8

votes

Prove that consuming more magnesium is paleo

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 10, 2012 at 11:27 AM

The biochemical importance of magnesium has been already well-described. Many here are familiar with the difficulties of getting sufficient magnesium from natural sources (i.e. not supplements). That of course makes me wonder how it is that our ancestors ever got "enough" magnesium. Some have mentioned that water sources historically had more magnesium. But given just how little magnesium there is in rivers (4 ppm), this seems hard to imagine.

Is there any evidence of hunter-gatherers today consuming 350-400mg or more per day? If so, what are their sources? (Bonus points if you can find evidence that our ancestors consumed at least that much.)

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

Which is why it makes good sense to include them in a real paleo diet, right?

246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0

(21420)

on March 12, 2012
at 12:07 PM

@Melissa - I didn't say they completely abandoned seafood or tubers - I just said they "made their way out of the diets". If your hunting and scavenging resulted in finding upwards of 800lbs of meat for your "tribe" (aurochs, mammoth, giant sloth, etc) then looking for another food source wasn't as much a necessity, until those food sources became scarce.

A03f0d03067a43c61786481d91e5d3a0

(1078)

on March 11, 2012
at 06:49 AM

No, sorry, the figure I quoted was for potato skins only. What I should have quoted was a figure for potatoes with skins: for those you would need to eat 1.25kg to get 350 mg of Mg, which is 1160 calories. Calories aside, that just seems like an insane amount of potatoes (although meat and other things contain some magnesium too).

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on March 11, 2012
at 02:41 AM

Doesn't seem that great compared to what? 800g of potatoes is only 750 cals.

A03f0d03067a43c61786481d91e5d3a0

(1078)

on March 11, 2012
at 12:54 AM

Hmmm... I was under the impression that paleo folk limited seed consumption (though it certainly wasn't zero) because it wasn't efficient to harvest seeds until the agricultural revolution. Tubers and don't seem to be that great: One needs to eat 800g of potatoes to eat 350mg of Mg, and potatoes seem to be one of the most magnesium rich tubers. Fruits seem even less hopeful, with a few exceptions, unless one's prepared to eat 1kg of them. http://nutritiondata.self.com/foods-009120000000000000000-w.html

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on March 11, 2012
at 12:40 AM

there is still evidence those ice age refugia populations consumed seafood, tubers, etc.

A03f0d03067a43c61786481d91e5d3a0

(1078)

on March 11, 2012
at 12:34 AM

These are all pretty good points.

A03f0d03067a43c61786481d91e5d3a0

(1078)

on March 11, 2012
at 12:24 AM

Korion, I've only seen one study that found transdermal Mg to be effective, and it only had something like 10 participants. Are you familiar with any others?

742ff8ba4ff55e84593ede14ac1c3cab

(3536)

on March 10, 2012
at 11:35 PM

This. I could easily get lots of magnesium consuming tubers and fruit.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on March 10, 2012
at 07:28 PM

I second the motion. The real "first wave" of Atkins.

35a8b223ae5d863f17a8c9e3a8eed5eb

(571)

on March 10, 2012
at 05:32 PM

you make too much sense

F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587

(7660)

on March 10, 2012
at 04:23 PM

+1 for uncovering the historical genesis of the low-carb craze.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on March 10, 2012
at 03:57 PM

and seeds too. There is robust evidence for consumption of mg-rich seeds in the Paleolithic.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on March 10, 2012
at 03:48 PM

I'll defend my cuppa joe to the death, but with its diuretic qualities, I would wager it is at best a wash. I like to think it is a neat quirk that a lot of our herbs and food stuffs have antagonizing parts within in them balancing the antinutrients with nutrients to mitigate the damage.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on March 10, 2012
at 03:11 PM

I wouldn't blame the coffee or the alcohol, I'd blame the anti-nutrients in grains and the stressy lifestyles.

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on March 10, 2012
at 02:57 PM

coffee is actually a very rich source of magnesium...

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on March 10, 2012
at 02:56 PM

yes not just for magnesium too. Fructose and potassium are really good for you too.

E0250b1e6dc5ec1539ffb745042b4d80

(3651)

on March 10, 2012
at 01:49 PM

I don't have a link but I remember one explanation was that soil is now depleted of magnesium compared to back then.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on March 10, 2012
at 01:37 PM

Awesome question! I hear magnesium everywhere, but I think, in the context of a diet low in anti-nutrients, a normal level of magnesium is fine. I guess, if you swim in the sea a lot, you will never be deficient. After all, epsom salt baths have been shown to work.

  • A03f0d03067a43c61786481d91e5d3a0

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6 Answers

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11
246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0

(21420)

on March 10, 2012
at 03:49 PM

How much soil do you eat in a day, compared to say, a person who's dinner plate was/is the ground?

Also, I personally believe that Paleolithic man probably did not get anywhere near the amount of absorbable calcium that we get today (if we eat dairy). Calcium requires magnesium for absorption, and therefore depletes it. This is why I suggest athletes who get much of their protein from dairy sources (protein powders, specifically) to supplement with additional magnesium before bedtime, at least an hour outside of consuming dairy products (or any other food, preferably). I would probably suggest the same for most "Primal" dieters as well as most Paleo folks who need some help sleeping.

Pre-Migratory Homo Sapiens also ate a very varied diet, many trash pits around coastal areas include oyster shells, fish bones, etc along with their normal fare... seafood being quite a good source of magnesium. It wasn't until migration towards ice-age paleolithic europe that seafood (and tubers, green veggies, etc) started making their way out of the diets, and the low-carb craze began.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on March 10, 2012
at 07:28 PM

I second the motion. The real "first wave" of Atkins.

