Thursday, April 14, 2011

Martha's Minute: The Amazing Brain - Deficiencies Related to Stress

Magnesium deficiencies shown to enhance reactions to stress

The mineral magnesium is important for the heart, muscles, kidneys, teeth, and bones. It can help reduce stress, depression, and insomnia, as well as activate certain enzymes that provide energy to the body so that it can function properly. Magnesium is available in many food sources including tofu, nuts, green leafy vegetables, legumes, whole grains, oatmeal, and bananas. However, most people in the United States probably do not get as much magnesium as they should from their diet. Magnesium deficiency can result in an increased susceptibility to damage caused by physical or emotional stress. It also increases production of stress hormones that can have devastating effects on health when elevated for long periods.

According to Dr. Mildred Seelig in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, "magnesium deficiency intensifies adverse reactions to stress that can be life-threatening." Dr. Seelig concluded that "worth consideration and trial is the possibility that higher than usual magnesium intake, from a magnesium-rich diet or from supplementing the usual diet with magnesium salts, might be protective against damage caused by the usual vicissitudes of life and unusual stresses."

J Am Coll Nutr 1994;13(5):429-46.
Advanced Nutrition Publications ©2002

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