in magnesium carbonate. I was hoping you were going to talk about threonate.
Ben: All I know about carbonate and then, I’d love to hear you talk about threonate. That’s what you find in chalk or like chalk on a Cross Fit Gym or the rock climbers or weightlifters use. I have no clue of its bioavailability is but I know it’s a form of magnesium because I’ve looked at the label of some of that stuff and magnesium carbonate is a prime ingredient. I just wasn’t sure if it’s prevalent in supplements or if there’s any benefit aside from you know avoiding your hands breaking open and bleeding from tipping pull ups
Thomas: No, it’s usually like an alternative to a calcium form of chalk. So, I mean, unless someone like has an ability to or desire to use something, it’s going to be more hydrophilic than, say, calcium would be. So, I believe a rock climber would probably want something that’s going to draw the water out so that they can get a little bit more of a grip versus other kinds of chalk. So, I think it’s a little bit more of like a practical application or rather than being in say a supplement but I know that people put it in a supplement as a little bit of a filler sometimes but mostly as something that’s directly what they want to have a true application for.
Ben: Okay, got it. The other one that you mentioned was threonate.
Thomas: Threonate is a fun one to mess around with every now and then because threonate can really have a powerful effect across going to blood-brain barrier. So, threonate got a lot of fame with PTSD treatments. It’s even used in the military like to treat these guys that are coming back and it’s actually able to almost help them reset their brains a little bit. I actually have a guy in my office that’s total biohacker and he’s been messing around with like a high dose of threonate and just says he hits up with some tricky dreams and getting this really deep sleep. He had some fun with it so I mean sometimes that’s kind of just a cool thing. But, that’s obviously, might not be the most practical way to utilize it. It’s not something that everyone just wants to put themselves into this kind of woo-woo state but–I can’t remember the name of the study either but there’s another study that showed, it was an animal study but there was a pretty big improvement in short-term memory with it too to prove it. It definitely has its effects.
Ben: Got it. You want to have trippy dreams? I’ve got something for you that I literally have used with 100% efficacy for these deep, vivid dreams, not lucid dreams, but just crazy dreams all night long. It was traditionally used to ward off evil spirits and to induce visions or hallucinations and very small amounts taken before bed to give you these amazing dreams. It’s a Mugwort Essential Oil. You can take the oil of Mugwort. There’s this company called, Essential Oil Wizardry, that makes it. You try a few drops of Mugwort before bed. I looked into toxicity. I looked into some of stuff like cava, for example, some people recommend for this and it’s just the alkaloids in that are pretty harsh on the liver. But, this Mugwort is safe and induces these amazing dreams. So, there’s a little tip for if you want to bio-hack your dreams, so to speak.
Thomas: Dude, you have a way of coming, the hard part is when I have these wild dreams. I can’t help but wake up in the morning in a kind of a weird state of mind. So, I don’t know, do you battle that or do you have a way for resetting that? I’ve messed around with higher doses of Boron kind of do it too. Boron is pretty cool for a lot of different things. I call it like the space crystals because it’s usually found in like in literally in space matter like meteorites and stuff like that, so I call it my magic space crystals that give me weird dreams. But, if I ever take it, I get to wake up from the dreams and I just have a hard time. It takes me up three hours to get into like real life.
Ben: I haven’t noted that Mugwort. I track my sleep cycles every night with this ring and I actually get very good sleep cycles on it so it seems to work out okay but obviously not a form of magnesium, Mugwort, for those of you wondering, that’s not a form of magnesium, it’s a plant. Sounds like it’s a plant that would grow in a Harry Potter novel. Actually, my kids thought it was very cool I was taking Mugwort before bed because they literally were there they are chockfull of Harry Potter books right now in the middle of a Harry Potter reading competition at school. So, that was my involvement, it was Mugwort. Okay, I want to ask some other magnesium questions specifically with this idea of magnesium causing a laxative effect in many of its forms. You mentioned very briefly earlier that part of that might be due to the rapidity with which it is released in the GI tract. I know that for example, some probiotics, they are coated. They are time release so they bypassed the acidity of the stomach. Time Release supplements are something that is a thing is there is there such a thing as a well as a way to make magnesium get absorbed over a longer period of time such as throughout the seven to eight hours of sleep?
Thomas: Yes, so, it’s when you look at magnesium, you have to look at the different coat factors and what it’s working with or rather than just saying like, “Oh, let’s take a magnesium and let’s [0:48:27 and terracoat it] to make it so it’s a little bit slower and doing this and that.” That’s not going to really work with a mineral. It’s too water soluble and the second like a time-release kind of coating were to wear off, you will just urine it out. It’s way too difficult so you have to look at what works with magnesium to actually support optimal health and what other vitamins work with it so that you can sort of delay this rapid utilization of it and enhanced the utilization of it just by coupling it. So, I’m a couple in it with a variety of different B vitamins plays a big role too and I’ll ask them not to like the methylation and everything like that too so. A good example as you’re familiar with P5P with a vitamin B6, right?
