Magnesium is an essential micronutrient that your body requires. It is a cofactor in more than 300 enzymatic reactions in the human body.
It is known that magnesium plays an important role in the brain, creating strong neurological pathways for good communications between the brain and the body. But even more important that magnesium also controls the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) axis, which is the hub of the body’s stress response system.
One of the effect of magnesium deficiency is the influence on the sympathetic nervous system. Low magnesium levels can cause anxiety, restlessness, insomnia, and extreme fatigue. So, Magnesium intake is critical for nervous system regulation.
Magnesium and Anxiety
Anxiety involves feelings of intense fear, unease, or nervousness. Anxiety is the most common mental health disorder in the world. Can magnesium really treat anxiety?
Some studies found that taking magnesium supplements may be helpful for relieving symptoms of different types of anxiety. Research suggests that taking magnesium for anxiety can work very well. Also studies have found that feelings of fear and panic can be significantly reduced with greater magnesium intake.
Magnesium and Depression
Depression is one of the most common mental illnesses. Depression is complex, and experts say that a combination of brain chemistry, inherited traits, biological differences and hormones play a role. And magnesium has a huge impact on brain chemistry and hormones.
Magnesium supplementation has been linked to improvements in symptoms of different kinds of depression. There are different studies about potential use of magnesium supplementation for depression.
In 2017, researchers at the University of Vermont's Larner College of Medicine conducted a clinical trial involving 126 participants with depression. Participants received 248mg of magnesium per day over six weeks, while those in the control arm received no treatment. The study team found that consumption of magnesium chloride for six weeks resulted in a clinically significant improvement in measures of depression symptoms. In addition, these positive effects were shown quickly, at two weeks.
Also, a 2019 study found that low serum magnesium levels were associated with depressive symptoms. Other studies found that the participants who were taking an antidepressant experienced stronger benefits when taking magnesium.
Magnesium and Stress
Stress is no longer considered as a temporary response to occasional threats, but rather an ongoing and adaptive system that enables an individual to assess, cope, and predict constantly changing conditions. However, the capacity of this stress system is limited and can be overloaded.
Numerous studies have investigated that magnesium plays a huge role in regulating the body’s response to stress. In other studies, subclinical chronic magnesium deficiency was found in up to 45% of the stressed people.
Chronic physical or mental stress depletes your body of magnesium, and low magnesium levels intensify stress — creating a cycle. So, magnesium modulates activity of the body’s stress-response system. You need more magnesium when you are stressed.
Magnesium and Sleep
Magnesium interacts with GABA, a neurotransmitter that reduces the activity of neurons in the brain. It calms the nervous system helps to relax muscles and encouraging to sleep. It also impacts melatonin, the hormone that influences the body’s sleep-wake cycles, and relaxes muscles to induce deeper sleep. Studies suggest that magnesium improves total sleep time and quality. By helping to quiet the nervous system, magnesium helps to prepare your body and mind for sleep. It also shortens the time it takes to fall asleep.
Even though more research is needed, you can make sure that you are getting enough magnesium by eating a healthy, nutritious diet or consume high-quality magnesium supplements. For example, Magnesium Gummies by Dr. Moritz are sugar-free, delicious and contain 400mg of magnesium in each gummy.