Magnesium: It’s Helpful for a Healthy & Happy Brain- InVite Health Podcast, Episode 585

Magnesium: It’s Helpful for a Healthy & Happy Brain- InVite Health Podcast, Episode 585


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Magnesium: It’s Helpful for a Healthy & Happy Brain- InViteⓇ Health Podcast, Episode 585

Hosted by Jerry Hickey, Ph.

*Intro music*

InViteⓇ Health Podcast Intro: Welcome to the InViteⓇ Health Podcast, where our degreed healthcare professionals are excited to offer you the most important health and wellness information you need to make informed choices about your health. You can learn more about the products discussed in each of these episodes and all that InViteⓇ Health has to offer at First time customers can use promo code PODCAST at checkout for an additional 15% off your first purchase. Let’s get started!†

*Intro music*

Jerry Hickey, Ph.: [00:00:40] Magnesium is a tonic for your brain, and this is no surprise because magnesium is a mineral that’s key to your health. It’s very safe and it’s key to brain health and wellness. So magnesium is involved in over 300 important activities in your body. And here’s just a few of them. And many of these have to do with brain health, regulating your blood pressure, regulating your heart rate, regulating your blood sugar, releasing energy from food, but also sleeping at night. It’s important for nerve conduction, it’s important for your muscle function, it’s important for your immune system, it’s important for calcium regulation, which blends right into anxiety and stress and we’ll talk about that. But also for bone health. Magnesium, there’s only a very tiny content of magnesium in your bones. But it’s really important because it seals to calcium into the matrix of your bone. And if you lack magnesium, the crystals in your bone increase and your bone becomes more friable. In other words, it can snap easier- in other words, it’s easier to break your bone. So lacking magnesium, no good for your bones. It’s also needed for activating vitamin D. Now, how does that play into the brain? I mean, vitamin D is important for so many things in the human body. But if you lack vitamin D activity because you need magnesium to activate vitamin D, if you lack vitamin D activity in the brain, it increases your risk of dementia. Magnesium is also key to regulating the release of important neurotransmitter chemicals in your brain we know of about 100 neurotransmitters in the brain and they control you, a little splash of these chemicals released from your nerve cells in your brain is important for your memory, for everything to do with your brain. You know the name of some of these, like serotonin and melatonin and dopamine and norepinephrine, epinephrine, glutamate and GABA. These neurotransmitters in your brain are involved with learning, memory, solving problems, stress, anxiety, depression, addiction, sleep awake, brain metabolism, attention span and focus brain energy. So low magnesium intake is linked to fatigue, stress, anxiety, depression and insomnia. In fact, very new research and this is what triggered me to write this podcast and perform this podcast episode, very new research from the University of Leeds that’s in the UK that’s in England shows how certain foods, a good diet, a particular day and the mineral magnesium reduce feelings of stress, anxiety and depression.† [00:03:32]


[00:03:33] So hi, my name is Jerry Hickey. I’m a nutritional pharmacist. I’m a licensed pharmacist. Welcome to my episode. Magnesium: it’s helpful for a healthy, balanced and happy brain, a well-functioning brain. My specialty, by the way, is nutrition. So welcome to the episode. You can find all of our episodes, by the way, for free wherever you listen to an episode or just go to, you can also find info in-flight on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at InViteⓇ Health.† [00:04:06]

[00:04:11] First, let’s make our case for the safety of magnesium. Magnesium is a macro mineral. In other words, you need it more than the micro minerals or micro mineral might be selenium and copper and manganese and minerals like that, macro minerals you need more of like potassium, sulfur, magnesium, calcium, to name a few. And it’s involved in over, like I said before, 300 different important processes in the body. And it’s extremely safe, it’s very safe magnesium from food and magnesium supplements are incredibly safe. So drugs to treat depression can have side effects. Now, that doesn’t mean magnesium can replace them, but magnesium sure can help with depression. So can other supplements we’ll go into that later. And magnesium is safe to take with your antidepressant in fact it is a very good idea. Unlike the benzodiazepine drugs to treat anxiety, magnesium is extremely safe. An example of a benzodiazepine which would which would help anxiety and stress would be valium, which is diazepam. There are some forms that act as a stool softener, and that’s because they’re not well absorbed like magnesium sulfate, magnesium chloride, magnesium oxide would have a stool softening effect it would act like laxative. It would be a safe thing to take, don’t get me wrong, but it’s a stool softener, so- and that’s because they’re absorbed slowly so they’re doing things in the intestines, they’re changing pressure gradients in the intestines. So if you don’t want that laxative effect, take magnesium glycine. It’s a very good dosage and it’s absorbed really well and it’s my go to magnesium. Unless it’s in balance with calcium, then you can use any kind of magnesium, especially magnesium citrate.† [00:06:05]

