Archive for the ‘Bone Health’ Category

Magnesium – Key Element for Good Health

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Why magnesium is a key element of good health

Magnesium. Maybe you remember it from the periodic table in 10th grade chemistry class. What you may not realize is that our bodies use this shiny gray rock-like element in many ways. In fact, it is integral in over 300 biochemical reactions, from muscle contractions to neurotransmission, blood pressure and heart rhythm to immune response.

So how can you be sure that you are getting enough of this vital nutrient?

For adults, the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of magnesium from food varies by age and gender:

Age Male Female
19–30 years 400 mg 310 mg
31–51+ 420 mg 320 mg

Note: amounts differ for pregnant or lactating women.

Most people eat proper amounts of magnesium in foods such as spinach, whole grains, beans, nuts, and potatoes. But according to the National Institutes of Health, many older Americans–especially men over age 70–are not consuming the proper amount of magnesium. Yet despite these dietary shortfalls, magnesium deficiency is still quite rare, even among seniors.

Dr. Bruce Bistrian, chief of clinical nutrition at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, explains, “The kidney has an extraordinary ability to reduce magnesium loss in urine, and thus achieve magnesium balance on a wide variety of intakes.”

Examples of magnesium-rich foods

1 ounce of dry-roasted almonds, 80 milligrams

1/2 cup frozen spinach (cooked), 78 milligrams

1/2 cup bran flakes, 64 milligrams

1 medium baked potato with skin, 48 milligrams

1/2 cup canned kidney beans, 35 milligrams

Are magnesium supplements necessary?

For optimal health, it is preferable to get your necessary magnesium from food. High-fiber foods like nuts, dark-green leafy vegetables, unrefined grains, and beans are all good options.

For those who have issues with magnesium absorption from food– such as people with diabetes, Crohn’s disease or celiac disease, some kidney conditions, alcoholism, and people on certain medications– magnesium supplements can be beneficial.

But be wary of the claims of some magnesium supplement manufacturers that their product can increase energy, regulate sleep cycles, and reduce body aches. According to Dr. Bistrian, “There’s no evidence, to my knowledge, that it [magnesium] would be effective for those symptoms.”

And ingesting excessive amounts of magnesium from supplements can have an adverse effect on your health including diarrhea, nausea, and abdominal cramping, even cardiac arrest.

Think you could have low magnesium?

As noted, magnesium deficiency is rare, but if you have a condition that predisposes you to poor magnesium absorption, or you are concerned about your levels, ask your doctor for a blood test.

Learn about our magnesium blood tests:

Magnesium Serum Blood Test (www.HealthOneLabs.com)

Magnesium RBC Blood Test (www.HealthOneLabs.com)

Magnesium Serum Blood Test (www.InquireLabs.com)

Magnesium RBC Blood Test (www.InquireLabs.com)

Learn more about the importance of magnesium in your diet and how it impacts health >>

 


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Magnesium Blood Test

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Magnesium: Why do you need this mineral?

Most of the magnesium in your body is found in the bone and only 1% of it is found in the blood.  This precious mineral is needed for many of the biochemical reactions in the body:

  1. maintains normal muscle & nerve function
  2. assists with keeping the heart rhythm steady
  3. supports the immune system
  4. keeps your bones strong

Additionally, magnesium is used to help regulate blood sugar levels and will promote a healthy blood pressure.  For diabetics and hypertensive individuals, magnesium can prevent or manage your disease.

Magnesium Blood Test

You may need a magnesium blood test if you have low levels of calcium and potassium or symptoms such as:

  1. muscle weakness
  2. twitching
  3. cramping
  4. confusion
  5. cardiac arrhythmia
  6. seizures

The magnesium blood test is also used if you show signs of malabsorption, malnutrition, diarrhea, or alcoholism.

Many diabetics or those with kidney disease may have regular blood magnesium tests to be sure the kidney is not excreting or retaining too much magnesium.
Other electrolyte tests, in addition to magnesium, may be ordered to determine if any other electrolytes are imbalanced:
  1. sodium
  2. potassium
  3. chloride
  4. CO2
  5. calcium
  6. phosphorus
How to Get Magnesium through Diet

Most green vegetables, lettuce, spinach, kale, etc, contain dietary magnesium.  Additionally, magnesium can be found in a variety of nuts, whole grains and tap water.  The National Institutes of Health indicates that magnesium deficiency is rare in the US, but there are certain people that may need extra through diet or supplementation.

spinach image resized 600

Below is a chart from the FDA to show which foods have the most magnesium content.

