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:
- muscle cramps/spasms
- irregular heartbeat
- trouble falling asleep/staying asleep
- hormonal imbalances