Hello, I’m Tamara Bess. Welcome to my podcast: Listen To Your Body; Heal Your Life.
I want to tell you a story this morning as I introduce myself and my podcast to you. The story really kind of goes back quite a ways in my life but I’ll just jump you in at May 17th. On that morning I was talking with my husband about our new journey on the ketogenic diet and like every new journey I take, I’m really looking for ways to make my body feel better; how to heal my body, how to heal my own discomfort. So we were having a conversation like that and I was getting ready to go to my personal training session, but on this particular day I’d woken up in the morning with a cramp in the bottom of my left foot. I had had issues with cramps in my feet before and I’d discovered that if I ate sugar – if I eat too much of it or ate it before I went to bed – I would wake up during the middle of the night with these really excruciating cramps in my legs and feet. I mean like cramps that would curl my toes backwards toward my knees and I have to get out of bed and walk around to make the cramps go away. Then I get back in bed, go back to sleep and cramps would return. So I removed sugar from my diet completely. But on this particular day I woke up again with a cramp in the bottom of my left foot and it went all the way through the morning. It stayed there. It didn’t go away like it typically did in the past.
So I wake up in the morning and I’m getting ready for my personal training session and this cramp is persisting. I had seen something or read something online about magnesium deficiency, so I started to be curious about that and on my way to my training session I was listening to a YouTube video about low magnesium. And as I listened I heard several of the symptoms that were listen in just that one video that were warning signs that were particular to me. Here are the warning signs for this video. It said: leg cramps, insomnia, fatigue, muscle pain, fibromyalgia, anxiety, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, migraine headaches and osteoporosis. So I hear this list and I start to think: “Wow. Ok. On that list, my problems are: 1. Leg cramps, 2. Insomnia, 3. Fatigue, 4. Muscle pain, Five. Anxiety. So I’m heading to my session and going okay maybe this is the answer.
I’ve been working with a doctor of functional medicine for about a year. It was a kind of a plan were at the beginning of the year I paid for a whole year long membership. What I discovered in that is that when you pay for a membership for a functional medicine doctor and they get really busy your concerns and your problems become less of a concern than their ability to get through their schedule and to help all of the people that they have. So, needless to say, at the end of my year-long period with the functional medicine doctor, I really hadn’t had any help. I just still had to battle the symptoms that I had gone to him to get help with. Plus I had daily asthma and I was aware that there is a lot of inflammation in my body because while I was working with a functional medicine doctor, he did have me get a complete blood panel and my rheumatoid arthritis factor that he had tested for was high. And what he had explained to me was that there was a lot of inflammation in my body. But aside from getting that and getting really good advice to eat clean, to drink clean water, to exercise, and to reduce my stress, there was really nothing that had been done for me with this doctor to help me feel better. My long-term chronic inflammation in my body seems to be my biggest problem and it seemed to be just my problem.
So I was already feeling some frustration and here I was thinking about all of these things when I walk into my personal training session. Now, I had been working with my trainer for about three months and had really gained some strength in the three months that I had been with her. And by the time I got to the training session, the cramp was still in the bottom of my foot and I mentioned that to her as we started the workout. The thing that was interested was that during the workout, I didn’t have any strength. I could not push the weight. It looked like a serious drop in my strength and my endurance. And when that happened I said: “Wow, okay. I know that magnesium has something to do with the way our muscles function, I have a cramp in the bottom of my foot and now I have no strength.” So I’m talking with my trainer about this and I’m also telling her about my frustration that I had with not having had success with the functional medicine doctor that I saw. And I’m thinking that a monthly membership or a yearly membership with a functional medicine doctor isn’t going to be my best route. So now I start telling her about a new, local functional medicine doctor that I had found, but that doctor charges $1,000 for the initial visit and work up. So my trainer hears this and she says: “Please, before you do anything, don’t go and pay $1,000 for somebody’s work up. Please, before you do that go see my doctor. Go to a free seminar from my doctor.”
And, you know, I said “ok”, but I really did leave that session feeling discouraged. I really felt like these unresolved mysteries inside of my body and my desire to heal myself – it was like having a sign on my neck or at a stamp on my forehead that was a welcome sign for anyone who was selling services or snake oil or new and improved ways of looking at problems that they didn’t have any idea how to heal. But what would happen as the end result: I have empty pockets, I still feel discouraged and they have more of my money than I do.
