The health benefits of magnesium are huge! Magnesium is involved in over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body, magnesium is involved in the function of almost every bodily system from the cardiovascular to musculoskeletal. However it’s effects on the nervous system and reducing stress have recently come under the spotlight.
Bodily magnesium is directly linked with stress levels, both stress and magnesium deficiency exacerbate the effects of the other. Acute stress has been associated with a decrease in plasma magnesium levels and increased magnesium excretion. Although the body protectively compensates with the migration of magnesium from inside the cell to the outside in acute circumstances, chronic stress can lead to a magnesium deficiency and intolerance to secondary stress and to the development of anxiety and depression.
The action of magnesium sufficiency in maintaining good nervous system health and minimizing the effects of chronic stress can be attributed to its effects on excitatory neurotransmitters. Magnesium inhibits the release of excitatory neurotransmitters and acts as an agonist at glutamate, gamma-amino-butyric acid (GABA) and N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA receptors).
The health benefits of magnesium also include increased reuptake of glutamate, inhibits calcium/protein kinase C related neurotransmission and is involved in mitochondrial adenosine triphosphate (ATP) dependent potassium channel activity.
Depression is often linked with chronic stress and magnesium has been shown to have an antidepressant-like effect in a chronic mild stress. This may be due to magnesium’s activity on the NMDA receptor.
According to a 2016 study, 400mg of magnesium daily showed benefits on heart rate variability, parasympathetic nervous system activity and reduced stress index in subjects also undertaking strength- endurance training. Researchers concluded that magnesium intake for patients with both mineral and physical stress is advantageous on a daily basis.