Muscle Relaxants Your Doctor Never Told You About: “Magnificent” Magnesium

If you are tight, tense, sore or in pain, you want to do everything you can to feel better right away. Your medical physician will rarely tell you about effective, drug-free muscle relaxers. So please help yourself to my 2 favorite recommendations for natural relief–good results, inexpensive AND quick-acting.

Magnesium is nature’s muscle relaxer. While many patients may have some sort of calcium/magnesium supplement they are using, I usually recommend setting it aside and trying Natural Calm. Calcium/magnesium tablets or capsules are not fast-acting, if they even work at all. On the other hand, Natural Calm is a magnesium powder you mix with boiling water. It makes a pleasant drink and is very effective at naturally relaxing muscles and nerves.

National health authorities say most Americans are deficient in magnesium. Good sources of magnesium come from spinach, legumes and nuts. Deficiency of magnesium is magnified by calcium overdosing from fortified foods and supplements.

Calcium and magnesium are opposites. Calcium causes nerves and muscles to fire and magnesium lets nerves and muscles relax. Basically calcium turns things “on” while magnesium is needed to turn the switch “off”. Without enough magnesium, the switch stays “on” due to plenty of calcium to stimulate it.

The Anti-Stress DrinkDue to too much calcium from fortified foods and supplements, nerve and muscle cells are staying “on” instead of turning off.

According to Natural Vitality’s website, “The recommended adequate intake of calcium according to the National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements, is 1,000 mg for adults aged 19–50 and 1,200 mg for 51 plus. There are many adults who are taking 1,200–1,500 mg of supplemental calcium in addition to their dietary intake of calcium (an 8 oz cup of low-fat fruit yogurt contains 345 mg of calcium and one cup of nonfat milk contains 306 mg). Unassimilated calcium can end up in the soft tissues of the body where it deposits and hardens (calcifies) or in the urine where it may result in kidney stones.”

When there is too much calcium compared to magnesium then even more magnesium is depleted. Calcium keeps the muscle or nerve cells firing or contracting. Without sufficient magnesium in the system, calcium deposits in soft tissue areas that aren’t desirable. Proper magnesium balance keeps the calcium where it should be including the bones. It is also a natural laxative and will steadily lead to softer bowel movements.

Natural Calm uses a proprietary blend resulting in ionic magnesium citrate that dissolves easily in hot water. It is a pleasant drink and soon after drinking it, the soluble magnesium exchanges places with calcium throughout nerves and muscles, allowing NATURAL relaxation.

If you are tense, tight, stressed, knotted, can’t relax or get comfortable to go to sleep, then I cannot recommend Natural Calm highly enough.

We always have several flavors on hand in our office. My personal favorite flavor is raspberry-lemon while my second favorite is lemon. It also comes in “original”. Original is tasteless and if you have a favorite tea bag, then you can make your own tea with it. While my business partner, Chrissy’s, favorite flavor is cherry, I stay away from that one as it tastes too much like cough medicine to me. Reba from our office enjoys the orange flavor. We have single-dose samples of all flavors as well as the full-sized canisters.

Many patient’s spouses have enjoyed the benefits of Calm and have begun using it to de-stress and loosen up from a hard day.

Stores that commonly carry Natural Calm are Sprouts and Whole Foods.

If you don’t like hot drinks, still make Calm with hot, boiling water, but then refrigerate it or add ice. Consider adding it to one of your water bottles for workouts. It is a great recovery drink that will naturally allow relaxation of muscles after working out. After the magnesium is dissolved, it will still be soluble even if the drink is cold.

Another magnesium treatment that I highly recommend is Epsom salts. Epsom salts are crystals of magnesium sulfate. When you have tight, sore or painful muscles, a warm bath with a couple of cups of Epsom salts can give you fast relief.

Epsom salts are available near the pharmacy aisles in bags or cartons and are very inexpensive, anywhere from $3-5 for a 5 pound bag. If you have had a hard workout, or you are sore from yardwork or are tense from a stressful day at work, a warm bath with Epsom salts will relax you and take the edge off for bed. The magnesium salts absorb through the skin to provide the balancing act for calcium inside of contracted muscles. We will be carrying Epsom salts in the office for your convenience beginning December.

