It’s estimated that anxiety affects about 40 million Americans. If you’re one of them, you might need to boost your magnesium.
Although magnesium isn’t commonly associated with calmness, it should be; deficiency can make you more susceptible to stress and depression. The resulting tension sends your adrenal and pituitary glands into overdrive and cranks up cortisol and insulin levels. You may end up feeling exhausted, less able to cope, and set yourself up for insulin resistance and high blood pressure.
And while you may never guess that a seemingly common mineral may be at the center of feeling off-balance and anxious, magnesium deficiencies are common. Some health experts estimate that as many as 80 percent of Americans may be deficient and need higher levels in their daily diets or regimens.
Getting more magnesium through foods could pose a challenge. Magnesium has been depleted in the soil and is often stripped from foods during processing, so supplementation can help with getting a consistent level of the nutrient each day.
Bear in mind that you might not be getting these benefits unless a magnesium supplement is absorbed. Look for magnesium bound or chelated to the amino acid glycine and is called magnesium bisglycinate. Glycine helps shepherd the mineral through the intestinal wall so it can be readily used by the body’s cells.
Boyle NB, Lawton C, Dye L. The Effects of Magnesium Supplementation on Subjective Anxiety and Stress-A Systematic Review. Nutrients. 2017;9(5):429.
Background: Anxiety related conditions are the most common affective disorders present in the general population with a lifetime prevalence of over 15%. Magnesium (Mg) status is associated with subjective anxiety, leading to the proposition that Mg supplementation may attenuate anxiety symptoms. This systematic review examines the available evidence for the efficacy of Mg supplementation in the alleviation of subjective measures of anxiety and stress.
Methods: A systematic search of interventions with Mg alone or in combination (up to 5 additional ingredients) was performed in May 2016. Ovid Medline, PsychInfo, Embase, CINAHL and Cochrane databases were searched using equivalent search terms. A grey literature review of relevant sources was also undertaken.
Results: 18 studies were included in the review. All reviewed studies recruited samples based upon an existing vulnerability to anxiety: mildly anxious, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), postpartum status, and hypertension. Four/eight studies in anxious samples, four/seven studies in PMS samples, and one/two studies in hypertensive samples reported positive effects of Mg on subjective anxiety outcomes. Mg had no effect on postpartum anxiety. No study administered a validated measure of subjective stress as an outcome.
Conclusions: Existing evidence is suggestive of a beneficial effect of Mg on subjective anxiety in anxiety vulnerable samples. However, the quality of the existing evidence is poor. Well-designed randomized controlled trials are required to further confirm the efficacy of Mg supplementation.
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