First, Fix Faults—in Nutrition


I begin by quoting from my post First, Fix Faults (March 23, 2011):

“I think that this principle of fixing faults first applies to all aspects of health and fitness. For example, ceasing to eat bad stuff (sweets, bread and most grain products, too many carbs, too much protein, wrong fats, medicated meat, eggs from abused hens, artificial additives) helps more than eating any supplements could. It helps more than any medicine, too.”

Now, a practical example of the statement.

In response to my previous post, the one on silly questions, Brenton Deed wrote:

“I love your work—you teach people to think for themselves. Many people want a guru to tell them what to do.

“By the way, I am someone who has restarted martial arts after some years away from it. Naturally I re-bought your book Stretching Scientifically (4th edition rather than my original 1st edition) to reclaim my flexibility. I found I was remaining very sore despite increased rest. I privately thought the soreness was old age creeping up on me, but no! After much investigation and experimentation with exercise regimes and nutrition, I discovered I had insufficient magnesium in my diet. With supplements and improved diet the problem went away, and I’m again making progress! I wouldn’t have believed nutrition would make that much difference … so I’ve learned something.”

When I was young, in my twenties, I would not have believed it either. But as people age, their tolerance for nonsense diminishes. When the body is young, for a time it can overcome stuff that would quickly make an older person too weak to train and eventually ill. But even in youth, eating wrong is costly—because overcoming its effects drains the body’s resources—thus preventing one from reaching full potential. Very often wrong eating is behind an uneven form and susceptibility to infections.

Take the magnesium deficiency: It may be caused by a diet poor in magnesium. It may be caused by taking antibiotics to treat infections facilitated by poor nutrition. It may also be caused by hyperglycemia from too many carbs or by inflammation of the intestines, ranging from a mild inflammation to celiac disease, from too much grains—all weakening one’s immune system, which may lead to taking antibiotics.

Unbreakable Umbrella vs. Watermelon

8 Responses to “First, Fix Faults—in Nutrition”

  1. 1 Spas Bojanov

    Very interesting post.
    I am curious who do you find out that you lack magnesium, is there a simple medical test and/or easy to identify symptoms?

  2. 3 Mick

    Very nice article. As I’m sure many people will be wondering what are good food sources of magnesium, I would like to share the resource below, which contains a table listing foods high in magnesium, as well as the proportions and weight of said foods which provided the levels of magnesium stated.

    Something to keep in mind of course, is the quality and purity of the foods will have a positive or negative effect on how much of a given nutrient they will contain… Tom Kurz has already made that point when he mentioned medicated meats, eggs from abused hens, artificial additives, etc.. Another point to consider, is if the soil the plants grew in was mineral rich or deficient. Or whether the animal sources of magnesium (or anything else) were farm raised or wild caught. If farm raised, how stressed were they by this environment, and what were they fed, as this will obviously effect what you will find in the meat. If they were fed a magnesium deficient or devoid diet, you will find little or none… same with plants grown in mineral deficient soil. I don’t point these things out to make anyone feel overwhelmed, or have them throw their hands in the air with frustrated exclamations of “then what’s the point?!”. Merely to make people aware that if choosing the food route to increase their magnesium intake, there are potential pitfalls which should be avoided.

    Another thing to keep in mind, is that the USRDA levels are established based upon what is believed to be the bare minimum requirement to *survive* without disease, *not* to thrive in full health and vigor. Further, in the case of magnesium, and other vitamins and minerals, studies carried out worldwide show that the USRDA is not sufficient to make up for the amount lost in day-to-day bodily processes (bowel movements, sweat, etc). Any physical or mental exertion, be it sports, work, exercise, or other form of stress increases magnesium requirements. Pair this with a generally mineral and vitamin deficient food supply (if you are in the US), with the additional fact that most people consume *less* than the USRDA, and it is easy to see how the problem occurs, and how widespread it in fact is. You can read further at the following link, and I highly suggest you do:

    I have no idea how good the supplement they have on offer is, but I may try it out. Perhaps Mr. Kurz knows of a good magnesium supplement, whose magnesium is highly bio-available, and whose manufacturer’s are honest?

    The main points to take away from my post, are:

    A. Whenever possible, try to source your foods from as close to a wild state as possible. Too many “human produced” foods, whether meat or plant, are deficient. Especially those supplied by large conglomerates, who are too often short-sighted.

    B. The USRDA should be recognized for, and treated as what they are: minimums, which often fall short of the minimum.

    So, check out both links given, do a bit of reading and research on your own, see what you come up with, and choose your plan of attack. Here are both links again for your convenience:

  3. 4 elskbrev

    RE: “Spas Bojanov on May 12, 2011 said:
    Very interesting post.
    I am curious who do you find out that you lack magnesium, is there a simple medical test and/or easy to identify symptoms?”