So I leave the training session with this kind of feeling of discouragement and the cramp is still in the bottom of my foot. And I went online to research the best magnesium supplements that I could find and I ordered them from Amazon. And I decided that until they arrived I would just supplement my magnesium by soaking in Epsom salt baths. I had already discovered that that helped with sleep and I already knew that magnesium could absorb through the skin so, I just decided that I was going to let that be my first line of defense until my magnesium actually came from Amazon.
So I drew a bath at noon. It was the middle of the day and I just didn’t care. I was really feeling frustrated and I thought: “You know what? I’m going to soak myself in Epsom salt. I’ve go to get rid of this cramp in the bottom of my foot.” And I decided that while I was there in the bathtub going to search YouTube for video evidence that healing comes from listening to the body. So, I get in the tub, I’m starting my soak and I found a physician who is suggesting that healing comes from listening to the body. So, I’m watching his video and he says here’s the answer: you have to listen to the body. You have to “hear” what the body has an allergic reaction to and then from that reaction you have to create immunotherapy and you can heal the body. Well, I had heard about immunotherapy before. I’d heard about it from my allergist/immunologist who had done skin testing to see what I was allergic to. The allergist found that I had lots of different allergies and she told me that I had asthma because I have such severe allergies. And she also recommended the treatment, which is $200 a month, for 3 to 5 years, of drops that you put under your tongue, that are created from the things that I was allergic to. And that’s supposed to be the cure. That’s the same thing that this YouTube doctor was talking about while I’m sitting there in my bathtub. My first impulse was to reach out to my allergist, the one who recommended that treatment that’s going to cost $2,000 a year for the next 3 to 5 years, and ask them what I need to do to get started on the proces. That was my first impulse.
But then after I got off the phone with them, I started asking myself a different question.
Why is it that in order for me to obtain health, I need to rely on the “expertise” of people who gladly take my money and offer me a blanket one-size-fits-all treatment? Just moments before, I had been really convinced that I needed to go and get this treatment and put these drops under my tongue three to five times a day for the next 3 to 5 years.
But then . . . . I just . . . felt so frustrated to think that the problems that are happening in my body I have to rely on someone outside of me to heal! And I just . . . that thought just kept really, really bothering me.
And so, I waited for my magnesium. I didn’t take any action toward any of the direction of paying someone else to help me heal. Then the Magnesium came and only after two days of taking the new multivitamin that I had taken and the Magnesium supplements, I already felt more energized and the leg cramps went away. I felt more at ease and I didn’t suffer any more insomnia during the night. So, at that point in time when I started feeling better so quickly, I actually thought: “Let me take this just a little bit further.” I started asking myself several questions. What if magnesium has some impact on asthma? What if magnesium has an impact on the way the body deals with allergens? What if magnesium has something to do with the long-term low-grade inflammation in my body that I think is a result of long-term trauma and stress? What if?
So I started doing some research. I did a search on Google for: “magnesium deficiency and allergy and asthma.” I found a research study in the Natural Medicine Journal on the effect of oral magnesium supplementation on asthma. It was a randomized placebo-controlled trial. It lasted 6 months and it included 55 men and women with mild to moderate asthma. Half of them are given a 170 mg twice a day of magnesium citrate and half of them were given a placebo.
What they measured was the reactivity in the lungs. They measured that by measuring how forcefully that asthmatics could breathe out. How forcefully they could send out a puff of air. And they also measured the subjective measurement of how well the people thought that they could control their asthma as well as their feeling of quality of life. They did this by giving all of the participants a Metacholine Challenge. What that is it’s a medicine that they administer to asthmatics to reduce asthmatics’ ability to blow air out forcefully. And what they found they had to give significantly more Metacholine to the people who had been taking magnesium for six months in order to be able to decrease their forced expiratory volume by 20%. It means that those asthmatics who are taking magnesium could tolerate much more irritants to their lungs without having a reduction in their ability to breathe. So it showed a 5.8% improvement over time with those who were taking magnesium and this was a statistically significant finding. They had significant Improvement, as well, in their quality of life and in their asthma control – their perception of asthma control after 6 months. So as I dug in further what they found as their conclusion was that the magnesium reduces the inflammation in the airways in two ways. The first is that it inhibits the chemicals that initiate the spasms in the lung. The second is that it inhibits the chemicals that increase the inflammatory circulation of nitric oxide in the body. So nitric oxide is one of the chemicals in the body that is responsible for inflammation.
