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Could Magnesium be a Natural Remedy for Stress?

Magnesium participates in more than 300 different enzyme processes, some of which are relevant to the nervous system. Magnesium deficiency has been linked to increased levels of anxiety and stress. Studies at the University of Leeds have shown how Magnesium supplements or a special diet can help to reduce anxiety, stress, and depression. Anxiety is one of the most common mental illnesses 15% of people experience at some point in their life. Stress and depression can trigger those fears. Therefore, it's often a vicious circle. The relationship between low magnesium levels and anxiety is of great interest to scientists because of the severe side effects caused by benzodiazepines (psychotropic drugs). A treatment with Magnesium is known as safe and can cause only mild side effects like diarrhea.

The role of Magnesium for certain brain functions 

Our moods and emotions are rooted in the limbic system of the brain. The hypothalamus runs through the limbic system, pituitary gland, and adrenal gland and acts as the body's emergency call center. When a person suffers from anxiety, the brain sets the alarm – if it's a real threat or not. It is very real for the person experiencing the fear because their brain tells them so. All parts of this axis are sensitive to Magnesium and need sufficient amounts of the mineral to function optimally. Our modern lifestyle, characterized by chronic stress, is extremely stressful for the nervous system. When we are stressed, the brain sends signals to the adrenal glands preparing the body for an immediate fight-or-flight response, a reflex that has existed since human existence. This process is very energy-intensive. Some types of magnesium supplements like magnesium gylcinate from MAGSUPPS promote stress relief, help with anxiety and depression. This is because anxiety and stress are linked to specific brain functions, especially the production of serotonin and dopamine, the "happiness" hormones. Magnesium supports the production of those hormones and, therefore, helps calm the brain.

The biochemical effects of Magnesium on the nervous system 

Out of the more than 300 processes in our body, Magnesium is responsible for the following functions in the nervous system: 

- Transmission of nerve impulses 

- Affects the production of ACTH and corticosteroids 

- Counteracts imbalances between the two neurotransmitters glutamate and GABA (a neurotransmitter that blocks impulses between nerve cells in the brain) 

- Essential for the activity of the mGluRs-G protein 

- Reduces calcium absorption in nerve cells 

- Fights brain inflammation 

How Magnesium reduces stress, anxiety, and depression 

Low Magnesium levels in the blood and brain are directly related to anxious behaviour. There is often a link between stress, anxiety, and depression. Studies show that Magnesium supplements can help to reduce the symptoms. Individuals with anxiety excrete more Magnesium in their urine, leading to lower levels of the mineral in the blood. When we are stressed, we pass more Magnesium into the urine. 

The benefits of magnesium for mental health are: 

Magnesium prevents calcium poisoning of nerve cells 

There are biochemical relationships between the nervous system, anxiety, and Magnesium. Neurotransmitters like Glutamate, a chemical signal substance used by nerve cells to stimulate others, are vital for certain brain functions. All major nerve pathways use Glutamate, which the brain network uses for cognitive functions such as memory and language. Glutamate binds to the NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate) receptors of the cell membranes and thus increases the cellular Calcium uptake. We need sufficient Magnesium because the mineral counteracts the activity of the NMDA receptors in the cell membranes. Therefore, it prevents the cells in the soft tissue from absorbing more Calcium than necessary. This is not always desirable. 99 % of the Calcium in the body should be stored in our bones and teeth, while cells in our soft tissues like muscles and brain need to be virtually Calcium-free to keep them safe from shock and stress. In fact, NMDA is linked to anxiety and panic because Calcium literally poisons the nerve cells. If the Magnesium balance is disturbed, there's a risk that the nerve cells will absorb too much Calcium, which increases the risk of fear and panic.

Magnesium corrects imbalances between neurotransmitters 

Magnesium can reduce anxiety by increasing levels of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), which is the primary inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain and central nervous system. Imbalances, characterized by too much Glutamate concerning GABA, are associated with neurological tension associated with pathological anxiety. Magnesium is also determinant for the activity of other receptors such as the mGluRs-G protein. This protein is linked to anxiety and depression. Magnesium appears to correct several biochemical imbalances in the nervous system in general and therefore lowers the risk of anxiety. 

Magnesium helps against inflammations 

Depressed patients often have high levels of a protein called CRP (C-reactive protein), which is a biomarker of inflammation. In the case of brain inflammation, the production of serotonin is blocked. Serotonin is crucial for our well-being and is therefore called the "happiness hormone". In case of inflammation, the brain produces quinolinic acid, which can cause anxiety. The anti-inflammatory effect of Magnesium reduces the CRP levels. 

Sources and reasons for low levels of Magnesium 

Good sources of magnesium in food are whole grains, nuts, seeds, beans, cabbage, and other green vegetables, dark chocolate, and seaweed. Many people don't get enough Magnesium from eating fruits and vegetables. Eating too many food options containing wheat flour can lead to magnesium deficiency. You should try to use more whole grains in your daily diet. The modern lifestyle with stress and high alcohol consumption, tea, and other stimulants depletes the body's magnesium levels. The same goes for birth control pills, diuretics, and various other drugs. Sports and physical work can also lower the Magnesium levels in your body. Magnesium is increasingly passed through sweat and urine.

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