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Stressed Out? Get Your Calcium and Magnesium In

Posted Nov 14 2008 12:00am

A recent study shows the importance of both calcium and magnesium in the diet to help battle stress. It was determined that when subjects took a calcium and magnesium supplement, it had a greater effect in reducing and helping to manage stress. Calcium excites nerves, magnesium calms them down. Calcium makes muscles contract, but magnesium is necessary for muscles to relax.  Calcium is necessary to the clotting reaction and necessary for wound healing, but magnesium keeps the blood flowing freely and prevents abnormal thickening when clotting reactions would be dangerous.

It has also been determined that emotional “triggers” such as work stress, high-pressure deadlines, social isolation and loneliness, low socioeconomic status, anxiety, war, fear of war, anger and rage can deplete magnesium levels and have an impact on the magnesium stress response. When we are under stress, our bodies produce stress hormones that prepare us to fight the stress, like adrenaline and cortisol resulting in higher blood pressure, faster heart rate, higher blood sugar levels, greater appetite, etc. The stress response subsides when magnesium returns to its dominant presence inside our cells, moving extra calcium back outside cells to its normal position, thus restoring the cells’ normal magnesium:calcium ratio. It is so important for the body to return to a steady state after a stressful situation. Chronic stress can cause the body to retain too much of these stress hormones in the body resulting in obesity, diabetes, heart disease, premature aging, etc.

Many calcium supplements will contain magnesium along with Vitamin D for enhanced absorption. You can also get your calcium from dairy foods and magnesium from halibut, tuna, bananas, wheat flour, artichokes, spinach, black and white beans.

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