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Stress and Magnesium Deficiency

by Ramona Fasula

Stress – That big elephant in the room that everyone experiences, but no one wants to talk about. Chronic stress does damage to the body in so many ways and leaves us susceptible to a host of diseases.  It also causes a depletion of the most critical mineral that helps us to cope with stress – magnesium, thereby creating a vicious cycle. The more stressed you are, the lower your magnesium level, which leaves you even more stressed. To make matters worse, even those who eat a magnesium-rich diet can still become severely deficient, if they are dealing with a lot of stress in their lives.

According to a study done in Paris, personality has a big impact on the stress-magnesium cycle.  The study found that the most stress-related magnesium depletion occurred in those with Type A personalities. This is the main reason why Type A personalities experience higher incidences of heart attacks. Magnesium is vital for heart health.

So how do you know if you are magnesium deficient? A typical laboratory test can often be misleading because magnesium levels fluctuate, depending on where you are in the stress-depletion cycle. Some signs to look for include: muscle tension, spasms, and twitching, which are the most common symptoms, followed by palpitations and breathlessness. Irritability, fatigue, trouble falling asleep and hypersensitivity to loud noises are also common. Some other indications of a magnesium deficiency include migraines and tension headaches, unexplained chest pain, strange sensations of the skin, abdominal pain, and constipation. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, consult with your doctor.

The job of a CEO is extremely stressful. It will always carry some level of stress on a day to day basis. However, there are things that you can do to lower your stress levels, thereby protecting your storage of magnesium. Two stress-busting activities that I would recommend are yoga and meditation. The health benefits of both activities have been well documented. Listening to relaxing music can also help to reduce stress levels. Everyone has different preferences when it comes to relaxation. The key is to find one that you really enjoy and make a habit out of it.

It is also important to ensure that you are eating foods that are high in magnesium. These include: green, leafy vegetables, kidney beans, navy beans, broccoli, oats, millet, blackberries, dates, dried figs, mango, watermelon, almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, shrimp, and tuna.

Figuring out a way to manage stress is a must. Magnesium is not only critical in helping us cope with stress, but it is also responsible for many other functions within the body. So take some time for yourself and relax. Not only will it benefit you, but it will also allow you to become more productive at work, making you more of an asset to your company.

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