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Can I still be magnesium deficient even with a good test result?

Miya's mom

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I'm currently on Day 34.  Feeling much better than pre-Whole30, but wanted to see if continued compliance will help rid me of my remaining ailments.


One issue that has plagued me is insomnia.  During the Whole30, the one major improvement was that I was waking earlier and feeling refreshed.  Unfortunately, I will still having trouble falling asleep and waking several times a night, so the net effect was several hours of less sleep.  (Still, it was fantastic to feel so awake on so little sleep!)


So, I decided to try Natural Calm (magnesium supplement), as recommended in ISWF.  I concurrently picked up Dr. Carolyn Dean's book on the Magnesium Miracle and submitted for a Magnesium RBC test to see if I had a deficiency, as she recommends.


I got the results back today, and I'm at 5.9 mg/dL.  This is well within the generally accepted reference interval of 4.2-6.8 mg/dL and even close to Dr. Dean's optimum level of 6.0-6.5 mg/dL.  I'm not sure how long I've been at this point, since I started eating more nuts, seaweed, sweet potatoes, and a very tiny dose (1/12 tsp/night) of Natural Calm during the latter half of my Whole30, but does this mean I'm definitely not magnesium deficient?  I have so many of the deficiency symptoms (insomnia, anxiety, RLS, muscle spasms, cramping, twitching, vertigo, etc) and my lifestyle would seem to be prone to it (panic attacks, stress, and lack of sleep), that I'm actually shocked at my test result.  Prior to the Whole30, I ate a LOT of cheese and ice cream...which I've obviously cut out and replaced with magnesium sources (without even realizing it).


So, since my calcium has (relatively) recently decreased while my magnesium levels have increased, does this account for my 5.9 mg/dL result? And, if so, when will I start to feel the benefits of it?  Ever since I've been on the Natural Calm, I no longer wake feeling refreshed.  I'm very sluggish even when I get more sleep than I did before.  I am still at only 1/12 tsp and at this low dose it no longer helps me stay asleep either (I wake 3-4 times/night).  I was going to increase the dose when I got my test result back, but now I'm at a loss.  Has anyone else had this?  Were you still deficient despite a "good" test result?


BTW, I've never had diarrhea caused by Natural Calm at the dose I'm on (which is why I didn't think I was overdoing it...).

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The dose you reporting is so small that I doubt it is having any effect. And you may be overly impressed by your test results. I don't know anything about magnesium tests, but lots of tests fluctuate so that you may get a different result every time you take the test regardless of your actual levels. 


Natural Calm has a sedative effect to help you fall asleep. It doesn't have much power to help you stay asleep. There is probably not one thing you can do to start sleeping well. There are more like a dozen different things that need to be done. There are lots of discussions about how to improve sleep on the forum. Here is one that is recent... 



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Thanks Tom.  I appreciate your response.  I've actually already taken every step in the link you attached, except for the supplements.  That's why I just recently started with magnesium...melatonin may be next.  I was hoping to treat my insomnia as naturally as possible.


I guess I'm more concerned about overdoing it on magnesium.  I agree my dose of Natural Calm should not have had much effect on test level thus far--but based on my test level, I'm wondering if I should be taking it at all or if it could cause problems down the road.


I'm really hoping to hear from someone that has been tested (with a high RBC level) and still found benefit with further supplementation.


Thanks again!

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If you do decide to try melatonin be wary; I know it works wonderfully for many people but that is not always the case. I tried it recently when my sleep got really bad; it didn't actually help with sleeping I still lay in be wide awake but when I did sleep it gave me horrible nightmares and also left me feeling depressed. It was so bad I binned the pills and would rather suffer from wide awake nights than what they put me through. 

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Hi There,


Ahhh sleep.  Sometimes it eludes us - it is frustrating.


Some people report that having a starchy veg before going to sleep helps.  Personally I have found that starchy veg and a bit of fat help - so think pumpkin puree with coconut milk, sweet potato with mayo - you can get creative.


I find nuts disrupt my sleep pretty badly.  I'm not sure why this is, but they do.


Don't drink any caffeine beverages anytime afternoon. Caffeine will stay in your system for 8 hours or longer.  


Stay away from the sweet stuff - so yes don't try to eat any fruit before bed.  The 3 am wake up ceiling stare down is usually because your body went into sugar crash mode.  You want to avoid that.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Since you've read The Magnesium Miracle, do you recall the part where the author discusses titrating your dosages according to bowel tolerance? This is personally what I would recommend. Lab values are an average that cover most of the population, but there are always people who will be "outliers" meaning that you could have a value that's normal for the populace as a whole, but not necessarily optimum for your personally.


Part of how your body regulates magnesium intake is through the bowel. When you're getting suficient magnesium, any extra will be secreted through the bowel. That's why too much magnesium causes diarrhea--your body gets rid of the extra and all that extra magensium attracts water and, viola--diarrhea. Something else to take into account, however, is that your body does up-regulate it's absorption of magnesium depending on how much you're taking in. If you're not consuming much, then your body is only equipped to absorb X amount of magnesium. If you suddenly take in 2X of magnesium, then your body isn't yet prepared to absorb the entire amount at one sitting and you'll probably have loose or watery stools.


Trying increasing your magnesium and see what happens. I personally take magnesium citrate because it's a good balance of something that's easily absorbed, but still cost effective. The brand I use comes in 200mg tablets (half the RDA) and the progression that I would recommend is one tablet at night for two nights, then one tablet morning and night, then up to 3 tablets per day (1 in the AM, 2 at night), then up to two tablets twice per day. If at any point you develop loose stools or diarrhea, then back off on your dosage for a day or two (until things have firmed back up) and then try again to increase your dosage.


You can also experiment with epsom salt baths and/or magnesium oil. It will be easier to guage how much magnesium you're taking in with the topical spray than with the bath. Your spray should tell how many milligrams are contained in each spray. My brand is something like 100mg of magnesium per 8 sprays.

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