High levels of stress depletes magnesium.

Magnesium is linked to over 300 bodily functions, so it is no surprise that this mineral plays a vital role in the brain too. It is a necessary element for stress response, recovery and repair. As such, stress depletes your store of magnesium; high levels of stress for a prolonged period can lead to magnesium deficiency. This can turn into a vicious cycle as a lack of magnesium inhibits our stress response, which causes more stress and more magnesium to be used up.

Experts sometimes refer to magnesium as a neuroprotector. It helps to maintain the central nervous system and enables our cells to produce and use energy. The central nervous system is accountable for certain responses to stress. In conjunction, the adrenal glands start to produce adrenaline, the heart rate increases, breathing becomes heavier and all of the body’s cells start to use up more energy.
If your body does not have enough magnesium, then small stresses such as a loud noise can trigger a disproportionate reaction and flood the nervous system with hormones. Magnesium will allow the body’s cells to create energy for fight or flight but in proportion to the severity of the stressor. If you feel under pressure and are going through a stressful time, then you should probably take magnesium supplements to help you cope.

Symptoms of magnesium deficiency are similar to signs of stress

Many of the symptoms of stress are the same as those for magnesium deficiency. These include poor appetite, nausea, weakness, muscle spasms or cramps, headaches, dizziness, dry mouth and sweating. By consuming more magnesium, the body is better equipped to cope with anxiety and stress. A recent wide-scale clinical review revealed that taking magnesium supplements can help to improve moderate anxiety and reduce the body’s response to stress.

Without enough magnesium, the smooth muscles in blood vessels can start to spasm when blood pressure increases during a stressful situation. This can cause hypertension. Similarly, stress causes blood sugar levels to rise and, without magnesium, our cells cannot process this additional glucose. This increases our risk of developing diabetes. Pay attention to your symptoms and consult with a doctor about taking magnesium supplements if you are worried. Note that blood tests are not a reliable indicator of magnesium deficiency.

Prevent stress from depleting magnesium

Once you are aware of the cyclical relationship between stress and magnesium, you can work on ways to manage your worries. Try exercising for 30 minutes a day, or spend time relaxing and doing something you enjoy every evening after work. Distract your mind from stress by listening to music or reading a book. Some people swear by meditation – if it’s not for you then try to find a hobby that is relaxing, such as drawing or cooking.

Remember to increase your intake of magnesium during stressful times. This can come through supplementation or by eating more spinach, beans, wholegrain cereals, salmon, avocado and nuts. Magnesium Café products, such as our Mag 2 Powder, are ideal supplements to boost magnesium levels in your body. They can be easily added to food, smoothies or simply mixed with water. Recognise your stress and counteract it with magnesium in order to get your health back.