Monday, October 14, 2013

Magnesium RBC test results

Update: December 2014.  Much has changed since the original post.  I CAN tolerate Jigsaw Magnesium and take 500-750 mg per day balanced with a 1:1 ratio with Calcium.  My RBC Mag has been steady between 5.6-5.9 and my most recent hair test was a 5.  Unfortunately, tissue sodium and potassium remain too high.

The short answer is that my result is a 5.9 compared to a reference range of 4.2-6.8.  The reference range was revised downward in 1962 from 5.0-7.0.  Still, even using the old scale, my result is solidly within the normal range. 6.0-7.0 is considered optimal by knowledgeable practitioners so I'm right on the edge.  I've also read that it is rare to see a patient's value much higher than 6.5 nowadays because of poor soils and processed food. 

What is an RBC test?  As you can probably guess, RBC stands for red blood cell.  This test is a blood test but unlike the more commonly used serum test, it measures your value at the cellular level. When magnesium is low, it is typically pulled from the cells to keep it normal in the blood.  Thus, a serum test is pretty much useless.   I got the results in less than 72 hours and paid just $49.  Moreover, I did not have to get a referral from a doctor.  I simply ordered the test online and showed up at the lab.

Overall, I feel pretty good about this result.  I may be heading to a point in which I cannot take any magnesium at all in supplement form with the Thym-Adren because I am becoming more and more intolerant to the Mag.  Part of me was hoping to see a value that was over the top because my supplementation but that didn't happen.  I do have one key question that I posted on Facebook but have yet to receive an answer: How well does an RBC test correlate with the Mag level on the hair test?  If my RBC is 5.9, can I expect a 5 or even a 6 on my next hair test?  Surely, it will be better than the 2s and 3s that I have gotten recently (ideal is 6).  Again, my sodium level was down to 30 back in March and if the Mag is 5, it would be a ratio of 6.0 compared with an ideal of 4.17.  Even a 32/4 or 8.0 would be within my "normal range" and for an athlete, it's better to be a little on the high side than low.  In other words, a ratio of 8.0 is clearly preferable to a 2.0.  15.0 or higher?  Not so much.

So where to go from here? 
The Mag citrate failed me.  The Mag chloride helped for a while but it's not the answer.  Jigsaw Mag also failed because of the co-factors.  The only form of Mag that I trust is the pure Malate and it must be taken with calcium.  It's either the Thym-Adren or the Cal/Mag, not both!  I don't know what my result would be if I went with all Cal/Mag malate instead of the Thym-Adren.  I do know that all Cal/Mag citrate didn't work.  Also, the Thym-Adren has proven to be effective in both lowering tissue sodium AND keeping the critical sodium/potassium ratio in balance.  I'm going with all Thym-Adren until further notice. If my body rudely reminds me next week that I need Mag again, I'll take a low dose.  Since I won't be supplementing Mag, it is critical that I control my diet by trying to get enough Mag in food sources and eliminate sugar, caffeine and alcohol, which deplete Mag.  My next hair test will be in about 6 weeks.  I expect to see at least a decent result.  My tissue sodium is probably near 80 now but within 6 weeks, it could be as low as 45.  Suppose that at some future date, sodium dips under 30 but the Mag drops under 4.  I take Cal/Mag malate temporarily then go back to the Thym-Adren when I feel it's necessary.
Bottom line, I am more hopeful now than I was this morning.


Meghan Garner said...

Interesting question there, Justin. Have you tried having a hair test to prove your hypothesis? Either way, it's great that you're proactive in learning about your body, going as far as consulting with a diagnostic lab just to be sure. I hope more people be more like you, so that they can determine what's wrong before it manifests. Good luck and tell us if there's really a correlation!
Meghan Garner @

Crazy J said...

Thanks for the comment. I dropped to 5.6 on my latest test this month. No big deal. That's not a significant drop. I'll get my latest hair test result any day now and will post when I do. It's possible to see a low Mag RBC and a high Mag on the hair test. That often indicates Mag loss and supplementation is still recommended esp. if your Mag is low relative to Cal. Bottom line, consider the RBC, hair level and ratios.