Manage episode 230383184 series 61324
Magnesium has some amazing properties for your brain and body. It also makes important contributions to many important processes in the human body.
Two things that many of us have experienced are stress and muscle cramps.
First, let’s look at magnesium and its impact on stress, especially in relation to cortisol. Cortisol is the body’s principal stress hormone. This hormone helps to keep us alert during stressful moments or emergencies. But when stress becomes chronic, cortisol levels can stay high for too long which can lead to damage a part of the brain called the hippocampus; this damage leads to further creation of cortisol – and even more stress! Luckily, magnesium can help to reduce the ability of the hippocampus to go into overdrive with the production of cortisol.
Second, magnesium has many therapeutic and restorative effects on the brain. For instance, it helps to keep the neurons in the brain healthy by reducing the stimulating effects of calcium and glutamate on neural receptors. A lack of magnesium in the area of cell receptors means that stimulus from calcium and glutamate can increase. This leads to cell damage and even cell death in the brain. Research has also suggested that this mineral can help protect people from falling into periods depression and anxiety after suffering brain trauma.
Third, magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body and it’s part of many important functions. Keeping magnesium at the right level can help you in so many ways. Since it plays a role in neuromuscular transmission and muscle contraction it is linked (along with some other minerals like potassium and calcium) to muscle cramping when levels are deficient. Things like nerve compression and poor blood supply can also cause cramping so if it’s something persistent and troublesome see your health care provider.
Not many people know this but magnesium is part of every cell in your body. It’s what’s known as a “helper” molecule that is part of biochemical reactions that are happening all the time in human cells. Everything from the movement of muscles to the creation and repair of DNA and RNA involves magnesium.
Although magnesium doesn’t often make the health headlines, it’s presence in all our cellular functions means that it’s a critical component of our overall well-being.
How about some natural ways you can up your magnesium: it’s found in avocados, nuts, lentils, and bananas. Of course there are Mg supplements but I love food as medicine whenever possible.
So keep calm and carry on … by keeping your magnesium at healthy levels.
KEY TERMS & IDEAS
Magnesium is ubiquitous in the body and plays a role in all of the processes of our cells. It also plays an important role in mental health by both reducing cell death in the brain and mitigating the levels of cortisol released by the brain during times of stress.
Cortisol is the body’s principal stress hormone.
The hippocampus “is a small, curved formation in the brain that plays an important role in the limbic system. The hippocampus is involved in the formation of new memories and is also associated with learning and emotions.”
LINKS & RESOURCES:
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Franziska Spritzler, “10 Evidence-Based Benefits of Magnesium,” Healthline, September 3, 2018, https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-proven-magnesium-benefits#section9, accessed January 2019.
Inna Slutsky et al., "Enhancement of learning and memory by elevating brain magnesium," Neuron 65.2 (2010): 165-177, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0896627309010447, accessed January 2019.
Emily Deans, Magnesium and the Brain: The Original Chill Pill,” Psychology Today, June 12, 2011, https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/evolutionary-psychiatry/201106/magnesium-and-the-brain-the-original-chill-pill, accessed January 2019.
Kendra Cherry, “Hippocampus Role in the Limbic System, verwellmind, https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-the-hippocampus-2795231, accessed January 2019.
“What is Cortisol?” Web MD, https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/what-is-cortisol#1, accessed
Lisa Fromm, et al., "Magnesium attenuates post-traumatic depression/anxiety following diffuse traumatic brain injury in rats," Journal of the American College of Nutrition 23.5 (2004): 529S-533S, https://www.spectracell.com/media/uploaded/0/0e2016839_020fullpaper2004jamcollnutrmagnesium-attenuates-post-traumatic-depression-anxiety.pdf, accessed January 2019.
CREDITS: Producer: Marion Abrams, Madmotion, llc. Writer and Host: Nada Milosavljevic MD, JD
© 2019 Spartan
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