Food Milligrams (mg) %DV*
Wheat Bran, crude, ¼ cup 89 22
Almonds, dry roasted, 1 ounce 80 20
Spinach, frozen, cooked, ½ cup 78 20
Raisin bran cereal, 1 cup 77 19
Cashews, dry roasted, 1 ounce 74 19
Soybeans, mature, cooked, ½ cup 74 19
Wheat germ, crude, ¼ cup 69 17
Nuts, mixed, dry roasted, 1 ounce 64 16
Bran flakes cereal, ¾ cup 64 16
Shredded wheat cereal, 2 rectangular biscuits 61 15
Oatmeal, instant, fortified, prepared w/ water, 1 cup 61 15
Peanuts, dry roasted, 1 ounce 50 13
Peanut butter, smooth, 2 Tablespoons 49 12
Potato, baked with skin, 1 medium 48 12
Blackeye peas, cooked, ½ cup 46 12
Pinto beans, cooked, ½ cup 43 11
Rice, brown, long-grained, cooked, ½ cup 42 11
Lentils, mature seeds, cooked, ½ cup 36 9
Vegetarian baked beans, ½ cup 35 9
Kidney beans, canned, ½ cup 35 9
Chocolate milk, lowfat, 1 cup 33 8
Banana, raw, 1 medium 32 8
Yogurt, fruit, low fat, 8 fluid ounces 32 8
Milk chocolate candy bar, 1.5 ounce bar 28 7
Milk, lowfat or nonfat, 1 cup 27 7
Raisins, seedless, ½ cup packed 26 7
Halibut, cooked, 3 ounces 24 6
Bread, whole-wheat, commercially prepared, 1 slice 23 6
Avocado, cubes, ½ cup 22 6
Chocolate pudding, ready-to-eat, 4 ounces 19 5

*DV = Daily Value. DVs are reference numbers developed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to help consumers determine if a food contains a lot or a little of a specific nutrient. The DV for magnesium is 400 milligrams (mg). Most food labels do not list a food’s magnesium content. The percent DV (%DV) listed on the table above indicates the percentage of the DV provided in one serving. A food providing 5% of the DV or less per serving is a low source while a food that provides 10–19% of the DV is a good source. A food that provides 20% or more of the DV is high in that nutrient. It is important to remember that foods that provide lower percentages of the DV also contribute to a healthful diet.

Take Control of Your Health

Medical Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her health care provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. The writer is not a physician or other health provider.


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If you want to take control of your health, save money and get answers quickly, know that you can order your own blood laboratory test via the service on the internet.  Discount blood tests are available to consumers nationwide.

 

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Perhaps you have some symptoms or maybe you just want to test for asymptomatic diseases.  Typcially, you would make an appointment with your doctor, wait in the waiting room, then the examining room, get a perscription for some blood tests and finally going to the patient service center to have your blood drawn.  Next you would wait for the physician’s office to call you with the results, then set up another appointment to discuss them with your doctor.  This process could take days or weeks!

Many people are cutting out the medical middlepersons and ordering their own lab work.  Go to www.HealthOneLabs.com, choose the tests you would like and utilize the secure, HIPPA compliant website and shopping cart.  The process takes less than 5 minutes to order and within a small amount of time you’ll receive the paperwork to take to the lab and have your blood drawn.  Most test results are ready the next day, so you can view your patient-friendly results and schedule a physician’s appointment to discuss them with your doctor; avoiding two appointments, time and money.  Tests prices are much lower since Health One is passing on their volumn discount to their customer.  At this time, insurance is not accepted but since most of the popular tests are only $29-$89, prices are typically lower than what an insured would pay for their co-pay.

Most Popular Tests:

  1. Comprehensive Health Profile – $59 – includes lipid panel, CBC, liver function, kidney function, glucose and more
  2. Men’s Health Value Package – $89 – includes lipids, CBC, liver function, kidney function, glucose, PSA, Urinalysis and more
  3. Women’s Health Value Package – $89 – includes lipids, CBC, liver function, kidney function, glucose, Thyroid panel, Urinalysis and more

 

Take Control of Your Health

Medical Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her health care provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. The writer is not a physician or other health provider.


