Magnesium is a vital nutrient that helps to facilitate many important processes within our bodies, including nerve function, blood sugar, and blood pressure regulation, and synthesizing protein, bone, and DNA in the body.
While it is important that we consume enough magnesium, you need to be careful about your magnesium intake because too much of it may cause serious physical complications.
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Magnesium plays an important role in supporting brain function and has been called 'nature's valium' and the 'original chill pill'.
Because of this, magnesium has been linked with reducing anxiety. One way it does this is by stimulating GABA1 (gamma-aminobutyric acid) receptors in the brain. GABA receptors help to reduce brain transmission and slow down brain activity, which enables you to relax.
Low GABA in the brain keeps it active, making it very hard to relax, and has been linked to stress-induced disorders, such as social anxiety disorder, panic attacks, and IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).
Magnesium limits the release of cortisol, which is the primary stress hormone, and prevents it from reaching the brain.
Brain inflammation has been linked to anxiety-related and psychological disorders, including depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and Parkinson's disease.
Consuming enough magnesium is a useful way to combat inflammation as it has significant anti-inflammatory properties by reducing cytokines in the brain. Cytokines ignite inflammation in the brain, leading to brain tissue destruction and altered brain function, causing anxiety, irritability, depression, and can even lead to suicidal ideation.
The brain has the ability to heal itself. It can make new brain cells and form new neural networks, a phenomenon called brain plasticity. Magnesium is one of the few minerals that enhances brain plasticity.
To reduce anxiety levels, magnesium can be consumed through magnesium-rich foods in your diet, or as a supplement.
Green leafy vegetables are among the best sources of magnesium.
It's also important to avoid foods that can deplete your body’s magnesium, such as refined foods, plants grown in magnesium-deficient soil, and fluoride, which binds to magnesium and makes it less bioavailable.
You may not get enough magnesium from your diet due to factors such as your genetics, metabolism, or pre-existing health conditions. This is where magnesium supplements can help.
The best supplements to take should have bioavailable forms of magnesium, like magnesium taurate, threonate, glycinate, malate, and citrate in high doses. It is not recommended to take magnesium sulfates and oxides, which will not reduce your anxiety.
You could also consume mineral water which is rich in magnesium on top of your diet and magnesium supplements for added benefits, as long as you do not exceed recommended daily magnesium limits.
The amount of magnesium you should take depends on your age, weight, and sex. Adults typically need between 310 mg and 420 mg of magnesium per day. Consult your doctor before taking a magnesium supplement.
It is rare to experience any side effects from taking magnesium, as long as you do not consume too much of it. Signs of magnesium toxicity include irregular heartbeat, lethargy, low blood pressure, muscle weakness, dizziness, and labored breathing.
However, magnesium toxicity and serious side effects are very uncommon, making magnesium safe for consumption. The most common side effect of magnesium is loose stool and diarrhea since most magnesium is eliminated through stool.
In most cases, magnesium starts working within a week, since it's a fast-acting nutrient. You need to take it consistently to reduce anxiety and help you relax.
If you’re browsing for the right magnesium supplement to take, it’s important to know what you’re looking for as the wrong supplement can do you more harm than good. Before purchasing, make sure to identify your needs. Forms such as magnesium carbonate and citrate are best used as laxatives.
Medical research has linked magnesium to reduced anxiety. Magnesium helps you to relax by stimulating the production of melatonin and serotonin which boost your mood and help you sleep.
Magnesium also reduces the production of cytokines and cortisol, which lead to increased inflammation and stress.
While it is important to consume enough magnesium, too much of it is toxic.
Choose the right magnesium supplement with the help of your doctor to keep you relaxed and enhance your mood.