[00:06:07] But now let’s get back to mental health. Anxiety is a very common illness. I’m sure the figures are higher than what I’m quoting you know, you’ve got all this stuff going on there’s still that COVID thing going on and there’s a war over in the Ukraine and there’s been problems with inflation and politics has gotten ridiculous. So a lot more people are anxious than what would normally be. But anxiety is very common.† [00:06:37]

[00:06:40] Generally anxiety affects well over 30% of Americans at some point. And I’m sure today that figure is much higher. So let’s do a little tutorial. I’ll keep it nice and neat on what’s going on with stress and anxiety and even depression and a mineral magnesium. There’s a system in the brain that runs through the brain it’s a system, it’s not a spot, it’s called the limbic system. It’s involved with different things. It’s involved with addiction, it’s involved with with fear, it’s involved with reward, which is the opposite of addiction. It’s very strongly involved with emotion. And it’s a key structure that interacts with our hypothalamus. Now, our hypothalamus is towards the back lower part of the brain. It’s an ancient part of our brain, it’s an ancient structure. And the hypothalamus interacts with the brain and connects basically the brain to the body. The hypothalamus interacts with the anterior and posterior pituitaries and this regulates the interaction between our brain and the hormones in our body and our nervous system. So when we become alarmed, our hypothalamus in the brain triggers the release of hormones from our adrenal glands. Our adrenal glands are commonly called our stress glands, but they do more than that. They balance our blood volume and electrolytes, you know, like potassium, magnesium, sodium chloride, calcium, etc. So they draw the adrenal glands to a lot more than this, but they also release stress hormones. Stress hormones are needed to get you away from danger or to help with inflammation, etc. But, you know, when you become alarmed and there’s an improper release is the stress hormones, especially when it’s continuous, which we would call chronic, it’s a very bad thing. So when you become alarmed, the hypothalamus triggers the release of hormones from our adrenal glands, the adrenal glands of these little triangular glands that sit atop each kidney. And these are hormones like cortisol and epinephrine. In England, in the U.K., they call epinephrine adrenaline, like adrenal gland and norepinephrine, which is noradrenaline. And between the cortisol and these other neurotransmitters, you’re squeezing your blood vessels and making your blood pressure zoom so you could get more blood to the brain and the muscles to get away from danger, because that’s what the fight or flight system is. That response is to get you away from danger. So your blood vessels are squeezing, your heart rates increasing, more blood is reaching the brain. But the brain is going to need more energy. The muscles are going need more energy. So not only is your blood pressure going up, but your blood sugar is going up, so there’s available energy for your muscles, etc. Now the release of the epinephrine, especially the adrenaline, is for the fight or flight response. All of these organs we’re talking about right now, they require the mineral magnesium.† [00:09:41]

[00:09:44] So how does magnesium enter into this? Magnesium is needed for reducing chronic feelings of fight or flight. In other words, being alarmed, being stressed, being anxious. Because magnesium is needed in the brain to release certain neurochemicals that we call neurotransmitters. Small splashes of these have profound effects on the brain on a body. Serotonin- serotonin is kind of like a feel good neurotransmitter. It helps you with stress, but also helps control your appetite by the way. Dopamine and dopamine is a feel good neurotransmitter, but it’s also involved with controlling your balance and your mobility and your muscle function. So the magnesium helps reduce feelings of stress and anxiety and it helps assuage depression. So when the stress does occur, the body releases stress hormones. This triggers the magnesium in our blood to enter into our cells. And there’s a reason for that. The cells need a lot of energy during these situations so that they can transform sugar into energy. This causes magnesium in your blood to drop. This can affect your blood pressure, your blood sugar, your heart rate. This also causes a release- excuse me- this also causes- this also causes a drop in the release of the calming neurotransmitters in your brain like GABA, gamma amino butyric acid. We’ll go into that in a minute. So the problem is, if you’re already low in magnesium because of your diet or you’re not taking a supplement, you release more stress hormone, making your response to a stressful situation much more intense. But the lack of magnesium also allows inflammation and free radical production to climb in your cells, damaging your cells and your organs and tissues, and accelerating the aging process.† [00:11:52]


