Reduce stress with this mineral

Published 7:27 pm Saturday, October 17, 2015

A spoonful of milk of magnesia and an Epsom salt bath— these old fashioned home remedies are the key for reducing stress and inflammation. They are remedies against a magnesium deficiency— one of the key minerals in our bodies that regulate hormone production, hydration and over 300 healthy biochemical reactions. The lack of magnesium is accompanied by tightening muscles, fatigue, and anxiety — negative symptoms for those seeking a sense of calm in their lives.

“I always talk about the benefits of magnesium, especially to assist with sleep,” says Geri Brewster, a registered dietician and nutritionist in New York. “Many people with anxiety and sleep disturbances are producing stress hormones throughout the day, like adrenaline and cortisone.”

These hormones require a lot of magnesium, Brewster explains. When we’re leading a caffeinated, sleep-deprived lifestyle, we end up depleting our magnesium supply very quickly. Consequently, we reach for the help of caffeine, which acts as a diuretic and makes us lose even more of the mineral! This creates a cycle of deprivation — when we don’t have enough magnesium to fuel the adrenal glands, we become tired and irritable. This can lead to stress, high blood pressure, and depression.

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Nutritionist Liz Weinandy, at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, says that 60% of Americans don’t get enough magnesium. Magnesium deficiency wasn’t a problem before modern food refinement. Essential minerals came through our water supply and produce; however, now with modern grain refinement, water filtration systems, and depleted farming soil, mineral deficiency is common.

Taking a magnesium supplement is a way to make up for the deficiency.

“I usually recommend a moderate dose, about 200 to 250 milligrams magnesium citrate” says Weinandy. “Large doses of magnesium supplements can cause diarrhea, so more is not always better!”

The recommended daily dose for adults is between 300-400 milligrams. Supplements can interfere with certain other medications, and your kidneys must be in good working order. Talk with a doctor before starting a regimen.

There are some simple ways to promote magnesium absorption in your body without supplements. Drinking mineral water, taking Epsom salt baths, and focusing on a diet naturally rich in magnesium are useful.

“In order to just get our required amount, before we take on any extra stress, we need about a cup of cooked spinach, an avocado, and 2oz of nuts a day,” suggests Brewster.