You’ll agree with me when I say, many individuals suffer from anxiety and stress these days.
However, it is an unfortunate fact that health care practitioners often overlook natural remedies and immediately recommend drugs that can be dangerous and habit-forming when used long-term.
Fortunately, correcting vitamin imbalances through diet and adding specific supplements to one’s overall health care plan can sometimes reduce stress, anxiety and insomnia, or eliminate them entirely.
The advantage of natural supplements is that they not only relieve symptoms, but they cause no side effects, no dependency, and do not impact a person’s ability to learn essential coping strategies, which are also helpful if one is to function without debilitating stress and anxiety.
- What is Magnesium Good For?
- The Essential Role of Magnesium and its Effect on Every Person
- Seven Ways Magnesium Combats Anxiety, Insomnia and Stress
- Magnesium Increases Relaxing GABA
- Magnesium Reduces the Production of Stress Hormones
- Magnesium’s Incredible Anti-Inflammatory Properties
- Magnesium Removes Toxic Heavy Metals From the Brain
- Magnesium Rewires an Anxious Brain
- The Connection Between Magnesium and Panic Attack Prevention
- The Link Between Magnesium Deficiency and Insomnia
- Top Magnesium Food Sources
What is Magnesium Good For?
Magnesium, a not-so common mineral, was once abundant in various foods.
As time went on, however, magnesium was virtually stripped from the diets of many individuals through processing practices used by manufacturers of foods and snacks.
This resulted in magnesium deficiencies among various individuals who, in most cases, had little or no knowledge that an underlying deficiency was present.
The Essential Role of Magnesium and its Effect on Every Person
Magnesium is a factor in more than 300 chemical reactions in the human body, and research indicates that magnesium deficiency contributes to numerous mental and emotional symptoms, including stress, insomnia and anxiety.
Additionally, magnesium plays a role in balancing calcium levels in the human body. Numerous individuals are aware of the fact that calcium and bone health go hand in hand; however, what people fail to realize is that without magnesium, calcium levels are continuously imbalanced. In cases of severe magnesium deficiency, calcium may even have a toxic effect on a person’s brain.
There have also been several studies concerning how stress influences the level of magnesium found in the human body. Such research indicates that during high stress periods, magnesium is used up at a much faster rate than during normal periods of time and is therefore quickly depleted.
When magnesium stores are used up, unless they are replenished, long-term anxiety is often the result. This anxiety is frequently treated with drugs, as previously mentioned, but this does nothing to cure the underlying problem.
Seven Ways Magnesium Combats Anxiety, Insomnia and Stress
Magnesium Increases Relaxing GABA
One avenue through which magnesium combats stress is by attaching to and subsequently stimulating the brain’s gamma-aminobutyric acid–GABA–receptors in the brain.
GABA is a primary inhibitory neurotransmitter that essentially halts brain activity when the mind is overactive. When GABA levels are low, the “on” switch of the human mind essentially gets stuck, making it difficult if not impossible to relax.
Those who are disorganized, overwhelmed, lay awake at night with racing thoughts, and who are always finding new things to stress over probably have low GABA levels.
Magnesium Reduces the Production of Stress Hormones
Magnesium inhibits the release of stress hormones and prevents them from entering the brain by acting as a type of filter.
Because excess cortisol contributes to mental disorders of all kinds, including brain fog, memory loss, depression and anxiety, anything that inhibits the release of cortisol can ultimately have a positive effect.
Doctor Carolyn Dean, author of “The Magnesium Miracle,” which made the bestseller list in its category for several months, has discovered that magnesium deficiency is a major contributor to panic attacks and anxiety.
Dean explains that when the body is experiencing stress of any kind, it manufactures stress hormones that result in myriad physical effects, all of which are negative, and all of which eat up magnesium stores the body.
Dean states emphatically that boosting magnesium levels can literally end anxiety in certain individuals.
One of the reasons stress causes the body to use magnesium at a high rate is what is commonly called the “fight or flight” reaction. The latter is merely the release of cortisol and epinephrine, the stress hormones, which place tension in the muscles, whether or not the person is aware of this fact.
Tight muscles encourage the release of magnesium stores to counteract the situation, and thus the magnesium in one’s body is used up at a rapid pace.
Using magnesium on a regular basis can end this cycle by helping the muscles to relax, even during times of stress.
Magnesium’s Incredible Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Magnesium has a significant anti-anxiety property, which unknown to many individuals, plays a vital role in brain health and the ability to ward off insomnia.
Because inflammation can take place anywhere in the human body, including the brain, its negative effects can manifest in a variety of ways.
Chronic brain inflammation is linked to memory loss, insomnia, depression and anxiety. Having low magnesium levels increases a person’s risk of ending up with dangerously high levels of brain inflammation.
Cytokines, which are inflammatory immune system messengers, lead to brain inflammation that destroys tissues and alters brain function.
Increased cytokine levels also play a vital role in the following:
• Bipolar disorder
• Inability to focus
• Slowed responses
• Memory loss
Because magnesium slows the production of cytokines, less inflammation is likely to occur.
