Magnesium Relieves Stress & Anxiety
There are a number of ways that magnesium acts in the body to reduce stress and anxiety.
1. Balances Blood Sugar
Sugar imbalance is probably one of the key factors that has contributed to almost every chronic disease. This is mainly because of the carbohydrate-heavy diets and sedentary lifestyles that we tend to lead. Blood sugar fluctuations can contribute to chronic inflammation, hormonal and neurotransmitter imbalances, and weight gain. All of this creates a mental state that can't cope with stress and is continually experiencing anxiety.
One of the biggest symptoms of experiencing a blood sugar imbalance is something called reactive hypoglycaemia. Shortly after a meal, you become tired, irritable, shaky, dizzy and anxious, followed by a rampant increase in hunger. Magnesium supplementation combined with a dietlow in carbohydrates and high in healthy fats has shown to help prevent drastic drops in blood sugar, helping to mitigate inflammatory effects (1).
2. Stabilizes Cortisol
Cortisol helps us to cope with stressful situations. But when under stress for long periods of time the chronic elevation of cortisol can become a problem. This chronic elevation of cortisol contributes to inflammation and blood sugar imbalances that increase the likelihood of experiencing anxiety. Elevated cortisol can also contribute to depression, memory loss, and brain fog, among other mental disorders. Magnesium helps by lowering cortisol, preventing inflammation, and effectively lowering the tendency of anxious feelings (2,3).
3. Improves GABA Levels
Our mental states are heavily controlled by chemicals in our brains called neurotransmitters. Two neurotransmitters named glutamate and GABA are primarily responsible for the balance between vigilance and relaxation. Glutamate is increased during times when we need to focus while GABA is what tells our brains to relax and rejuvenate. In our overstressed society, we tend to be glutamate dominant. What should happen in a healthy individual is that excess glutamate in the brain is converted into GABA to help balance us out after a stressful event. During times of chronic stress, we stop converting glutamate into GABA efficiently which leaves our brains in a stimulated state. This leads to inflammation and high levels of damage to the brain tissue which is highly correlated with anxiety disorders. Magnesium supplementation helps to boost GABA
production in by binding and stimulating GABA receptors and then by increasing the conversion of glutamate into GABA (4).
4. Reduces Brain Inflammation
Inflammation in the brain is thought to be one of the leading causes of anxiety and depressive disorders (5,6). The brain is one of the most concentrated areas of mitochondria in the body (mitochondria are structures in our cells that produce energy). Mitochondria are very sensitive to inflammation, so when in an inflamed environment, energy production goes down. With less energy you won’t have the ability to be able to handle the demands of a stressful life. Magnesium supplementation helps to negate this inflammatory environment.
5. Alleviates Symptoms Of Depression
It has been shown in one study to be as effective as pharmaceutical anti-depressants, possibly by helping to up regulate the production of serotonin in the brain (7).
6. Detoxifies Heavy Metals
Heavy metals like lead, mercury, and aluminiumcan make their way into the brain tissues and cause massive amounts of inflammation. Heavy metal exposure has been linked to anxiety in addition to a range of other neurological disorders like autism, ADHD, and depression.
Magnesium can help with ridding the body of heavy metals and help prevent them from entering the brain in the first place. (8).
Magnesium is essential to human health and intricately involved in helping the body endure heightened levels of stress. If you have feelings of overwhelming stress and anxiety, make the conscious effort to increase your magnesium and you will notice just how powerful this mineral can be. You can do this by supplementation and by consuming magnesium rich foods such as swiss chard, spinach, grass-fed dairy, avocados, sprouted pumpkin seeds, pink salts, nuts, dark chocolate, wild-caught fish, sprouts, sea vegetables and organic coffee.