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Magnesium, Leptin and Obesity

Published on August 12, 2011


One would think that eating too much would result in an abundance of nutritional support for cells. But being overweight and undernourished is a reality that is just now beginning to be understood. It is quite strange to say to people that the more they eat the more malnourished they are destined to be.

Overweight people can be suffering from gross malnutrition because the nutritional values of the basic foods we eat have been steadily dropping for the last fifty years even as toxic exposures increase. Fiber intake also tends to be much lower in obese people meaning they are eating too many processed white foods with not only the fiber removed but also many of the vitamins and minerals.

Excessive calorie intake is the fast track to leptin resistance.  Since it’s hard to eat excess of the so-called "clean" foods, excess calories usually come from junk foods as do magnesium deficiencies.

Jennifer Welsh, a LiveScience staff writer wrote, “When a dieter starves themselves of calories, they starve their brain cells as well. New research finds that these hungry brain cells then release "feed me" signals, which drive hunger, slow metabolism and may cause diets to fail.” Neurons sense nutrients in the body and tell the body when it’s time to eat and time to stop eating. The point is that dieters are not just starving themselves of calories they are starving themselves of vital minerals and this comes on top of already present mineral deficiencies that are characteristic of overweight and obese populations.

Obesity is Starvation

Obese people generally have hyperinsulinemia (high levels of insulin in the blood) and insulin causes fat to be stored in fat cells. Obese people in general cannot satisfy their body’s demands for energy or nutrients by eating. In this scenario, lethargy, hunger and stress is not a cause of obesity, it’s an effect of it (due to the internal starvation). Syndrome X, also known as metabolic syndrome is a combination of insulin resistance, leptin resistance and glucose intolerance. All of these conditions are precursors to diabetes, heart disease, obesity and cancer.

You have the power to open the door for a better health and understanding of your body! Here is the Key

Leptin and Magnesium

The new fashion in obesity is to look at the role of leptin but what we are going to do in this essay is look, not just at leptin, but on the leptin magnesium axis that speaks miles more than looking at either of these substances alone. High levels of leptin seem to be related to increased urinary magnesium loss in patients with type 1 diabetes.

Hypomagnesaemia and hyperleptinemia are common in patients with diabetes.[1] Moreover, it has been demonstrated that leptin stimulates diuresis and natriuresis causing the urinary magnesium loss in type 1 diabetes. Human leptin is a protein of 167 amino acids. It is manufactured primarily in the adipocytes of white adipose tissue, and the level of circulating leptin is directly proportional to the total amount of fat in the body.

Magnesium makes dieting easier by supporting the brain’s sensitivity to leptin. Magnesium’s benefits go on forever it seems. Now we have to get serious and introduce it to the world of diet, weight loss and the medical science of obesity and diabetes.

Studies have shown that leptin and magnesium both play significant if not primary roles in heart disease, obesity, diabetes, osteoporosis, autoimmune diseases, reproductive disorders, and perhaps the rate of aging itself.[2] Many chronic diseases are now linked to excess inflammation such as heart disease and diabetes. High leptin levels and low magnesium levels are extremely pro-inflammatory.[3],[4]


Leptin is a hormone that triggers your sense of feeling full. A leptin deficiency can cause overeating, leading to obesity and obesity-related disease. Most people don’t have a leptin deficiency — they have lost sensitivity to leptin called leptin resistance. Much like insulin resistance, it’s possible to have enough leptin, but because your body doesn’t use it effectively, you still feel hungry.[5] Leptin resistance is a serious health issue. Essentially you are over feeding your body but the perception from your brain is that you are starving.

The journal Circulation showed that men with established heart disease had blood leptin levels 16% higher than men considered heart healthy. Every 30% increase in leptin increased the risk of a heart attack or a vascular event by 25% (Wallace et al 2001).

