Does Magnesium Help with Stress?

Does Magnesium Help with Stress?

Magnesium and Stress

A Gallup poll suggests that eight out of ten Americans are stressed. With numbers as high as these, it pays to consider natural solutions, like magnesium, for improving wellness. The book Magnesium in the Central Nervous System details the correlation between magnesium and stress reduction.

This book’s research notes that magnesium is strongly associated with stress levels. More specifically, magnesium deficiency symptoms include an increase in stress levels and other health issues, which only add to stress levels. When stress is a symptom of magnesium deficiency, magnesium helps with stress. 

Claims are made that both hypomagnesemia, meaning magnesium deficiency, and stress feed off each other and create adverse effects within the body. Furthermore, the book concludes that magnesium deficiency is associated with several, stress-related conditions, including:

  • Photosensitive headaches
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Audiogenic stress
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Cold stress
  • Physical stress

In studies, cortisol and adrenaline production were also associated with magnesium deficiency. These byproducts, stemming from a “fight or flight” reaction, often come during times of anxiety or stress. 

When the body experiences more stress, it naturally uses more magnesium. This further reduces the body’s magnesium stores, causing a greater deficiency. It doesn’t matter what causes the stress a person is experiencing; any time you experience the effects of increased worry and anxiety, the body will require more magnesium to function correctly.

To recover from stress, it’s vital to get full, restful sleep - another area that magnesium plays a role. Studies indicate that magnesium promotes healthy sleep by activating the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps you feel relaxed and calm.

Impact of Magnesium on Stress Response System

Magnesium and stress relief go hand-in-hand. Magnesium binds with and stimulates Gamma-aminobutyric acid receptors - inhibitory neurotransmission that slows brain activity. If GABA is low, the brain feels like it’s stuck in the “on” position and can’t relax. Low GABA is associated with stress disorders, including anxiety, depression, memory problems, muscle pain and headaches. 

Studies show that magnesium also restricts the release of hormones - like cortisol - which can lead to further stress.  Stress also leads to muscle cramping and tightening. According to the American Psychological Association, when this occurs, the muscle tightness causes more stress hormones to be released. So, if you’re asking yourself, is magnesium good for stress? consider how this mineral helps relax and soothe muscles, ceasing the never-ending cycle of muscle pain and stress reactions. 

Helping with muscle tightness goes hand-in-hand with reduction of inflammation - another application for magnesium. Chronic inflammation can occur anywhere in your body, including your brain. Brain inflammation can be linked to many psychiatric and neurological disorders, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, substance abuse and bipolar. Studies show that magnesium can help reduce inflammatory stress and promote better sleep. 

Thankfully, the brain can heal itself and recover from the effects of stress. Brain plasticity is responsible for creating new neural connections, and magnesium has been shown in The Journal of Neuroscience to increase this process. 

Does the Form of Magnesium for Stress Reduction Matter?

The Office of Dietary Supplements recommends that most adults get between 350 and 400 mg, mainly through food sources. To do this, you will need to eat plenty of magnesium-rich foods, such as:

  • Avocados
  • Leafy greens
  • Legumes
  • Whole grains
  • Dark chocolate
  • Seeds
  • Nuts

If you can’t get enough through your diet, add a magnesium supplement. However, what magnesium is best for stress relief?  Magnesium always comes bound to another substance or substances, so the body can best absorb the mineral. That’s why you will find a variety of magnesium types on the market.

Magnesium supplements are available in a variety of forms, including magnesium oxide, citrate, and chloride. The Supplement Facts panel on a dietary supplement label declares the amount of elemental magnesium in the product, not the weight of the entire magnesium-containing compound.

Magnesium supplements in pill form don't absorb as quickly by the body as a liquid supplement does. If you want to retain the magnesium, it’s best to take a liquid supplement instead. Other forms of ingested magnesium may end up flushed out of your body, but the liquid magnesium is less likely to do so. With liquid magnesium, you can more easily change the dosage. If you need more one day versus another, it’s not difficult to alter the amount you are taking. In contrast, consider how challenging it will be to split up pills and estimate what dosage you are receiving. 

Side Effects and Risks

Magnesium gained through dietary supplementation is generally well-tolerated by most healthy adults. ReMag was specially formulated to bypass the laxative effect, magnesium’s most common complaint, allowing for saturation levels without discomfort. While there isn’t a defining capacity on what’s safe to take, one study found that taking 1,400 mg a day was safe while still not creating undesired side effects.

Diet, lifestyle, or stressful situations can play a part in your personal dosage requirements. Some people may benefit from a higher dosage than the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) requirements for magnesium. If you have other signs of depleted magnesium levels, or are currently enduring excessive stress, you might benefit from a higher dosage.

Certain medications may be affected adversely with higher magnesium levels, including Gabapentin when used for seizure management. Alternatively, consumers have reported higher rates of positive treatment outcomes when magnesium was used with depressed patients. If you want to take magnesium for stress but are unsure if it is right for you, it’s always best to talk to your healthcare professional first.