[00:11:53] So what does magnesium do in your brain? It balances two key neurotransmitters that are involved with relaxing the brain and exciting the brain. GABA which is inhibitory and glutamate, which is excitatory. But these are also needed for learning and problem solving. So the magnesium balances to GABA. What Acetylcholine and glutamate for learning, memory, problem solving, calming down the brain, exciting the brain when appropriate. So you really need to magnesium. But it also activates vitamin D. You can have plenty of vitamin D, but if it’s not activated, you have a higher risk of developing dementia. Magnesium also lowers CR-P. This is really important. CR-P stands for C-reactive protein. It’s released for the liver when you’re inflamed. So it’s a proxy for inflammation. We don’t know if CR-P does anything other than to tell us that we’re inflamed. It probably does something, but nobody could figure it out yet. But CR-P is is is much higher in people with depression. So magnesium lowers CR-P, it lowers that inflammation that would further confuse the brain. You know, when somebody is depressed, it’s not just like they’re missing one neurotransmitter, like serotonin. The entire terrain of the brain is not working well. So it’s not like you put a brick back in a wall and you fix the wall. The actual foundation of the wall is no good. So magnesium helps restore a proper foundation in the brain. And that’s one reason why it’s helpful with anxiety, depression, stress, etc. Now you need magnesium to release melatonin. Now people think of melatonin for sleep, which is true. It has something to do with sleep. But magnesium and sleep also allow you to build bone also we need it for your immune system. Melatonin is so important for the immune system that many cells have receptors such for melatonin, like they do for vitamin D. So if lacking either melatonin or vitamin D, prevents your immune system from working well to fight off infections and cancer, etc. So there’s magnesium, how key it is to good immune system balance and immune system regulation and immune system functions. But melatonin is also important for your digestive tract. You don’t digest things well if you lack melatonin. It’s needed for memory consolidation and learning. So melatonin is not released unless you have enough magnesium. All of your energy practically comes from a molecule called ATP. So all that sugar and protein and fat that you converting into energy eventually creates something called ATP. It’s called a nucleotide, and the ATP adenosine triphosphate releases a phosphate group. That’s the energy, it’s like lighting a match and and you have ADP and it gets recycled again so you keep on going. But without magnesium, you don’t store the ATP. Most of the ATP is present as magnesium ATP so you need magnesium for energy, just like you need magnesium for sleep. Magnesium we need it for the release of serotonin and dopamine to feel good hormones and once again, dopamine is also important for balance and mobility serotonin is also important as a regulator for your appetite, and eventually serotonin is processed into melatonin. So magnesium is really key here. You need magnesium for your nerves to work. You don’t transmit anything for nerve to a nerve, including in your brain without magnesium. Magnesium is needed to reduce brain inflammation, magnesium is needed for antioxidant protection in the brain, magnesium helps regulate calcium. Calcium does many good things you need calcium for energy without magnesium calcium cannot start the energy process. But calcium, if there’s too much of an influx of calcium during times of stress and tired nerves, it’s excitatory. So magnesium helps prevent that from happening. It helps prevent excessive excitation in the cells. But also, like I said, magnesium keeps calcium in your bones. So that’s another reason why you need magnesium. Magnesium is an anti-stress supplement that’s also good for anxiety and depression.† [00:16:10]

