May 29th, 2018 •
Comments Off on The Benefits of Magnesium for Stress and Anxiety
As any sufferer knows, stress and anxiety can have a devastating effect on your life. For some people, it affects them so severely that they are left feeling like they are unable to face the world or cope with normal everyday life.
As you know by now, it’s possible to significantly reduce your stress and anxiety symptoms by taking pro-active steps and making some changes to your lifestyle. Exercising regularly, improving your diet and making sure you make time for relaxation can all have a positive impact on your mental and physical health.
In addition, it is very important to make sure you are getting the correct vitamins and minerals that your body needs to function properly. One of the most important minerals is magnesium, which activates enzymes that are responsible for thousands of biochemical reactions that contribute to your health and wellbeing.
10 Benefits of Magnesium for Stress and Anxiety
Magnesium plays an essential role in helping maintain your overall health – and it is especially important for stress and anxiety. Here are just some of the ways that magnesium can benefit people suffering from stress and anxiety:
1. Magnesium helps regulate cortisol levels
When you encounter a stressful situation, your body enters the “fight-or-flight” response to help you deal with the perceived threat. The nervous system releases stress hormones, including adrenalin and cortisol, which heighten your senses and get your body ready for action.
Unfortunately, people suffering from chronic stress and anxiety constantly find themselves in the fight-or-flight response. Excess cortisol builds up and leads to anxiety, exhaustion and depression.
This is where magnesium comes in. Magnesium can help to calm the nervous system and regulate the production of hormones. It can help to lower cortisol levels and reduce fatigue, and it is also an anti-inflammatory that can help to prevent thyroid problems.
2. Magnesium helps keep the nervous system healthy
When the nervous system goes into overdrive, you’ll start to notice a variety of physical and emotional symptoms. Anxiety often has a devastating effect on our ability to function, with even minor things causing us to stress and panic.
Magnesium is essential to the correct functioning of the nervous system and its many transmissions throughout the body. When a magnesium deficiency occurs, it can cause intense feelings of anxiety and even depression. For this reason, taking a magnesium supplement may help to reduce your symptoms and allow the brain to function optimally.
3. Magnesium helps to improve your sleep
Sleep deprivation is a major cause of stress and anxiety. As many of us know, a restless night’s sleep leaves us feeling pretty terrible the next day – and it can even lead to cardiovascular problems and other serious health issues over the long term. In short, it’s highly likely that your stress and anxiety has a lot to do with your poor sleeping patterns.
If you regularly suffer from insomnia or often find it difficult to relax in the evening, it is possible that you would really benefit from taking a magnesium supplement. You can also get magnesium sprays, which can be applied to the body before bed to leave you feeling calm and relaxed.
4. Magnesium helps with energy metabolism
A healthy metabolism is essential for maintaining normal body function and keeping the nervous system healthy.
Although magnesium doesn’t speed up the metabolism, it does play an important role in cellular energy metabolism. Those with a magnesium deficiency may find that they tire more easily and experience lower levels of energy throughout the day. In addition, low magnesium ions in brain tissue may also cause headaches and migraines.
5. Magnesium balances calcium levels
Calcium is critical to the human body and plays an essential role in developing strong teeth and bones, as well as the healthy functioning of your heart, muscles and nerves.
In addition, calcium makes a contribution to your mental health. Short-term calcium deficiency can be linked to a variety of problems including depression, stress and anxiety, while excess calcium can cause a condition known as hyperparathyroidism, which causes too much calcium to be absorbed into the bloodstream, resulting in a variety of symptoms including physical pain, weakness, low energy levels and depression.
While calcium intake is essential, it is not enough on its own. The human body requires the right level of magnesium in order to properly absorb the calcium. Essentially, magnesium helps to balance out calcium in the cells and allows both minerals to function properly.
6. Magnesium may help to relieve depression
Depression is closely linked with chemical imbalances in the brain. Neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine play a critical role in regulating mood and energy levels, with imbalances in these vital chemicals being known to significantly contribute to many mental health issues. People who suffer from depression also often experience stress and anxiety, which only makes things a whole lot worse.
Magnesium is be highly beneficial to people who suffer from depression, stress and anxiety because it aids the conversion of the amino acid tryptophan into serotonin, the co-called “happy hormone.” Serotonin is critical in regulating mood and behavior, with low serotonin levels contributing to depression. In short, magnesium can contribute to relieving the symptoms of depression.
7. Magnesium may help with ADHD symptoms
It is common for those suffering with ADHD to also experience severe levels of stress and anxiety. In addition, stress and anxiety can in itself worsen the symptoms of ADHD – so it really all becomes one big vicious cycle.
Maintaining healthy levels of magnesium in the bloodstream can help ADHD sufferers to feel calmer and more relaxed. Research in the late 1990s also found that taking magnesium supplements might improve certain ADHD symptoms, although little further research into the subject has been done since this time. Despite this, it is common for both adults and children diagnosed with the condition to take magnesium supplements to help with relaxation and concentration.
