Magnesium is one of the most important minerals in the body but most of us don’t give it much thought. There are more than 300 chemical reactions in the body that require this mineral, and if that doesn’t get your attention, magnesium deficiency can cause physical and mental health problems.
Several studies have shown that a magnesium deficiency contributes to stress, depression, anxiety and insomnia. Our bodies burn through magnesium much faster when we’re stressed, and if those magnesium stores aren’t replenished, then anxiety, depression and insomnia can kick in.
HOW IT WORKS
Magnesium Reduces Stress Hormones
Magnesium inhibits the release of cortisol and reduces the physical effects of stress including anxiety and panic attacks. This is the main reason why magnesium is used up much faster in our bodies when we’re stressed.
Magnesium Has Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Magnesium reduces the risk of brain inflammation by slowing the production cytokines. High levels of cytokines can alter brain function and cause memory loss, anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
Magnesium Removes Heavy Metals From The Body
Heavy metals like lead, mercury and aluminum have been known to accumulate in the brain and cause a host of problems including neurological disorders. Magnesium helps to remove heavy metals from the body thereby protecting the brain.
Magnesium Increases GABA Levels
GABA is the neurotransmitter that slows down brain activity and allows you to relax. When GABA levels are low, the mind is constantly racing making it impossible to fall asleep. Magnesium not only increases your GABA levels but it also regulates the hormone melatonin, which controls your sleep cycle.
Boost Your Magnesium Levels
Eating magnesium-rich foods is the easiest way to boost your magnesium levels. The recommended daily allowance is about 400 mg for men and 300 mg for women.
Some of the best sources of magnesium include spinach (269 milligrams per bunch), almonds (124 milligrams per half a cup) and dark chocolate (237 milligrams in a bar). Salmon, seaweed and whole grains are also good sources.
Since it’s not practical to keep track of how much magnesium each food contains, just remember to eat more whole grains, leafy green vegetables and nuts.
If your magnesium levels are really low and you’re showing symptoms of deficiency such as irritability, confusion, hyperventilation, nausea and muscle spasms, talk to your doctor about magnesium supplements. Your doctor might administer a blood test before recommending a specific supplementation protocol.
Magnesium supplements that end in “-ate”, such as magnesium citrate and malate, are the best since they are easily absorbed by the body. Consult your doctor if you experience side effects, such as diarrhea, vomiting and confusion, when taking supplements.
Magnesium is the original “chill pill” because it helps you relax and fall asleep. If you’re struggling with anxiety, depression and insomnia, try eating more magnesium-rich foods such as spinach and nuts, and talk to your doctor about magnesium supplements.