Gary Taubes


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Magnesium Recommendations for My Adult Patients

Many of my patients suffer from symptoms of magnesium deficiency.  Magnesium deficiency is difficult to diagnose, but worth the effort given that the "cure" is safe for most, economical, and has a high probability of improving both length and quality of life. An estimated 70% of Americans do not get enough magnesium from food.

Magnesium is a mineral that acts as a natural muscle relaxer.  Magnesium provides protection for the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) and peripheral nervous system.  It helps protect us from physical and emotional stress.

Because it is essential to life, the body is skilled at moving magnesium to where it is needed.  The body circulates its magnesium cargo in blood to provide abundant magnesium to the heart and other organs, making it difficult to detect magnesium deficiency with a blood test.

People who do not have enough magnesium can suffer greatly, even become disabled in extreme cases.  When I suspect magnesium deficiency I consider whether my patient has any of the following symptoms:

Migraine Headaches (as many as half of migraine sufferers respond well to magnesium)
Grinding teeth; TMJ; jaw tightness or popping
Heart palpitations
Hearing loss
Absent morning hunger, quiet stomach (no growling)
Difficult to control asthma; tight chest
Difficulty managing blood sugars in metabolic syndrome, pre-diabetes, diabetes
Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
High blood pressure
Muscle cramps and spasms
Facial tics, particularly around the eyes
Pre-menstrual syndrome and/or menstrual cramps
Irregular heart rhythm
Mitral valve prolapse
Fibromyalgia/Chronic Fatigue symptoms

When I suspect magnesium deficiency in an adult patient, I usually make the following recommendations:

Make sure you have no heart or kidney disease before taking Magnesium supplements.  Check with your healthcare provider to ensure you are a candidate for magnesium therapy and let your him or her know what you plan to take.

Start with 400 mg to 600 mg of magnesium every evening or as recommended by your healthcare provider.  Take with food.

Magnesium may be taken in divided doses if not tolerated (if stools become too loose or you have stomach upset): for example, 200 mg twice a day, 250 mg twice a day or 300 mg twice a day.  Again, take with food.

If your stools become too loose even with divided doses, cut back on each dose (if it was too high at 300 mg twice a day, take 200 mg twice a day, e.g.).

If you get cramps or if cramps worsen, stop this supplement and tell your healthcare provider.

Taking a B-6 vitamin or a multiple vitamin with B-6 in it helps magnesium to be absorbed into the cells.  Some preparations have B-6 in them; check the bottle.  Take no more than 75 mg B-6 total per day.

  • Magnesium Hydroxide (low bioavailability),
  • Magnesium Oxide (low bioavailability),
  • Magnesium Carbonate (low bioavailability),
  • Magnesium Aspartate (neurotoxic) or
  • Magnesium Glutamate (neurotoxic)
Look for:
  • Magnesium citrate (especially if constipation is a problem) 
  • Magnesium malate 
  • Magnesium glycinate 
  • Magnesium taurinate or taurate 
  • Magnesium succinate 

The best formulations, in my opinion: A combination of Magnesium Citrate & Magnesium Malate.  Another good formula, in my opinion: Jigsaw Magnesium with SRT.

Source Naturals makes a couple of magnesium products.  One, Ultra-Mag, is an acceptable blend of magnesium salts.

Jarrow Formulas makes Magnesium Optimizer, which is Magnesium Citrate, Potassium Citrate and Taurine

My preferred magnesium formulation is Jigsaw Magnesium with SRT, 125 mg tablets.  Take one to two tablets twice a day or as directed by your physician.  You can order this at: or by telephone at: 866-601-5800 or on

You may be able to get adequate magnesium from food, depending on the health of top soils it is raised on and the methods in which the food is raised.  Potentially rich food sources of magnesium include sprouted pumpkin seeds. Other sources include squashes and green leafy vegetables, depending on how these are grown and prepared.  Water should be another source of magnesium, but here in Northwest Oregon we drink more soft water, which does not contain the calcium, magnesium and other minerals of hard water. 

To your health,
from Dr. Ann

Monday, June 1, 2015

The 2015 Low-Carb Cruise with Jimmy Moore

My niece, Emily Rohay, and I just returned from the Low-Carb Cruise with Jimmy Moore and friends!  It was a great experience we look forward to repeating in May of 2016.

If you are not familiar with the Low-Carb Cruise you can learn more here:  Videos of lectures we enjoyed during Low-Carb Cruise 2015 are expected to be posted in coming weeks on the Low-Carb Cruise site, with select lectures to be posted at

The Low-Carb Cruise is open to the public.  This year our ship, Royal Caribbean's Independence of the Seas, reached 3 vacation destination ports of call.  The ship was large and luxurious with plenty of activities available at sea.  During sea travel we attend a conference where we hear from worldwide experts.  I am honored to be one of the speakers.  My presentation, Stone Age Body, Space Age Diet: Nutrition, Metabolism and Mental Health, was well received, and I am invited to speak again in May of 2016. Lectures concentrated on overall health, including hormone management, and management of diabetes using delicious, satisfying foods that reduce or eliminate the need for medications.