8. Magnesium helps to sooth aches and pains
Although most of us focus on the emotional consequences of chronic stress, it can also cause a variety of physical symptoms including aches, pains and muscle tension.
When you encounter stress, the muscles in your body start to tense up in order to offer protection from injury and prepare for a “fight.” If you suffer from stress over an extended period of time, your muscles constantly remain in this state, which then causes many body aches including headaches and joint pain.
Magnesium is great for helping to loosen and relax tight muscles, which is why magnesium salts are often used to help professional athletes recover from injury. If you are suffering with aches and pains, it is well worth trying it yourself.
9. Magnesium supports detoxification processes
Magnesium can help to support your body’s natural detoxification processes. A build up of toxins in the body can seriously affect your physical and mental health, including causing a variety of problems closely associated with stress and anxiety. Toxins can kill friendly bacteria, reduce absorption of vital vitamins and block enzymes required by the body for normal functions. Toxins and metals in the brain may lead to anxiety and other mental health problems.
10. Magnesium boosts serotonin production
Magnesium is beneficial when it comes to encouraging serotonin production in the body. As we mentioned earlier, serotonin is an important neurotransmitter that plays a vital role in the regulation of things like mood, appetite, sleep, memory and perception. Essentially, it is important for lifting your spirits and helping you to deal with everything life throws at you, with low serotonin levels being known to contribute to anxiety, depression, panic attacks, insomnia and headaches.
Do You Have a Magnesium Deficiency?
As you can see, getting the right levels of magnesium is extremely important to your health and wellbeing. Despite this, research by the National Institutes of Health shows that 68% of Americans have a magnesium deficiency. This is a serious problem that can lead to chronic fatigue, insomnia, irritability, stress, anxiety and even confusion, as well as muscular symptoms such as weakness, cramps, tremors and spasms.
If you’re suffering from any of those symptoms, it is possible that your body is deficient of magnesium.
Why Does Magnesium Deficiency Occur?
It’s perhaps little wonder that modern life leaves many of us feeling stressed and anxious – but the fact that so many of us are deficient of magnesium is somewhat more surprising. Many people don’t even realize that low magnesium levels are causing the symptoms they are experiencing, and they might even be unwittingly doing things that are making the problem a whole lot worse.
So, what are some of the main causes of magnesium deficiency?
The combination of too much processed food and a lack of fruit and veg can cause people to have low levels of magnesium. Our diet is critical to our health and wellbeing, so making an effort to eat healthier foods can certainly do a great deal to help.
Certain medications including painkillers and birth control pills are known to cause a reduction in magnesium levels. This can be a particular problem if you need to take those medications over the longer term.
Calcium is extremely important for our health, but did you know that too much of it can actually be harmful? Our bodies need to maintain a healthy balance of calcium and magnesium, meaning that taking too many calcium supplements can cause you to need much higher magnesium levels just to be able to function in the normal way.
Drinking too much is bad for us generally – and it can also have a serious impact on the magnesium levels in our body. Alcohol depletes magnesium and lowers the amount that is available to the cells. It also decreases the efficiency of the digestive system.
How Can You Get More Magnesium?
If you’re looking to boost your magnesium levels, one of the best things you can do is to eat more magnesium-rich foods. Good sources of magnesium include whole wheat, green vegetables (especially spinach), almonds, cashews, peanuts, black beans, fish, avocado, brown rice and bananas. Drinking magnesium-rich mineral water from natural springs is also another good way to get more magnesium.
In addition, there are also certain foods you would do best to avoid or cut down on, including processed foods rich in fat and sugar, as well as excessive meat consumption. Caffeine can also play a role in depleting magnesium levels, so you might want to cut back on your daily Starbucks habit.
While diet is a good start, it may not be enough on its own for those who have a serious magnesium deficiency. If you are looking to maximize your intake of magnesium and reduce your symptoms of stress and anxiety, it is well worth looking into some commonly available magnesium supplements. These are available as tablets, sprays and oils.
- Magnesium Citrate – Magnesium combined with citrus acid is a popular all-round magnesium supplement. Note that it may have a laxative effect when taken in higher doses.
- Magnesium Sulfate – Taking a bath in Epsom salts may help to relax muscles and loosen stiff joints.
- Magnesium Chloride – Magnesium chloride oil can be used to increase energy levels, sooth muscle pains and treat skin irritation.
What If I Get Too Much Magnesium?
While increasing your levels of magnesium can be extremely beneficial, it is also important to maintain a balance and ensure that you don’t get too much of it. Effects of a magnesium overdose can include an irregular heartbeat, slowed breathing, low blood pressure and confusion. While rare, this could lead to a coma and even death. In short, just be sensible and get advice from a medical professional if you are unsure about taking magnesium.
While magnesium cannot completely cure stress and anxiety, maintaining healthy levels is essential for good mental health and wellbeing. If you are suffering from chronic stress, anxiety, insomnia or other related issues, it is definitely worth considering if you have a magnesium deficiency and taking practical steps to boost your levels accordingly. For those who are deficient, consuming more magnesium-rich foods and using carefully chosen magnesium supplements may help to reduce the stress and anxiety symptoms you are experiencing.