If you’re one of the almost 40 million Americans that struggle with anxiety1, then you are likely open to trying an all-natural remedy. Magnesium, one of nature’s natural relaxants, plays a role in over 300 biochemical reactions in the body2. This mineral helps regulate processes like blood pressure, energy production, muscle relaxation, and blood sugar balance just to name a few. It’s pretty well known that magnesium is used for sleep3, but did you know it may help relieve anxiety?
Many of us are likely not consuming enough magnesium in our diets, creating a deficiency and putting us at higher risk for anxiety.
Magnesium Deficiency and Anxiety
It’s believed that 50 to 90 percent of us are deficient in magnesium4. This is due to different types of medications, soil depletion5, and that the standard American diet (refined and processed foods) are basically devoid of magnesium.
With over 3,700 magnesium-binding sites in your body6, a magnesium deficiency can affect your health in numerous ways. The parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) is our body’s “rest and digest” system that works to keep us calm. Magnesium plays a big role in the health and activity of the parasympathetic nervous system as well as the nervous system in general. Studies show that a deficiency in magnesium can induce the part of the nervous system that is in charge of our fight-or-flight response7.
Magnesium and Anxiety
Many people struggle with generalized anxiety, social anxiety, panic attacks, PTSD, and other anxiety-related disorders. But can magnesium really help with anxiety? Research on the topic is still very much developing, but several studies have shown magnesium to be beneficial for anxiety with improvements in sense of calm, contentment, and resilience8.
This might have something to do with magnesium being an important cofactor in the creation of serotonin and dopamine, two neurotransmitters that play a big role in mood and relaxation. Magnesium also influences the activity of GABA, the main inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain that is intricately involved in anxiety. GABA receptors are actually the target of benzodiazepine drugs like Xanax. Certain studies have shown that there’s a correlation between low levels of magnesium and an increase in mood disorders.
Magnesium is one of my favorite simple, natural substances. A 2016 article noted that the efficacy of magnesium in the treatment of anxiety in those who were mildly anxious and experiencing PMS-related anxiety there was a beneficial effect9. More recently, in 2017, a systematic review noted that there is evidence that is suggestive of a beneficial effect with using magnesium in the setting of anxiety10.
How to Take Magnesium for Anxiety
Although there may not be a definitive answer on exactly how magnesium works to combat anxiety, it definitely can put you into a more relaxed state. You can focus on eating magnesium-rich foods like spinach, pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate, and legumes like black beans and lentils. But getting the daily requirement can be difficult which is why we recommend NATURELO’s Magnesium supplement made with magnesium-rich organic vegetables and organic seeds like spinach, swiss chard, okra, quinoa, black bean, pumpkin seed, sunflower seed, and flaxseed.
1. A Lot of Americans Are More Anxious Than They Were Last Year, a New Poll Says, MAY 8, 2018
2. Magnesium, Fact Sheet for Health Professionals, National Institues For Health
3. The effect of magnesium supplementation on primary insomnia in elderly: A double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial, 2012 Dec;17(12):1161-9
4. Therapeutic uses of magnesium, 2009 Jul 15;80(2):157-62
5. Subclinical magnesium deficiency: a principal driver of cardiovascular disease and a public health crisis, 2018; 5(1): e000668
6. The human “magnesome”: detecting magnesium binding sites on human proteins, 2012; 13(Suppl 14): S10
7. Effect of Magnesium Deficiency on Autonomic Circulatory Regulation
8. Magnesium and mood disorders: systematic review and meta-analysis, 2018 Jul; 4(4): 167–179
9. The effects of magnesium supplementation on subjective anxiety, 2016 Mar 1;29(3):120-125
10. The Effects of Magnesium Supplementation on Subjective Anxiety and Stress-A Systematic Review, 2017 Apr 26;9(5). pii: E429. doi: 10.3390/nu9050429