Magnesium: The natural chill pill

Magnesium rich foods
Magnesium is an essential nutrient that can fight stress responses

By Caroline Tran, KOL Editor for NutriSmart

Magnesium is an essential nutrient and the fourth most abundant mineral found in the body. Magnesium plays a major role in many body functions, including over 300 biochemical reactions, helping muscles contract and keeping the immune system healthy. A commonly overlooked health benefit of magnesium is its role in providing relief for stress and anxiety by stabilising mood. It is dubbed as nature’s original ‘chill pill’ because of its ability to improve muscle relaxation, mood and stress responses.

Magnesium deficiency has been associated with increased stress levels and is rather common in women. Serotonin is a chemical released by the brain and responsible for supporting movement, memory and mood. Serotonin depends on magnesium to function properly and without adequate serotonin levels in the body, it can lead to depression, anxiety, memory problems and insomnia. Magnesium can also increase serotonin levels.  

A large portion of magnesium is stored in the bones, which can make blood tests an inaccurate measure for magnesium levels.

 

Signs of magnesium deficiency

  • Muscle spasms and cramps
  • Insomnia
  • Mental and physical fatigue
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Chronic stress
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Osteoporosis
  • Poor memory
  • Poor appetite
  • Irregular blood pressure.

 

Magnesium and stress

The relationship between stress and anxiety works in a cycle. Stress depletes magnesium levels through urine secretion but magnesium helps prevent stress. Over time, physical and mental stress can lead to magnesium deficiency and without a sufficient magnesium supply, the body will be more prone to symptoms of stress.  

Magnesium plays a key role in balancing mood. During stressful periods, the hippocampus releases cortisol hormones. High levels of cortisol in the body over an extended period can lead to a range of health issues, including anxiety and depression. Magnesium can inhibit cortisol release and block the cortisol hormones entry into the brain.  

Studies suggest that magnesium supplements may have benefits for relieving mild anxiety and depression.

 

Magnesium is often called the natural 'chill pill'.

 

Magnesium supplementation

The body cannot produce magnesium on its own so it must be obtained through food or supplements. Although the Western diet contains foods high in magnesium such as almonds and leafy green vegetables, many adults are not consuming enough to meet their recommended daily intake.

With society’s rising stress and anxiety levels, and insufficient magnesium-rich foods in the diet, supplementation should be considered to ensure we are providing our body with enough magnesium.  Adult men require 400-420mg of Magnesium depending on their age whilst adult women require 310-320mg per day of elemental magnesium.

 

NutriSmart’s Private Label range includes a magnesium product to target mental and physical relaxation, including support for stress and muscle cramps.