Magnesium is a key mineral that supports bone health, but it also plays a crucial role in other physiological processes. While it's true that most of the body's supply of magnesium is stored in the bones, it can also be found in muscles, soft tissues, and even fluids. In these contexts, magnesium can help with everything from nerve transmission and regulating muscle contraction to improving relaxation, lowering blood pressure, and aiding in energy production.
Signs and Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiencies
Before moving on to discuss how magnesium can benefit mood, it's worth noting that the impacts described below will only occur in people who are naturally deficient in magnesium. Unfortunately, magnesium deficiency is quite common in Western societies, so most people can benefit from taking magnesium supplements. The earliest symptoms of magnesium deficiency can include:
If left unchecked, magnesium deficiencies can go on to cause much more serious complications. People with chronically low magnesium levels may experience reduced blood calcium and potassium levels, tingling and numbness, abnormal heart rhythms, problems with muscle cramps and contractions, and even seizures. For now, though, let's focus on the implications of increasing magnesium levels on mood.
Magnesium and Hormone Regulation
One reason to take magnesium is that it helps to regulate stress hormones, preventing the body from producing excess cortisol by calming the nervous system. Balancing levels of cortisol in the body can also help to keep other key hormones like progesterone, testosterone, estrogen, and luteinizing hormone balanced. The cumulative impact of balancing all of these key hormones is lower stress and improved mood.
Magnesium and Stress
Magnesium supplementation can also help to reduce stress and anxiety in other ways. Chronic stress involves the prolonged activation of the sympathetic nervous system, which can leave people feeling fatigued and miserable. Magnesium supplements help to combat this problem by activating the body's parasympathetic nervous system, which instigates a change into a resting state and reduces the physical symptoms of stress.
Magnesium and Energy Levels
It's common for people who struggle with depression and other mood disorders to have difficulty sleeping, which can contribute to lower energy levels. Magnesium can help people fall asleep and stay asleep because it maintains optimal GABA levels in the brain, just like many prescription sleep aids.
Unlike prescription sleeping pills, though, magnesium is a natural substance that doesn't come with a risk of serious side effects. Instead, it just helps users get the restful sleep required to combat depression and maintain healthy energy levels, contributing to improved mood.
Magnesium and Cognitive Function
There are few things more frustrating than struggling to find words or understand seemingly simple concepts, and unfortunately, a low mood often contributes to these cognitive issues. Because magnesium can benefit cognitive function, it can also help to reduce frustration and improve the brain's ability to recover from the damage done by depression and other mood disorders.
When to Supplement Magnesium
Not everyone can benefit from magnesium supplementation, but most people can. Anyone who is concerned about low magnesium levels can either consult a doctor to request lab tests or start taking supplements now to see how it impacts their mood and overall health. Since over half of Americans suffer from undiagnosed magnesium deficiencies, there's a good chance that the impacts will be both positive and noticeable.
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