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Q&A: From Mandurah Menopause Forum: Does intermittent fasting 16/8 help? What Magnesium type?

Updated: Jun 14

Magnesium glycinate is considered to be the most effective type of magnesium for bettering sleep, as it may help relax both the nervous system and your muscles. Magnesium malate: This type of magnesium is easily absorbed by the body and associated with decreased muscle pain.

Magnesium citrate has a gentle laxative effect that may ease gas and bloat caused by constipation.

Magnesium is a mineral that plays a crucial role in various physiological functions in the body, including muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control, and bone health. It has been suggested that magnesium may also have a positive impact on sleep. Here are a few ways in which magnesium may contribute to better sleep:

  1. Muscle Relaxation: Magnesium is known for its muscle-relaxing properties. Adequate levels of magnesium in the body may help relax muscles, which can be particularly beneficial for individuals who experience muscle tension or cramps that may interfere with sleep.

  2. Regulation of Melatonin: Magnesium may also influence the production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep-wake cycles. Some studies suggest that magnesium supplementation can increase melatonin levels, potentially promoting better sleep.

  3. GABA Activation: Magnesium plays a role in the activation of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter with calming effects on the central nervous system. GABA is involved in promoting relaxation and reducing neural excitability, which can contribute to a more restful sleep.

  4. Stress Reduction: Magnesium has been associated with stress reduction, and stress is a common factor that can negatively impact sleep. By helping to regulate the body's stress response, magnesium may indirectly contribute to improved sleep quality.

While magnesium supplementation may be beneficial for some individuals, it's essential to note that the relationship between magnesium and sleep is complex, and individual responses can vary. It's always a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen.

Magnesium can be obtained through dietary sources such as nuts, seeds, leafy green vegetables, whole grains, and fish. If you're considering magnesium supplements, it's crucial to follow recommended dosage guidelines and consult with a healthcare provider to ensure it's appropriate for your individual needs and health status.

Intermittent fasting:

The best style of intermittent fasting is the one that works for you.

We'll address the potential success with 3 key steps Duration, Path and Outcome.

The 16/8 intermittent fasting method has a specific duration, path, and potential outcomes, which can vary among individuals. Let's break down each aspect:

1. Duration:

- Fasting Period (16 hours): During this time, you abstain from consuming calories. This includes the time you spend sleeping, making it relatively convenient for some people. For example, if you start your eating window at noon, you would fast from 8 PM the previous day until 12 PM the next day.

- Eating Window (8 hours): You have an 8-hour window to consume your daily meals. This is the time when you eat your meals and meet your daily nutritional needs. Using the previous example, your eating window would be from 12 PM to 8 PM.

2. Path:

  • The path involves adhering to the specified fasting and eating windows. During the fasting period, it's important to abstain from consuming any calories. However, water, herbal tea, and black coffee are usually allowed and encouraged to stay hydrated. However, caffeine is a diuretic and may cause you to feel more dehydrated. If possible consume water, if you want to go fancy you can try mineralised water.

  • The path may also involve making healthy food choices during the eating window to ensure you meet your nutritional needs and maintain overall health.

  • The path also means that you will need to vary your fasting rhythm, this means that once a week, you will eat normally (don't fast) and every so often prolong your fasting window. For example, you could fast for 24 hours every 2 weeks and 72 hours every 3 months. Twice a year, especially after big festivities like Christmas and easter, push your fasting a little longer. The biggest fasting mistake I see a lot is; fasting the same way every day! This lowers your metabolic set point and you either don't lose weight or gain weight.

  • Don't get fixated on calorie counting. Instead aim for low carbohydate and prefer complex non processed carbohydrates.

  • Break your fast with MCT oil in your water. It is known to increase your satiety level, and modulate the insulin spiking that can happen when you break a fast.

  • Drinking a glass of water with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar can help slow down the enzyme amylase which breaks down starch (e.g rice, potatoes, corn) to glucose. This reduces the sugar spike, hence reducing the insulin spike.

  • After breaking your fast with MCT oil or Apple cider vinegar water (no honey), start your meals with veggies (e.g leafy greens, carrots etc), then proteins and nuts and oils (avocados are quite good), then consume your starches and finally your sweets. This will control the amount of glucose in your bloods stream, hence dampen the insulin spike, which helps with weight loss.

3. Outcome:

- Weight Management: The restricted eating window may lead to a reduction in overall calorie intake, contributing to weight loss.

- Metabolic Effects: Intermittent fasting, including the 16/8 method, has positive effects on insulin sensitivity and metabolism.

- Cellular Repair: During fasting periods, the body initiates processes such as autophagy, which involves the removal of damaged cells and cellular components. This is believed to contribute to cellular repair.

- Energy Levels and Focus: Many report increased energy levels and improved mental focus during fasting periods.

It's important to note that individual responses to intermittent fasting can vary. While some people may find it beneficial, others may not experience the same positive outcomes. Additionally, intermittent fasting may not be suitable for everyone, and it's advisable to consult with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian before starting any fasting regimen, especially if you have underlying health conditions or concerns.

By Dr Purity Carr

GP & Menopause Doctor

Harvey, WA

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