Ben: I am but explain that to the audience what P5P is.
Thomas: So, P5P is basically a fancy way of saying vitamin B6. So, it’s the active form of vitamin B6. Next to magnesium, it’s pretty darn powerful in terms of the different enzymatic reactions that it has in the body. Magnesium has over 300 different enzymatic reactions. When I say enzymatic reactions, it basically means it helps out different random little processes in the body. Little things like the division of cells, little things like the support of the cell membranes, little things like all kinds of crazy things. B6 helps out with about 32-33 which don’t sound like a lot compared to the 300 magnesium but magnesium just has a clear, clear advantage there just has way more but the big thing is the manufacturing of serotonin and dopamine in the brain. So, you have like it in active forms of B6 and then, you have the active form which is P5P. So, whenever I reference P5P, all it means is literally a bioactive way of available, a truly bioactive form vitamin B. That’s what the body actually needs. Otherwise, inactive Vitamin B has to be converted by the liver to the active form so that’s one other step. In any individual that’s had any kind of compromise liver function or maybe they’re just exhausted because a lot of times your liver function can be compromised if you’re just stressed out, they have a hard time making that conversion and they end up being B6-deficient the first place, but I digress a little bit. P5P works with magnesium simply because it actually is involved in the absorption itself. So, since B6 is already difficult to get you convert into usable form, if you give it along with magnesium you’re making sure the magnesium can be absorbed without ever having to guess that this person is deficient or not deficient with B6.
Ben: That’s interesting. Yes, I never thought about combining magnesium with vitamin B6 or that specific form vitamin B6 but it makes sense, especially, when you consider how many people have this non-alcoholic fatty liver disease now. That’s running rampant. I was recently talking with a guest on the podcast and they had mentioned it’s like up to 40% of people now have some form of liver dysfunction related to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. So, this idea of enhancing magnesium absorption with a bioavailable form of B6 makes sense, especially in people with compromised liver function.
Thomas: Totally, we actually have to take it one step further or one step backward, I should say, because you have to look at B9, vitamin B9 which is obviously known as folic acid. So, pregnant women especially, are recommended folic acid, easy to become deficient in it. The hard thing is it’s hard to convert folic acid into its bioavailable form which is called folate. So, folic acid and folate, they’re synonymous except that one is available, one is not. The interesting thing is that folate, which is the bioavailable already know what it converted form of vitamin B9 is required to actually create P5P. So, you have to take it one step further so it’s like you need bioavailable B9 in order to create bioavailable B6. So, that’s really important in the situation when you’re dealing with magnesium too because together they greatly improve magnesium function to support all kinds of different things within the body. So, it’s a whole rabbit hole that you can go down but you have to look at the entire chain reaction of how magnesium works with things.
Ben: So, the other thing about folic acid, of course, is that that’s added as a nutrient to a lot of multi-vitamins, you know, fortified cereals grains, packaged products, as well but if you have trouble or if you even have a, you know, MTHFR genetic issue with conversion of folic acid into folate, you wind up getting a lot of the folic acid converted via a different pathway into homocysteine, inflammatory marker responsible for cardiovascular issues and a whole host of nasty consequences. So, this idea of using an activated form of vitamin B9 is important and I always tell people just look for MTHF or folate on the label of your multi-vitamin or your nootropics now are adding vitamin B9, a lot of supplements are adding vitamin B9 and that helps you skirt some of those issues. So, what you’re saying is that when you take that along with magnesium, it’s a co-factor for vitamin B6 which you mentioned earlier this paradoxal five phosphate and that’s what allows you to be able to better absorb the magnesium.
Thomas: That’s exactly right. And then, there’s one other start realizing when you get in the magnesium research how closely aligned with the whole B-vitamin spectrum they are. You’ve got no methylcobalamin, so you’ve got B12. Very important that–not to get confused with cyanocobalamin. Methylcobalamin is the active form of B12. That’s actually gone through the metalation process versus bound to a cyanide. But, when you look at methylcobalamin, it’s also another co-factor when it comes down to methylation. So, methylation, for those of you that don’t know what methylation is, it’s happening right now. It’s probably happening a trillion times in the last minute. It’s really, really important biochemical process. So, when it comes down to magnesium coming in the situation if you are not a good methylator which, again, this all comes back to the fact that we see that most people that are magnesium deficient in the first place are not good methylators. Meaning, they have a hard time converting inactive forms in their useful form. So, by looking at that, we know, “Okay, well how can we support methylation?” because if we support methylation then, we can also support magnesium absorption and utilization. So, that’s where the course, the B6 and the B9 with and also of course, a usable form of B12 too, that works in conjunction with the magnesium. So, B6, B9, B12 are the really important sort of trifecta to work with magnesium.
