Currently viewing the tag: "DNA"

by Valerie Nusbaum

Randy and I moved to Thurmont almost 30 years ago. We were welcomed warmly around town and generally accepted as part of the community. However, when new people move to any small town there’s always some hesitancy by the locals to grant the newcomers local status.  We answered all the questions about where we came from and who our “people” were, but we knew we’d have many more years ahead of us lodged in the “move-in” category.  We took part in town celebrations and activities, joined a few groups, supported local businesses (and started one of our own), and we still got the occasional suspicious look from someone whose lineage traced back more than 200 years with roots grounded in Thurmont soil.

Back in the day, Randy would go out to run errands around town and he’d come home laughing and overjoyed when someone—anyone—had recognized him. Randy came home one day and proudly proclaimed that he surely must be a local because the kid at the pizza place had given him a nickname and had yelled it at him out on the street. I’m not sure that being referred to as “Pepsi Man” makes one a local, but it made my hubby happy. Over the years, Randy has been called a few other names, but I won’t print those here.

We’ve lived in the same house for the last 29-plus years, and we’ve seen neighbors and old-timers come and go. We’re pretty much the old-timers now, and we consider ourselves locals, but we still get asked how long we’ve lived here. Occasionally, it turns into a competition that we usually lose, with the other party doing a head shake and an eye roll at our newness to the area.

So, imagine my surprise when Randy did some research into my family tree. He’d spent several years researching his own family history through, complete with DNA testing. I’d held off on that for myself because the idea of drooling into a test tube just didn’t appeal to me, but that’s neither here nor there for the purposes of this column.

Randy showed me documentation that my great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather Matthaeus Ambrose emigrated from Germany sometime between 1696 when he was born and 1736. Old Matthaeus settled in—wait for it—Thurmont, Maryland! Oh, yes he did. Thurmont was actually Mechanicstown in those days, as we all know, but it’s still right here.  Matthaeus married a local woman named Maria Catherine Spohn, and the couple had a son in 1736. Their son, William Henry Ambrose, grew up to become The Reverend Ambrose. So, my roots to this community not only go way back, but I’m also from good stock. Matthaeus and the family owned a flour mill on Owens Creek, and after his and Maria’s deaths in 1784 and 1780, respectively, some of the Ambroses migrated to Berkeley County, West Virginia.

Several generations later, my great-grandfather, George Wilson Ambrose, was born in West Virginia in 1868, and he moved to Brunswick, Maryland, to find work on the railroad. George and his wife, Eliza Catherine Hoaf, had twelve children, one of which was my dear grandfather, Ralphie.

Ralph and Ethel Virginia Whittington married and had four children, including my mother, Wanda, who lived almost all of her 90 years in Brunswick. Wanda married John Clifford Zombro from Bolivar, West Virginia, and I came along six years later.

Randy, who is from Walkersville (and Mount Pleasant), and I looked all over Frederick County for a place to call home. Things were quite different in Thurmont back in those days, but we liked the area and the people seemed nice. Heck, any small town with two big buffets couldn’t be bad, right? We chose a corner lot in what was to be a new, small development, and we built a modest house, adding  more space when we outgrew what we started with. We’ve seen a lot of businesses and people come and go, and we’ve done our best to adapt. We’re still here and, like it or not, we plan to stay a while longer.

Speaking of Randy, I owe him a big “thank you” for doing this research for me. He worked hard on it and all I did was bake some brownies…and go with him to pick strawberries…and buy him dinner at Los Amigos. I also went out and cleaned the upholstery in his truck from when he got hot fudge all over the seats. Marriage is a give-and-take, no matter where we live.

It’s funny. I grew up in Brunswick and I had a wonderful childhood with my parents and brother, grandparents, and loads of cousins and aunts and uncles. I love my hometown and have the greatest respect for the people in it. The folks in Brunswick always did and still do treat me like a local and one of the old guard. But when I moved to Thurmont, I felt at home and now I know why. I can feel you shaking your head and rolling your eyes, and that’s just fine with me, but don’t tell me I’m not a local anymore.

Magnesium and Its  Health Benefits

by Dr. Thomas K. Lo, Advanced Chiropractic & Nutritional Healing Center

Magnesium is a nutrient that helps the body stay healthy. Magnesium is important for many processes in the body. It helps regulate muscle and nerve function, blood sugar levels, blood pressure and aids in making protein, bone, and DNA. It is one of the most abundant minerals in the human body and used in over 300 different physiological processes.

What Foods Provide Magnesium?

  Magnesium is in many natural foods and is added to fortified foods. You can get the recommended daily amounts of magnesium by eating a variety of foods. These foods include legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, green leafy vegetables, avocados, dark chocolate, bananas, milk, yogurt, and other milk products.

Am I Getting Enough Magnesium?