Speaking of satisfying foods, the ship's food is excellent and special dietary accommodations are available.  Our table invited plenty of butter and cream, which we enjoyed with relish.  The company is excellent, with experts available to converse with at mealtimes and throughout the cruise.  I met a number of participants who shared their experiences with healthy lifestyle plans resulting in, collectively, hundreds of pounds lost along with tremendous gains in overall health and well-being.  Expert speakers answered questions on the last day which helped our audience better understand how they can maximize their health without hunger or extensive exercise (for example, our fertility expert Dr. Fox discouraged aerobics/running for women as these induce undue stress on the female body), using the most body-friendly and efficient methods available.

All-in-all it was wonderful experience, and well-recommended.  Emily and I hope to see you there next year!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

My April 1, 2015 Pod Cast

Here is the title and link to my April 1, 2015 podcast:

Down in the dumps? Eat fewer carbs, more satured fat says Dr. Ann Childers

Friday, February 13, 2015

Dietary Cholesterol Gets a Pardon

A rare and wonderful thing happened in December of 2014.  For the first time since 1977, dietary cholesterol received a government pardon: (See Page 7, Bottom)

The exact words are, "Cholesterol is not considered a nutrient of concern for overconsumption."

In other words, we should not be concerned about over-consuming cholesterol rich foods. Lobster, shrimp, liver, egg yolk, return to the table, without limits and without hesitation. Once pronounced bad, cholesterol is safe again.  After decades of egg white omelettes the US government corrected its false alarm.

While saturated fat remains vilified, a situation with which I do not agree, I remain grateful for this step in the right direction.

Why is this important?  Cholesterol provides the foundation for steroid hormones.  It aids in the formation of Vitamin D.  Cholesterol is an antioxidant and important for function and structure of the human body.   It protects your skin and performs a vast number of other important tasks.

So celebrate this week with your favorite high cholesterol food, one you perhaps have not enjoyed in decades.   Eat as much as you like.  Your government kept you from it long enough.  Bon appetit! 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

My Comment to the Washington Post

On February 5th, 2015 the Washington Post published the following article:

Where people around the world eat the most sugar and fat - The Washington Post

The article displays 3 graphics, each of which speaks volumes.  I felt compelled to comment on this article given that it's graphics tell us so much about the state of America.  When combined US Government data (below), an important tale is told: 

My reply: 

To be candid, the first graph (seen below) holds zero charm for me. 

The first graph (above) implies Americans eat too much "fat-and-sugar," as if fat-and-sugar are one food. In the press and in research "fat-and-sugar" is to blame for modern chronic diseases like obesity (now termed a disease), diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer's, more. 

By separating fat and sugar the graphs that follow in the story above (please see original article at , graphs in blue)  reveal the truth of the matter. Americans, among the most obese in the world, do not consume as much fat as other countries. Americans, among the most obese in the world, consume the most sugar by far. 

It should be noted eating more carbohydrates and less fat only became the trend after 1977, the year the first Dietary Guidelines for Americans was issued. These new US guidelines recommended more carbohydrates, less fat. Americans complied. Obesity is the result of dutiful compliance by American citizens with US guidelines, not the non-compliance we are so often accused of.  

First Americans complied (see graph above), then Americans got fat and sick (see graph below).

We must wake up and smell the (pastured) bacon if we are to climb out of our sad predicament. We must turn back time to regain health. Modern America eats too many carbohydrates (>43% of calories, the percentage of carbohydrates calories we consumed prior to 1977) and especially refined carbohydrates (sugars, cereals, baked goods, etc). As a nation, we do not consume enough fat, particularly well-sourced (from pastured animals, virgin coconut oil, etc.) natural fats. A diet higher in well-sourced fats, moderate in high quality protein and lower in carbohydrates (43% or less of calories) with restrictions on refined carbohydrates could shrink our waistlines and re-capture our health. 

That is the real news. Thank you for reading.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Google's Top Diet Trends for 2014 and a New Year's Challenge

Dearest Readers,

With the New Year upon us we look back to view important events.  Diet related health is a number one concern worldwide.   Below I've posted a screen shot taken today of Google's top diet trends for 2014.  I am gratified to see people motivated to avoid processed and inflammatory foods (Paleo), markedly reduce refined carbohydrates (Atkins) and avoid gluten (Gluten Free Diet).

In the spirit of a healthy 2015 I propose a New Year's Challenge:  For a period of 30 days, eat a balanced diet but avoid all grains and added sugars/sweeteners.  At the end of 30 days write me a note to tell me how you feel and what you noticed.

For guidelines to this approach I recommend

Wishing you health and prosperity in 2015,
Ann Marie Childers, MD