Stress typically comes with a feeling of being overwhelmed or unable to cope with pressure mentally or emotionally. It is your body’s response to pressure. Whenever you encounter a stressor (something that causes stress), your stress response is immediately triggered. As human beings, we all respond to stress differently. Our ability to deal with it could depend on a variety of factors ranging from our personality, genetics, experiences, as well as economic and social circumstances.
Subsequently, stress shouldn’t be considered a simple problem. It can affect all aspects of your life, including your behavior, emotions, how you reason, and your overall physical health. No part of your body is immune to stress.
Besides, not all stress is bad. In small doses, it can be quite useful in helping you to accomplish tasks as quickly as possible and also help you push through pain or fear. For instance, it can help you go out and deliver a speech or even win a race. As soon as you’re done, your stress hormones become normal without leaving any lasting effects. However, when it becomes too much, it can cause severe negative effects, leaving you in a permanent state of fight or flight. This can make you feel fatigued and overwhelmed. If this happens long term, it will affect your mental and physical health.
Long Term Health Effects of Stress
Having to cope with chronic stress can be challenging. Some of the health effects of long term stress are:
Worsening Current Health Issues
As aforementioned, stress affects every part of the body. If it continues and remains untreated, it can completely suppress your immune system, making it a challenge to recover from existing health issues.
Moreover, long-term stress can worsen digestive diseases like Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis. When this happens the body channels its energy on surviving instead of healing itself.
It’s not news that stress has a very high chance of causing one to suffer anxiety and depression. A recent study showed that people who have suffered job-related stress have a 95% risk of developing depression than people with lower stress levels.
One of the most common triggers of headaches is chronic and long-term stress. This doesn’t just refer to random headaches, but also severe migraines.
Excess belly fat poses a higher health risk than fat stored on the hips or legs. However, that is where people with high-stress levels store it. Stress significantly increases the production of the hormone cortisol which increases abdominal fats.
Long-term stress also causes insomnia. You’ll often lie awake almost throughout the night without getting any sleep. Most of the time, you wake up fatigued.
Loss of Concentration
When you suffer from chronic stress, you’ll notice your thoughts rapidly jump from one to the next and you won’t be able to focus or concentrate on anything.
Chronic stress can make you age faster than you should. Research has proven that stress accelerates aging by approximately 8-10 years.
When it comes to stress, magnesium plays a very crucial role- it can regulate your body’s response to stress. If you suffer from chronic stress, it could mean that your body is low on magnesium. Low magnesium levels can intensify stress.
Magnesium is so beneficial for anxiety and stress that it is often called “the original chill pill”. It significantly restricts the production of stress hormones, acting as a blocker to stop them from getting into the brain.
Effects of Magnesium on Brain Functions
Magnesium is beneficial to the brain’s health, thereby improving its cognitive abilities. It is vital for normal brain function. A diet high in magnesium is an ideal way to improve your memory.
Typically magnesium helps to stimulate electrical activities in the brain, making it easier to easily process information while improving sleep. It acts as the gatekeeper for your body’s NMDA receptors, which play a major role in brain development. Moreover, it prevents the overstimulation of nerve cells which can result in brain damage.
Several types of magnesium perform different roles in improving your overall health. The type of magnesium that is specifically needed for the improvement of brain health is magnesium L- threonate.
Neuroplasticity is simply the brain’s ability to change. This flexibility aids the brain to forge new neural connections that affect your ability to learn, or your behavior and cognitive functions in general. It also plays a crucial role in how your brain ages- it loses its plasticity, resulting in very low cognitive function. The magnesium L-threonate significantly improves synapse density as well as plasticity, thereby boosting overall cognitive ability.
Magnesium for Improved Mood
If you are downright depressed, stressed, or irritable, magnesium might just be what you need to make you feel a lot better. As you’ve just read, research has proven that magnesium can improve mood, sleep, and calm stress. This is exactly how it works:
Mood and depression: Magnesium is crucial for a lot of neurotransmitters, hormones, pathways, and enzymes involved in mood regulation. Just as we previously mentioned, low magnesium is associated with increased stress and vice-versa. Thus, magnesium works as an antidepressant drug, effectively calming your nerves and relieving your stress while improving your mood.
Sleep: When you don’t get enough sleep, the lack of rest can cause mood swings and irritability. Magnesium helps to interact with GABA, a neurotransmitter in the body that reduces the activities of brain neurons, thereby calming the nervous system and helping you get enough sleep. Moreover, it impacts melatonin– the hormone saddled with the responsibility of influencing your body’s sleep-wake cycles and calming your muscles to induce a deeper sleep.
As important as magnesium is to the body, it is quite sad that a lot of people downplay its significance and don’t make sure to get enough of it. The recommended daily intake is 310 to 320 mg for women and around 400 to 420 mg for men. Stress and depression can kill. So, ensure you’re getting it in the right amount to relieve you of stress, boost your mood, and increase your quality of life.