Living in a society that is fast-paced and demanding, it is not surprising that many of us suffer from anxiety. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America’s website, “anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults […] age 18 and over (18% of the population).” Some people experience anxiety that affects their day-to-day lives; however, others might only feel anxiety on a less frequent basis, such as work-related or situational stress. While prescription medications are available, many of the drugs provide only temporary relief and may also contain dangerous side effects. While anxiety for some people is severe enough that prescribed medicine is necessary, magnesium supplements might provide relief that will eventually diminish the amount of medication needed—and it might even eliminate it altogether.
According to the website Best Health, “Magnesium is a calming mineral that nourishes the nervous system and helps prevent anxiety, fear, nervousness, restlessness, and irritability.” But what exactly is it about magnesium that causes our bodies to relax? By not taking in enough magnesium, serotonin levels (a neurotransmitter located in the central nervous system that helps regulate mood, appetite, and learning and memory) will drop. Antidepressants and anxiety medications slow down the central nervous system, producing a calming effect; however, many of these medications only produce temporary results. According to the website Help Guide, medications such as Xanax, Valium, and Klonopin, “can be very effective, but shouldn’t be thought of as a cure” for anxiety. These drugs only temporarily work and do not fix the underlying cause of anxiety. Help Guide explains, “Once you stop taking the drug, the anxiety symptoms will often return full force.” Our bodies become dependent on the medications to fix our anxiety instead of determining a solution that will benefit us.
Compared to medications, natural remedies have been proven to yield long-term results. Help Guide states, “Non-drug treatments may not relieve your anxiety as quickly as medication, but they can produce lasting results.” This website suggests exercise, acupuncture, and therapy, but there is also an additional remedy—magnesium. According to The University of Maryland Medical Center, “Inadequate magnesium [levels in the body] appear to reduce serotonin levels, and antidepressants have been shown to raise brain magnesium.” This means that low levels of magnesium result in lower levels of serotonin, which can result in anxiety, panic, or excess anger; therefore, doctors prescribe antidepressants to regulate serotonin levels. These anxiety medications have been proven to raise the levels of magnesium in the brain, which also will improve peoples’ moods and lessen anxieties, so, taking a magnesium supplement may be enough to ease anxiety even without taking any medications. Furthermore, The University of Maryland Medical Center explains that “A 2008 study found that magnesium was as effective as the tricyclic antidepressants in treating depression among people with diabetes.” Many studies have also been conducted to see how stress levels affect magnesium. Best Health explains the studies found that “during period of extreme stress, magnesium is often used up by the body,” and when the body’s magnesium levels are low it may be “contributing to more anxiety and more stress.” Best Health also suggest adding Epsom salts and some lavender essential oils to a warm bath before bedtime. The magnesium from the Epsom salt will be absorbed through the skin, and the lavender scent will be relaxing and result in a soothing sleep.
Verdict: Fact. Magnesium has been proven to lessen the symptoms of anxiety and depression. Best Health recommends taking “as much as 1,000 milligrams of magnesium per day” to lessen the symptoms. Be sure to talk to your doctor before taking magnesium supplements to find out if this remedy will be beneficial for you.
Have you tried magnesium for stress relief?
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