Are you type A or B?
This is an article about type A and B personality traits and how being one or the other can affect your health! There are other personality types but I want to concentrate mainly on type A.
Let’s see if you’re type A
Do you have what you might call a strong personality? Are you driven by ambition with plenty of get-up-and-go? Do you get impatient and irritable if things don’t go your way? Are you competitive with a tendency towards aggression? Are you restless and keen to get things done? Have you a tendency to take charge and take the lead? Is your life full of time constraints, not enough hours in the day? Is your job dangerous or challenging with plenty of adrenaline flowing?
A typical profession for regular adrenaline stimulation would be a police officer in a capital city like Chicago. Another high stress occupation would be forces personnel on the front line knowing they have the possibility of being seriously injured or even killed.
If you answered yes to most of the above questions about your characteristics, then you are likely a type A personality.
So what about type B
As you’ve probably guessed, type B is quite the opposite to type A. The type B personality will be laid back. Although they may be driven with desires, they have a more pragmatic outlook on life. They are not usually very competitive and keep an even temper in most situations. They don’t feel guilty if they decide to read a book instead of getting on with the chores. The chores can wait. I’m not saying they’re lazy, they’re just chilled and live life as it comes and are happy to let things take their course. They aren’t usually worriers unlike the type A person and are often blessed with an abundance of patience.
So what’s the problem?
The problem is that type A people keep themselves in a state of self-maintained stress. They are on the go physically and mentally and this is not good for their health! Type A people require more magnesium than type B people. Inevitably, this means they are more likely to develop magnesium deficiency which will make them more prone to health problems.
They are often adrenaline junkies and because of their increased reaction to stress and because they have this self-induced tension most of the time, they will be constantly initiating their stress hormones and using up their magnesium reserves to produce the energy required to keep up the ‘fight-flight’ response. The stimulus they are exerting on their bodies by being in this high energy stressed state, is detrimental particularly to the most important system in our bodies, the cardiovascular system.
A magnesium deficiency state will be much more likely in a type A person than a type B. This can lead to high blood pressure, spasms of the coronary arteries, arrhythmias, heart attacks and areas of heart tissue cell death known as infarcts. Type A people need to be extra careful with their magnesium input to keep themselves healthy. We can’t help how we’re made and perhaps these high energy type A personalities don’t realize how tense and stressed they are but it is of prime importance to them to learn how to de-stress and calm down.
To stay healthy, type A people will need a higher magnesium level in their bodies than their type B calmer counterparts. Learning to calm down and relax is of utmost importance. Having timeout to unwind and rest their minds and bodies is vital. They mustn’t feel guilty when they kick back and do nothing, it is imperative for their good health.
Studies have shown that type A people have a lower mg level in their blood cells than type B individuals. There is a particular gene known as HLA-Bw35 which exhibits a tendancy for low blood cell magnesium values. Carriers of this gene have been tested for their personality type and many of type A individuals have this gene within them¹.
Type A persons may notice that when they are under more stress, any health problems they have, are exacerbated. Muscle spasms, back pain, headaches, angina, hypertension, digestive problems etc.. It is also possible that if you exhibit any of these conditions, they have come about because of magnesium deficiency.
And the answer?
The answer is to know when you’re stressed or likely to be stressed and take precautions to protect your body. Those precautions? Extra magnesium to give your body that extra energy when it’s most needed. This is particularly important if you are doing excessive exercise or have an athletic event where you know you will be exerting yourself for long periods of time. Marathons, long distance or cross country running, football games, tennis, skiing, jogging, cycling, hours in the gym, check this out – magnesium and working out. But remember, stress comes in all forms and the high flyer type will probably be prone to stress at work with meetings, presentations, talks, brain storming and problem solving. Don’t forget, working or exercising in very cold conditions or very hot days is also very stressful for your body.
If you are one of these people who is driven, aggressive, living on adrenaline, influenced by time constraints and always under pressure, you are at risk². Being aware of this fact will reduce that risk and help you get through your day to day life without succumbing to health problems and cardiovascular diseases. Be aware of all the stresses in your life and when necessary, counteract it with extra magnesium.
If you’re type B?
If you are a type B personality, it doesn’t mean you can be complacent. Although you’re less likely to be as deficient as a type A individual, magnesium deficiency in these modern times is still a problem for everyone. You too can make sure you protect yourself from the many illnesses and conditions that magnesium deficiency can cause. Despite being a naturally calm person, you will still have many stresses in your life. These can come from all directions like for instance: marital problems, taking drugs, prescription or otherwise, moving house, bereavement, sick child, sick parent, divorce, trouble at work, money problems – just to name a few.
Magnesium is one of the most essential nutrients for a healthy body. It is completely safe and the only side effect is a laxative if one takes too much. Your body naturally excretes excess magnesium if you overdose. Certain magnesium salts are more laxative than others, such as Mg sulphate and Mg carbonate. Mg citrate powder is best for constipation and is a gentle laxative. It is a godsend to the many that suffer this distressing problem. An estimated 19% of Americans suffer from constipation but the minority of them know nothing of the benefit of Mg which is a natural and safe everyday remedy. It would also indicate that these people are Mg deficient! IMHO Mg chloride is the best supplement and can be taken in water so it is easy to administer.
Just as a side note, my husband who is a skilled microscopist, worked as a senior science officer for Wellcome. On one occasion, one of the junior lab assistants accidently imbibed a dose of barium chloride, which is very toxic. She was immediately given an antidote, a good amount of magnesium sulphate which had the effect of binding with the barium to form barium sulphate which then made the barium insoluble and enabled it to go straight through her. Suffice to say, she was on the loo for quite a while! but the magnesium sulphate did its job and saved her from serious poisoning which could have caused paralysis or even death. Barium Chloride has been used as rat poison. Barium Sulphate is used as a marker for body scans by xray.
The only contra indication for taking Mg are:
- Don’t take it if you have kidney failure. If you have kidney disease then consult your doctor.
- Don’t take it if you have a blockage in the intestines or bowel.
- Don’t take it without consulting your doctor if you have Bradycardia (extra slow heartbeat).
- Don’t take it in IV form if you have Myasthenia gravis. (Intra venous application is usually only by a medical practioner).
Any comments would be welcomed. I always answer comments and questions.
- Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1990 Mar; 87(5): 1894–1898.HLA- and H-2-associated variations of intra- and extracellular magnesium content. J G Henrotte, M Pla, and J Dausset
- Henrotte JG, “Type A behavior and magnesium metabolism” Magnesium, vol. 5, pp. 201-210, 1986