I also found out that there’s an added burden for asthmatics related to magnesium supplementation and it is that medications that asthmatics take deplete magnesium in the body. Stress also depletes magnesium in the body. I don’t have hyperventilation as an asthmatic, but also hyperventilation reduces it. And anxiety depletes magnesium. So now I’m saying: “Wow! Ok. Asthma is affected by depleted magnesium in the body.” I already know I have a depletion of magnesium because of the cramps in my feet and because of how well I respond to magnesium soaks in terms of my insomnia. So, now I’m getting excited and I want to see what else magnesium impacts in the body. Because I want to see how else magnesium is responsible for what’s happening in my body.
So the next thing I look at is magnesium deficiency and allergies. I just Google search it. And the Google search comes up with: magnesium deficiency is associated with increased histamine levels and allergies. What does that mean? Well, when you have difficulties with allergies you have lots of histamine in your body and then you go and take medicine: an antihistamine. Allergy medicine is an antihistamine. So when there’s not enough magnesium in your body, your body produces too much histamine. And when you produce too much histamine you have to take a pill to reduce the histamine. So there’s another answer for me magnesium deficiency is associated with allergies.
The next thing I want to look at is PSVT. About 2 years ago I had an episode of It’s called paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia. What does that mean? Well, a couple of years ago, I was lounging on my couch at the end of the day and getting ready to watch some Netflix and my heart started pounding really fast. I was chilling and my heart started pounding really fast. I took the measurement, it was 172 beats per minute. Now this has happened to me before. It’s happened to me over several years and I just, kind of, wrote it of as anxiety. But, here I am, laying on the couch, literally in my underwear and relaxing at the end of the day. There is nothing on my mind. There’s no stress and my heart starts pounding. Well, after about 20 minutes it’s still pounding. And, when you have PSVT there are things that you can do to make it stop and I had tried all those things and it hadn’t made it stop so I thought: “You know, I’d better call someone.” So I did. I called the nurse hotline for my insurance company and I said: “Hey, my heart’s beating too fast.” And she said: “How fast?” And I said: “It’s been about 20 minutes and it’s beating 172 beats per minute.” And she said okay, she didn’t believe me. So she said: “I’ll watch the time and you count.” So, I said okay. I find my pulse which, isn’t hard because it’s bounding out of my chest. And she says: “Okay, start now.” After minute she said: “What’s the number?” And I said: “Hundred and seventy-two.” And she said; “Okay I want you to hang up the phone right now and call 911.” So, I did hang up and call 911, told them what was happening. And, they sent an ambulance. I said: “thank you” and then by that time my hands were shaking. I don’t know if you’ve ever had your heart beating fast and that hard for a prolonged period of time, but after a while it’s really hard to do anything. So, you know, our cell phones now don’t have actual buttons on them they’re virtual keys. And so I’m trying to use my shaky hands to call the manager of the building I’m living in because it’s locked in an ambulance is coming. So, I can hear the siren coming down the street, I finally reach the manager of the building and she lets them in and right then the person from the insurance company calls me back and says: “Did you call 911?” And I said: “Yes, they’re on their way.”
So, long story short is that my heart beat that fast for about 2 hours. And at the end of two hours the reason it stopped is because they put an IV in my arm, they got a crash cart ready, and they surrounded my bed. There were about three nurses and two doctors in the room. They asked me if I was ready and I said: “Well, I mean, what choice did I have?” By this time it’s kind of hurting that my heart is beating that hard and fast for 2 hours so, I say: “Yeah I’m ready.” I mean, what choice do I have? They push a medicine into my IV and they lift my left arm. They put it over my head and it stops my heart. It completely stopped my heart. So, if you’ve ever had that sensation (I hope you never have) but most people don’t pay attention to what their heart beating feels like until you feel that vacuum; like there was this empty space in the middle of my chest where there had been heartbeat the moment before. And it was only about two seconds that what my heart was stopped, but at that time I arched my back and said: “Woah!” Yes, I stayed alert the whole time. And I happened to look up at the monitor, which had been beating before. I had seen the heartbeat and I saw that my own heart flatlined. It’s the weirdest experience ever, but within a couple of seconds it started on its own. So thank God they didn’t have to use those crash carts on me and do it like you see in the movies where they say “Clear!” and then they do a shock to the body to start the heart again. My heart started back on its own. It was still a rapid heartbeat; it was about 90 beats per minute. But at that time they said to me:
“What does your cardiologist say about this?” And I said: “I don’t know. I don’t have a cardiologist.” They said: “Why?” I said: “Well, because I thought it was anxiety.”
