In the bustle of everyday life, it’s very easy to lose sight of one’s health, both physically and mentally. Different people cope with the pressures of work, family life, and otherwise in different ways, but the thing that we can all agree on is that we cannot get sick right now.
In order to maintain that strong immunity, we need to give our bodies what they need to help us to be our best selves, including magnesium.
We often hear of magnesium as a natural laxative, muscle relaxant, and mood booster, but it’s immune system-related properties are sometimes overlooked.
Even if you eat some magnesium-rich foods, like leafy greens, nuts and seeds, and tofu, it’s still very possible to be magnesium deficient.
About ⅓ of Canadians are magnesium deficient, the vast majority of whom go undiagnosed. While it may be easy for some to ignore the potentially subtle effects of deficiency (fatigue, muscle tremors, general weakness), it will come back to haunt you the next time you start feeling a cold coming on.
Although studies have found there to be a correlation between magnesium intake and the immune response, that is not the only way magnesium can benefit you in these trying times.
With so much happening in the world right now, even those who don’t normally experience some form of anxiety may find themselves uncharacteristically stressed out, given the uncertainty surrounding us. We know that stress and anxiety can have adverse effects on our immunity, so finding ways to mediate those anxious symptoms is a good place to start on your journey to a happy and healthy future.
Magnesium is one holistic option for treating stress and anxiety, because it obstructs NMDA receptors in areas of the brain linked to anxiety, and boosts GABA, a neurotransmitter that aids in calmness and relaxation. It also regulates stress/anxiety-related hormones, which decreases the fight-or-flight response and helps us to feel at ease.
Another known fact is that anxiety can negatively affect your sleep quality. It makes sense — when we spend elevated amounts of time in that stressful, high alert state, the onset of sleep is not as easy to achieve, and no doubt takes much more time. In turn, lack of sleep, or low quality of sleep can lead to the continuation of these feelings of anxiety.
Luckily, magnesium can help to break this cycle of anxiety and insomnia. We’ve already mentioned that magnesium can boost GABA levels, but it also helps to bind and energize GABA receptors, another method by which it calms the nervous system. This binding is what prepares your whole body for sleep.
Cortisol is widely known as the body’s primary stress hormone. For that reason, its role in the sleep-wake cycle is sometimes neglected. Like many other hormones in our bodies, cortisol operates on a 24-hour cycle during which levels peak in the morning and gradually lower throughout the day, so that they are low in the evening when it’s time to go to sleep.
Heightened levels of the hormone can indicate a number of things, including but not limited to stress and a compromised immune system. The good news is that magnesium can help lower cortisol levels!
Magnesium has been recognized as a supplement that can improve the symptoms of hypercortisol induced sleep problems.
Melatonin is another hormone heavily involved in the sleep cycle. When our natural production of melatonin is low, we generally will experience disruptions to our regular sleep patterns.
Because magnesium regulates melatonin levels, together these two natural substances have the potential to substantially improve a range of difficulties with sleep. Melatonin can also be taken as a supplement if the body’s production of it is too low. However, always consult a professional before adding any new supplements to your regimen.
Back to Immunity…
There are so many components to maintaining a capable immune system. Without a doubt, making sure that you’re getting enough sleep for your age group is very important. If these circumstances are presenting unfamiliar anxious behaviours or feelings, you may risk compromising the quality of your sleep.
Lowering stress and anxiety levels in order to ensure good sleep quality with magnesium is one of many ways to approach these new experiences.
Natural Calm hopes you are all staying safe in these unprecedented times!