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I’ve suffered from anxiety for as long as I can remember (I think it started when I was 3 or 4). Anxiety can be caused by a number of factors: emotional, genetic, environmental, etc. While prescription drugs are often the first resort, it turns out a completely safe mineral could actually be more effective.

There is one calming mineral that some reports say 90% of the population is deficient in: magnesium.

While our ancestors had an abundance of magnesium from organ meats, seafood, swimming in the ocean, and rich soil, it isn’t uncommon to be depleted today. The modern diet is sufficiently lacking in magnesium and our soil is no longer as healthy as it once was. Stress is also a factor – not only does it worsen anxiety and depression symptoms, it rapidly depletes magnesium from the body. In a time when most people eat poorly, work long hours and stress is commonplace – it’s no wonder why most people are magnesium deficient. But could this also be the reason why so many people experience anxiety?

Magnesium plays a hugely important role in the body; it is required for cell growth and development, normal blood pressure, enables thousands of biochemical processes, contributes to the proper functioning of muscles and nerves, and releases appropriate amount of serotonin in the brain. Without adequate magnesium, the brain will not properly release serotonin.

Magnesium naturally calms the muscular and nervous systems. This is why people often experience muscle cramps when they are magnesium deficient – it’s the same with anxiety. When a person experiences an anxiety attack, it is likely that they are magnesium deficient – and the stress of an anxiety attack will further deplete the body of this beneficial mineral.

In Psychology Today, Dr. Emily Deans discusses case studies on the effects of magnesium,

A 40 year-old “irritable, anxious, extremely talkative, moderately depressed” smoking, alchohol-drinking, cocaine using male took 125mg magnesium taurinate at each meal and bedtime, and found his symptoms were gone within a week, and his cravings for tobacco, cocaine, and alcohol disappeared. His “ravenous appetite was supressed, and … beneficial weight loss ensued.”

A 59 y/o “hypomanic-depressive male”, with a long history of treatable mild depression, developed anxiety, suicidal thoughts, and insomnia after a year of extreme personal stress and bad diet (“fast food”). Lithium and a number of antidepressants did nothing for him. 300mg magnesium glycinate (and later taurinate) was given with every meal. His sleep was immediately restored, and his anxiety and depression were greatly reduced, though he sometimes needed to wake up in the middle of the night to take a magnesium pill to keep his “feeling of wellness.” A 500mg calcium pill would cause depression within one hour, extinguished by the ingestion of 400mg magnesium.

Personally, my experience with magnesium has been great. I had severe panic attacks until I was about 22, when I drastically changed my diet by eliminating processed foods, most grains and sugar, while introducing organ meats, healthy fats and fermented foods (if you would like to overhaul your diet, I suggest checking out my 21 day program). After that my anxiety was more like a nagging annoyance. Since introducing magnesium supplements, I have been anxiety-free. I take regular magnesium baths and use this magnesium lotion. I highly recommend both. I also find that if I rub some of the magnesium lotion on before bed that my sleep is greatly improved. I fall asleep faster without waking up throughout the night.

Are You Magnesium Deficient?

Unfortunately, magnesium tests are often inaccurate. The tests measure magnesium in the blood, while majority of magnesium found in the body does not reside in the blood. The best way to determine magnesium deficiency is to evaluate the symptoms:

  • insomnia
  • irritability
  • muscle cramps/spasms
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • irregular heartbeat
  • trouble falling asleep/staying asleep
  • hormonal imbalances

got-anxiety

Sources:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/christiane-northrup/magnesium-calcium_b_509115.html

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/evolutionary-psychiatry/201106/magnesium-and-the-brain-the-original-chill-pill

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21835188

55 responses on “Got Anxiety? You May Be Deficient In This One Mineral!

    1. Loretta

      I’ve been taking 250mg Magnesium with D3 for about 2 years now. Never did a thing for my anxiety etc.
      I’m wondering if it’s the cheap brands I buy & the ingredients are not what they say they are.

  1. Robert

    I have been recommending magnesium for anxiety and in general for almost twenty years. I thank functional medicine and Dr. Jeffry Bland for being so ahead of the curve.

    1. dani stout Post author

      I linked to the magnesium lotion I use in the article, I use about a quarter sized dollop every night.

  2. Maya

    Hi, great post as always. Have you viewed your posts as they present on a smartphone screen? I use an iPhone. Almost unreadable. Highly frustrating at best. I guess there must be a way to optimize this. I only have this prob with this blog. It’s a shame.