So, the next place I go is to a Cardiologist. I have a heart ablation where he tells me that I had extra nerves in my heart that he’s shocked them to . . . . not shock them he actually burn them. He cauterized them. He killed some nerves in my heart to stop the PSVT from happening again. Well, guess what? In the first month, I thought I was cured. However, PSVT has come back. And so the next thing I wanted to look at was: what is the effect of magnesium on PSVT? So, I Google search again. PSVT Magnesium. So, what do I find? Find more magnesium in the body, the fewer the symptoms, although there’s more study that’s needed. But, I’m hearing that there just a little bit of connection between psvt and magnesium. Now, I don’t know about you but if I think about the possibility of having the doctor, who offered. He offered! Actually went on my, I think, 3 months visit when I went back in and I said: “Yeah, I still have a few symptoms. My heart goes too fast sometimes still. But only lasts a couple of seconds and then it slows down.” Of course he said: “Well, I can go back in and do it again.” Well, let alone the fact that that surgery was about $40,000 the other thing is, I don’t know about you, but I want all of the parts of my heart to be alive. I need my heart! I don’t want somebody going in and burning things in my heart if my heart and my rapid heartbeat can heal using magnesium.
So, that’s what my journey has look like up till now. And I want to say right now that I’m not a doctor. But, why have I started this podcast? Why have I said: “Listen to your body, heal your life?” Here’s the reason. Because as a Licensed California Marriage and Family Therapist, I’ve watched that when people heal emotionally, the body also heals. And I’ve seen that the most effective path of healing your emotional concerns is by listening to your body. Your body is this amazing historian that holds energy and memory for every event in your life that carried big emotion. Sometimes those big emotions are painful and they might lead to you to try to put away those feeling so that you can avoid the emotions and energy they hold. But when you make that choice to listen to your body, your body can lead you to the answers much in the same way as me listening to my body helped me understand that there’s maybe a connection between my symptoms and my need for Magnesium supplementation.
So, there’s a dual path here. Listen to your body to be able to understand what the emotions are telling you that are held in your body that have been there for a really long time. And listen to your body to understand how to heal those things that have, maybe, been there for a really long time that make you feel like your captive in your own body. When you listen to your body history, your body leads you to the path to emotional, mental and spiritual healing. So the goals of this podcast are to pull information about how the body and mind are connected through the works of people like Bessel VanDerKolk, Dr. John Sarno, Dr. Kelly Brogan and others, and to invite you to embark on your own healing journey by taking the courage to listen to your body.
So at the time of this podcast, at the time this first episode is recorded, I’m discovering:
– I have constantly improving peak flow measurements for my asthma,
– I’m sleeping like a rock,
– I have no anxiety,
– my body is entirely more relaxed than it was when I was not taking Magnesium
– I have higher energy. The funny thing about the higher energy piece is that I used to always say that I was an introvert. And when I said I was an introvert, I also had this, kind of, sense of discomfort on the inside about calling myself an introvert because I really wanted to be an extrovert. And, since I’ve been taking magnesium I don’t think I’m an introvert anymore. I don’t think I ever was. I think I was a tired extrovert!
– my muscle cramps and improved almost there not all the way gone,
– And I’m thinking much more clearly,
– I can talk for a prolonged period of time without becoming breathless. I used to believe that I had this work that I needed to put out in the world. I believed that I should be speaking on public platforms. I believed that I should be helping people through podcasts. But every time I moved forward in things like that I became so breathless because of my asthma and because of another issue that I have that I thought that there’s no way that I can carry forth my mission in life. And that’s changing because of magnesium. Blows my mind actually, a little bit.
– Here’s the next thing: I’m not overeating.