F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587

(7660)

on March 10, 2012
at 04:23 PM

+1 for uncovering the historical genesis of the low-carb craze.

A03f0d03067a43c61786481d91e5d3a0

(1078)

on March 11, 2012
at 12:34 AM

These are all pretty good points.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on March 11, 2012
at 12:40 AM

there is still evidence those ice age refugia populations consumed seafood, tubers, etc.

246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0

(21420)

on March 12, 2012
at 12:07 PM

@Melissa - I didn't say they completely abandoned seafood or tubers - I just said they "made their way out of the diets". If your hunting and scavenging resulted in finding upwards of 800lbs of meat for your "tribe" (aurochs, mammoth, giant sloth, etc) then looking for another food source wasn't as much a necessity, until those food sources became scarce.

10
E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on March 10, 2012
at 01:47 PM

Hunter gatherers eat fruit and tubers both are very rich in magnesium.

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

Which is why it makes good sense to include them in a real paleo diet, right?

742ff8ba4ff55e84593ede14ac1c3cab

(3536)

on March 10, 2012
at 11:35 PM

This. I could easily get lots of magnesium consuming tubers and fruit.

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on March 10, 2012
at 02:56 PM

yes not just for magnesium too. Fructose and potassium are really good for you too.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on March 10, 2012
at 03:57 PM

and seeds too. There is robust evidence for consumption of mg-rich seeds in the Paleolithic.

A03f0d03067a43c61786481d91e5d3a0

(1078)

on March 11, 2012
at 12:54 AM

Hmmm... I was under the impression that paleo folk limited seed consumption (though it certainly wasn't zero) because it wasn't efficient to harvest seeds until the agricultural revolution. Tubers and don't seem to be that great: One needs to eat 800g of potatoes to eat 350mg of Mg, and potatoes seem to be one of the most magnesium rich tubers. Fruits seem even less hopeful, with a few exceptions, unless one's prepared to eat 1kg of them. http://nutritiondata.self.com/foods-009120000000000000000-w.html

35a8b223ae5d863f17a8c9e3a8eed5eb

(571)

on March 10, 2012
at 05:32 PM

you make too much sense

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on March 11, 2012
at 02:41 AM

Doesn't seem that great compared to what? 800g of potatoes is only 750 cals.

A03f0d03067a43c61786481d91e5d3a0

(1078)

on March 11, 2012
at 06:49 AM

No, sorry, the figure I quoted was for potato skins only. What I should have quoted was a figure for potatoes with skins: for those you would need to eat 1.25kg to get 350 mg of Mg, which is 1160 calories. Calories aside, that just seems like an insane amount of potatoes (although meat and other things contain some magnesium too).

4
03bb06ced2ae02a265909342d4cf3e75

on March 10, 2012
at 01:34 PM

Just throwing this out there, but maybe our modern lifestyle has upped our need for magnesium? Things like coffee and alcohol can deplete magnesium, and I believe stress and grain consumption can as well. Part of the reason we have trouble getting enough could be because we've so chronically depleted it out of our systems in recent history.

One other thing to throw out there is that we used to eat a lot more dirt. We didn't clean stuff well throughout history, and I'm sure we picked up loads of minerals in our diet through accidentally eating dirt. (But also I have no idea what kind of magnesium levels are in dirt, so that might not be it at all.)

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on March 10, 2012
at 03:48 PM

I'll defend my cuppa joe to the death, but with its diuretic qualities, I would wager it is at best a wash. I like to think it is a neat quirk that a lot of our herbs and food stuffs have antagonizing parts within in them balancing the antinutrients with nutrients to mitigate the damage.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on March 10, 2012
at 03:11 PM

I wouldn't blame the coffee or the alcohol, I'd blame the anti-nutrients in grains and the stressy lifestyles.

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on March 10, 2012
at 02:57 PM

coffee is actually a very rich source of magnesium...

0
5661757f5a7ad1d09c44d7b3ce9b533f

on December 09, 2013
at 12:49 AM

I believe that boron helps to absorb and/or retain magnesium and calcium.

Eat your beets. Beets get heart rot if they don't get lots of boron, iirc, so a good-looking beet was probably fertilized using boron, amongst other things, whereas with most other crops you'd never notice the low boron level in the soil.

0
A048b66e08306d405986b6c04bf5e8e4

on December 06, 2013
at 10:43 PM

Hunter-gatherers probably got a lot more magnesium than we do because natural bodies of water are higher in magnesium than softened, reverse osmosis water that is drunk today

0
62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on December 05, 2013
at 07:24 AM

Such a thing cannot easily be 'proved.' However, evidence can get given. For instance, crop soils are badly depleted of magnesium and magnesium is not typically added as a fertilizer. Consequently, hybrid plant species have been developed that do not require much magnesium to grow. Meaning our food now has much less magnesium than it once did and that includes even organic foods. Cooking and processing and long term storage of foods also depletes magnesium. Fluoride, now added in our water, binds with magnesium creating an insoluble mineral that accumulates in bones (not good!). Phytic acid, phosphates, and tannins also bind with magnesium rendering it unusable to us as do many medications commonly prescribed (diuretics, corticosteriods, birth control pills, etc). Many things we do today also increase the need for magnesium, things like sugar intake, heavy exercise, and mental stress. High calcium intake will block magnesium absorption as will high iron intake and lactose intake. Is it any wonder many are magnesium deficient!?!

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