Ben: You got into those when I asked you if there is a way to make magnesium become absorbed more slowly, is that how you actually pull it off, you take a suite of B-vitamins like that when you take your magnesium?
Thomas: That and then, of course, using it in like a di-magnesium malic acid bond, so, in a malic form. So, malic form is already a little bit slower to absorb, and again, talking about kind of how it accompanies the potassium during the uptake. So, it ends up making [00:55:33 unin] so that when magnesium works with potassium everything happens in harmony. So, by making matters bound to malic acid or any kind of matter bound to malic acid, you’re going to have a slower absorption, to begin with. It’s not going to absorb fast that way but then when you have it absorbing slow along with this different co-factors like the B-vitamins, that’s how you get the combination of absorbing slow but also having a high degree of bioavailability because it’s really hard to do both like you can’t have something absorb slow but have a high amount of bioavailability. If you’re going to have something absorb slow using habits like a slow sustained release that’s not going to have a powerful effect unless you were taking like literally just a large volume like a giant pill. It would have to be a giant pill to have that absorption coincide with the actual bioavailability or the time that it takes so the only way to do this is to make it more effective but again, it’s a double edge sword, if you make something more effective, then you run into a situation like magnesium sulfate or absorb so fast, it gives you a laxative effect.
Ben: You ever stock malic acid or magnesium malate with creatine? The reason I ask is there was a very interesting study on Sprinters and long-distance runners that they did. This is in 2015 where they found a big increase in time to exhaustion in the endurance athletes and then, they found the same thing with sprinters, big increase in peak power, total work and even a decrease in body fat percentage with a with a stack creatine and malic acid. There appears to be like some kind of a sports performance effect with malate.
Thomas: Wow! That’s wild I’ve you know it’s interesting because I’ve heard people talk about malate and creatine as a nootropic effect and that probably has something to do with a common nootropic effect. So, we’re talking of the same kind of like you’re talking about athletes that are using it for specific performance boost. I would imagine it could have a similar effect to the brain too.
Ben: You know, a lot a lot of people, by the way, they might recognize the taste of malic, that’s like if you have apple cider…
Thomas: It’s sour.
Ben: …you find stone fruits, that kind of like sour taste to stone fruits, that’s the malic acid.
Thomas: Yes, exactly. It makes me wonder, like this is just the biohacker in me if you’ve got di-magnesium malate, like that you’ve got a good malic acid, magnesium and took that along with creatine but then also, stacked it with a mag threanate, that could be really interesting. So, then, you’re talking about having threanate that could affect the brain specifically, you’ve got di-magnesium malic which is going to have given you like kind of calming effect along muscles to be more pliable and soft tissue to work better. You get the malic acid and then, you combine that with creatine, you’ve got like a double-whammy performance plus nootropic. I want to try that.
Ben: Yes, that would be very interesting and I haven’t really tried a stack of malic acid and creatine before but it’s a good idea, have a creatine in an apple.
Thomas: I usually just don’t like to take in creatine–because personally, I retain so much water you know, just a gram or two. I love it because I do feel nootropic affect but I mean I definitely given what I do and some of my line of work like water retention is not a thing [00:58:54 unin]
Ben: I just take out plain [00:58:54 unin] just creatine monohydrate and I split it because I learned this from my friend, Tyler Lebaron, who I interviewed in a podcast on Molecular Rich Hydrogen. He commented on the fact that you only absorb you know, kind of similar vitamin C. You can only absorb 1.5 grams of creatine at any given point. So, with people who are supplementing 5 grams a day, that necessitates like three doses spread throughout the day into shakes or smoothies or in a warm glass of water which assists with its absorption and so that’s the way I do it. I just kind of split it throughout the day but even when I was bodybuilding, I would sometimes take 10-15 grams of creatine per day and I didn’t actually have that type of cramping response so I’m sure that part of that is either genetic or related to endogenous creatine or phosphate availability
Thomas: True, true, plays a big part.
Ben: Another question that I wanted to ask you because I didn’t want to ignore what you brought up very early in the show and that was you mentioned ceruloplasmin and also, iron as important considerations in relation to magnesium, why did you mention those?
