Magnesium-Deficient Obesity – Dr. Carolyn Dean MD ND

Magnesium-Deficient Obesity

October 20, 2019

I wrote “Magnesium The Weight Loss Cure” in May, 2012 and it’s time for an update. In 2012 the statistics on the number of people being overweight and obese were not as dire as they are today. According to the CDC, in 2015-2016 the prevalence of obesity was 39.8% and affected about 93.3 million US adults. Several years later, it’s probably even worse. The annual medical cost of obesity in the U.S. may be as high as $210 billion. Obesity-related, and therefore preventable conditions include heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.

Since 2017 I’ve studied the Keto diet for weight loss and implemented it myself. I find this diet to be a commonsense solution to a very difficult problem. I’ll write more about it at the end of this blog.

I talk about weight and its association with magnesium in my book, The Magnesium Miracle. Here are the top three facts about magnesium and weight gain.

1. Magnesium helps the body digest, absorb, and utilize proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.

2. Magnesium is necessary for insulin to open cell membranes for glucose.

3. Magnesium helps prevent obesity genes from expressing themselves.

Weight Loss Nutrients

Magnesium and the B-complex vitamins are energy nutrients: they activate enzymes that control digestion, absorption, and the utilization of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Lack of these necessary energy nutrients causes improper utilization of food, leading to such far-ranging symptoms as hypoglycemia, anxiety, and obesity.

It is little known that food craving and overeating can be simply a desire to continue eating past fullness because your body is, in fact, craving nutrients that are missing from processed food. You continue to eat empty calories that pack on the pounds but you get no further ahead in your nutrient requirements.

Magnesium is also necessary in the chemical reaction that allows insulin to usher glucose into cells, where glucose is involved in making energy for the body. This energy-maker is the Krebs cycle that occurs in the mitochondria. Six of the eight steps of the Krebs cycle require magnesium as a chemical cofactor. Without magnesium, there is no energy produced. And if there is not enough magnesium both insulin and glucose become elevated. The excess glucose gets stored as fat and contributes to obesity; having excess insulin puts you on the road toward diabetes and also causes weight gain.

The connection between stress and obesity cannot be overlooked. The stress chemical cortisol signals a metabolic shutdown that makes losing weight almost impossible. It’s as if the body feels it is under an attack such that it must hoard all its resources, including fat stores, and won’t let go of them under any inducement. Magnesium can effectively neutralize the effects of stress.

Obesity, More Than Bad Genes

The public has been told that obesity is inherited, which makes people think they don’t have a hand in creating this problem and can continue their bad habits and blame their genes and just rely on drugs to treat their symptoms. Animal experiments show, however, that if a mouse with an obesity gene is deprived of B vitamins, the obesity will be expressed. But if it is fed plenty of B vitamins, it will remain thin. The process of metabolizing B vitamins is called methylation (which is why ReAline contains methylated Bs). Also, magnesium is necessary for one of the most important steps in this process.

Every metabolic function in the body requires vitamins and minerals—without them, symptoms develop. Therefore, the first steps in treating nonspecific symptoms include diet and dietary supplements, not drugs. It is also important to note that many of the weight loss diets that people subject themselves to are often deficient in magnesium. 

Abdominal Obesity

Gaining weight around your middle is related to magnesium deficiency and an inability to properly utilize insulin. It also sets the stage for Syndrome X. You only need a tape measure to diagnose a predisposition to Syndrome X – a waist size above 40 inches in men and above 35 in women puts you at risk. In their book The Magnesium Factor, authors Mildred Seelig, M.D., and Andrea Rosanoff, Ph.D., take note of research showing that over half the insulin in the bloodstream is directed at abdominal tissue. They theorize that as more and more insulin is produced to deal with a high-sugar diet, abdominal girth increases to process the extra insulin.

Syndrome X

The term “syndrome X” describes a set of conditions that many believe is just another fancy name for the consequences of long-standing nutritional deficiency, especially magnesium deficiency. The long list includes high cholesterol and hypertension, and obesity. It also encompasses elevated triglycerides and elevated uric acid. High triglycerides are usually found when cholesterol is also elevated but most often when someone has a high-sugar diet, such as from drinking sodas daily and eating cakes and pastries.

High uric acid is due to incomplete breakdown of protein from lack of B vitamins and digestive enzymes. 

Syndrome X collectively appears to be caused by disturbed insulin metabolism (initiated by magnesium deficiency), called insulin resistance, and eventually can lead to diabetes, angina, and heart attack. We also know that lack of magnesium sets the stage for a deficiency of pancreatic enzymes.

As previously noted, magnesium is required in the metabolic pathways that allow insulin to usher glucose into cells, where glucose participates in making energy for the body. If magnesium is deficient, the doorway into the cells does not open to glucose, resulting in the following cascade of events:


1. Glucose levels become elevated.

2. Glucose is stored as fat and leads to obesity.

3. Elevated glucose leads to diabetes.

4. Obesity puts a strain on the heart.

5.Excess glucose becomes attached to certain proteins (glycated), leading to kidney damage, neuropathy, blindness, and other diabetic complications.