The directions on Epsom salts say it can be mixed and made into a drink but I haven’t tried it since I have always used Calm. It is a different magnesium salt than Natural Calm, and it is safe. If you want to be economical then you can double-dip and use it for your bath and your drink.

Either way, you will be well on your way to soothing tight, achey, sore muscles with Natural Calm and/or Epsom salts thanks to “magnificent” relaxation from magnesium.

Fish-Food for Thought: ADD Symptoms Relieved within Weeks

Symptoms of ADHD can be virtually eliminated within weeks by supplementing with proper quality and quantity of Omega-3 Fish Oils (high EPA content), eliminating refined sugar and processed foods. (1)

Another study includes supplementing with gamma linoleic acid (i.e. borage oil—included in Nutriwest’s Omega 3 formula), magnesium and zinc as necessary to normalize behavior. Omega 3 oils are nutrients that the body CAN’T make on its own. These oils provide building blocks for the brain to make cell membranes. This allows chemicals to get in and out of the cell. Processed foods and lack of omega 3’s in the diet cause the cells to be made with rigid fats that don’t allow vital chemicals in or out. This can lead to mood disorders, depression, bipolar as well as post-partum blues.

It is well-established that psychiatry’s diagnostic manual, the DSSM, contains diseases that are merely voted into existence at annual conventions. Receiving a diagnosis of ADD may be nothing more than a pretense to legally sell amphetamines.

If you are considering psychotropic drugs for yourself or your child, you should know that there are no established tests to identify a chemical imbalance that is claimed to exist with ADD, depression or other mental disorders. Thus, once psychotropic drug treatment begins, there is no outcome for measuring if brain chemicals have “normalized.” For extensive videos, references, and books, visit www.cchr.org if you are unsure about the harm that could be caused by psychotropic drugs.

A dietary and supplement approach have no side effects and mere relief is all that is needed to see if the treatment worked!

1 European Neuropsychopharmacology February 2007
2 Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes and EFA’s Oct/Nov 2006
Www.newstarget.com 8/15/2007

Fish Oil helps Rheumatism Naturally

Researchers say that at least 2.7g of the EPA component found in fish oils is needed to provide an anti-inflammatory effect for rheumatoid arthritis. Less than 2.7g isn’t effective. And the effect takes 2-3 months to take effect. The authors of this study admonish against across-the-board use of non steroidal anti-inflammatory drug therapy (NSAIDS) because of increased cardiovascular risks associated with their use.

To get the dose recommended by these authors, that would be a total of 4g as formulated by Nutriwest, which is about 8 capsules per day. The authors also advise AGAINST cod liver oil, but rather oil from the flesh of the fish. Cod liver tends to concentrate too much vitamin A and D at these doses. Taking a liquid is recommended at these doses (Nutriwest carries the same formula in a bottle.)

Have two shot glasses of juice. Pour the fish oil in the top of one of them and don’t stir. Drink the fishy one first and sip the 2nd juice shot slowly to get the juice off the lips. Take with solid food meal.

Arthritis Research & Therapy Vol. 8 Issue 1 2006 pp. 402

Improve Depression with Fish Oils

High doses of Omega 3 fatty acids (9.6 grams/day—@5 times the dose I recommend for pain relief) have been shown in two studies to significantly reduce symptoms of bipolar depression. Both studies used a ratio of 2:1 of EPA to DHA. (Over-the-counter brands usually have a 3:2 ratio which doesn’t have sufficient quantity of EPA to get the same effect.) This has major implications for patients who have been forced to take psychiatric drugs to stay functional. Both studies were double blind, placebo-controlled trials, considered the gold standard in research. (1,2) This high dose was well tolerated with the only side effect being loose stools in some patients.