Thomas: Yeah, some I might irritate some people because you know we live in this world especially in sports performance where we think like anemia is just a constant issue. We have to know that I’m going to probably stand on a pedestal for a little bit with this because I just I’m so passionate about and I feel like we have such a common misconception about like iron and minerals in the relationship. When you look at like iron is when it goes from it’s fair to fair a state like two totally different things for one. But, iron, the simplest way that I can explain iron and iron is literally iron. It’s going to rust, it’s going to oxidize really fast and if we have too much of it it’s going to run around and it’s going to occupy oxygens that could be doing other good things. So, the simplest way to explain it’s like you’ve got to take a breath, you’ve got oxygen flowing to your body, if you have an overabundance of iron, it’s going to attract that oxygen which means you’re going to have sort of this free radical damage that occurs there but then you’re also neglecting other things that could mean using that oxygen and having on a very small level just multiple times throughout the course of every breath and things like that. So, when you look at the general population, most of us have an overabundance of iron. We actually have a lot of iron. The problem is we have what is called, bound iron, we don’t have unbound iron. It’s the unbound that we need unbound that actually allows the mobilization of different things and allows other minerals to do their job. So, what ends up happening is in order to balance that out, a lot of times we need copper and we need magnesium and this just gets into a whole world like the world of minerals. I mean, it’s like, you have to think of your body like being like an electrician. It’s intense, there’s a lot of different things. Like, “If you cut this wire, then what happens to this wire? Well, if you forget this ground, okay, well he put—” I mean, the body is electrical at that. The crazy thing is like you look at the copper and zinc relationship, the copper and zinc help regulate iron and helps the ceruloplasmin so that the iron can actually move around and do its job and be carried around and sort of act as sort of, I always called, “the crane operator,” where it’s like you’ve got the ceruloplasmin and got the iron and the ceruloplasmin kinds of access its crane that picks up the moves iron and it’s there’s a little operator there that’s moving the iron. And, if that operator leaves, then the crane is just sitting there in the irons not get moved. So, I was kind of refer to that will crane operator. But, copper and zinc have a relationship there. But, if you just add copper into the mix, then that counteracts zinc. If you have too much copper, then you don’t produce zinc and you can’t just go take a bunch of zinc because it’s not going to really work, not do anything and that’s going through the copper levels. So, what ends up happening is a lot of it actually comes down to salt and magnesium. Where it’s like magnesium is this balance cube there, magnesium is what allows the excess iron to go into its unbound state so it’s actually able to be used in actually able to really help red blood cell function and help what we really want to help. But, without magnesium, none of that is possible. So, we don’t have an iron issue, we don’t have an anemia problem. We have a magnesium deficiency problem and we have a magnesium deficiency problem it’s not allowing the copper to do its job and not allowing the iron to come unbound. I’ve got a great video on this topic that kind of goes into more detail in that but it was really interesting– this is really wild as you look overall at women have a longer life expectancy than men. It probably has something to do with the fact that they lose blood every month and their iron levels are generally lower but it’s their body’s ability to release the other iron and allow it to be utilized that allows them to constantly keep fresh and ultimately live a little bit longer because they’re not having this constant oxidation. I don’t know, Ben, are you a fan of like do you donate blood or anything like that just the dump blood kind of reset or do you-
Ben: I’m an endurance athlete I’ve so much red blood cell turnover that I’m going to fight to keep my iron and ferritin up.
Thomas: Yeah, so it’s all depends on like what you’re doing and if you’re someone that’s not an endurance athlete and your strength training a lot, then you can actually sometimes the body will kind of disrupt its cycle and you’ll have these surges of high amounts of ferritin, low amounts of ferritin is hard to predict. You talk to like a lot of bodybuilders that go in and even dump blood. They’re usually doing that for their hemoglobin or hematocrit. They’re doing all kinds of things to balance that. The reality is some of it’s going to back down to minerals again. So, I guess my big piece of all this is that you have to look at the big picture and I can almost promise, almost guarantee that a someone was to start focusing on magnesium a little bit more than iron, then things will start to come into play and start to balance out quite a bit better.
Ben: Okay, so the interplay with this ceruloplasmin you talked about is that’s a copper-carrying protein in the blood it helps to metabolize iron and if you have low ceruloplasmin levels, you can have a copper deficiency, you’ve got zinc deficiency or you have a magnesium deficiency?
Thomas: Correct. And, if you have–so basically, a ceruloplasmin it’s going to help with the utilization of iron. When you say utilization of iron it’s like being able to take iron that’s floating around in the body and picking it up and putting it into a true storage form where it can be used.
Ben: Right, like on one of the transport protein transferrin.
Thomas: Yeah, exactly. That’s why when you visualize a crane operator, that’s like the perfect thing. So, when I say, “Okay, if you’re deficient, then the crane operator’s just gone.” There’s no one to say, “Hey, iron, come here. Let’s go in and put you where you’re supposed to go.” But, you’ve got this other piece of the puzzle but you pretty much nailed it.
Ben: Okay. Got you. So, basically, what you’re doing when you take magnesium is you’re assisting ceruloplasmin with taking iron and converting it into its active form on transferrin and you’re reducing a lot of the potential for hemochromatosis, while at the same time, making iron more bioavailable so less is you know in layperson’s terms, hanging around in the bloodstream.
Thomas: That’s exactly right.