Obesity and type 2 diabetes epidemics have joined forces ravaging the health of  hundreds of millions of people around the world who have been significantly affected by this deadly pair. It is extremely important to understand how these two epidemics are intertwined.
The popular belief is that if one eats too much sugar, they’ll get fat and develop diabetes but this is not half the truth. There’s more to the obesity-diabetes connection than this classic way doctors and everyone else is thinking.

"Leptin is the way that your fat stores speak to your brain to let your brain know how much energy is available and, very importantly, what to do with it"  states well known metabolic specialist and author of the book The Rosedale Diet, Dr. Ron Rosedale.

When leptin is working properly it prevents nutrient spillover by telling insulin to shut off after your tank is full. Every time you eat food in excess (of energy required by the body) leptin and insulin levels surge. Leptin resistance leads to insulin resistance which further fixes leptin resistance. Leptin levels correlate with insulin levels (both are high in hyperinsulinemia.[6] With insulin resistance, you no longer have insulin sensitivity. When you have insulin sensitivity, you only need to secrete a small amount of insulin to get calories into the muscle and liver.

Researchers have discovered that a proper diet and regular exercise have the greatest effects on reversing the damage done by leptin resistance. Low carbohydrate and high protein diets are beneficial as is a diet that contains good fats. This can facilitate weight loss and help to fight leptin resistance

Too little sleep can lower the appetite-control hormone leptin and increase the appetite-stimulating hormone ghrelin. Now research reports that sleep loss may increase dangerous belly fat.[7] Get a good night’s sleep should be standard doctors orders but sleep does not come on command for a large segment of people.

Melatonin, the hormone that regulates your body’s internal clock, is closely linked with leptin production. Your body produces the most leptin overnight while you sleep. Anything that disrupts your sleep can disrupt leptin production. Nothing will disturb sleep more than a serious magnesium deficiency except for pharmaceutical medications for sleep disorders.



One potential cause for lower serum magnesium in obese youth is low dietary magnesium intake. Studies do show that the calorie-adjusted magnesium intake in obese children was lower compared with lean children. Hypomagnesemia (serum magnesium0.78 mmol/l) was present in 27% of healthy lean children and 55% of obese children.[8]

One of the causes of Magnesium deficiency is over-medicating with synthetic pharmaceutical drugs approved by the FDA and prescribed by doctors. They prevent the body from absorbing magnesium. It’s a cruel reality that diabetics are prescribed medicines that further reduce their magnesium reserves putting them into a fatal tailspin.[9]

The body requires magnesium to absorb and utilize nutrients. Without magnesium the body cannot properly use the fats, proteins and carbohydrates we eat every day. When we aren’t getting what we need from our diet, the body will crave more food in an effort to obtain those vital nutrients. By activating hundreds of enzymes in the body, magnesium helps you get the most from what you eat, so your body can be satisfied with the amount of food you genuinely need.

Conditions like insulin resistance and diabetes are strongly associated with obesity, so controlling blood sugar levels is a key factor in maintaining a healthy weight. When enough magnesium is present in the body, insulin can function properly and blood glucose is used for energy. A magnesium deficiency causes insulin to function poorly, resulting in high blood sugar and fat storage.

Magnesium is a co-factor of many enzymes involved in glucose metabolism. Magnesium has an important role in insulin action, and insulin stimulates magnesium uptake in insulin-sensitive tissues. Magnesium is required for both proper glucose utilization and insulin signaling. Metabolic alterations in cellular magnesium, which may play the role of a second messenger for insulin action, contribute to insulin resistance. Magnesium is needed to extract energy from food and for optimal insulin function. The more energy you extract from food the less you have to eat to feel great.

Vitamin D has co-factors that the body needs in order to utilize vitamin D properly. Magnesium is the most important co-factor for vitamin D. In fact, it is common for rising vitamin D levels to exacerbate an underlying magnesium deficiency. If one is having problems supplementing with vitamin D, a magnesium deficiency could be the reason why. Magnesium is a mineral that is essential to all cells of all known living organisms. We also see research showing that low serum magnesium levels can be raised by injections of Vitamin D.[10] Vit D supplemmentation of 2000 mg. / day also reduces incidence of type 2 diabetes.


