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Does Magnesium Work For Anxiety?

Micah Abraham, BSc
Does Magnesium Work For Anxiety?

Anxiety is not generally something you want to treat with prescription medication. It's not that prescription medications are bad necessarily - although there are several side effects and addiction risk that make them less than ideal. The problem is that they don't actually cure the problem.

Natural treatments are much more preferable. Their advantage is that they not only treat anxiety - they also give you an opportunity to relieve anxiety without medications someday in the future. They cause no dependency, no side effects, and using them doesn't impact your ability to learn valuable coping strategies.

Herbal solutions are more common, but some nutrients may be beneficial for anxiety as well. One that has received some promising result is Magnesium.

Magnesium - The Formerly Common Mineral

Magnesium used to be an abundant mineral found in numerous foods. But over time, food processing practices essentially stripped magnesium out of most diets, causing numerous people to be magnesium deficient.

Magnesium plays a role in over 300 different chemical reactions in the body, and many studies have shown that a deficiency in magnesium contributes to several mental health problems, including anxiety.

Most people know how important calcium is to bone health, but what few realize is that magnesium is arguably equally as important, and balances out calcium to ensure a working body. 

Magnesium Deposits and Stress

Several studies have also looked how stress levels affect magnesium. They found that during periods of extreme stress, magnesium is often used up by the body.

That means that not only is a significant portion of the country magnesium deficient, potentially leading to anxiety - there may also be a high number of people that use up their magnesium reserves as a result of their anxiety, thus contributing to more anxiety and more stress.

Can Magnesium Cure Anxiety?

As usual with natural cures, research into magnesium is slim. But early studies do indicate that magnesium may be effective at treating anxiety. A study in France of 264 patients with generalized anxiety disorder found that a statistically significant number of men and women reported improvements on a magnesium regimen.

Another study found that magnesium may have a positive effect on depression as well. Both depression and anxiety are often linked, because both result in fatigue and disaster thinking.

Magnesium is unlikely to cure anxiety in everyone. Instead, the most likely reason that magnesium is so effective is because many people are experiencing the more pronounced anxiety symptoms as a result of their magnesium deficiency. By taking magnesium supplements, these individuals are no longer deficient, and any effects magnesium may have had on their health become less problematic.

Also, there is a significant connection between how the body feels and how the mind feels. When you take magnesium while you're not getting enough, your body is likely to feel better as it helps improve bodily functions. That, in turn, will make your entire body feel healthier and more relaxed, which will improve your battle with anxiety.

Vitamin Supplements for Anxiety

What makes supplements an interesting choice for anxiety is that some people benefit more than other simply due to their diet. Dietary changes may be enough to reduce any deficiencies, while some people may choose to take a supplement in order to ensure they get enough of the vitamins no matter what they eat.

Magnesium is Only Step One

Whether you choose to take magnesium supplements or you decide that instead you would prefer to simply add more magnesium providing products to your diet, magnesium is not likely to be a cure for anxiety in itself unless you were severely deficient. Instead, magnesium is simply a start, to ensure that any deficiency you may have had affects your anxiety less.

You'll still need to learn better coping strategies and make decisions that reduce your anxiety overall. Only then can you expect to cure it forever.

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