Ben: Okay, interesting. Is there a way to test for something like ceruloplasmin activity or–I know you can of course test for iron levels but are there any test that you recommend to analyze something like this?
Thomas: You know I will give you a link. You can probably put it in the shownotes. There is a test called a protocol or The Root Cause Protocol. It’s pretty interesting as a guy Dr. Morley Robbins that had created it. I mean it talks about this entire thing basically going down like magnesium being kind of the root cause of everything that and bioavailable like [1:06:33 unin] and things like that which are all different story but very, very important and–
Ben: Yeah, I’m somewhat familiar with Morley. I haven’t heard his name in a long time but I know, in a nutshell, like his whole protocol is based on rebalancing magnesium, copper and iron in the body.
Thomas: Yeah, Morley’s a really good friend of mine.
Ben: Oh, okay.
Thomas: He’s an amazing guy. He became a good friend of mine just because of this clinical study that we did of magnesium and stuff which I talked about in a second but it was just his involvement in magnesium world because magnesium is a big part of his Root Cause Protocol. That along with [1:07:06 unin] and things like that and, of course, just eating lots of things like beef livers and stuff like that to get that true bioavailability and vitamin A by. He put together like a stack of tests to get. So, I want to get you a link because that’s the easiest way because I don’t know the name the test.
Ben: Is he with the magnesium advocacy group? Does he run that?
Thomas: Yeah, he is.
Ben: Okay, perfect. I know what website that is so I’ll link to it in the shownotes, The Root Cause Protocol, because he has–I’ve seen his website before where he basically tells you what you need to eat, what you should stop eating and a lot of what he says kind of goes hand in hand with what you’re saying. I know a lot of it is very, it’s very intuitive like supplements with organ meats, get a full vitamin B complex, use like a cod liver oil or a very good fish oil, start taking magnesium sulfates of supplements in the right form, some of the things that we’ve talked about along with the B-complex. I’ll link to that in the shownotes for people who want to really nail the copper, zinc, magnesium, iron balance. I’ll toss in the shownotes. I’m sure I can find it. It’s the Magnesium Advocacy Group for those who just hovering over your keyboard, just type that into Google. Okay, you just alluded to a study. What is the study that you’re talking about?
Thomas: Well, actually, Morley and I are both on the Scientific Advisory Board for a company by the name of Jigsaw which is a company that’s been trying to put magnesium more in the forefront for the mainstream like, “Okay, let’s make a focus. Let’s move this focus from calcium issues. We all know now we don’t have a calcium deficiency. That’s not the issue. Those ‘Got Milk?’ campaigns and calcium campaigns of whatever. Okay, let’s try to get mainstream awareness of the magnesium now.” So, that’s how I know Morley. We both sit on the Scientific Advisory Board. So, Jigsaw Magnesium is a company that has a very high-quality magnesium and what we want to do is we want to say, “Okay, let’s go ahead and let’s actually do a study and it’s actually really focused on getting this published in a really reputable journal about whether magnesium is really absorbed and whether our magnesium is actually absorbed.” So, we actually went ahead and did it. We call it The Scottsdale Magnesium Study, it’s a placebo-controlled, human clinical trial with 91 participants and we were measuring zero magnesium, we are measuring red blood cell magnesium and also, of course, magnesium deficiency symptoms which is important because sometimes the symptoms don’t always coincide with the lab work. We wanted to see that as well because what we know is a magnesium deficiency symptom and what we think is a magnesium deficiency symptom and what we actually know is sometimes are different. So, long story short, we did the study, ended up getting it published this year in the Journal American College Nutrition, JACN. So, it was a big deal for us because we’re the first magnesium company to actually say, “Okay, we actually are able to prove that this magnesium supplement and by magnesium malate form, is truly absorbed and it truly did not only reduce magnesium deficiency symptoms but also boosted RBC magnesium, the one we want to talk about and, of course, it boosted serum. Of course, there’d be a lot of products that would probably wouldn’t even boost serum, they would just go right through like literally just get urinated out but the fact that we solved a steady increase in serum magnesium but a big increase in RBC magnesium, that red blood cell magnesium and a big decrease in magnesium deficiency symptoms. That was a was a big deal for us.
Ben: So, what are you guys find when you when you did the study?
