Magnesium is one of the most prevalent minerals on Earth. It’s also vital for human health, as it helps regulate more than 300 enzymatic reactions within the body. Apart from that, it also contributes to the health of the brain, bones, muscles, and heart. With that being said, is it possible that magnesium can be a miracle mineral for anxiety and insomnia?
Before anyone takes supplements, they’re typically advised to increase their dietary intake of certain foods. However, it’s not always possible to get enough magnesium from your diet. There are plenty of commercially-available supplements that provide this mineral in the form of:
- MgO (Magnesium oxide)
- C6H6MgO7 (Magnesium citrate)
- MgCl2 (Magnesium chloride)
These magnesium supplements have many proven health benefits, including reducing swelling and lowering blood pressure. So we’ll focus on how magnesium can help with two other health concerns: anxiety and depression.
Is Magnesium Any Good for Anxiety?
According to a review investigating natural remedies for anxiety, magnesium could play a significant role in treating this mental health symptom. Recently, researchers have conducted even more independent studies. Results have shown that magnesium notably assisted in relieving symptoms of many forms of anxiety such as:
- Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
- Mild anxiety
- Anxiety associated with premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
- Postpartum anxiety, which can impact the mental health of new mothers
How Does it Help?
So the question arises, how does magnesium help in minimizing the effect of anxiety on someone’s life?
According to a review conducted in 2017, one way magnesium helps reduce anxiety is by enhancing brain functions. This same research also suggested that magnesium helps regulate natural brain chemicals, called neurotransmitters.
Simply put, these chemicals send messages to the body via nerve cells. In particular, an area of the brain called the hypothalamus uses magnesium to help balance the activities of the adrenal and pituitary glands. These glands manage someone’s responses to stress, so it’s important to have them working properly!
How to Take Magnesium for Anxiety
In most studies, people used magnesium oxide or magnesium lactate supplements. But more research is needed to determine the exact form of magnesium that works best for anxiety.
The National Institute of Health tells us that the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for magnesium is between 310 and 420 milligrams (mg). This figure is specific to adults, and RDA values differ according to age, gender, and medical conditions with which someone may be living.
For example, pregnant women require more magnesium because pregnancy affects the body’s ability to absorb certain minerals. So, if you are pregnant, you may need a daily dose of between 75 and 360 mg. However, it is always best to consult your healthcare provider regarding dosing, as they can provide more detailed advice.
Is it Good for Insomnia?
A lot of people struggle with sleeping disorders and often find it difficult to relax their brain and body each night.
We need certain levels of magnesium to establish normal sleep patterns. Studies also found that magnesium deficiencies in mice disturbed their sleep patterns and made them more restless. This does not just occur with low levels of magnesium; an excess of magnesium in the body can also cause someone to experience difficulty sleeping.
Another study observed the impact of magnesium supplements on older adults’ sleep. Results showed that participants who regularly took this mineral reported better quality sleep that was more restful. These people also had higher levels of melatonin and renin, which are two natural hormones that regulate sleep.
How Does Magnesium Help?
On a chemical level, magnesium helps activate the nervous system to keep someone calm and relaxed.
Since magnesium regulates brain chemicals, it also helps the brain and the body communicate better. Internal communication is vital for many parts of the body to work properly. Magnesium also balances levels of melatonin, which regulates sleep-wake cycles. Magnesium helps calm the brain and prepares the body and mind for sleep.
How to Take Magnesium for Insomnia
Only a handful of studies have directly investigated the effects of magnesium on insomnia, so it’s hard to definitively state how much is needed to produce the desired effect.
The upper limit for daily magnesium supplementation is 350 mg. This means that someone’s magnesium intake shouldn’t be greater than 350 mg in a single day, since it might produce adverse side effects. Always consult your doctor regarding specific questions on dosages.
Magnesium can certainly help improve symptoms of anxiety, restlessness, and insomnia. It does this by playing a vital role in regulating the brain and keeping you calm and relaxed.
However, further research is still required. If you’re not ready to begin taking supplements just yet, you can consult a dietitian regarding thoughtful ways to increase your magnesium levels through food.