Could Magnesium supplements help with stress and anxiety?
Poor sleep and anxiety and extremely common in perimenopause and post menopause. Often magnesium is recommended for both conditions, but does it work?
When it comes to sleep here are some of the claims made and some of the evidence regarding it’s ability to improve sleep quality or duration:
- Improvements to sleep quality, duration and ability to fall asleep:
Research suggests that magnesium supplementation could lead to better sleep quality. A study published in the Journal of Research in Medical Sciences in 2012 found that magnesium supplementation improved subjective assessments on ability to fall asleep, sleep duration, reduced early waking and sleep quality in elderly individuals. Other studies have shown conflicting results and more research is needed.
- Reducing in Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) symptoms:
Restless Leg Syndrome effects around 10% of women, almost double the rate in men. It’s characterized by uncomfortable sensations in the legs and an irresistible urge to keep moving them, often occurring at night. It can make it difficult to get to sleep or be a cause of waking during the night. Some studies have shown that magnesium supplementation may help reduce RLS symptoms and improve sleep for individuals with this condition.
How could magnesium help?
It’s believed that magnesium helps plays a role in regulating the body’s circadian rhythms, which are essential for a healthy sleep-wake cycle. It may be involved in the production of melatonin, a hormone that helps control sleep patterns. there is very little research on this link but it has been suggested that magnesium supplementation may help support more regular sleep-wake cycles.
What about stress and anxiety?
Magnesium is said to have a calming effect on the nervous system, helping to reduce stress and anxiety, which incidentally are common contributors to sleep problems. It’s believed it may help promote relaxation through its regulatory effect on neurotransmitters and receptors involved in stress and anxiety, such as GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid). Magnesium may enhance GABA’s calming effects, potentially reducing anxiety.
It may also play a role in lowering cortisol levels and relieving chronic stress.
magnesium may indirectly support better sleep. Gathering evidence on this is ongoing with some studies suggesting there may be a benefit but the quality of the studies have been questioned.
If there is a magnesium deficiency there may be a benefit in people who have an anxiety deficiency and depression but it’s important to note it is note a stand alone treatment. Always speak to your doctor if you are concerned about your mental health.
The form of magnesium and dosage can impact its effectiveness. Magnesium citrate and magnesium glycinate are said to be better absorbed and gentler on the stomach than other forms and a recommended dosage to look for is around 350 mg.
As always, let your doctor know if you are taking any supplements as they may interact with other medications that have been prescribed for you.