Thomas: What was really wild is so the Scottsdale study itself as I said it was 91 people so we’re looking at MagSRT which again is a form of that magnesium malate that we have over at Jigsaw so it’s got that magnesium malate along with the vitamin B6, the B12, and the folate. So, overall, it was just kind of a standard clinical population so this kind of a standard application there. So, we had 53 people taking MagSRT containing 500 milligrams of dye magnesium malate as well as the vitamins B6, B12 and folate and the remaining in visuals just taking a placebo. Then, we took measurements of their baseline serum magnesium, their RBC magnesium, and their magnesium status. We give them just a questionnaire so we collected that prior to the actual initiation. Measured their serum magnesium 4 and 8 hours after they ingested two 250 milligram tablets or two placebo tablets. So, basically, this measured 4 and 8 hours after ingesting MagSRT. And then, after 30 days, measured RBC magnesium and they completed the magnesium status questionnaire again. So, ultimately, at the end of the day, 91 of the participants in the completing 30 days. So, there are a couple people that fell out, there’s always be a little bit of a fall out overall. We ended up having a 28% over 30-day improvements and a 63% improvement over 90 days with just the overall questionnaire. So, huge improvement in overall magnesium deficiency symptoms. But, the cool one is that the red blood cell magnesium increased 6% and 30% over 30 and 90 days. So, after 30 days, there’s a 6% increase in RBC magnesium but over the course of 90 days, there was a 30% increase. That’s the one we really want to focus on. We, of course, saw an increase in serum but that’s pretty easy to note but the increase in RBC magnesium showing that after 90 days, a 30% increase in the magnesium that’s actually getting into the red blood cells and getting all of them there.
Ben: Wow. And no explosive diarrhea?
Thomas: No explosive diarrhea.
Ben: That’s impressive. So, basically, you were–doing essentially you just described me using time release by combining vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and folate, you’re using magnesium chelated to malic acid in the form of that was this Jigsaw Health stuff, the MagSRT.
Thomas: Exactly. And then, if you want to get really kind of funky about it, look at the nerdy. The serum magnesium increased by 22% compared to placebo whereas the RBC increased by 30%. So, that’s what’s wild. If you were to just test any type of magnesium and you would find that the serum would go way up, like way, way up and the RBC would probably not go up at all or a very small amount. No one’s taking the effort to actually test their magnesium. We want to be the ones that did that. We’re like, “Okay, magnesium is getting very popular. People want answers. So, let’s go ahead let’s get into it.” Only a 22% increase in serum [1:13:27 unin] only but I was talking relatively to the RBC magnesium. Remember what I mentioned before that if you have a high amount of serum that indicates that you could be deficient in the RBC state because getting pulled from your red blood cells, getting pulled in your bones, so the fact that we had more of an increase in RBC magnesium than we did serum tells us that not only are we are absorbing the magnesium but we’re getting the magnesium to the right place.
Ben: Yeah, wow that’s impressive. So, this MagSRT stuff is this something that you guys did in the trial or can people actually lace this on the market now could you go to Amazon or to like to Jigsaw Health website and buy it.
Thomas: Yeah, it’s totally available in fact, it was available for the clinical trial where we wanted to say, “Hey, we know people say this product is good and we know it’s good, let’s go and let’s get some proof on this.” That’s the cool thing and for those of you that know what clinical studies are like, you can’t just—it cost a lot of money to do them but also, we told everyone along the lines of they’re in the study, that we were doing a study but we had no idea what the results were going to be. It’s a big preamble to build the study and the point is it was our confidence in the product. It was saying like, “Okay, we’re doing this clinical study. What if the results come back not in favor of our product?” We would have been in a really crappy situation but would have at least been honest, right?” So, we were really excited that, “Okay, this product’s been around for a while, had a great reputation, but now, we’re taking it the next level. We’re so confident we’re going to do a clinical trial and if it comes back not being good then we’ll eat our words. But, of course, it could come back obviously in our favor in the magnesium space.” It was nerve-wracking for us because never know what’s going to happen, right? You know approx it’s good but the clinical trial really speaks a lot.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. I like it. That’s impressive. I was a little worried when supplements are not studied well. So, what I’ll do for folks in the shownotes over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/Mag like M-A-G owing to this stuff there’s some MagSRT. If you want to try it, just like a little bottle of the time release stuff that Thomas was just talking about. Also, put some other good links in there all linked to pretty much everything we talked about from like magnesium baths flakes to any links that Thomas sends over to me, to The Root Cause Protocol we mentioned by Morley Robbins and also there’s a really good book, too, I don’t know if you’ve read this book about “The Magnesium Miracle” like an oldie but a goodie on magnesium by Dr Carolyn Dean. Have you read that one Thomas?
Thomas: No, I haven’t but I really–
Ben: Fantastic book. “The Magnesium Miracle,” I’ll link to that one, too. I interviewed her 10 years ago. That was when I first kind of became interested in magnesium myself was after reading her book. So, that’s a really good one and we have a code you can use. You get $10 off a bottle of this MagSRT. The code is GREENFIELD10. I’ll also put that in the shownotes over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/SRT. And it would be, just correct me if I’m wrong on timing Thomas but something as simple as like popping this before you go to bed at night.
Thomas: I like to split my dose.
