By Elisabeth Morgan

Magnesium is one of the key minerals in our bodies that regulate hormone production, hydration and more than 300 biochemical reactions keeping us feeling healthy. A lack of magnesium is accompanied by tightening muscles, fatigue and anxiety — negative symptoms for those seeking a sense of calm in their lives.

“Many people with anxiety and sleep disturbances are producing stress hormones throughout the day, like adrenaline and cortisone,” says Geri Brewster, a registered dietician and nutritionist in New York.

These hormones require a lot of magnesium, Brewster explains. Caffeine and sleep deprivation deplete our magnesium supply very quickly. Consequently, we reach for caffeine, which acts as a diuretic and makes us lose even more of the mineral! This creates a cycle of deprivation. These symptoms can lead to stress, high blood pressure and even depression.

Nutritionist Liz Weinandy of the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center says that 60 percent of Americans don’t get enough magnesium. Taking a magnesium supplement is a way to make up for the deficiency.

“I usually recommend a moderate dose, about 200 to 250 milligrams magnesium citrate,” says Weinandy. “Large doses of magnesium supplements can cause diarrhea, so more is not always better!”

The recommended daily dose for adults is between 300-400 milligrams. Talk with a doctor before starting a regimen. Supplements can interfere with certain other medications, and your kidneys must be in good working order.

Other simple ways to promote magnesium absorption include drinking mineral water, taking Epsom salt baths and focusing on a diet naturally rich in magnesium.

“In order to just get our required amount, even before we take on any extra stress, we need about a cup of cooked spinach, an avocado and 2 ounces of nuts [a day],” suggests Brewster.

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