The Best Supplement for Stress and Anxiety
I don’t think I’m going out on a limb in saying that most people have probably dealt with some form of stress and anxiety in their life. Stress and anxiety however get a bad rap because we are too often taught that they are “bad,” something to be avoided or simply something we should just power through. When in fact, Kelly McGonigal, in her book The Upside of Stress, shares that stress can make you smarter, stronger and more successful. Simply how you view stress or how you shift your mindset about it, can make you healthier and happier.
But what do you do when you ARE caught in moments of stress or anxiety?
I am a firm believer in gathering a self care “toolbox.” This toolbox should hold strategies, techniques, and natural remedies that you can call upon whenever needed to get you through the moments when stress or anxiety become overwhelming. There are several tools available to balance stress and anxiety naturally, including supplements. The best supplement that I recommend for stress and anxiety is magnesium and here’s why.
Why Magnesium is Best for Stress and Anxiety
When you are dealing with a stressful time or struggling with anxiety, more often than not, you may be experiencing several physical and emotional symptoms. These may include:
Rapid heart rate
Trouble falling or staying asleep
Magnesium is a fantastic supplement for stress and anxiety because it can help with several of these symptoms.
Magnesium Improves Mood and Alleviates Anxiety
Sometimes with stress and anxiety it’s difficult to get out of our own head. Excessive worrying, an unending sense of restlessness and overall agitation can all hamper our mood and really take a toll.
Research however has found a link between low magnesium levels and the presence of anxiety. Supplementing with magnesium has shown to not only improve mild to moderate anxiety, but it also improves depression and has shown to stabilize mood.*
Magnesium Decreases the Stress Response
When you are under stress or reeling from anxiety, several areas of the brain get activated and are collectively called the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis (HPAA). The HPAA ultimately controls how our nervous, endocrine and behavior systems respond to the stress we are experiencing.
Magnesium supplementation however has shown to regulate the HPAA, specifically in reducing the amount of ACTH and cortisol released in the body during times of stress.* This can help not only reduce the overall feeling of stress in the body, but also improve concentration.
Magnesium Relaxes Tight Muscles
When you are anxious or stressed, a natural response is for your muscles to tighten or for you to feel overall tension throughout the body. Magnesium relaxes muscles and helps combat muscle cramping.
Magnesium Improves Sleep
Excess worry, rumination and overwhelming fear can all disturb your sleep. Anxious thoughts can keep you wide awake at night or cause restless sleep and waking.
Insomnia, restless sleep and frequent waking have all been associated with low magnesium levels while magnesium supplementation has shown to improve sleep time and reduce early waking.*
Do I Really Need Magnesium?
Considering magnesium is used in over 300 known biochemical reactions in the body, this is one important mineral! Unfortunately, it has been found that 68% of Americans consume less than the recommended levels of dietary magnesium (though this number may be even higher).* Plus, your body does not produce magnesium so it must come from outside sources, either from food or supplements. So chances are you are deficient in this mineral but a blood test could confirm.
Not only can a magnesium deficiency contribute to anxiety, but it can also contribute to type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, hypertension, atherosclerosis, migraine headaches, sleep problems, depression, menstrual cramps, heart palpitations and restless leg syndrome.
What Type of Magnesium Should I Try?
Magnesium comes in many forms but I typically recommend taking magnesium glycinate. Magnesium glycinate is a form of magnesium that has high bioavailability which means your body can easily absorb it and use it. Why bother buying a supplement if you’re just going to pee it out, right?
Also, magnesium glycinate does not have a laxative effect on the body like some other forms of magnesium such as magnesium citrate. However, if you are also struggling with constipation, then magnesium citrate would be a good choice.
Lastly, this form of magnesium is a great choice for stress and anxiety because it is bound to glycine, an amino acid found in the body which has a calming effect on the brain.
I recommend this magnesium glycinate supplement, but whichever you choose, be sure that it does not have any added, unnecessary fillers and is made from and shipped from a reputable company.
Magnesium supplements can be taken daily and I recommend starting at a dose of 300-400 mg. Because magnesium improves your sleep, helping you to fall asleep faster and stay asleep, I would suggest taking your magnesium supplement in the evening.
So stock up your mental health self care toolbox with magnesium. You can’t go wrong with this super supplement for managing stress and anxiety.