Thomas: I like taking it at night. I talk to a lot of people that love taking it in the morning because they get that nice calm, relaxed feeling from it. So, they take all their recommended 500-milligram dose in the morning. Now, I would say, this is somewhat off record but I know that what’s been found is that like they roughly say like 5 milligrams per pound of bodyweight is kind of where you want to dose your magnesium. So, however you want to split that up. The nice thing about the SRT is that it is sustained release so I split my dose in the morning and the evening time.
Thomas: Again, off the record, obviously this is me, this is only what I do. I mega dose magnesium because I know that I can–if I’m absorbing it, I like to mega dose it because I honestly really like it. Plus, again, it does play a part when you are heavily muscled person, if you have a higher amount of lean body mass then you’re going to need more…
Thomas: …because you have tense muscle in general but I love splitting it up. On my shooting days, where I feel like I needed to be more calm, I allocate 75 percent in the morning, 25 percent at night.
Ben: Yeah. Your shooting days?
Thomas: On my filming days.
Ben: Oh, your filming days.
Ben: Got you. I was like, “Do you have a new hobby I didn’t know about from our last episode?” Another sniper rifle in your magnesium bottle. Okay, cool. I link to it, MagSRT, check at the shownotes at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/Mag. Listen to my other episodes of Thomas too, because as you can hear, he and I really geek out on stuff we left so on information and controlling that and curcumin and we also an episode on alcohol which is also a really good one so I’ll link to both of those, they’re worth your while if you haven’t taken to listen yet. And, Thomas, it’s always fun talking to you and we can geek out on science, man.
Thomas: Totally, man. I got to get you out there next time you’re out in California and do some videos together, too.
Ben: Yeah, that would be cool. Which part of California are you in again?
Thomas: I’m in Thousand Oaks. [01:18:18 unin]
Ben: Yeah, yeah, cool. Awesome. Sounds good. Alright, folks. Well, go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/MAG to check out all of the shownotes to grab your MagSRT, I’ll throw a big fat discount code in there. In the meantime, I’m Ben Greenfield along with Thomas DeLauer, signing out from BenGreenfieldFitness.com have an amazing, magnesium-rich week.
Magnesium deficiency is running rampant.
Many experts estimate that 80% of Americans are magnesium deficient. A major contributing factor is the presence of excess calcium in the body mainly coming from the extreme ratio difference in common foods such as: fortified orange juice (27:1), cheese (26:1), yogurt (11:1), dairy (7:1) and the very commonly used antacids (300:1). Other common contributing factors include:
When should you take magnesium? How do you test your magnesium levels or know if you have a deficiency?
It’s critical to get high enough doses of magnesium to compensate for the fact that our typical diet runs low on this vital mineral. But the fact is, although magnesium is an incredibly important mineral, there are many unanswered questions and confusion around magnesium, so I thought it was high time to have my friend and nutrition researcher Thomas DeLauer back on the show.
I first interviewed Thomas DeLauer in the episode The Ultimate Guide To Quelling Inflammation: Why Your Curcumin May Not Work, Surprising Effects Of Ginger Oil, Vegan Fish Oil Options & Much More!
I then interviewed him again in the episode Does Alcohol Really Make You Fat, Which Alcohol Is Healthiest, Hidden Ingredients In Alcohol & Much More: The Ultimate Alcohol Damage Mitigation Guide.
Thomas is one of the leading experts in the world of chronic inflammation as well as the response of the human body to a low-carb diet. He is noted for his personal transformation from a 280-pound overweight corporate executive to not only being on the cover of health and fitness magazines worldwide but pioneering some of the mainstream awareness of auto-immune diseases and inflammation in general! Thomas has been highlighted in over 20 magazines showcasing his transformation and has been featured worldwide on the cover of Ironman Magazine, Muscle and Performance Magazine, Natural Muscle Magazine, ICON Magazine, Platform Magazine and Ironman Japan. His background is in Sports Psychology, although it is this passion for psychology coupled with a career in healthcare as a physician recruiter and owner of an ancillary lab services company that sparked his love for nutritional science and what makes the body tick.
He is currently working on a project in the 2nd phase of trials with Doctors at UCLA to identify a strain of bacteria that may help modulate inflammation within the body. Residing near Santa Barbara, California, with his wife, three dogs, two horses and 11-month-old son, Thomas promotes a lifestyle of living as close to the earth as possible to obtain the best possible results while still achieving maximum performance in every possible area of life.
What form of magnesium is best, and are different forms better for different needs, like sleep vs. brain vs. digestion?
