I know I’m starting to sound like a broken record but it was another great week! I had no afib and no palpitations of any kind. And as usual, the heart rate continues to be in the upper 80’s.
I also managed to lose another pound despite increasing my calories by around 300 calories per day the past week. I’m now down to 169 pounds. I haven’t been this light since high school. I’ve lost a total of 48 pounds since August of 2014. I actually had to go clothes shopping this past week as nothing was fitting!
I was only able to exercise one day this past week. I did 30 minutes of walking on the treadmill at a pace of 4.0 mph with an incline of 1.5%. This has been the extent of my exercising the past three weeks – 30 minutes a day (Monday – Friday) of brisk walking on the treadmill at a slight incline. I won’t start lifting weights and increasing my cardio until about the 14th week post ablation.
RBC Magnesium Test Results
As I reported in last week’s update, I had my RBC magnesium test completed. Surprisingly, I got the results back within 2 days. I wasn’t expecting to get the results so soon. I would have posted the results earlier but I’ve been so busy I thought I would wait until now to post them.
The results were better than I expected. My EXA test results showed that I was very low in magnesium. I was expecting (hoping) that the RBC results would also indicate I was “very low” in magnesium. If they did, then I could rely on the RBC test moving forward instead of the super expensive EXA test.
Unfortunately, the results showed that my magnesium levels were 5.9 mg/dL in a normal range of 4.2 – 6.8 mg/dL. That would put me smack dab in the middle of perfectly normal! How can this be when the EXA test showed I was well below the low end of normal?
Click the image for a larger picture of the test results.
Dr. Carolyn Dean, the author of the Magnesium Miracle, wrote a blog post about the RBC Magnesium blood test. In it, she wrote you want to be at least 6.0-6.5 mg/dL. She doesn’t indicate why that is the ideal minimum range but I’m going to reach out to her and ask.
Assuming she’s making that recommendation because anything less than 6.0 mg/dL is an indication you truly are low in magnesium, that would correlate somewhat to the EXA test results – that I am in fact low in magnesium. I’ll update this post after I’ve had a chance to exchange emails with her.
5/14/15 update – I did have a chance to exchange emails with Dr. Dean. I asked her what she thought about my RBC test results vs. my EXA test results (why one would show I was really low and one would show I was normal). She said that the RBC test is not as definitive as ionized magnesium testing or the EXA Test.
She also pointed out that if I was taking magnesium up until the point of the test, I would likely test higher, which makes total sense. Like an idiot, I did have my usual large dose of magnesium a few hours before I took the test so it’s possible the 5.9 test result was slightly skewed higher.
I then asked her why she recommends a minimum level of 6.0 mg/dL for the RBC test. She said a test range is the range of the sick population. Because 80% of the population is deficient in magnesium, she tells people to go for above the 80th percentile of their test levels.
Finally, I asked her about my muscle twitching. I asked her if it’s possible I’m not getting enough calcium and as a result my magnesium/calcium ratios are totally out of whack and are causing the twitching. She said it was very much a possibility and recommended I try a small dose of calcium daily to see if it makes a difference.
As per her suggestion, I will be taking a small dose of ionic calcium by Mineralife daily to see if it makes a difference.
My Experience with Requestatest.com
I’ll likely continue to use the RBC test moving forward simply because of the convenience and cost. I used www.requestatest.com. This is a really slick service and extremely cheap – only $49 for the test! To give you an idea of how cheap that is, my integrative doctor wanted to charge me $250 for the same test and told me it would take a staggering 2-3 weeks to get my test results back. No thank you.
I was on the road and happened to be close to a Request A Test testing location. I literally placed my order on my iPhone and drove to the testing location. By the time I got there, about 10 minutes later, I got a confirmation via email that my order had been received and I could stop by anytime to have the test done. No appointments were necessary.
The testing location I went to was extremely busy the day I arrived. There were probably 12-15 people ahead of me! Had the location not been so far from my home (about 45 minutes) I would have left and came back another day. Despite the long line, I “only” had to wait for about 45 minutes.
When I asked the technician if it was always this busy she said yes but I picked the busiest day and time to be tested. I’m the guy that always picks the slowest check out lanes at a grocery store so of course I picked the worse day and time to arrive.
The technician was super friendly and great at what she did. I didn’t even feel the pin prick. It took her about 3 minutes to process me. Two days later the results were in my email. How is it they can get the results to me in two days but my integrative doctor said it would take 2-3 weeks? My trust in doctors these days is dwindling.
At the end of the day, the only thing I can conclude between the two tests is that my magnesium levels aren’t ideal. I need to maintain my daily dose of magnesium (about 750 – 900 mg per day) and re-test at the end of the summer to see if there are any improvements.
Muscle Twitches (and Magnesium?)
For the past few weeks I’ve been experiencing a lot of muscle twitching all over my body – ankles, calves, thighs, hamstrings, back, chest, and neck. It’s not constant but on and off twitching here and there all day long. It’s been driving me nuts.
Muscle twitching and arrhythmias, such as atrial fibrillation, are classic signs of a magnesium deficiency. That coupled with the fact that my EXA test results show I’m very low in magnesium, you would think the obvious solution is more magnesium, right?
How do you explain, then, that I’ve been experiencing these awful twitches after I’ve been taking 750+ mg of magnesium every day for the past several weeks? I know it takes several months to increase your magnesium stores in your body but why didn’t I have all this muscle twitching all the months (and years) prior? In fact, this is the first time in my life I have experienced muscle twitches of any kind.
Something tells me something more is at play here. Of course being the hypochondriac that I am, I’ve been researching and am now convinced I have MS or ALS. Google is the worst thing for a hypochondriac!
O.K. I probably don’t have MS or ALS, but something is going on. I might have to stop all supplementation for a few days and see if the muscle twitching stops. It could be the taurine I’ve added to my supplement regimen (1,500mg per day in 3 divided doses). It could be the Zolpidem I’ve been taking nightly for my insomnia. It could be my lack of sleep (but I’ve had crappy sleep for years so why the twitching now). Maybe I’m lacking some other vitamin or mineral? Maybe the form of magnesium I’m taking is somehow causing this?
I have no idea what’s going on but I need to get if figured out because it’s driving me crazy. My main concern beyond the annoying body twitches all day long is that I’m concerned this will affect my heart and trigger my afib episodes again. After all, the heart is a muscular organ so why wouldn’t it eventually “twitch” as well?