From the Desk of Carolyn Dean MD ND

If my readers and listeners have been paying attention the last several months, you’ll notice a clear and distinct a shift in my position on nutrition and supplementation.

In my blog I wrote about my experience with a group of nutritionists in Canada who had an unhealthy bias concerning nutrition.

Carolyn Dean MD ND

Since then, I’ve been warning people not to rely exclusively on their diet for their daily vitamin and mineral levels. Instead, I’ve been speaking about supplementing first and relying on what nutrition you get in your diet as a secondary position—mostly just because food can be fun and tastes good!

This month is National Nutrition Month in the United States, and in addition to supplementation, high-quality protein in your diet is mandatory.

And you may be sure that magnesium is necessary for proper protein synthesis at the ribosomal level. The ribosomes are the cellular organelles where proteins are synthesized. Magnesium “activates” the amino acids involved and allows the mRNA to attach to the ribosomes. Magnesium is also found in the cell’s nucleus and is essential for the stability of the nucleic acids RNA and DNA. If DNA and RNA structures are unstable, you may have mutations in the code and produce incorrect peptides or none during protein synthesis. Also, the primary energy for the production of proteins must come from ATP. You have heard me say a hundred times that magnesium is required in several steps of the Glycolysis cycle and the Krebs Cycle to make ATP, also called Mg-ATP. Without magnesium being available in many areas of the cell, protein synthesis cannot occur. This link goes to research on the human Magnesome and the magnesium binding sites on human proteins.

The Role of Protein in the Body

We are just one big sheet of protein, and it’s true! Muscle, hair, skin, and connective tissue are mainly proteins. Protein is critical not only to every single cell in your body but also to the structure and function of hormones, enzymes, and antibodies – just about everything your body produces. Protein also allows the neurotransmitters in and around our cells to communicate with each other. Additionally, on the macro level, eating protein slows down glucose absorption into the bloodstream, lowering elevated blood sugar levels, lowering insulin, and helping the body burn fat.

I try not to get too involved in the debate about which source of protein is “the best”—animal or plant-based—because I believe it’s an individual choice based on results. If a vegetarian diet makes you feel great, with lots of energy and joie de vivre, then it’s a good choice. But if it makes you feel unhealthy, tired, and weak, then add other foods.

Your protein sources should be chosen from the highest-quality food you can find—organic, natural, free-range, grass-fed, GMO, and hormone-free. The “cleaner” the food source, the more valuable nutrients are available for your body. But we all must be aware that the soil that grows the plants that we and animals eat has become increasingly contaminated and depleted of minerals, which passes onto us in the form of depleted and contaminated food.

How Do I Know If I’m Getting Enough Protein?

I write extensively about vitalizing foods in my wellness modules including a segment on The Power of Protein. Here is a list of signs you are not getting enough protein:

  • Apathy, irritability, and a spaced-out feeling
  • Lack of muscle mass and weakness
  • Low blood sugar (or constant high and low blood sugar)
  • Diarrhea and intolerance to dairy products
  • Lack of stomach acid leading to gas and bloating
  • Low body temperature
  • Cravings for meat, peanut butter, eggs, dairy, nuts, or beans
  • Poor condition of nails and/or hair

How Do I Know If I’m Getting Too Much Protein?

Conversely, here is a list of evidence that you are getting too much protein:

  • Your meals consist almost exclusively of meat, eggs, or dairy
  • Osteoporosis
  • Kidney problems
  • Kidney stones
  • Dehydration – even when you are drinking lots of water
  • Ketones in your urine
  • Chronic bad breath
  • Joint pain
  • Constipation
  • Indigestion

With the latest Carnivore diet trend, I have to comment that a Carnivore diet does not rely on muscle meat but promotes organ meats. And it does not include eggs and dairy, which may prevent some of the above symptoms.

Determining Protein Requirements

Here’s one way to determine the number of grams of protein you need to eat each day to stay balanced:

  • Metric Version: Multiply your ideal body weight in kilograms by 0.8. So, if a healthy weight for you would be 70kg you need 70 x 0.8 = 56g of protein a day. Multiply by 2 for growing infants. Multiply by 1.2 for growing adolescents.
  • Imperial Version: Multiply your ideal body weight in pounds by 0.35. So, if a healthy weight for you would be 110 lbs. you need 110 x 0.35 = 39g of protein a day. Multiply by 0.9 for growing infants. Multiply by 0.54 for growing adolescents.

However, this is not the last word on protein intake. If you speak to the macronutrient diet contingent, they might double or even triple that protein intake. I’m not going to get into the Macro Diet right now, but I intend to check it out and see what a very high-protein diet feels like. Personally, I favor protein above carbs, and with a recent injury to my knee and elbow from a fall, I’ve been craving more protein—I assume—to help with my healing.

We know that getting perfect, pure magnesium and perfect whole protein together is magical for our bodies in many ways. I tend to think that when we are adequately saturated with magnesium, we can better digest and utilize the protein in our diet.

Carolyn Dean MD ND
The Doctor of the Future