The authors of Study #2 commented that patients with depression have significantly low amounts of EPA and DHA in their diet as measured throughout their cells. This alters the cell membrane structure at the lowest level, preventing the proper conduction of particles in and out of the cell. This keeps DNA from being controlled properly (then the right hormones don’t get turned on/off). By incorporating large amounts of EPA and DHA via supplement, slowly, the cells throughout the body rebuild using the right quality of fat instead of the junky fats usually consumed in the typical American diet. Limit alcohol and smoking which wreck omega-3 bonds in the cell membranes via oxidation. So the more you drink and smoke, the more Omega-3’s you need to equalize the effect on your body at the cell level!

1 Stoll, Severus et al Archives of General
Psychiatry 56(5):407-12 (1999-05-01)
2 Su, Huang, Chiu, Shen European Neuropsychopharmacology
13 (2003) 267-271

The Skinny on Fats

Do you know the “skinny” on fats? There are two different omega 3-fatty acids that come from cold-water fish: one is called EPA, the other DHA. Another essential fatty acid comes from either flax, hemp or walnut oil. EPA, DHA and flax in certain ratios are natural anti-inflammatories that are VERY well-documented in the literature.

Omega 6’s are saturated fats from processed vegetable oils, red meat, and transfats. While omega 6’s are essential (you must get them from the diet, the body cannot make them), the typical American diet is laden with linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid that never needs to be supplemented. Omega 6’s are more rigid than omega 3’s. For instance, butter (an omega 6) is solid at room temperature and thus more solid inside your body . Fish oil, however, is liquid at room temperature. And EPA & DHA—the crucial oils from cold water fish—-are still liquid at freezing temperatures (it’s a natural anti-freeze for coldwater fish)!

So EPA and DHA are more fluid and flexible than fried fats or butter. This fact is important when looking at individual cells in your body. Every cell covering is made out of a special complex fat (called a phospholipid). The cell covering is supposed to be a fluid, flexible membrane. Molecules that are SUPPOSED to get into cells CAN when the cell membrane is fluid and flexible enough. But when the cell membrane is stiff from the traditional Western diet fats (fried foods, snack foods, red meat, dairy), molecules CAN’T get in easily.

For instance, serotonin, a mood hormone, can’t get in (easily), thus the use of anti-depressants to bombard the brain with serotonin. The brain is 60% phospholipids and when there is a lack of omega-3’s, the brain doesn’t work right: coordination, normal ability to think, and nerve development can be altered or inhibited.

Through piles of research, a very exact combination and dosage of omega 3’s and their cofactors have been developed for maintaining good health. You need a supplement that contains at least a 2:1 ratio of EPA: DHA. Many formulas of fish oils that I found at Whole Foods only had 3:2. A GLA (gamma linolenic acid) is also needed as a carrier molecule (this is a special Omega 6 that needs to be supplemented). GLA comes from evening primrose oil, borage oil or black currant seed oil. Natural Vitamin E in (d-alpha tocopherols) is necessary. And then an excellent source of antioxidants is needed to combat the oxidative stress. The fish oil must be distilled for purity because all fish are contaminated with heavy metals.

An excellent fish oil formula is available in my office–one bottle of Nutriwest comes with 90 500 mg oil capsules. (The co-factors are separate.) Prices at Whole Foods don’t compare to this product; they didn’t contain the GLA, meaning you’d have to buy that separately; the dosages were SMALL, meaning you would need LOTS of pills per serving. Besides, the ratios in most brands weren’t correct.

An overload of omega 6’s promote inflammation, leading to pain, infection, cancer, hardened arteries, degenerating cartilage, rheumatoid arthritis, abnormal behavior, learning problems, mood disorders, even bed-wetting!

Omega 3’s are the opposite—they relieve inflammation. The most immediate, practical aspect of using omega 3’s for patients is halting the inflammation cycle. Using Nutriwest along with your chiropractic protocol will provide you with building blocks for repairing cartilage, ligaments, tendons, bones and muscles.

