By Michael Biamonte CCN.
This common mineral is essential for your energy levels, bone strength, mood, and much more. Yet the majority of us are not getting anywhere near enough in our diets. Chronic deficiency leads to a number of different diseases and conditions, and it can worsen the symptoms of candida too.
Magnesium is required for more than 300 essential biochemical reactions in the body, including helping us to produce energy, maintain a healthy nervous system and regulate blood sugar. It also plays a vital role in removing the toxic byproducts of candida.
Magnesium Deficiency Can Worsen Candida Symptoms
A lack of magnesium can worsen your candida symptoms for one simple reason: Magnesium is needed to break down the toxic metabolites of Candida Albicans. Without enough magnesium, your body is simply unable to do the job of removing these substances. Molybdenum is another mineral that works with magnesium in eliminating candida waste products.
The byproducts of Candida Albicans include ethanol, uric acid and ammonia, but the most important is acetaldehyde. Acetaldehyde is a neurotoxin that affects your brain, nervous system and many other internal organs, as well as damaging your red blood cells and reducing the capacity of your blood to carry oxygen around the body. If your body is unable to effectively process and remove it, this toxic substance can affect many different systems and cause a variety of symptoms. Acetaldehyde is also produced when you drink alcohol, and it is thought to be the primary cause of the next morning’s hangover!
Although magnesium is not the only nutrient needed to break down acetaldehyde, it plays a major role. There is one particular enzyme that your body needs to turn toxic acetaldehyde into harmless acetate. Called aldehyde dehydrogenase, it requires magnesium to function properly. Without enough magnesium, your body is unable to activate the aldehyde dehydrogenase, which is therefore unable to break down acetaldehyde, which in turn can lead to symptoms like headaches and fatigue.
Candida Causes Magnesium Deficiency Too
I just explained how a lack of magnesium can make candida symptoms worse, but you should know that candida can also prevent you from getting enough magnesium in the first place. Health issues are rarely a case simply of one thing leading to another, and this is a great example of how cause and effect are often inextricably linked. In this case, Candida Albicans actually prevents you from getting enough of the very mineral you need to combat its effects. This is why candida sufferers are often even more deficient in magnesium.
In the early stages of a candida overgrowth, your body copes relatively well with the extra waste products that need to be eliminated. Your liver and kidneys are working effectively, your digestive system is functioning well and your body’s various elimination pathways are doing what they should. The acetaldehyde, uric acid and other candida metabolites are being efficiently removed. However, as your gut flora becomes more compromised and the yeast-bacteria imbalance starts to grow, your body starts to become overwhelmed.
As increasing amounts of the candida metabolites begin to appear, more and more of your magnesium is used to break them down. If you started with a healthy surplus of magnesium, it might take some time for you to become deficient. If you were deficient already (like most of us), then the onset of the typical candida symptoms might happen very quickly. Without changes in diet or supplementation, your body simply runs out of the nutrients that it needs to process these toxins.
As if that weren’t enough, we also need to factor in the effect that candida has on your digestion. When the balance of gut flora in your small intestine is compromised, your gut loses much of its ability to extract and absorb nutrients from your food. A primary role of the small intestine is to absorb the micronutrients that you eat in your food. When it is unable to perform this role adequately, you can become deficient in many of the vitamins and minerals (including magnesium) that you need to recover your health.
So, as you can see, the development of a candida overgrowth can lead to magnesium deficiency in two ways. Firstly, it depletes the (probably limited) stores of magnesium that you already have. And secondly, it interferes with your body’s ability to absorb more magnesium from your diet. Add in the fact that most of us barely have enough magnesium to start with, and it becomes apparent how easily the candida yeast can benefit from a lack of this important mineral.
Testing for Magnesium
A hair mineral analysis is a very good test to measure to tissue levels of magnesium. The average level will be between 3 and 6 milligrams percent. Levels above 6.9 milligrams percent do not indicate an excess, but rather a loss out of the body. Just as steam can escape from a kettle, so can magnesium and other minerals leach out of our cells. These minerals can then be found in excess in our hair and other tissues.
Why are we deficient in magnesium? The answer lies in the way that our diets have changed.
The first culprit is modern-day farming practices. Although intensive farming has been around for less than 100 years, that has been sufficient to strip farmed soil of many of its nutrients. Studies have shown that the magnesium levels in today’s vegetables are at least 25% lower than they were before 1950. Depleted soil leads to less nutritious food, which contributes to lower magnesium levels in your blood and tissues.
Meanwhile, the way that your food is processed has a huge effect on its magnesium content as well. According to some sources, refined pastas and breads contain 80-95% less magnesium than the whole grain equivalent. If you needed another reason to avoid refined grains (and there are plenty of reasons!), there it is.
The content of our diets is different now too. We eat more refined grains, fewer vegetables, fewer nuts and seeds. In other words, we eat more of the foods that contain little magnesium, and much less of the foods that are rich in it. This has become such a problem that many people in developed countries get a large part of their magnesium from foods like French fries and beer — simply because those are the foods that they consume the most!
Lastly, the epidemics of diabetes and obesity that are sweeping the world might be playing a role too. There is a close relationship between low magnesium levels and high blood sugar. Just as a high sugar diet can contribute to a magnesium deficiency, so a lack of magnesium seems to disrupt blood sugar regulation.
Magnesium Helps Candida?
There are some who will tell you that magnesium ‘feeds’ or stimulates Candida in some way, or promotes the formation of biofilms. There is some truth in this, in that candida does actually need magnesium to survive. But then so do all living organisms! Restricting your magnesium intake to combat candida, and deliberately making yourself magnesium-deficient, would be about as effective as trying to breath less oxygen. On the other hand, eliminating sources of excess sugar (like the Candida Diet does) is a much more practical and effective goal.
Taurine, Choline and Vitamin B6
These are very important co-factors of helpers of magnesium. If one is taking magnesium and his symptoms of magnesium deficiency do not go away, or if magnesium levels do not improve on a test, very often the person needs to add these co-factors. Vitamin B6 helps the absorption and utilization of magnesium. Choline and magnesium help regulate fats, cholesterol and other lipids. Taurine and magnesium help regulate the heart beat and keep the heart from beating irregularly or skipping beats.
Michael Biamonte CCN.