6. Insulin-resistant cells don’t allow magnesium into the cells.

7. Further magnesium deficiency leads to hypertension.

8. Magnesium deficiency leads to cholesterol buildup, and both these conditions are implicated in heart disease.

Syndrome X, according to Dr. Gerald Reaven, who coined the term, may be responsible for a large percentage of the heart and artery disease that occurs today. Unquestionably, magnesium deficiency is a major factor in the origins of each of its signs and symptoms, from elevated triglycerides and obesity to disturbed insulin metabolism.(1,2)

Insulin Resistance

Insulin’s job is to open up sites on cell membranes to allow the influx of glucose, a cell’s source of fuel. Cells that no longer respond to the advances of insulin and refuse the entry of glucose are called insulin-resistant. As a result, blood glucose levels rise and the body produces more and more insulin, to no avail. Glucose and insulin rampage throughout the body, causing tissue damage that results in overuse and wasting of magnesium, an increased risk of heart disease, obesity, and adult onset diabetes.

One of the major reasons the cells don’t respond to insulin is lack of magnesium.(3) Some studies show that chronic insulin resistance in patients with type 2 diabetes is associated with a reduction of magnesium; magnesium is necessary to allow glucose to enter cells.(4) Additional studies confirm that when insulin is released from the pancreas, magnesium in the cell normally responds and opens the cell to allow entry of glucose, but in the case of magnesium deficiency combined with insulin resistance the normal mechanisms just don’t work.(5) However, the higher the levels of magnesium in the body, the greater the sensitivity of the cells to insulin and the possibility of reversing the problem.(6)

You can get started on your weight loss cure today. Start taking ReMag, soak in Epsom salts baths and/or rub ReMag Lotion on your body and watch the weight drop off. While you’re doing that don’t be surprised if you lose lots of other symptoms like : hypertension (cardiovascular disease, kidney and liver damage), peroxynitrite damage (migraine, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, Alzheimer’s disease, etc.), recurrent bacterial infection due to low levels of nitric oxide (NO) in the cavities (sinuses, vagina, middle ear, lungs, throat, etc.), fungal infections due to a depressed immune system, thiamine deactivation (low gastric acid, behavioral disorders, etc.), premenstrual syndrome, calcium imbalance (osteoporosis, hypertension, mood swings, etc.), tooth cavities, hearing loss, diabetes type II, cramps, muscle weakness, impotence (lack of NO), aggression (lack of NO), fibromas, potassium deficiency (arrhythmia, hypertension, some forms of cancer), iron accumulation, etc.(7)

Of course, you’ll have to go on a weight loss diet as well and look into the other vitamins and minerals that I’ll outline below. However, ReMag will get you started on the road to health and give you enough energy to change your diet and begin an exercise program. After all, magnesium is responsible for 80% of known metabolic functions in the body – so if you want your body to work efficiently, you will want to become saturated with magnesium. Before I cover the Keto diet, let me remind you of the importance of proper thyroid function to keep your weight under control.

Thyroid and Weight Gain

It’s well known that hypothyroidism slows down metabolism and leads to weight gain. I still hear the patronizing phrase I learned in medical school to identify thyroid patients as being “fair, fat, and forty. Here’s what I wrote in a June, 2014 blog, “Each Pregnancy Weakens The Thyroid”.

When I was in private practice, thyroid deficiency was something I routinely tested for in my pregnant patients. But the only accepted treatment was with synthetic thyroid hormone. Being a naturopath as well as a medical doctor, I prescribed Armour Thyroid instead of synthetic thyroid.

Doctors who prescribe synthetic thyroid wait until the thyroid is on its last legs before treating because they know hormone replacement could shut down any normal production of thyroid hormone. However, with Armour thyroid we could prescribe it in very low doses to support the thyroid, not replace it.

Since then I’ve realized that the thyroid is activated and produces hormones under the direction of a group of minerals. One of those minerals is iodine, but another 8 minerals are also required. Just focusing on iodine or giving high dose iodine without the other minerals can cause an imbalance in these minerals and trigger a cascade of side effects throughout the body. For example, taking iodine without selenium causes selenium deficiency just as taking selenium without iodine causes iodine deficiency. As more research is done, we may find out that all the thyroid minerals behave this way.

To support the proper function of the thyroid and keep all the minerals in balance I’ve created a Picometer Mineral™ Formula called ReMyte. It provides a 150ug daily dose of iodine along with 11 other minerals. The minerals are low potency but stabilized ions that are fully absorbed at the cellular level. I also recommend ReMag and sea salt to complete the mineral package that the body requires. I use ¼ tsp of sea salt in every pint of drinking water. Water intake guidelines are ½ your body weight (in pounds) in ounces of water.

The most important aspect of mineral balance is that minerals need to be inside cells to do their work as cofactors in all metabolic processes. Once inside the cells, minerals pull water in with them causing proper cellular hydration. If water doesn’t get into cells, you can have edema in various parts of the body but still be dehydrated. Diuretics are usually given for fluid retention and edema but only cause more magnesium and mineral loss due to increased urination.