In the journal Surgical Neurology, 250 nonsurgical candidates for neck and back pain were asked to take EPA and DHA. After 75 days of use, 59% discontinued using non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDS—over-the-counter or prescription strength ibuprofen or aspirin). 88% of them were pleased enough with taking the fish oil that they continued to do so. No significant adverse effects were noted. The authors noted that high doses of fish oil are extensively documented to reducing joint pain from old-age arthritis as well as rheumatoid, improve dry eyes and macular degeneration, and reduce chance for heart attacks. Reduce your need for pain relievers, know the skinny on fats!

Injury Prevention from a Vitamin?

Even if you’re not a health nut that takes a handful of vitamins everyday, chances are you’ve heard of “antioxidants.” These are chemicals that you need to consume (like Vitamin A, B, C & E) because your body can’t make them. After normal chemical reactions take place inside your body, there can be unstable products left over known as free radicals. Free radicals can do lots of damage to the cells, particularly DNA. So antioxidants neutralize free radicals as well as provide the substances for vital reactions throughout the cells.

But did you know there’s an important antioxidant that your body CAN make? It is called glutathione. And glutathione is perfectly adapted for cleaning up toxic elements in your body like mercury, lead and arsenic.

Mercury is considered the most toxic, non-radioactive element in existence (Neuroendocrinology Letters Vol. 26 NO. 5 Oct. 2005 p. 439-446) There is 25 ug of ethyl mercury in each (adult) flu shot (www.fda.gov); all American diphtheria & tetanus shots contain ethyl mercury (www.fda.gov). Arsenic is added to feed for chickens to fatten them up (USA Today 2005). There is considerable mercury released into the air via burning of coal and waste—300% more than before the Industrial Revolution 200 years ago. It ends up in the ocean which has caused virtually all fish stocks around the world to be contaminated with varying degrees of mercury (Madison Declaration on Mercury Pollution 2007). So you’ve got insidious accumulations of heavy metals in your body.

Glutathione is the body’s #1 detoxifier and targets these pollutants for elimination. However, there is a “rate-limiting” factor for making enough of it. That means, there is one step that doesn’t happen because there isn’t enough quantity of an ingredient to make it happen. “N-acetyl cysteine” (NAC) is that ingredient. When NAC is combined with homocysteine, vitamins B6, B12 and folic acid, then you can boost your production of glutathione. One of my baseline recommendations is for patients to include boosting this antioxidant as a baseline for basic nutrition.

Nutriwest makes two products designed to boostglutathione. One is a tablet (Complete Glutathione, containing NAC) and the other is Complete Whey G, which is a protein powder with the necessary ingredients. You can’t just swallow glutathione, which is why you need the pre-cursors (those ingredients needed to make it.) Usage of Tylenol depletes glutathione. Overdosing on Tylenol for even a few days depletes so much glutathione, that it can lead to liver failure, which can be a grisly death.

Dr. Isadore Rosenfeld, MD has reported that NAC is the antidote for Tylenol poisoning—the ingredient for making glutathione! Since exposure to heavy metals and toxins is so prevalent, it’s a very good line of defense for disease to include a supplement like this. It also helps clean up your body if you’ve consumed aspartame or MSG. Together, MSG and apartame are called excitotoxins — they stimulate glutamate receptors.

MSG (monosodium glutamate) is a flavor enhancer that makes the flavor “pop”. Dr. Blaylock says that excitotoxicity from MSG make animals grossly obese—MSG causes you to prefer carbs and sugar over protein-rich foods. (Health and Nutrition Secrets that Can Save Your Life by Blaylock, MD).

Nutrasweet is the brand name for the artificial sweetener,aspartame.

Excitotoxins can cause acute (sudden) stroke, hypoglycemia, trauma epilepsy or chronically can cause neurodegenerative diseases like Huntington’s Disease, AIDS, dementia, ALS (Lou Gherig’s disease) and Alzheimers [New England Journal of Medicine 1994 330 (9): 613-622)] The authors of this study said excitotoxins literally cause neuronal death. Toxicity can occur within minutes of exposure, thus the acute onset problems just listed.