Stress management is one of the most important keys in fighting obesity, and magnesium is a vital nutrient for reducing stress. This is because magnesium supports healthy adrenal glands. These are the glands that control the release of adrenaline and cortisol, two hormones related to stress response. While these hormones are vital to living, too much of them can cause weight gain and other health problems. Magnesium helps regulate these hormones so they are not overproduced.

Magnesium also regulates nervous system response. When we have a magnesium deficiency, our nervous system is over stimulated, leading to irritation, nervousness and stress. When there is plenty of magnesium, the mind and body are finally able to relax and reverse the effects of stress.

Optimizing hormone levels is critical because hormones  influence our moods, thought patterns, (negative and positive) behaviors, appearance, and our ability to handle stress.

Eating throws powerful hormonal switches and it’s just as important when you eat as what you eat, states Byron Richards, leptin expert of Wellness Resources.  He provides 5 simple rules to getting the leptin in our systems to work properly for you and help you lose weight:

Following a Leptin Diet:

Combining this with adequate magnesium levels and vitamin D will together significantly impact the problems of obesity, metabolic syndrome and outright diabetes as well as many other diseases of aging.

Description: Magnesium Ancient Minerals Produxcts.jpg

Ancient Minerals Magnesium Products

Transdermal Magnesium applications as recommended by Dr. Sircus to increase magnesium levels without the gastrointestinal problems that so often prevent good absorption.

[2]Leptin—Its Essential Role in Health, Disease and Aging;  Dr. Ron Rosedale;

[3]Towards a pro-inflammatory and immunomodulatory emerging role of leptin ; Otero et al; Rheumatology 2006;45:944–950;

[5] Leptin affects food intake and body weight by actions on the hypothalamus. Although leptin resistance is common in obesity, mechanisms have not been identified. Specuation holds that the consumption of high amounts of fructose causes leptin resistance and elevated triglycerides in rats. It’s been suggested that the major physiological role of leptin is not as a “satiety signal” to prevent obesity in times of energy excess, but as a “starvation signal” to maintain adequate fat stores for survival during times of energy deficit and that leptin resistance in overweight individuals is the standard feature of mammalian physiology which possibly confers a survival advantage.

[10] Results: Baseline concentrations of serum Magnesium and 25 hydroxy vitamin D in obese individuals was lower than non obese individuals, the former being significant. Twenty seven percent of obese women versus 15% of non obese women were Magnesium deficient. Vitamin D injection caused a significant increase in serum Magnesium concentration in obese subjects but not in non obese subjects. There was also a significant increase of serum 25 hydroxy vitamin D in both groups. Mean elevation in serum Magnesium level among women who had Magnesium deficiency was higher than women with Magnesium adequacy (P<0.05).
Conclusion: Low serum Magnesium concentration in obese individuals can be modified by vitamin D injection (JPMA 59:258; 2009).

# # # #

Learn how to treat yourself and your loved ones safely at home With Magnesium and other powerful medicinals

Learn Dr Sircus protocol including dosages, methods, side effects and contra-indications. This bundle includes the special edition of Transdermal Magnesium Therapy and Treatment Essentials eBooks.

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Dr. Mark Sircus AC., OMD, DM (P)

Director International Medical Veritas Association
Doctor of Oriental and Pastoral Medicine

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For questions pertaining to your own personal health issues or for specific dosing of Dr. Sircus's protocol items please seek a consultation or visit our knowledge base to see if your question may have been answered previously.

    Excellent info provided

  • Awesome! Been looking for info like this , thanks for posting, insulin resistance diet.

  • Hello There. I found your weblog the usage of msn. This is a very neatly written article. I’ll be sure to bookmark it and return to read more of your useful info. Thanks for the post. I’ll definitely return.

