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Magnesium and Anxiety: Is there a Correlation?

There is a correlation between Magnesium and Anxiety.

Lets look and how Magnesium and Anxiety are correlated.  Magnesium is known as the relaxation or calming mineral.  There is a science behind this claim that lies in the biochemical reactions that occur in muscles.

When a muscle contracts, it uses the mineral calcium to do so.  Then when the muscle relaxes, it uses magnesium to do so.    This is why magnesium is called the relaxation mineral.

This relaxation effect from magnesium is beneficial for calming the nervous system, which is why people take it to reduce anxiety and nervousness.

As an interesting note, magnesium also has a blood pressure lowering effect because it relaxes the muscles around the arteries, which in turn causes vasodilation.  The vasodilation that occurs is a good thing because the blood pressure then lowers.  This works so well that when people go to the emergency room with high blood pressure, they are frequently hooked up to an IV bag that contains magnesium.

So, what is Magnesium?

Magnesium is a mineral that is essential to have in your diet.  It is known to activate over 300 chemical reactions in your body.

Most people are deficient in Magnesium

When doing micronutrient testing, such as the test from Spectracell Labs, it is common to see people deficient in magnesium.  As a matter of fact, most of the people I do blood tests for are deficient in magnesium.


Foods that contain magnesium

Cacao

Cacao

One of the highest plant-based sources of magnesium.

Cacao powder comes directly from cacao beans without all the processing that goes into creating “Cocoa” or chocolate.  Try to consume cacao power or cacao nibs to get the most magnesium.  This is much better than eating a bunch of chocolate (the processed form of the bean).  If having chocolate, then go with dark chocolate look for the % of the cacao the dark chocolate has.  The higher the better.

Consuming calcium with cacao can serve some benefits.  Most of the smoothie recipes we provide that use our Ancient Chocolate Superfood Mix use almond milk as the liquid base.  This gives you both cacao and calcium at the same time.  As a bonus, 1 cup of Almond Milk provides an additional 16mg of Magnesium (coming from the almonds).

Cacao also contains Anandamide “the bliss chemical”, which serves as an additional benefit to anxiety.  Anandamide is a neurotranmitter often produced in your brain, and has been associated with improving motivation and increasing pleasure.  A human study (link) concluded that “Our results indicate that anandamide participates in the modulation of emotional states and point to fatty acid amide hydrolase inhibition as an innovative approach to anti-anxiety therapy.”

Nuts and seeds including Pumpkin Seeds, Almonds, and Cashews

Magnesium and Anxiety - Nuts & Seeds

  • Nuts are a good source of magnesium.  In just 1/8 cup:
    Pumpkin seeds contain 92mg (23%DV) magnesium
  • Almonds contain 48mg (12%DV)
  • Cashews contain 45mg (11%DV)

Coconut Water

Coconut Water1 cup of coconut water contains 60mg (15%DV) of Magensium.  You can easily add coconut water to your smoothie to take advantage of this benefit.  Try replacing the water in your smoothie recipe with coconut water.  Or try going 1/2 water and 1/2 coconut water.

Coconut water is found inside young, green coconuts.  This is different than coconut milk, which comes from the grated ‘meat’ of a brown coconut.

“Nature’s Gatorade” is a nickname for coconut water as a natural hydration/electrolyte option for athletes.  It is fat and cholesterol free and high in potassium.  Compared to most common sports drinks, Coconut Water has fewer calories, less sodium, less sugar, and more potassium.  Coconut Water also contains electrolytes, which is another reason is it popular among athletes.


When we are under stress or have anxiety, our need for magnesium rises.  Hence the correlation between magnesium and anxiety.

A dosing method for anxiety called, “Bowel Tolerance” can easily show the correlation between magnesium and anxiety.  Bowel tolerance is right at the point before too much of the substance will give you loose stools or diarrhea.  The two most common supplements to take to bowel tolerance are vitamin C and magnesium.

Here is an example of stress causing an increased need for magnesium:

Let’s say a person takes 400 mg of magnesium, which is the most they can take before getting loose stools.

Then the next day the person is under a massive amount of stress, they may be able to take 800 mg of magnesium before getting loose stools.  This indicated that the increased level of stress also caused an increased need for magnesium.

If you have anxiety, you should be eating the foods that contain magnesium on a daily basis because there is a connection between magnesium and anxiety.

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