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The Calming Nutrient You’re Probably Not Getting Enough Of

Among female adults, about 55% are not getting enough of this critical mineral which has been referred to as the ‘original chill pill’(source, source).

Among a group of 112 individuals, six weeks of active treatment with 248mg of this nutrient (using Chloride salt form) resulted in decreases of both depressive and anxiety scores (source). Deficiency of this nutrient causes decreased function of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors in the brain, increasing the risk for neurological dysfunction (source), and causing an increased physical stress response (source).

What is this magical sounding mineral, you ask?

Magnesium!

Magnesium is a co-factor in more than 300 enzyme systems(source) that regulate protein synthesis, muscle and nerve transmission, neuromuscular conduction, blood sugar control, and blood pressure regulation!

Check out this multitude of symptoms of magnesium deficiency, which include nervousness, weakness, anxiety, and irritability:

(source)

So, now that we know we don’t want to play around with Magnesium deficiency, how do you figure out how much magnesium you’ve got on board? Just a simple blood test, right? I wish it was so easy!

Instead,assessing magnesium status is challengingsince most magnesium is inside cells or in bones. Although serum (blood) levels of magnesium are often checked, this level is not considered to be a good reflection of total body stores (source).

Here’s what I would suggest:

1) Take stock of how much Magnesium you’re eating over the course of a day (note: most adults will want to shoot for at least 310-420 milligrams (mg) per day) (source).

2) Study the above table describing symptoms of inadequate Magnesium and compare to your own health status

3) Consider increased needsfrom malabsorption, stress, drug-induced nutrient depletion, soil depletion, or intense exercise.

Although I feel strongly that many individuals benefit from magnesium supplementation (form matters and cautions around kidney function apply), think ‘food first’ to ensure a strong dietary foundation for Magnesium intake.

If you are looking for a Magnesium option, here is the Magnesium supplement that I personally use:

About Sarah Ferreira

Sarah Ferreira,MS,MPH,RD,CDN,CNSC,IFNCP,CHWC is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with complementary certification as an Integrative and Functional Nutrition Certified Practitioner and Certified Health and Wellness Coach. She is the owner of Mindfully Nourished Solutions, where she uses a whole-person, whole-food approach to explore the impact of nutrition on mood and cognition. Her individualized approach integrates an assessment of nutritional, genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors into a collaborative nutrition care plan using cutting-edge research designed to facilitate meaningful and restorative changes based around client goals and priorities.

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