      1. Stephanie

        Its not bad on Android. It appears that there is 2 columns; the main body of the article in the first. Definitely readable…its just in a thin column half the size of screen. Turning phone to landscape position makes it much better 😉 Many Android screens are a touch bigger than iPhone, however. Great post! Magnesium makes a big difference in my achy joints. They don’t bother me when I’m sitting but once I stand I feel like a wet tin man 🙁

  3. Sharon

    My sister has found taking a magnesium product called Calm so beneficial for her anxiety she says she won’t give it up for anything!
    I take the Calm supplement too (but infrequently because I forget to take it so I don’t get as great results as I could) and I find it helpful for various reasons.
    Too much magnesium taken internally can cause too many trips to the bathroom, so the magnesium oil or lotion is a great alternative (I should probably put some on now that I think about it…thanks).
    My mom frequently mentions/quotes the book The Magnesium Miracle so I know a fair amount about how great magnesium is for many purposes. I am trying to get so I get more magnesium based foods in my diet.

  4. Bill

    If i were to take the supplement how many milligrams? Also will this help me to get off my lexapro? I have been looking for a natural way for so long as i have been battling this for 20 years. Are you saying the lotion is the best vs supplement?

    1. dani stout Post author

      I do prefer a transdermal supplement, yes. There is evidence that magnesium is better absorbed this way. I cannot prescribe milligrams or tell you if it will help you get off of Lexapro; I would consult a holistically minded doctor for that info.

  5. amy

    Natural Calm is a really great magnesium drink, great flavors and nice and warm going down, it’s relaxing just drinking it! highly recommend!

  6. Denise Senesac

    I take magnesium citrate regularly. It works wonders for muscles and nerves. However, I take magnesium oxide when I am constipated. The two work differently.

    1. Crystal

      I hope you take them opposite of what you said. The mag citrate is what we give patients to help them go when constipated in the hospital. We use Mag oxide to replace magnesium when deficient and as a daily dose.

  7. MJ

    How often do you take the epsom salt baths?

    I’ve dealt with anxiety and severe panic attacks since elementary school. Into adulthood, they became less and less.

    But since I have been trying to get off of gluten, my anxieties have peaked again. I’ve been trying to cut out processed foods and sugars, pretty much a Paleo diet. It feels almost like what withdrawals symptoms feel like, from what I’ve read.

    Thank you for this post. Hopefully, this will help! 🙂

  8. Tammy s graves

    OMG…. Industry knew some day I would find out why I felt this way and my symptoms. My mom and my daughter also have these same symptoms. Anxiety is the problem , which I did. Finally figured this out a few years ago. Now finding this info from you about magnesium is the missing key . I am taking Effexor 75mg per day for hot flashes and feeling like crying all the time it really really helps but side effects of blurry vision and weight gain is something I have learned to live with. Now I think after reading your blog that I will seek a holistic doctor thank you so much Dani you have helped three people changed a life long health issue. Great full for ever . Tammy

    1. dani stout Post author

      I seriously am about to cry. I’m so happy to help!

      And please find a holistic doctor to help manage your hot flashes. Drugs are not always the answer.

      Let me know if you have any questions!

  9. Cicie

    Very interesting!!!! I actually have misophonia and I take magnesium capsules and it doesn’t really help misophonia but I never thought about if it helped with my anxiety… Thanks!!

  10. Jean

    Last summer I suffered from my first anxiety attacks. It was terrifying. I learned breathing techniques that helped manage the symptoms and it did help me avoid attacks, but from the very first magnesium tablet, I felt different–not quivery. One day after several months, I felt an attack coming on and immediately took an additional magnesium tablet at half strength. Magnesium supplement works for me. Also, walking every day for about 15 minutes invigorates my mind. That tip came from a woman who had suffered from anxiety attacks for many years.

  11. Karen

    Just saw your article. I have not slept thru the night for 20 yrs. I’m 64, in pretty good shape and health but lately I am experiencing leg pain and cramping esp at night. I take Epsom salts soaks after a massage (monthly most times) but I’d like to add magnesium. I’ve read that it should be combined with calcium and now I saw another type ; taurinate. I’ve seen glycinate but not the other. How should these be used and in what doses ?

    thanks for your help with this

    1. dani stout Post author

      Magnesium is great for almost anyone but check with your doctor, maybe get blood work to see where your levels are.

  12. nicole

    My 13 yr old daughter has trouble sleeping and is now struggling with anxiety and stomach pains. I have been suspecting gluten or ulcer. Would you recommend weekly baths and the lotion? Any other tips?

  13. Nicol Allers

    Thanks do much for this great information. I already knew that I have a problem with magnesium deficiency, but never linked it with my anxiety issues… nor have doctors. I have been informed that it takes a LOT of magnesium to burn sugar. Lowering my sugar intake has really helped me sustain my magnesium levels. I feel like that is crucial information that often gets left out. Thanks for all your great articles!

    1. dani stout Post author

      I don’t remember exactly, I use Dreamstime for most of my images. Also I’m a big fan of your site!

  14. Elviira

    Thank you for the informative article! I have taken magnesium citrate and aspartate, but I haven’t heard of magnesium taurinate, sounds intriguing. I, too, used to suffer from severe panic attacks, but after changing my diet I haven’t had a single panic attack for several years. It’s amazing how big impact diet has on our moods!

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