The diets of many people in the United States provide less than the recommended amounts of magnesium. Men older than 70 and teenage girls and boys are most likely to have low intakes of magnesium.

What Happens If You Do Not Get Enough Magnesium?

In the short term, getting too little magnesium does not produce obvious symptoms. When healthy people have low intakes, the kidneys help retain magnesium by limiting the amount lost in urine. Low magnesium intakes for long periods, however, can lead to a magnesium deficiency. In addition, some medical conditions and medications interfere with the body’s ability to absorb magnesium or increase the amount of magnesium that the body excretes. 

Very high doses of zinc supplements can also interfere with the body’s ability to absorb and regulate magnesium.

Some symptoms of magnesium deficiency include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and weakness. Extreme magnesium deficiency can cause numbness, tingling, muscle cramps, seizures, personality changes, and an abnormal heart rhythm.

People with gastrointestinal diseases (such as Crohn’s disease and celiac disease), type 2 diabetes, long-term alcoholism and older people are more likely to get too little magnesium.

What Are Some Effects of Magnesium On Health?

Research has shown that magnesium has positive effects on high blood pressure and heart disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and migraine headaches.

Magnesium that is naturally present in food and beverages is not harmful and does not need to be limited. In healthy people, the kidneys can get rid of any excess in the urine. However, magnesium in dietary supplements and medications should not be consumed in amounts above the upper limit, unless recommended by a healthcare provider.

High intakes of magnesium from dietary supplements and medications can cause diarrhea, nausea, and abdominal cramping. Extremely high intakes of magnesium can lead to irregular heartbeat and cardiac arrest.

Signs of Magnesium Deficiency

Following are some signs of magnesium deficiency. Always check with your health practitioner if you think you are having a health issue.

Poor Cognitive Processing

Are you having bouts of brain fog, poor concentration, or constant memory issues? The brain contains the highest concentration of mitochondria in the male body (females have a higher concentration in their ovaries). Mitochondria are heavily reliant on magnesium for energy production so a deficiency can hamper your brain performance significantly.

Headaches & Chronic Migraines

Sufferers of chronic migraines often have lower levels of magnesium in their bodies. Magnesium also plays the additional key role of regulating neurotransmitter production, which can also influence migraines.

Constipation & IBS

Proper magnesium intake softens stools by drawing water into the bowels, which supports healthy elimination. If stools become too hard, they move slower through the colon and become a problem. Additionally, magnesium plays a major role in regulating muscle contractions in the intestines. This is why a magnesium deficiency often results in constipation.


Magnesium is highly involved with energy production. As mentioned before, the mitochondria in your cells heavily rely on magnesium to produce energy. Your mitochondrial function primarily determines your energy levels. Additionally, magnesium supports the adrenal glands, which can play a part in energy production as well.


You can see improvement with insomnia because magnesium is involved in the production of GABA in the brain. GABA is a chemical that promotes relaxation. If you do not have enough magnesium to produce adequate amounts of GABA, your sleep may suffer.

Muscle Spasms & Cramping

Magnesium is important for proper nerve transmission and plays a vital role in muscle contraction. When magnesium is depleted, muscle contractions can become weak and uncoordinated, leading to involuntary spasms and painful cramps.

In addition, when magnesium stores are low in the body, the nervous system can become hyper-excitable (meaning easily overstimulated) which can increase muscle tension. Magnesium can play a role here by helping to elicit an overall calming effect on the mind and body while soothing and relaxing the muscles.

Heart Arrhythmia

The heart is a muscle that constantly contracts inside our bodies without needing to be consciously controlled. Just as with other muscles in the body, the heart relies heavily on magnesium for proper contractibility. This is thought to be due to its role in regulating calcium and potassium concentrations in the muscle tissue. This includes rapid heartbeats, slow heartbeats, and sudden changes in heart rhythm for no apparent reason.

Numbness and Tingling

If you often feel numbness or tingling sensations in your body, such as in the hands and feet, this is likely due to a change in nerve activity. Because of its role in healthy nerve transmission, magnesium deficiency may be partly playing a role. Some studies have shown that magnesium may be able to relieve or prevent numbness and tingling in the extremities.

Supporting Your Magnesium Levels

Follow these strategies to boost your magnesium levels.

Magnesium Rich Foods

There are great food sources that are easy to incorporate into your daily life. Pick a few high magnesium foods and incorporate them on a regular basis.

Epsom Salt Baths

Perhaps one of the most relaxing ways to get more magnesium into your body is by taking an Epsom salt bath. Epsom salts are actually a form of magnesium that can absorb into the body through the skin. 

If you are struggling with health issues, call the Advanced Chiropractic & Nutritional Healing Center at 240-651-1650 for a free consultation. Dr. Lo uses Nutritional Response Testing® to analyze the body to determine the underlying causes of ill or non-optimum health. The office is located at 7310 Grove Road #107, Frederick, MD. Visit the website at