  • Margaret

    According to this article fructose is one cause of obesity. It said that fructose is bad to our health and it contributes in different kind of diseases like liver and heart diseases.

  • I have been surfing online more than 3 hours these days, yet I by no means discovered any interesting article like yours. It is lovely worth enough for me. In my opinion, if all webmasters and bloggers made excellent content material as you did, the web will likely be much more helpful than ever before.

  • Cordier

    Superb articles!Thank you.
    I am going to follow this site.You have convinced me to take magnesium. I am diabetic 2 and overweight.My HDL is low.
    Just a little misprint:”…Vitamin D supplementation of 2000 mg”, it is rather “…of 2000 UI” per day.
    Best regards

  • Greg Barton

    I can attest to the magnesium connection to weight loss. Since getting my magnesium level under control I have lost 20 pounds over about a year and have not had any rebound. I haven’t really been dieting, just not eating as much. I don’t want to eat as much! 🙂 I expect to get down to my ideal weight in another year or so.

  • I would like to draw your attention Dr Sircus, to the fact that not all fat and obese people are fat or obese due to gluttony, over eating of junk and over processed food in addition to laziness, stupidity and all the related fat myths and stigma, and that not all of them are diseased.

    This is pure generalization,speculation and well known stereotypes propagated and embedded in society’s spy-chi for the astronomical financial gains of the same medical and pharmaceutical industries you disagree with and warns us about.

    I enjoy your videos and respect your ideas and agree with your paradigm, and ask you:
    Why if the harm done to people’s health world wide, you think it is not affecting fat and obese people the same way or even more?

    Why would the increase in obesity seen in recent years not be due to the same factors affecting the world populations, you expose and discuss so well in your books and videos?

    Why would the effects of stigma, fat phobia and discriminated against any type of fat, and the thinness hysteria in society, at work, in health care, not be the main reasons that are causing,major stress, eating disorders, death and disease to the none fat, the fat and the obese adults and children alike, world wide?

    Why would your great therapies not be presented as healing methods to all of us, regardless of weight, age,shape or size, since we are all suffering from the same deficiencies, misdiagnoses and mistreatment as you say so well.?

    Thank you and best regards

    • UnbiasedNONPhilistineLady

      My douchebag alert rings so loud for this comment. I mean way to deflect from the importance of the article. Wow…. Clearly fat angry and in need of an enema or some vital mineral.

  • The health status of the digestive system and the kidneys significantly influence magnesium status. So, magnesium is a must by default not only in fighting with obesity.

  • anita graham

    Video is of no use – anything requiring hearing; how about a transcript? Please, thank you.

    • Claudia – IMVA Staff

      Sorry Anita,

      We don’t transcribe these videos. I can tell you however, that for the Leptin Diet by Byron Richards you can go to his site and find lots of information on this. He has written a book on it and his basic premise is the 5 Rules of the Leptin Diet which are really quite simple and are

      1. Never eat after dinner. Finish eating dinner at least three hours before bed.
      2. Eat three meals a day. Allow 5-6 hours between meals. Do not snack!
      3. Do not eat large meals. Finish a meal when you are slightly less than full.
      4. Eat a high protein breakfast.
      5. Reduce the amount of carbs eaten.

      Also if you do a search on the Internet for Leptin Diet you will come up with many similar versions that can be followed by most people.

      We will take your concerns about videos into consideration in the future ! Thanks for writing to us about this.

      • Melissa

        No snacking? I have been eating minimeals and find this works for me. Is this something I should reconsider?

        • RichardL

          Definitely reconsider. Every time we eat, we release insulin. Eating more often just means that we have persistent higher insulin levels. This will create insulin resistance and it also puts us in fat storage mode. Fasting for more than 12 hours will release growth hormone and actually burn fat. It also begins to repair the overworked pancreas and helps fix leptin resistance. So, skip snacks and even better, eat twice a day instead of three. Look into intermittent fasting.