I have been hearing good things about the magnesium supplement Natural Calm, should I try it? It seems un-paleo, if you will, kind of like Emergen-C, sort of unnatural?? I have fierce chocolate cravings and have read that it may be due to magnesium deficiency. Also, is it recommended to get the one with additional calcium? I am an active and fit 38-year old woman, generally healthy although I think the years of coffee, chocolate, veganism etc may have contributed to some adrenal fatigue, hence the need to give up cacao for a month or so...as it is a daily strong craving. Thank you!
asked bylove_1 (170)
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on August 08, 2011
at 06:07 PM
A magnesium insufficiency is a lot less paleo than taking natural calm.
Yes I do think it will help things, generally magnesium works to relax the nerves and inhibit various neurotransmissions that can lead to cravings. Calcium is always needed, just make sure you are getting enough from somewhere. Too little calcium and satiety signaling is sluggish. You can get enough calcium from a paleo diet but often people don't.
Try to associate chocolate with something bad in your mind, I suppose your fatigue is bad enough.
on August 08, 2011
at 06:22 PM
I also eat a lot of chocolate and have found myself making excuses to go to the store because I'm out of it. (Honey, you are out of bananas!! No no.. I will go get you some, I love you that much) Here is my question on the same topic for more info.
Here is a thought.. maybe there is nothing wrong with getting your magnesium from chocolate?? What is a more or less natural food source? Wonderful, yummy, satisfying chocolate? Or Natural Calm pills??.
on August 08, 2011
at 06:16 PM
I have been taking Natural Calm for several months, maybe 6 or 7. It does help with the chocolate craving but doesn't get completely rid of it for me.
on December 07, 2013
at 01:40 PM
Have you tried just keeping a bag of unsweetened cocoa powder in the house? If you melt a little coconut oil or, better, cocoa butter and mix it together you've got 'chocolate' which is way healthier and more satiating than a shop-bought, sugary bar. If that doesn't satisfy the craving, it was probably the sugar you really wanted. If it does, great! You get your magnesium from a perfectly healthy food source and it feels like an indulgence. (And tastes much nicer than Natural Calm :))
on December 06, 2013
at 11:50 PM
@CaveDad just so you know that particular magnesium isn't in a pill form, it is a powder, which I like because it doesn't need nor contain fillers and binders. I know that the magnesium itself is extracted directly from the ocean, so happens to be perfectly natural. Not that one can actually make unnatural magnesium, as magnesium is a mineral and actually a metal and can’t be synthesized like vitamins can.
On the other hand, chocolate requires cocoa beans get roasted, cracked and de-shelled and made into chocolate liquor. During the cooking process the healthful flavonoids typically degrade. Then sugars are added (the sugars can be artificial sweeteners like maltitol and sucralose or HFCS). Flavors are added, this can be natural vanilla, in higher quality chocolate, but many brands use the artificial version "vanillin" i.e. 4-hydroxy-3-methoxybenzaldehyde. Then emulsifiers are blended in (most often the emulsifier is lecithin made from GMO soy, at least in US production).
Then you get milk chocolate which often uses pasteurized, powered milk, which in turn increases the saturated fat content and decreases the cocoa content further. Milk also has been shown to hinder the body’s ability to absorb and use the healthy flavonoid content such as epicatechin. Unless the manufacturer notes that they are using organic, unpasteurized milk, then it can additionally contain antibiotics and rBGH and even aspartame, which is currently allowed by the FDA in the processing of milk. Because of this dark chocolate is typically better for one and will generally have a higher cocoa content.
So chocolate as a whole isn't necessarily more natural than collected magnesium, I guess is my point.
That said there are superior brands of chocolate out there that have high quality products that I can agree have some health benefits and are a decent source of magnesium as @CaveDad says.
In their raw state, prior to processing, cocoa beans have a higher ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity), meaning their anti-oxidant value, than even acai berries. They are quite minerally rich too, especially as far as Magnesium, potassium, zinc, copper, selenium and manganese go.
Good brands will typically have at least a 70% cocoa content, will be low sugar, will be organic (meaning that 95% or above of the ingredients are organically derived, so even these can still can contain GMOs, thank you USDA).
The higher the actual cocoa content the more potential antioxidants and flavonoids such as procyanidins and epicatechin. The polyphenols and catechins found in cocoa have been shown to improve blood flow and blood pressure because they stimulate nitric oxide production in the arteries. Some studies have actually found improved cardiovascular health in those who consume a bit of decent chocolate regularly (who knows if any negative health issues were developing concurrently like blood sugar levels, which is the frailty of such specific studies)
The flavonols found in the cocoa bean can also protect against sun damage, increase skin density and hydration and even decrease oxidized LDL cholesterol. So I agree with @CaveDad there is nothing too sinful about consuming some good quality organic chocolate, with a high cocoa content and low sugar once in a while. But one has to be quite selective.
However, I do agree with what @David Moss says and he is certainly correct. That said, I will say that tannins do occur in so many of our natural foods and this content doesn't typically outweigh their benefits. So many fruits, drinks, berries, nuts, beans contain tannins such as apricots, dates, eggplant, grapes, kiwi, cherries, peaches, blueberries, cranberries, gooseberries, raspberries, strawberries, pecans, pistachios, cashews, walnuts, vinegar, alfalfa, herbal teas, apple cider, apple juice, cinnamon, coriander, vanilla, turmeric, thyme, oregano, clove, beans. Many of these foods are considered very healthy for the human body.
Likewise, phytic acid is contained in many healthful foods and while a large intake of phytic acid is not healthy (because it can bind with dietary minerals and render them unabsorbable) it is dramatically reduced in cocoa beans during the roasting process. Beef contains a decent amount of phytic acid as well because of a cows diet, however ruminants utilize phytic acid quite well.
Phytic acid is a weird creature and isn’t entirely bad either, it is utilized by plant tissue to store energy and the mineral phosphorous. It is also quite a powerful antioxidant and was found in one study to help with cancer by suppressing oxidative damage, however the FDA vigorously denies that this acid has any benefit in treating cancer.
Probably more ramblings than @love 1 wanted to hear, but there you go.
on December 03, 2013
at 10:28 PM
I love chocolate myself (spoilt on European chocolate though) so I can fully appreciate chocolate cravings. I find it interesting the insatiable chocolate craving some women get, especially prior to and during their menses (or during pregnancy). What is interesting is that magnesium is lowest in the female body just prior to menses and during pregnancy. The other interesting fact is that actual cocoa is a very rich source of magnesium, although the lesser brands typically use tons of sugar and corn syrup in place of ample amounts of cocoa.
Magnesium is also known to researchers as enhancing insulin secretion and thus facilitating sugar metabolism. In fact without magnesium, insulin is not able to transfer glucose into cells. So people with low magnesium levels can potentially accumulate glucose and insulin build up in the blood, this causing various types of tissue damage associated with diabetes.
So could this craving be an indication of the body’s desire for magnesium? Could the lack of magnesium that is hindering glucoses ability to enter a cell and be turned into energy by the body, be the cause behind why the body craves more glucose? Some say so and I think it is entirely feasable based on the facts I list above. Especially as some people find a reduced craving for chocolate once they start restoring healthy levels of magnesium.