A weakened thyroid causes a lower body temperature and slower metabolism that not only favors weight gain but also the overgrowth of yeast in the body. Yeast toxins further disrupt hormones by blocking hormone receptor sites in the thyroid, adrenals and sex hormone tissues.

There is no allopathic treatment for strained adrenals. It is only when they crash that steroid hormones are given. Sex hormone deficiencies are treated with synthetic hormone replacement therapy, however synthetic hormones are a cause of cancer.

My best advice is to support your thyroid with ReMyte and ReMag; support your adrenals with ReMag, sea salt, Vitamin C (Whole C ReSet), B vitamins (ReAline) and rest; and support your sex hormones with all of the above. You can freely download my ReMyte and ReMag Books to learn more and find out in a few short hours what took me forty years to understand and remedy.

The Ketogenic Diet

A Keto diet is high fat, moderate protein, and low carb. It’s designed to restrict carbs to the point that the body activates fat burning that will help eliminate excess fat in the body. Eating a high fat diet will keep the fat burning metabolism going – but it doesn’t mean you can overindulge in fat. Here is what I wrote in my free eBook, ReSet Your Ideal Weight.  

A Keto diet consists of the following.

  • 60-75% (or more) of calories from fat
  • 15-30% of calories from protein
  • 5-10% of calories from carbs

When I went on the Keto diet, instead of doing elaborate calculations, I just went with the understanding that in order to turn on fat burning, I shouldn’t eat more than eat grams of carbs a day. Fiber carbs don’t count! Then I chose foods high in fat and moderate in protein to satisfy my hunger and avoid sugar cravings. It was only after I was well into the diet that I began to calculate how much protein and fat I was really eating. There are dozens of Keto websites that will help you calculate your dietary intake, so I’m not going to include that information here.

As I noted above, don’t overindulge. A high fat diet to lose weight doesn’t mean that the more fat you eat, the more you will lose. Commonsense should tell you that if you eat a lot of fat, your body utilize the fat you eat for   energy and won’t go after your fat stores and that means you won’t lose weight. Of course, you will keep producing ketones because you are burning your dietary fat, not your stored fat, so producing ketones doesn’t equal weight loss. So, remember, this diet is not a license to eat more calories than your body needs. If you do, you will gain even more weight! This is the best time to remind you that each gram of fat contains 9 calories whereas each gram of carbs and protein has only 4 calories. You can read more details about the Keto diet in my free eBook ReSet Your Ideal Weight.

Let me explore what allopathic medicine has in store for obese patients in a Medscape Quiz called Confronting Obesity. The statistics offered in this article are that obesity has nearly tripled since 1975 and world-wide, 650 million people are obese. A Medscape poll found that more than 1/3rd of practitioners, who are now called healthcare providers, don’t think obesity is a disease state. A miniscule 6% said that their obese patients often or always succeed at long-term weight management. Only 25% said they routinely offer counseling, and about 6% recommend surgery for obesity. 

The rest of the article offers no new solutions – it suggests diet and lifestyle changes but doesn’t acknowledge that there are no insurance codes that will pay doctors to spend time counseling their patients. They don’t even talk about the recent interest in the Keto diet for weight loss and diabetes. And of course, there is no mention that these patients are starving for nutrients while consuming too many calories from unhealthy food.

My advice is to follow the Keto diet, take the Completement Formulas, and see how you can gain control of your health and your weight.

References

1. Singh RB, “Association of low plasma concentrations of antioxidant vitamins, magnesium and zinc with high body fat per cent in Indian men.” Magnes Res, vol. 11, no. 1, pp. 3–10, 1998.

2. Ma J et al., “Associations of serum and dietary magnesium with cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, insulin, and carotid arterial wall thickness; the ARIC study, Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study.” J Clin Epidemiol, vol. 48, pp. 927–940, 1995.

3. Humphries S et al., “Low dietary magnesium is associated with insulin resistance in a sample of young, non-diabetic Black Americans.” Am J Hypertens, vol. 12, no. 8, pt. 1, pp. 747–756, 1999.

4. Alzaid AA et al., “Effects of insulin on plasma magnesium in Noninsulin dependent diabetes mellitus: evidence for insulin resistance.” J Clin Endocrinol Metab, vol. 80, no. 4, pp. 1376–1381, 1995.

5. Barbagallo M et al., “Altered cellular magnesium responsiveness to hyperglycemia in hypertensive subjects.” Hypertension, vol. 38, no. 3, pt. 2, pp. 612–615, 2001.

6. Dominguez LJ et al., “Magnesium responsiveness to insulin and insulin-like growth factor I in erythrocytes from normotensive and hypertensive subjects.” J Clin Endocrinol Metab, vol. 83, no. 12, pp. 4402–4407, 1998.

7. Johnson S. The multifaceted and widespread pathology of magnesium deficiency. Med Hypothesis. 2001 Feb;56(2):163-70.

Carolyn Dean MD ND

The Doctor of the Future®

RESOURCES: Along the borders and in the links of my web site you can find my books, writings, and my call-in radio show. Email your questions to: questions@drcarolyndeanlive.com.

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