Ask any health professional that you can find about the importance of your diet and the answer will always remain the same: Your eating habits shape your life.
Both your body and your mind are built and supported by whatever you eat.
In other words, if your diet is poor then so is your health: Both mental and physical.
As such, when I found out that I was lacking in Magnesium (as well as B12) I was pretty shocked.
My doctor, Mark, reassured me that my problem was far more common that I was led to believe, and that it was fully reversible.
Yes, you read this right.
The average citizen’s intake is about half of what it should be!
About a century ago, this wasn’t a problem, but over the past 100 years, magnesium intake has gone down to half of what it used to be.
It should also be noted that, for the past 50 years, anxiety rates have been increasing at an alarming rate.
These facts are not mutually exclusive.
Magnesium is actually very important, and without it, the body can’t function properly.
Unfortunately for me, I have only discovered this fact after many years of being magnesium deficient.
It was only after I achieved the recommended daily intake of magnesium that I’ve learned what I’ve been missing all these years.
Does magnesium actually work?
To put it simply, magnesium is a chemical element.
In nature, magnesium can be found in a variety of forms, the most common of which is magnesium chloride, which can be found in the ocean water.
Magnesium has over 600 functions in the body, many of which have to do with the mind rather than the body.
As you can see, the data is pretty clear-cut.
Magnesium does wonders to your mental health, but why is that, anyway?
1) It reduces stress hormones
To put it simply, anxiety is a constant sense of stress.
In fact, obsessive worry is what largely defines anxiety.
Your body constantly produces a stress hormone for this very reason: It sees these thoughts and worries as dangerous.
Stress is a cause for a variety of mental disorders, such as anxiety and depression, as well as many other medical problems.
Luckily for us, Magnesium combats stress quite well.
Magnesium can regulate cortisol by decreasing the release of ACTH (The hormone that tells your brain to start producing cortisol), as well as decreasing the responsiveness of the adrenal glands to ACTH.
Another thing to note is that the symptoms of anxiety can actually make stress worse.
After all, obsessive thoughts about things that worry us only tell our brain that we are stressed out.
Stress causes anxiety and anxiety makes us more stressed.
it is a cycle, one that can be broken thanks to magnesium.
2) It helps you relax
You would think that the opposite of stress is relaxation and that the decrease in stress hormones will induce relaxation by default, but that isn’t quite accurate.
Sure, the increased regulation of stress hormones can help you relax, but the relaxation process as a whole is done by a different part of the brain.
gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA), is an inhibitory neurotransmitter, one that is responsible for reducing neuronal excitability throughout the nervous system.
In other words, if your levels of GABA are low then your body is in a constant sense of “taking action”.
As a result, this makes relaxation very difficult.
Magnesium, among other things, stimulates the GABA receptors in the brain, making it much easier for you to relax.
3) It can improve your mood
Your own mindset can be a very dangerous thing, in more than one way.
Depression is very common among anxiety sufferers, and the two disorders are closely related.
In fact, nearly half of all depression sufferers also show symptoms of anxiety.
This makes the need for a better attitude much more important.
Your thoughts shape your emotions, your emotions shape your actions and your actions shape your thoughts.
A change in mindset will allow you to cope better with your anxiety and depression, making them easier to bear.
Magnesium is a natural mood enhancer
4) It prevents low blood sugar
One of the symptoms of magnesium deficiency is low blood sugar levels.
You would be amazed to find just how similar panic attacks and hypoglycemia (fancy word for low blood sugar) attacks can be.
It is also no coincidence that many symptoms of anxiety, in general, can be the same as those of hypoglycemia.
In fact, there is data to suggest that getting your blood sugar levels up to par can also relieve different anxiety symptoms.
In other words, your anxiety may be related to hypoglycemia.
There are many ways to tackle this problem, including certain dietary changes (For example, you should avoid refined sugar), and one of them just so happens to be increasing your magnesium intake.
5) It can help you help yourself
Brain plasticity, or neuroplasticity, is an odd term for most of the population.
When we hear the word “plastic” we usually don’t make the connection to our brain.
That being said, neuroplasticity is a common term among neuroscientists, and it refers to your brain’s ability to change at any given time.
These are mostly physical changes in the brain itself: Changes in the gray matter, the strength of neural connections and the like.
When we learn something new, our brain physically changes in order to reflect that change.
When we forget something, a different kind of change happens.
Magnesium can help you increase your levels of brain plasticity, making the progress of reprograming your brain that much easier.
In other words, the higher your brain plasticity is, the more likely are you to benefit from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and other self-help methods.
One study from 2016 has attempted to prove this point.
The study concluded that aside from CBT being highly effective, that neuroplasticity was directly related to improved social anxiety symptoms with CBT.
In other words, magnesium can make your efforts with anxiety much more productive.
It can help you reprogram your brain and adapt to new viewpoints and habits much more effectively.
Increase your magnesium levels
Alright, so let’s say that after everything that I have shown you, you believe me that magnesium is highly beneficial and that you want in on it.
Well, aside from supplementation (for which you should consult a professional), there are a variety of changes that you can make that will affect your magnesium levels.
These changes break into two categories:
- Things that you should do
- Things that you should avoid
Simple enough, right?
What should you do?
As it turns out, there are plenty of foods that are absolutely rich in magnesium.
Simply making a few dietary changes can go a very long way, after all.
Here are a few foods that you should add to your menu:
- Dark Chocolate
As a side note, magnesium-rich mineral water is also highly effective.
When it comes to certain brands, drinking an entire litter of magnesium-rich mineral water can make more than half the recommended dietary allowance)
Another important thing is that most tap water, and a lot of mineral water for that matter, are filled sodium fluoride.
Fluoride makes your body consume magnesium in a much less efficient way.
As such, you should a good filter for your sink.
Another thing you should know is that the body usually absorbs a certain percentage of your magnesium intake.
To make your magnesium intake go a long way, I would suggest more protein, calcium, Fructose and complex carbohydrates in your diet.
What should you avoid?
There are many things that can decrease your body’s magnesium levels.
So, without going into too much detail, here is what you need to know:
- Avoid alcohol
- Avoid refined sugar
- Do not eat refined products in general, stick with organic foods.
- Baked and cooked foods can take away minerals from the body
- Caffeinated beverages are also something that should not be consumed often.
- Avoid Gluten
- Cows milk also hinders magnesium absorption
- Stress is bad for you (ironically enough)
It should also be noted that certain dietary supplements can negatively interact with one another.
As such, should you choose to take magnesium supplements, you’d need to consult a professional.
The bottom line
Magnesium might just be what you’re looking for.
It can help you with anxiety, depression, and stress, as well as many other things in life.
Having a proper diet and drinking clean water can go a long way, but most people will benefit from magnesium supplements.
Before taking those you should meet with a medical professional, some supplements are better than others, after all.
That being said, magnesium is not a magical solution.
Although it may relieve some of your symptoms, magnesium isn’t really a cure for anxiety.
Rather, it is a tool for you to use.
The biggest advantage that magnesium gives you is that it helps you help yourself.
Magnesium will increase your efforts with CBT, so check out my recommendation for the best anxiety program that I know.
Until then, here’s a question before you go: After knowing all of this, what changes will you make?
Be sure to write your answers in the comment section below.
If you got any questions you would like answered, email me an Ill get back to you.