    Spas Bojanov,

    I swim a little–30 – 45 minutes per session, at most–in a moderately heated pool. When I take a daily Calcium Citrate/Magnesium AminoAcid Chelate supplement (powder form, no inactive ingredients or fillers), I do not experience immersion diuresis, something scuba divers are ordinarily familiar with, and if I do not supplement, then I do.

    If you are looking for a simple test that *might* tell you whether you have a magnesium and/or calcium deficiency, spend some time fully immersed in water at least up to your neck. The water pressure alone, regardless of water temperature, may induce excessive urination if you have a calcium and/or magnesium deficiency. After as little as 45 minutes in the water, you might find you have a full bladder every 10-15 minutes for the next hour–that’s immersion diuresis–and it has nothing to do with the size of your bladder.

    Sorry, I can’t pin it down to one mineral or the other, as I took both calcium and magnesium together from the start, and have never consulted a doctor about doing this. I mentioned my story to my doctor and got the ‘Hmm, whatever,’ response–she wasn ‘t interested.

    My experience with immersion diuresis, apparently caused by a deficiency in electrolytes magnesium and/or calcium, coincides somewhat with symptoms of “polyuria-polydipsia (increased thirst and increased urination)” found in pediatric cases of the Gitelman’s syndrome (see Mr. Kurz’ link, above: where the culprit is deficiency in magnesium [and other electrolytes]. Regardless of cause, or the actual prognosis, the symptoms of the mineral deficiency are apparently similar, so I would suggest trying just to see if total immersion in water will effect these symptoms. Or, just try to find a doctor who will humor you and administer a lab test.


  4. Tom,

    Another great post along with some good comments. THANK YOU!

    I have a couple comments along with a link to an article in our Blog on magnesium that may be of interest to your readers. It includes some things most folk’s are not aware of about magnesium and it’s a brief article..…ou-may-realize/

    1. The research tells us that a high percentage of Americans are deficient in magnesium because of the poor American Diet. The research also says that only around 1% of Americans eats a well balence nutrient sufficient diet. That was difficult for even me to believe when it was reported by Sanjay Gupta, M.D. on CNN until I actually read the study.

    2. Both Magnesium and Calcium are important for nerve and muscle function and bone health. Therefore, I often recommend if you are supplementing to take your magnesium with calcium since they work together. The article will go into more little known things and recommendations.

    Dr. Richard J. Vahl, MDc, DC, Ph.D.

  5. 6 joe

    I grew up in the 60’s eating junkfood. In the 80’s and early 90’s I ate a lacto/ovo vegeterian diet. Way too much food. I emulated Dave Scott (Iron Man) in his high calorie days. Career cut off time for training but not for too many calories. Between too many hours of work, too few of sleep, too much food, way too much antibiotics, and no training, I crashed. Lost alot of weight fast, slept forever and showed no improvement until we ran out of money to spend on conventional docs.

    When I found a doc who crashed similarly, she insisted I try Barry Sears’ Zone diet. I resisted for a year. Finally gave in after more set backs and reading of Dave Scott’s comeback on the Zone. Been on that diet to good effect since 1996. When I mess it up, I get the standard overtraining symptoms Mr Kurz wrote about beautifully.

    Since ’96 I continued to read on diet. In the last few years I started to read simlarly on training and sleep. That is how I found you Mr Kurz. Thank you very much. You provided several missing links in working past arthritis and other overtraining and wrong training symptoms.

    Please let me know what you think of some of these authors when possible

    Weston Price

    Ron Schmid

    Barry Sears

    Thank you again.
    Joe Neu
    ps. Have you ever had the chance to train in aikido? In the Chicago area?

  6. I am glad that you find my writing helpful.

    Long time ago I read and liked articles by Weston A. Price or by members of his foundation. I used Barry Sears’ advice from his first Zone book, but soon I discovered that I had to make adjustments to this diet to fit my needs: I had to decrease the amount of carbohydrate and protein and increase fat, especially saturated fat. I don’t read much about nutrition recently, I just eat foods that keep me performing optimally—that is healthy.

    My views on nutrition are found in the following posts:

    On Losing Weight and On Eating for Performance—Short and….

    Monkeys Eat Less, Live Longer—But Why? see comments

    Does This Make My Arthritis Look …

    Sorry, I never practiced Aikido, and I never lived in Chicago.

  7. 8 joe

    thank you. I will work through those links.
    when you are next in the chicago area, please do let us know. among other valuable aspects of life, your writing has helped me get back into aikido. our dojo is small. our students have read (most of them anyway) your books. a few of them are even beginning to understand. our warmups have changed considerably in the last year.
    thank you again.
    see you when we do.
    Joe Neu

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