The Element of Stress Reduction: The Scientific Look at the Health and Mood Benefits of Magnesium

Because stress has become so commonplace in our society, there have been many different strategies developed to help reduce stress.  We've all heard of stress-reducing strategies such as exercise, mindfulness, writing, going to therapy, talking to friends and family, and self-care but there is a strategy that may not be getting as much attention and you may not even be aware that it has stress-reducing qualities.  What is this unique option?  Magnesium!  Sure, you've heard of it - maybe in chemistry class in high school, or maybe it's in your daily multivitamin, but did you know that Magnesium has been linked to stress reduction?  Let's take a deeper look Magnesium and the stress-reducing qualities in contains.

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The Science of Magnesium and Stress Reduction

Magnesium is a mineral that is present in the body and also present in a variety of foods. It is recommended that individuals meet their daily recommended intake of Magnesium per day, which is 310mg-360mg and 400mg-420mg for adult women and men respectively (Jahnen-Dechent and Ketteler, 2012).  

Magnesium is crucial to many bodily functions that help keep blood pressure within healthy range, keep bones strong, and heart rhythms steady (Jahnen-Dechent and Ketteler, 2012).  In addition, Magnesium plays a crucial role in brain biochemistry (Serefko, Szopa, and Poleszak, 2016).  When individuals do not get the recommended daily dose of Magnesium, they may be at risk for health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancers (WebMD, 2017). These individuals low in Magnesium may also experience personality changes, such as anxiety, depression, insomnia, headaches, irritability, agitation and confusion due to Magnesium’s effects on brain chemistry (Eby and Eby, 2006).  As a result of these effects on personality and mood, researchers have begun to look at the effects of Magnesium in treating mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.  Magnesium can be used in combination with other forms of treatment, such as medication and therapy, or can be tried as a treatment alone.  In recent studies, researchers have given Magnesium supplements to individuals struggling with symptoms such as irritability, anxiety, and depression. These studies have concluded that the addition of Magnesium to these individuals’ daily life has demonstrated positive effects on mood, and can enhance standard treatments for mental health issues such as depression (Serefko, Szopa, and Poleszak, 2016).  This research is very promising, and may help healthcare professionals provide further options when treating mood-related issues. 

Who knew that Magnesium had so many roles in our body and contributes to so many health benefits?  Now that we’re well-versed in the health benefits of Magnesium, we’ve put together some tips to help you learn more about your own Magnesium intake.


Tips to Learning More About Magnesium and how it may Work for you

 1) Speak with your doctor regarding your daily intake of Magnesium - It's important to speak with your doctor or healthcare professional to learn more about your daily intake of Magnesium, and ensure that you're getting the right amount.  Remember – every person is different, and it can also be harmful to have too much Magnesium. You want to be sure that you’re getting just the right amount to reap the health and mood benefits.

 2) Add foods that are rich in Magnesium to your diet -  some plant-based foods that are rich in Magnesium include nuts, seeds, legumes, and fruit. Adding more of these into your diet (or maybe trying out a plant based diet?) may have beneficial effects on your mood and overall health, especially if you’re low in Magnesium. 

 3) Document any changes you notice after incorporating more Magnesium into your diet - It can be helpful to keep a journal of any benefits you may be receiving from Magnesium.  Do you feel calmer? Does your mood feel more positive?  Do you sleep better?  Has your blood pressure returned to normal range?

 4) Continue with your usual exercise and self-care routines It’s important to continue with any exercise program, and self-care routine that you typically would follow.  While Magnesium can have many benefits, it does not take away from your exercise and self-care routines.  These can be used in combination with Magnesium to obtain optimal physical and mental health.

 5) Follow up with your doctor/healthcare professional – Once you’ve made changes to your daily intake on Magnesium and have spent some time recording any changes you’ve noted, it may be helpful to follow up with your health care professional to share the results.

 

We hope you’ve learned something new today and that you’ll feel more confident exploring the option of Magnesium as a mood-enhancing, stress-reducing supplement to add to your days.  

Remember – “calm mind brings inner strength and self-confidence, so that’s very important for good health” – Dalai Lama.

 

Live life lighter,

Carolyn and Steph


References

 Eby, G. A., Eby, K. L. (2006). Rapid Recovery From Depression Using Magnesium Treatment. Medical Hypotheses, 67 (2), 362-370.

 Jahnen-Dechent, W., Ketteler, M. (2012). Magnesium Basics. Clinical Kidney Journal, 5, i3-i14. 

 Serefko, A., Szopa, A., Poleszak, E. (2016). Magnesium and Depression. Magnesium Research, 29 (3), 112-119. 

 WebMD Medical Reference. (2017). Magnesium. Retrieved from: http://www.webmd.com/diet/supplement-guide-magnesium#1

Sam Cooper