Severe cases of stress and anxiety can be difficult to deal with and may even require medication. Unfortunately, prescription medicines are not only expensive, but they also cause a wide variety of side effects. Magnesium, an important dietary mineral, has been called the “original chill pill” because of its ability to lift mood and improve anxiety. Because of its effects, it is now being considered as a natural aid for stress management.
Magnesium performs many roles in the body. In fact, it takes part in over 600 different metabolic functions. Despite this, it is the second most common nutritional deficiency in the world, occurring even in developed countries.
A deficiency in magnesium has been linked to an increased incidence of depression and anxiety. As proof of this, researchers sometimes induces depression in mice by depriving them of magnesium. The mineral is crucial to preventing and treating depression, thanks to several specific functions:
It increases the levels of GABA
Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a neurotransmitter, a chemical that the nervous system uses to communicate with its components, as well as other parts of the body. Neurotransmitters are related to specific functions and bodily phenomena. As it happens, GABA is crucial to relaxation.
Magnesium binds with GABA molecules and stimulates GABA receptors in the brain. As an inhibitory neurotransmitter, GABA is able to put the brain’s functions on hold, enabling the mind and body to relax and rest.
Low levels of GABA are associated with a variety of symptoms, including confusion, sleeplessness, and stress-related disorders. These include generalized anxiety disorder, panic attacks, and even irritable bowel syndrome.