For most of us stress means insomnia, low energy, irritability or anxiety; symptoms that directly overlap with the symptoms of magnesium deficiency.
More and more research is highlighting how magnesium can help your body to adapt to stress. This previously overlooked mineral is receiving national attention for its unique role in our well-being.
Let’s first remember that stress isn’t all bad. “A certain amount of stress is adaptive and strengthening,” says Jonny Bowden, PhD, CNS, author of sixteen books on health. “It strengthens your immune system and your adaptability.” It’s when stress is your body’s response 24/7 that it becomes a negative, he explains.
So if you’re feeling “stressed out,” magnesium can help get some calm into the picture, according to Bowden. “There’s a circular relationship between stress and magnesium,” he continues. “Stress causes low magnesium levels, low magnesium levels cause stress, and the circle continues in a nasty downward spiral.”
When you’re stressed, your body releases hormones that cause sudden changes resulting in increased energy production, nerve-impulse transmission, increased muscle function, and heart and blood vessel responses. Adequate magnesium stops a negative chain reaction of stress and helps you return to a calm state.
“I equate it to a hurricane, where some of the structures remain standing and some of them will be blown away—but it’s the same hurricane,” indicates Bowden. “So you’ve got environmental stress, but how well the house is built determines how it will respond.” Thus, when the body has adequate levels of magnesium, it is able to withstand stress better.
What are adequate levels of magnesium? “About 75 percent of the American population is getting less than 400 milligrams of magnesium each day; we are wildly underconsuming it,” Bowden says.
Why such low consumption rates of this vital mineral?
A primary reason is that blood tests are not a reliable indicator of magnesium deficiency, remarks Bowden.
“About half of your body’s total magnesium is found in bones and the rest in your body’s tissues and organs; only 1 percent of it is in the blood, so a blood test for magnesium deficiency is pretty useless,” he says.
“Because we’re so deficient in magnesium and because it’s so important, I’m a big fan of supplementation,” Bowden asserts. “I recommend supplementation way above the RDI levels.”
Bowden often recommends his clients take Natural Calm, “which provides magnesium in a tasty beverage that mixes easily with water and tastes great,” he says. “We use it at my house anytime stress levels are running high, which is most of the time!”