Are You Missing This Anxiety-Busting Mineral?
I often get questions about non-pharmaceutical or natural remedies for anxiety and depression. Whether you suffer from debilitating anxiety or simply have moments of feeling worked-up, tense, and restless you'll want to be friends with magnesium. Let me tell you why.
Magnesium is a mineral responsible for regulating blood sugar, blood pressure, and heart and nerve function. Most women need between 310-320 milligrams of magnesium per day while men require 400-420 milligrams.
According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), many Americans are deficient in magnesium, especially men over 70 and teenage girls. We can thank our Standard American Diet (SAD) for that one. Other factors that contribute to magnesium deficiency have to do with our ability (or inability) to absorb magnesium, even when we are eating magnesium rich foods. Unfortunately, much of our soil has been depleted of magnesium, so foods that should have adequate amounts of magnesium, may have less than expected.
If you have a significant magnesium deficiency you might experience:
Insomnia and other sleep disturbance
Magnified PMS symptoms
Muscle weakness or cramps
Restless Leg syndrome
Behavioral and mood changes
If you already are dealing with one of the conditions above, your doctor would be able to help you figure out if the condition is linked to a lack of magnesium.
Magnesium + Anxiety
The thing about anxiety is that it's two-fold: on-going fearful, scary thoughts (usually about the future or all the things that could happen) accompanied by a range of physical symptoms including a racing heartbeat, sweating, muscle tension, gastrointestinal discomfort, dizziness, insomnia and feelings of dissociation. Notice, if you will, that many of the symptoms of magnesium deficiency mimic or overlap with the physical symptoms of anxiety. Something to discuss with your doctor might be, "Am I really experiencing anxiety in and of itself or is a significant magnesium deficiency creating anxiety-like symptoms?"
If you know that your experience with anxiety can't be entirely explained by a magnesium deficiency, getting a bit more magnesium could still support or reduce the anxiety symptoms you're experiencing. Think about it this way--magnesium relaxes muscles in your body, including your heart and the vessels leading to it. If you're anxious and having physical symptoms of anxiety, you could definitely benefit from anything (anything healthy!) that is going to help you to relax.
How can I get more magnesium in my diet?
While supplements are always an option (especially if you're truly deficient), the best way to get any vitamin or mineral is through your diet. Here are a few magnesium-rich foods that you may want to throw on your upcoming grocery list:
Milk and other dairy products (not too excited about this one, but that's another post)
Nuts, legumes, and seeds
Green leafy vegetables
Fortified cereals and other fortified foods
How can I know if I'm deficient in magnesium?
You could always discuss your symptoms with your doctor who may decide to run a blood test to check your magnesium levels. If you're running low on magnesium, your doctor may prescribe a magnesium supplement or they may suggest finding an over-the-counter supplement. There are several ways to supplement with magnesium. I'll tell you about a few that I like:
I can personally attest to the goodness of Calm. During busy, stressful times, especially around that time of the month, Calm is my friend! Without sharing way more than anyone would care to know about me, Calm keeps everything moving (ahem, if you know what I mean), takes the edge off from hormonal fluctuations, and helps me to get a better nights sleep.
There are a variety of Calm flavors to choose from, but I personally like the raspberry lemonade. You'll probably want to start of with just half of a teaspoon and gradually increase until you get to a comfortable amount. If you're using the bathroom more than you care to (I'm talking number 2), it's probably too much. You'll simply mix the powder with about 4-6 ounces of water, watch the fizz, and drink up!
If you're not a fan of taking magnesium orally, you might also consider magnesium oil. I haven't tried magnesium oil myself, but that is only because I really like Calm--If it ain't broke, don't fix it—right?
But I have several health and wellness buddies who swear by using the oil because of the bodies ability to easily absorb it. Ancient Minerals Magnesium Oil (shown in the pic above) has great reviews on Amazon. When I am ready to try a magnesium oil, I will check this one out.
Learn more about magnesium:
In addition to the information that I shared above, apparently there is so much more that magnesium can do for our overall health--I'm just scratching the surface here. In The Magnesium Miracle, Carolyn Dean breaks it all down! Who knew that this mineral could be so important and influence our physical and emotional wellbeing? You can check out her book on Amazon, by clicking the pic below.
How has magnesium helped you?
I’m curious about my readers—have you ever supplemented with magnesium to help with your anxiety symptoms? Was it helpful? Share with us in the comments below.