One of the causes of anxiety is being deficient in magnesium. You could get a blood test if you aren’t sure of your own levels. The anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) potential of magnesium has been demonstrated in studies.

Magnesium modulates activity in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, which is a central communication highway for the stress response system. The brain region of the hypothalamus tells the pituitary gland that it’s time for you to feel stressed, and the pituitary switches on the adrenal glands, which release cortisol. That’s great if you’re running from a deranged madman carrying a rifle and threatening to shoot you, but it’s not great if you’re at a party with a group of friends or getting ready to go to work on Monday morning. Activation of this adrenal axis instigates adaptive autonomic, neuroendocrine, and behavioral responses to cope with the demands of a stressor, and it also increases anxiety. (1)

Interestingly, it’s been shown that people who are sleep deprived are likely to be deficient in magnesium. (2) We know that increasing magnesium intake through foods can up your dopamine levels, making you feel more relaxed and satisfied.

Foods with magnesium:

  • Beans
  • Seeds
  • Nuts
  • Soybeans (edamame, tofu, and so on)
  • Whole grain
  • Wild rice
  • Cacao
  • Chickpeas
  • Lentils
  • Wild Salmon
  • Bananas
  • Avocados
  • Spinach

Isn’t this information utterly relieving? Consuming magnesium-rich food or taking magnesium supplements has been demonstrated to reduce the expression of anxiety-related behavior and put more control in our hands. (3)

Resources:

1.     F. Mocci, et al., “The Effect of Noise on Serum and Urinary Magnesium and Catecholamines in Humans,” Occupational Medicine, vol. 51, no. 1 (February 2001), pp. 56–61, doi: 10.1093/occmed/51.1.56.

2.     B. Takase, et al., “Effect of Chronic Stress and Sleep Deprivation on Both Flow-Mediated Dilation in the Brachial Artery and the Intracellular Magnesium Level in Humans,” Clinical Cardiology, vol. 27, no. 4 (April 27, 2004), pp. 223–7, doi: 10.1002/clc.4960270411.

3.     G. Grases, et al., “Anxiety and Stress Among Science Students: Study of Calcium and Magnesium Alterations,” Magnesium Research, vol. 19, no. 2 (June 2006), pp. 102–6, PMID: 16955721.