Is A Magnesium Deficiency The Root Cause of Your Anxiety?
ByKatarina Meister, ND •December 13, 2022
Magnesium is the top mineral deficiency that is running rampant in highly industrialized nations due to the increased availability of processed and refined foods. Simply put, if we don’t get enough magnesium in our nutrition, we are susceptible to higher levels of stress and anxiety. See my previous post on magnesium deficiency for more information.
When we look at anxiety and how it might be linked to a magnesium deficiency, it is helpful to go back to physiology and how our nervous system is regulated. GABA and glutamate are two major neurotransmitters in our brain. Research shows that a balance of both GABA and glutamate is ideal for maintaining a sense of calm. Too much glutamate can stimulate the brain leading to anxiety and too much GABA can inhibit the brain’s activities leading to feelings of sedation. Magnesium works to modulate the nervous system by stimulating GABA receptors and limiting glutamate.[i] This is how magnesium induces a calming effect.
Anxiety and magnesium deficiency are frequently connected to poor sleep. Our bodies need magnesium as a cofactor to make serotonin and melatonin. Therefore, magnesium supplementation can help with obtaining a better night’s sleep. You should also consider magnesium if melatonin made you feel groggy. In this case, supplementing with magnesium works to address the root cause of the low melatonin and thus poor sleep. This is why you should supplement wisely vs trying anything off of the shelf.
Lastly, with higher stress levels you are at risk of running low in magnesium. Stress sends a signal to our kidneys to excrete more magnesium, leaving the potential for a magnesium deficiency. This can exacerbate your feelings of stress. Interestingly, supplementing with magnesium has been found to modulate cortisol our stress hormone, through the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis, to prevent feelings of stress and anxiety.[ii]
If you think you might benefit from magnesium or want more information on natural approaches to stress and mild anxiety – reach out for help. I would love to help you with your wellness naturally.
[i] Teigen L, Boes CJ. An evidence-based review of oral magnesium supplementation in the preventive treatment of migraine. Cephalalgia. 2015;35(10):912-922.
[ii] Kirkland AE, Sarlo GL, Holton KF. The Role of Magnesium in Neurological Disorders. Nutrients. 2018 Jun 6;10(6):730. doi: 10.3390/nu10060730. PMID: 29882776; PMCID: PMC6024559.
Editor’s Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health practitioners with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.