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How stress snatches magnesium

Magnesium is essential to help our bodies function properly, but stress can zap your stores. Here’s what to do about it and how magnesium can help with stress management. Magnesium plays a crucial role in maintaining our central nervous system, including helping our cells produce and use energy. In fact, it’s so important, researchers refer to the mineral as a ‘neuroprotector’.

Magnesium vs stress 

The trouble is stress can increase the amount of magnesium we lose from our body (in urine), leading to a magnesium deficiency. In turn, that deficiency enhances our response to stress – we can get stuck in a cycle of feeling stressed, losing magnesium, reacting even more to stress, losing more magnesium, and so on. When you have low magnesium levels, the point at which your adrenal glands produce the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol is also lower. This means even small stresses, like the ear-jangling noise of a building site, can trigger a huge reaction, flooding your nervous system with hormones and further depleting your magnesium levels.

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Signs you’re magnesium deficient 

If your magnesium levels are low, you could be experiencing:
  • poor appetite
  • nausea
  • sleepiness
  • feeling weak
  • muscle spasms and shaking in extreme cases
Long-term, deficiency could lead to severe headaches, weakened bones or even damage your heart.

Magnesium fights anxiety 

Upping our magnesium to optimum levels means our nervous system is better able to resist feeling stressed. A wide-scale clinical review of all the studies on magnesium and stress in 2016 concluded that taking magnesium supplements could help relieve mild to moderate anxiety and reduce the body’s response to stress.

Stop stress stealing magnesium 

Worried about your magnesium levels? Your GP can do a blood test but be aware that stress can divert magnesium out of your bones and into your blood, so blood tests can be misleading. Boost your magnesium levels by upping your intake of foods like almonds, leafy greens, beans, wholegrains, milk, and salmon, or try taking a magnesium supplement. You could also practise some stress management techniques such as yoga, meditation and exercise – or just calling a friend for a good rant!

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Advice is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please consult a doctor or healthcare professional before trying any remedies.
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