In this episode, Thomas and I also discuss MagSRT®, a product Thomas is helping to develop, is the only time-release, high-potency magnesium supplement with peer-reviewed clinical trials to back up its efficacy. MagSRT® was evaluated in the Scottsdale Magnesium Study (SMS), a placebo-controlled, human clinical trial of 91 participants. The study measured Serum Magnesium, Red Blood Cell (RBC) Magnesium, and Magnesium Deficiency symptoms. The results are published in the peer-reviewed Journal of American College of Nutrition (JACN). It is a Sustained Release Technology (SRT) magnesium in a super-absorbable, premium organic form called dimagnesium malate, along with an active form of Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid) and Vitamin B6 (P5P)
During our discussion, you’ll discover:
-Is there a way to supplement your magnesium levels without unpleasant side effects such as loose stool and “constarrhea”?…11:20
- Magnesium is “hydrophilic” meaning it attracts water.
- It creates “passive diffusion” where it attracts water into the intestine.
- There’s nothing to regulate how fast the water enters the small or large intestine.
- The type of magnesium (ex. Epsom salt vs. magnesium citrate) one takes makes a big difference in how fast it will attract water.
-A few of the more popular forms of magnesium, and which one is optimal for the varying functions we might like to use it…13:40
- Magnesium citrate:
- high bioavailability;
- creates a laxative effect.
- Magnesium chloride:
- Typically contains only 10-15% magnesium.
- It’s used to chelate other minerals such as iron and other heavy metals.
- These two factors are why magnesium chloride is recommended for detoxes.
- Topical magnesium(Epsom salt, etc.):
- Gets absorbed into the serum, but not red blood cells.
- Doesn’t have the same laxative qualities.
- Only 1% of magnesium is ever measured, and that’s in the serum and blood levels.
- Elevated magnesium levels in the serum mean it’s likely pulling it from blood and plasma, thus decreasing levels there.
- A high reading in magnesium can actually mean you’re low in magnesium if you’re only measuring it in the serum.
- RBC (red blood cell) magnesium:
- This is the gold standard for when you want your magnesium tested.
- Magnesium Glycinate:
- Is often recommended by doctors.
- Transferred through the intestinal wall.
- Very expensive option.
- Calming on NMDA receptor. (Glutamate is excitatory)
- Magnesium Malate:
- Absorbs very slowly; sustained release.
- More powerful on the energy cycle.
- You’ll see more of a difference in how you actually feel.
- Thomas uses it to remain even-keeled.
- How combining magnesium with malic acid contributes to ATP production.
- Has to do with how it accompanies potassium.
- When you have malate, magnesium can do its job better.
- It aids the magnesium as well as potassium in producing ATP.
-More forms of magnesium…26:53
- Magnesium oxide:
- Non-chelated; you’ll take it throughout the day.
- Used more for acid reflux treatment.
- Very low bio-availability and very specific uses.
- Magnesium Oratate:
- Same category as magnesium taurate.
- Helps with delivery to the cell membrane.
- Good for the DNA and RNA cycle.
- Used in calming situations such as meditation.
- Cardiac benefits.
- Magnesium sulfate:
- Easy to overdose.
- Epsom salt baths:
- Hard to determine if it’s absorbed via the skin or through the breath.
-How much magnesium actually gets absorbed with the lotions and sprays available on the market…38:40
- The form of magnesium changes when it enters your body.
- Flawed marketing; not enough research to determine its efficacy one way or the other.
- Magnesium carbonate…
- Used as an alternative to a calcium form of chalk you find at the gym.
- Powerful effect on the blood-brain barrier.
- Has been used in the treatment of PTSD.
-The supplement Ben uses to induce weird and amazing dreams…45:30
-Is there a way to elongate the time in which magnesium is absorbed in order to reduce the laxative and other unpleasant effects?…47:36
- Take into account what other minerals it’s working with.
- Couple it with the right vitamins and minerals.
- P5P = Vitamin B6.
- Magnesium has over 300 enzymatic reactions.
- B6 helps with ~30 of those reactions, including the manufacturing of serotonin and dopamine in the brain.
- Is involved in the absorption of magnesium.
- Hard to convert folic acid into folate.
- Vitamin B9, along with magnesium is a co-factor with Vitamin B6; allows you to better absorb the magnesium.
- Vitamins B6, B9 and B12 are the trifecta for working with magnesium.
-The relationship between magnesium and ceruloplasmin and iron.59:30
- Iron oxidizes, whether in your body or out. Too much of it will occupy oxygens that could be doing other good things.
- We have an abundance of iron, but it’s “bound iron.”
- We need the unbound iron; it allows other minerals to do their job.
- We need other minerals to counteract the overabundance of bound iron.
- Magnesium allows iron to enter into the unbound state and help red blood cell function.
- Ceruloplasmin helps with the utilization of iron; taking the iron in your body and turning it into a true storage form.
-What tests Thomas recommends to analyze these things…1:06:00
-The study Thomas published on the effects of magnesium…1:08:10
- The Scottsdale Magnesium Study
- Sponsored by Jigsaw Health.
- 28% and 63% improvement over 30 and 60 days.
- Red blood cell magnesium increased 6% and 30% over 30 and 90 days.
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