Magnesium Removes Toxic Heavy Metals From the Brain
It is a proven fact that heavy metals such as aluminum, lead and mercury are linked to a long list of neurological disorders, including insomnia and anxiety. Unfortunately, heavy metals have the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier, which is essentially the filter of the brain, and ultimately accumulate in one’s gray matter, where they cause a host of problems.
Unfortunately, heavy metals have the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier, which is essentially the filter of the brain, and ultimately accumulate in one’s gray matter, where they cause a host of problems.
Fortunately, magnesium finds and removes heavy metals from all parts of the body and experts believe this is likely true concerning the brain as well. It is believed that magnesium malate is the best form of magnesium to use for this purpose.
It is believed that magnesium malate is the best form of magnesium to use for this purpose.
Magnesium Rewires an Anxious Brain
As is the case with most natural cures or holistic remedies, studies conducted on magnesium are not abundant. However, early clinical research suggests that magnesium may be highly effective as a treatment for stress and anxiety. A French study completed on 264 male and female participants suffering from generalized anxiety disorder, also referred to simply as GAD, discovered that a considerable number of individuals experienced an improvement of their symptoms when following a magnesium regimen.
A French study completed on 264 male and female participants suffering from generalized anxiety disorder, also referred to simply as GAD, discovered that a considerable number of individuals experienced an improvement of their symptoms when following a magnesium regimen.
Additional research uncovered the fact that magnesium may also be an effective treatment for depression.
Anxiety sufferers may wonder what this has to do with their particular problem, but it is important to understand that anxiety and depression are often linked. Additionally, both result in fatigue and a somewhat panicked frame of mind, or in the case of depression, something called “disaster thinking.”
The human brain’s ability to make new neural connections, create new brain cells, and eventually heal itself from damage that occurs through life is known as neural plasticity or simply, brain plasticity.
Magnesium is one of only a handful of nutrients believed to increase neural plasticity. This essentially helps a person rewire an anxious brain when other remedies have failed.
In addition, interesting evidence has emerged that increasing one’s intake of magnesium can enhance the effectiveness of various non-drug anxiety treatments, such as
This essentially helps a person rewire an anxious brain when other remedies have failed. In addition, interesting evidence has emerged that increasing one’s intake of magnesium can enhance the effectiveness of various non-drug anxiety treatments, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy.
The Connection Between Magnesium and Panic Attack Prevention
There may be a distinct link between panic attacks and magnesium, which ultimately stems from unstable blood sugar levels.
The brain’s main energy source is glucose, and a steady supply of the latter should be available at all times for proper brain function.
If blood sugar levels drop too low, the brain is deprived of necessary fuel and adrenaline glands are activated to release the dreaded stress hormone, cortisol in an attempt to stabilize glucose levels.
There is a direct link between low blood sugar episodes and anxiety and panic attacks.
In fact, the symptoms of hypoglycemia–dangerously low blood sugar–are sometimes identical to panic attacks. These symptoms include the following:
• Racing heart
• Feelings of doom
• Excessive sweating
• Disorganized thoughts
Some people who suffer from hypoglycemia often believe they have an anxiety disorder and do not link the two conditions together, and instead think that the fact that they are having a panic attack while simultaneously feeling hunger is merely a coincidence.
They may even think that their extreme hunger is nothing more than a symptom of the panic attack. Anyone with chronic attacks of hypoglycemia must limit their intake of simple carbohydrates, such as starch and sugar, and opt for complex carbohydrates, healthy fats and proteins.
However, adding a magnesium supplement will also make a world of difference in most cases, as research indicates that taking approximately 342 to 540 mg per day can prevent glucose levels from plummeting unexpectedly.
Once these problems are solved, unstable blood sugar levels can be eliminated, and thus anxiety and panic attack symptoms may be eliminated as well.
The Link Between Magnesium Deficiency and Insomnia
Because it is a proven fact that muscles must relax in order for one to achieve and obtain restful sleep, it is not surprising that tense muscles often interfere with rest.
In many cases, a person is not aware of the fact that tension is being held within his or her muscles. Low magnesium levels only add to this problem.
Once magnesium levels are restored through supplements or dietary changes, some people feel a significant difference almost immediately: they fall asleep faster, enjoy more restful sleep, and wake up with less early morning anxiety–a common side effect of insomnia.
There is also a substantial connection between the state of a person’s mind and the state of his or her body.
Keeping in mind that over 300 functions of the human body fail to run correctly when a magnesium deficiency is present, a person who has this deficiency probably feels poorly in the physical sense. Obviously, this can lead to mental anxiety and depression.
When depleted magnesium stores are refilled and the body feels better, the person’s mind often feels significantly better as well, leading to deeper and more restful sleep.
Top Magnesium Food Sources
The National Institutes of Health–NIH–recommend that those who need to up their intake of magnesium add the following food to their diet, as the foods outlined below are top sources of the mineral:
• Whole-grain bread
• Peanut butter
• Black beans
• Shredded wheat cereal
It is also wise to consider adding a magnesium supplement to one’s diet, if a deficiency is suspected.
Magnesium is unlikely to be a permanent cure for every person who suffers from anxiety or insomnia, but it is highly effective in reducing or completely eliminating stress, anxiety and sleeplessness in those who are even slightly deficient.
However, all consumers should speak to a physician or other licensed health care practitioner before making any dietary changes.