Magnesium: Nature's Anxiety Medication?

Anxiety is considered the most common mental health issue in the general population [1], so if you’re finding yourself struggling with anxiety, rest assured you are not alone.  If you’re looking for natural alternatives to conventional anxiety medication, magnesium supplementation may be helpful for you. 

Magnesium is a superstar mineral with many functions. One of its crucial roles is to help regulate your neurotransmitters, which send messages throughout your body and brain, impacting your overall neurological health. Magnesium deficiency, therefore, may contribute to both the neurological symptoms and the psychiatric symptoms of anxiety.[2]  

More specifically, Magnesium affects the part of your brain called the hypothalamus, which aids in regulating your adrenal and pituitary glands.[3] These glands produce the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol, both of which are crucial to your survival when you’re in dangerous, life-threatening situations. However, when your body is low in magnesium, so is the threshold for the activation of adrenaline and cortisol. This leads to feelings of anxiety in situations that normally wouldn’t be overly distressing. To make matters worse, stress can drain your body’s existing magnesium stores, which leads to a vicious cycle of stress and anxiety leading to more stress and anxiety.[4] If it seems like you’re getting anxious about everything -- even the small stuff, magnesium deficiency may be the culprit.

If you’re looking for a natural alternative to anxiety medication, here’s some good news: Magnesium can help bolster the brain functions that naturally reduce anxiety.[3] A wide-scale clinical review of 18 studies done on magnesium concluded that while the relationship between magnesium supplementation and anxiety relief needs to be studied further, it shows promise in effectively reducing mild to moderate anxiety, while significantly minimizing the overall impact of stress on the body.[5]

Of course, whenever you have concerns about your mental health, you should contact your health care provider to discuss a course of treatment that is right for you. If you’re looking for a way to naturally reduce mild to moderate anxiety in your daily life, a high-quality magnesium supplement may be beneficial. 

 

Resources:

  1. Kessler, R. (2009). The global burden of mental disorders: An update from the WHO World Mental Health (WMH) Surveys, Epidemiol Psichiatr Soc., Jan–Mar; 18(1): 23–33. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3039289/)
  2. Kirkland, A. (2018). The Role of Magnesium in Neurological Disorders, Nutrients, Jun; 10(6): 730 (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6024559/)
  3. Sartori, SB. (2012). Magnesium deficiency induces anxiety and HPA axis dysregulation: modulation by therapeutic drug treatment, Neuropharmacology, 62(1):304-12 (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21835188)
  4. Seelig, MS. (1994). Consequences of magnesium deficiency on the enhancement of stress reactions; preventive and therapeutic implications (a review). J Am Coll Nutr. 13(5):429-46. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7836621)
  5. Boyle, N. (2017). The Effects of Magnesium Supplementation on Subjective Anxiety and Stress—A Systematic Review, Nutrients, 9(5): 429 (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5452159/)
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