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Osteoporosis in Men

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Women take the headlines when addressing age related bone loss, but men are subject to the threat of bone loss as well. It is estimated that 1 in 4 men over the age of 50 will have an osteoporosis related fracture during their lifetime. There are two main types of the disease:

  1. Primary osteoporosis which is due to age
  2. Secondary osteoporosis which is caused by medical conditions, certain drug usage and other lifestyle factors.

Routine laboratory testing may reveal the underlying cause of osteoporosis in men whose bone loss was thought to have no known cause.  Based upon a study in the October 2012 Osteoporosis International Journal, both men and women are diagnosed using bone mineral density (BMD) testing by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (Dexa scan). Dexa scan measures bone density in hips and spines. In addition, blood tests are conducted to assist with the diagnosis of osteoporosis. It is recommended that the following blood test be performed:

  1. Vitamin D
  2. Testosterone
  3. Luteinizing Hormone (LH)
  4. Follical Stimulating Hormone (FSH)
  5. Thyroid Panel
  6. Complete Blood Count (CBC)
  7. Creatinine
  8. Calcium
  9. Phosphorus

The study of osteoporosis in men found that the overwhelming majority of subjects’ osteoporosis was caused by low testosterone levels, vitamin D deficiency, the body’s inability to absorb calcium, mildly underactive thyroid, or overactive thyroid.

Osteoporosis blood testing

Osteoporosis can be effectively treated if it is detected before significant bone loss has occurred. Unfortunately, since men are not routinely tested or questioned about bone health, diagnosis often doesn’t take place until after a fracture occurs or a man complains of back pain. Men should be sure to discuss with their doctors all their medications as some medications are known to cause bone loss, such as glucocorticoids – typically prescribed to transplant patients or those with autoimmune diseases.

Again, men are susceptible to osteoporosis and should be vigilant about their bone health.

Take Control of Your Health!

Medical Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her health care provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. The writer is not a physician or other health provider.

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Vitamin D and Calcium for Bone Health

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Most of our bone mass is acquired during childhood and adolescence and is completely done forming by the age of 18.   It is very important to have adequate calcium during the the young years of high growth in order to have a better outlook for bone health in the future.  If there is insufficient calcium deposited in bones during childhood, the bones may become weak later in life and could increase the probability of osteoporosis.  As we know, fragile bones can easily fracture or break especially in vulnerable areas such as the hip, spine and wrist.

Bone Health

How Much Calcium is Enough?

According to the American Dietetic Association, women need 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day for healthy bones.  After age 50, a woman’s calcium needs increase to 1,200 milligrams a day.  Converting milligrams needed to serving sizes is the best way to help identify the calcium-rich foods that are required.

Women need at least three servings a day of these calcium rich foods and a serving of calcium is equivalent to:

  • 1 cup low-fat or fat-free milk
  • 1 cup low-fat or fat-free yogurt
  • 1 ounce low-fat or fat-free cheese
  • 1.5 cups cooked soybeans
  • 1 cup calcium fortified orange juice
  • 3 oz canned sardines with bones

Other types of food that have high calcium content include:

  • spinach
  • fortified breakfast cereals
  • almonds
  • white beans
  • kale

How Does Vitamin D Help with Calcium Absorption?

Aging bodies have a harder time absorbing calcium and it is important to add vitamin D to your diet which helps calcium absorption.  Vitamin D is difficult to get from dietary sources so it’s a good idea to get a Vitamin D blood test to see if the body has sufficient vitamin D to help with calcium absorption.  There are vitamin D supplements that can help with the daily recommended amount of vitamin D: 400-800 IU for younger women.  Older women, above 50, need increased amounts and it is recommended to have 800-1000 IU per day.

Many women undergo a bone density test in their 40s.  This will establish a baseline of the bone density and the test can be repeated, as necessary, to assess bone density throughout the later years.  Besides calcium and vitamin D there are other ways to keep the bones strong:

  1. conducting weight bearing exercises
  2. participating in strength training exercises
  3. avoiding smoking and minimizing drinking alcohol

Take Control of Your Health!

Medical Disclaimer: The information on this site is for informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her health care provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. The writer is not a physician or other health provider.

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