What I’ve noticed in myself and seen in my clients, especially in those who experience chronic stress, anxiety, and depression is it there’s this constant low-grade fatigue. And my personal way of coping with that low-grade fatigue was to eat. My thinking was: I’m tired I need to eat. And sometimes, because I have a few extra pounds, if I had been restricting my calories and trying to drop a little bit of weight, I would eat and then go: “Oh, look. I feel better.” But sometimes, it didn’t. Sometimes I just stayed tired because I couldn’t use the food I was eating as energy.
And I made this incredible discovery as I continued to look into magnesium. And that is that the Krebs cycle in the body is responsible for creating energy. But the kreb cycle requires magnesium, because without magnesium the cell walls will not open to allow glucose in to let the mitochondria do their work to create the energy for you. So, low levels of magnesium is going to equal to low energy, because it can’t get into your cells. When the energy from the food you eat can’t get into your cells, then there are higher levels of glucose and Insulin in your blood when they’re higher levels of insulin and glucose in your blood what happens next is that your body signals you to store more fat. As soon as I realized this, it just blew my mind, because: what is the implication of that? For my clients with trauma and stress, they often have issues with food. And that food issue ends up being a focus on the body and it develops a sense of shame in the body. But what if it’s a magnesium deficiency that’s to blame? What if it’s not your thought patterns? What if it’s not your genes? What if it’s not terrible eating habits? What if it’s not low self-esteem? What if it’s that you have a deficiency in your body that causes you to eat in a way that adds excess weight?
That’s just one example of some of the shifting that’s happened in my belief system. And, here’s the big one. This is why I’m starting this podcast. I’ve had a long-held belief that lifelong stress or exposure to trauma just never leaves the body. I’ve also said many, many times to my clients that you can completely heal from trauma. But at the same time, I secretly held my own questions about why I couldn’t conquer my own symptoms that I thought were long-term effects of too much stress over too long of a period of time. But here’s the shift that I’m so excited about and the reason I started this podcast: that is that scientific studies are proving that long-term magnesium deficiency leads to many of the symptoms that I suffered and that I’ve seen in people who show up in my office asking for help. I’m finding, for myself at least, that replenishing the magnesium in the body (and I have to say also that I’m supplementing with another with other minerals) makes what I formerly believed to be residual effects of trauma go away. What is the end conclusion? Now, I’m starting to really see it and believe it because I have a new life. I have new energy. I have a renewed sense of purpose. And what conclusion does that bring me to? It brings me to conclude that if you listen to your body you can heal your life. Absolutely. You can completely heal from trauma, anxiety and depression. By listening to your body and by understanding the interplay between your symptoms and what you feed yourself you can start to understand what your body needs to completely recover. Yes, good mental health habits are necessary. You have to understand how to apply them and they work together. But, for the first time in my life and for the first time in my career I can confidently say that these tools, the things that I’ve understood in a mental health capacity, that the practices that I put into my own life and that I teach others, along with empowered education about what it is that my body needs to function in a healthy way, and who knew it would be magnesium and who knows what else I’ll find . . . . With those things combined, we can empower ourselves to take our lives back into our own hands and start to live the life we want to. So this podcast is the beginning of my doing that work. No, I’m not a doctor. I’m a licensed marriage and family therapist and I can’t give you medical advice. That’s beyond my qualification and scope of practice. But I am a nerd girl who gets off on research and I’ve got a strong desire to share what I’m learning with you so that if you have the inclination too, to empower yourself, to start to explore, and to start to imagine that you can have more, to start to imagine that you can leave the life behind that’s limited by things outside of your control, then I want to be here to empower you to give you the resources to show you where to look where you might find your answers. I want to help you listen to your body so that you can heal your life. That’s the title of my podcast and is the title of my mission. You’re going to see these podcast published every Wednesday and I’m going to share everything I find with you because wellness is your birthright and it’s my birthright. And I really do believe that if we work together, if you have the tools and information in your hands, you can make the choices that you need to make so that you can be well. But it starts by listening to your body so that you can heal your life. You can do it! Thank you so much for listening. I’m Tamara Bess.
If you would like Tamara to send you the list of 65 conditions associated with low magnesium as well as 100 factors leading to deficiency, simply fill out the form below.