If you experience stress or anxiety, magnesium should be on your radar

ADHD Assist
4 min readJan 5, 2023

Magnesium is an essential mineral in the body. It plays a crucial role in over 300 enzyme reactions in the body. These reactions range from those involved in energy production and protein synthesis to blood sugar control and blood pressure regulation.

In other words: Magnesium is vital to functioning optimally.

There are two types of nutrient deficiencies:

  1. Overt deficiencies — deficiencies that can be tested or manifest with an obvious clinical deficiency picture; Examples include scurvy from vitamin C deficiency or a goitre (enlarged neck) from iodine deficiency.
  2. Subclinical deficiencies — deficiencies that don’t create obvious symptoms that can be traced back to a particular nutrient. It’s insidious in that it produces multiple symptoms, which are difficult to determine the source of.

The latter is most concerning as it is hard to diagnose, so it will be more likely to go untreated, which can then predispose us to numerous chronic symptoms.

According to recent studies, 10 to 30% of us have a subclinical magnesium deficiency.

This is due to factors like medication use, soil depletion, and major pitfalls of the standard American diet.

Please be advised that this could be you.

The vicious cycle of stress and magnesium depletion

Magnesium has been coined the relaxation mineral. It has been proven to help provide a relaxation state in the body and offers body resiliency to the stress that life can unceremoniously hurl at us.

Even though it helps the body deal with stress, our body actually eliminates MORE magnesium from the body during periods of acute stress (hello, modern life). Quite ironic.

When we are in a prolonged stressed state, we are actually peeing more magnesium out of the body, making it harder to achieve a relaxed state if it's not repleted.

This becomes a vicious cycle:

Fun fact: Caffeine and alcohol can accelerate the rate of magnesium excretion.

Magnesium deficiency makes it harder for the body to manage the incoming stress we all can experience daily. Replenishing low levels is paramount for helping the body enter a relaxed state.

Who doesn't want that?

Magnesium benefits:

  • Reduces anxiety and depression
  • Reduces sugar cravings (helps sensitize insulin)
  • Improves sleep quality and duration
  • Improves tolerance to stress (makes you a stress ninja)
  • Improves PMS symptoms
  • Reduces muscle aches and spasms
  • Treats and prevents headaches/migraines
  • Lowers blood pressure

Signs of subclinical magnesium deficiency:

  • Muscle twitches or spasms
  • Tense muscles
  • Painful periods or heavy flow
  • Chocolate cravings
  • Constipation
  • Anxiety or hyperactivity
  • High blood pressure or irregular heartbeat

How to test for magnesium deficiency?

Testing for magnesium deficiency is tricky. Extracellular (outside of the cell) magnesium accounts for only ∼1% of total body magnesium, primarily found in serum and red blood cells (RBC). Testing serum or RBC magnesium levels doesn’t reflect your intracellular (inside the cell) levels, where 99% of body magnesium exists. This is why most cases of magnesium deficiency go undiagnosed.

I find the best way to determine if someone is deficient is to presumptively treat them with magnesium if they are experiencing several deficiency symptoms. If there is an improvement in symptoms, then this confirms a magnesium deficiency.

Which magnesium do I recommend?

  • Magnesium Bisglycinate — This is a highly bio-available form (meaning easily absorbed) and one of the most commonly prescribed forms. It is well tolerated and well absorbed by the body.
  • Magnesium Citrate — This form is not absorbed quite as well, so a high enough dose can cause a mild laxative effect. I recommend this form when someone is experiencing constipation.
  • Magnesium Threonate — This is touted as one of the brain's most absorbable forms of magnesium because it can cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB). It can be very effective at promoting healthy brain cell signalling pathways. There is a special patented form called Magtein that has been well-researched.

Depending on your individual needs and the form, I recommend 200-600mg daily. See your healthcare practitioner for more information on what type and dosage would be best for you.

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ADHD Assist

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