These authors also note that the SIMPLEST cause of excess glutamate is injury! This definitely has implications for chiropractic patients. In fact, in a study of brain-traumatized rats (yes, it sounds very cruel), NAC was administered after trauma and it significantly reduced neuronal decay, improving survival of the nerves. It only took a single dose within 15 minutes of the trauma for this improvement. The group that DIDN’T get NAC had extensive neuron degeneration. (Neurochemistry May 9, 2006) This supports my current recommendation for new patients to include Complete Glutathione as part of their protocol. I take it daily in one form or the other—tablet or powder—since I
might not have a bottle handy within 15 minutes of a new trauma or after unknowingly consuming MSG products.

I think it would be pretty handy as a preventative for future traumas because there would be
a steady supply of NAC in the system to prevent neuronal degeneration.

As for the chemical-induced
trauma from excitotoxins, you should know what ingredients are MSG-in-disguise. The following
ingredients that you find on food labels always contain MSG: hydrolyzed protein, plant protein extract, calcium caesinate, textured protein, hydrolyzed oat flour, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, hydrolyzed plant protein, sodium caseinate, yeast extract and autolyzed yeast.

Other ingredients that FREQUENTLY contain MSG include: malt extract, bouillon stock, natural flavoring, seasoning, broth, beef or chicken flavoring, spices.

The following MAY contain MSG: carrageenan, soy protein, whey protein, enzymes. (The Taste that Kills by Dr. Russell Blaylock, MD)

Dr. Blaylock says he’s gotten lots of people off of their seizure medications just by getting them off of MSG and giving them magnesium; he says that most neurologists don’t know about this. His tips for blocking absorption of excitotoxins include the use of the following supplements: leucine, isoleucine, lysine, curcurmin, gingko, most flavonoids, magnesium, vitamin E as succinate (very powerful), antioxidants and B vitamin combos.

Complete Glutathione by Nutriwest contains Vitamins B1, B2 , B6, B12, Vitamin E as succinate, magnesium and zinc as chelate, alpha lipoic acid, folic acid & Vitamin C. I personally experienced brain fog first-hand after (accidentally) consuming a 20 oz. coffee product with Nutrasweet (aspartame). I was away from home for several hours and even had trouble driving home—it was an outright effort to concentrate. Within an hour of taking Complete Glutathione, I normalized!

The bottom line is that boosting glutathione will prevent brain/nerve damage if you have trauma; it will block the absorption of MSG and aspartame–excitotoxins that are known to cause neuronal death; and it targets environmental, medical and nutritional toxins from the body for elimination including mercury exposure from air, water, fish and vaccines; arsenic in chicken; and cadmium that is used in the hydrogenation of processed foods/oils.

Call our office to get Complete Glutathione and start protecting yourself from these chemical and physical assaults on the nerves!

Desk Distress Disorder Identified

A pain complex that results from prolonged hours of sitting at a desk, working on a computer and talking on the phone.

After working with white collar office workers for well over a decade, a condition has manifested itself that is shown over and over to be a verifiable problem. In our office, we call it “Desk Distress Disorder”. It is the gradual tightening of the shoulders that creeps into the necks eventually leading to neck and/or shoulder pain, can spread into headaches, cause numbness and tingling in the hands/fingers/arms with soreness in the wrists or elbows and causes back soreness when trying to sit up straight.

A hallmark of this condition is that repeated stretching doesn’t relieve it. Exercise may give temporary relief, but after resuming desk work, the symptoms return. The symptoms USUALLY appear gradually over time and begin to last longer, come more frequently until the symptoms become constant.

While many professionals may attribute this problem to a worker’s comp injury, we have found that the symptoms are due to a pre-existing misalignment from previous trauma, predisposing the patient to pain from chronic bad sitting posture.

At Atlas, we specialize in improving the mechanics of the skeleton, taking tension off of the muscles and nerves. We improve the symptoms associated with Desk Distress Disorder continually by peeling off layers of bad mechanics and supporting the new alignment between visits with better sitting, sleeping and standing posture.

Find out if you have Desk Distress Disorder and how to get pain relief on your own at home or when you should know that it is time to seek professional help at my new website, Desk Distress Disorder