[00:16:13] Now, if you are stressed out, here’s some other supplements that can help. Magnesium, yes. But also B vitamins, vitamin C and an amino acid that comes from the T the T plant called L-Theanine is very good for stress. If you’re anxious, you also need fish oils besides magnesium. L-Theanine once again can help, but CBD cannabidiol helps with with anxiety, depression. You need b-vitamins, you need magnesium, you need fish oils. But some more esoteric supplements can help. Like bio curcumin is a well absorbed form of turmeric, a complete plant that reduces inflammation on the brain that’s been shown to help with depression in general and memory in general, but also help antidepressants to work better. And also a supplement called Alcar Acetyl L-Carnitine. Alpert is a neurotransmitter in the brain for energy, but it also creates all these different neurotransmitters like GABA, glutamate, glutamic acid, etc., so on and so forth. So it’s very good for helping people with depression. It is very safe. It’s very safe. Now which foods have magnesium? I like to encompass the whole thing when I do these podcasts. So what are magnesium, rich foods? And let me say this most many Americans I can’t say most Americans, but many Americans do not eat enough magnesium rich foods. So a good source would be salmon and halibut. Salmon and halibut. Salmon being a little better because salmon is pink because of astaxanthin, which is a fantastic antioxidant in your brain and eyeballs. There’s a lot of protein in salmon, you’ve got phosphate tides for for good function of HDL, protective cholesterol and muscle and nerve function, but also memory and protecting the brain. Those are formed into plasma allergens, which act like a protective coating in your brain. So so salmon has all this, but salmon also, of course, has the fish oils and the magnesium. Cocoa. Cocoa has magnesium. If you going to do chocolate, you have to do really dark chocolate but Cocoa’s better. It also has flavan-3-ols that help restore circulation to an aging brain for good memory and brain protection. It has phenylethylamine, salsolinol, theophylline, theobromine, and other nutrients and ingredients that are great for your brain without causing damage. They’re also good for your heart. Avocados. Avocados are also heart healthy. They help with your good cholesterol, etc. Almonds and cashews which have other benefits. Beans, lentils, peas, all those lagoons. So also tofu they have besides the the different ingredients they have in them, like isoflavones to protect women’s breast to a little a little bit to protect men’s prostate and to help protect the heart. They also have magnesium. So tofu falls in there also. Flaxseed and pumpkin seeds. They have magnesium, but you have to eat a lot of them. Whole wheat and oats so people can’t have a whole wheat. But whole wheat also is connected to a lower risk of heart disease and colon cancer. Oats, of course, lower your cholesterol and are connected with heart health. Bananas, now you got to watch the sugar in bananas, but bananas, besides having magnesium, also have potassium. A lot of potassium. They have vitamin C, they have some fiber. Green, leafy vegetables like spinach but I like the broccoli type vegetables. They have glutathione precursors, which is a key antioxidant your eyes, your brain, your heart, your liver, your kidneys, etc., your lungs, your red blood cells, your white blood cells, they have vitamin K1, they have vitamin D2, they have a little bit of calcium and strontium for your bones to have some vitamin K excuse me, some potassium. They have a little bit of beta carotene. The broccoli, vegetables versus like spinach type vegetables also have ingredients that are like anti-cancer, antiviral, anti-aging, like Sulforaphane, Indole-3-carbinol and Glucuronic acid. So these are good foods. I mean, this is why I try to eat these foods frequently. So who needs a little bit more magnesium? Athletes, they use it up quickly. And people who do a lot of exercise like myself. Emotional people because they drain their magnesium very quickly. Anyone who has an injury, a chronic illness or an infection can use more magnesium. People with stress, people with anxiety, people with depression, people with migraines, it helps with migraines. There’s several nutrients that can help with migraines, like magnesium, riboflavin, which is vitamin B2 fish oils. Type-A personalities are always stressed out, are always rushing around. They tend to be a little explosive sometimes they need more magnesium. Type-A personalities need more magnesium. Also, diabetics, magnesium interacts with vitamin D and zinc to release insulin and glucagon from the pancreas to control your blood sugar. But diabetics also need vitamin B1 for the trans ketone activity to control your blood sugar. They also need vitamin C because they don’t use it well. They need chromium and niacin to hold the insulin onto their cells to control the insulin. They need some calcium because their bones get hollowed out. They need Ubiquinol because they can’t make energy. And Ubiquinol is key to making energy. People with high blood pressure can use more magnesium. People who’ve had a heart attack, especially older people and people on diuretics, will get into that in a minute as a bonus info. People with a noisy lifestyle, people in a noisy environment like people who live in the city. People who live near major traffic. People who work in noisy factories because noise depletes magnesium. Maybe that’s one reason why noises are connected with depression and anxiety and stress and an earlier death, etc., and even memory loss. More than likely, people on diuretics and steroid drugs. I tried to get about 400 milligrams a day if I get more that’s okay. So here’s a bonus info, and this has to do with the heart. But of course, the heart is intimately connected to your brain. In 4365 patients over the age of 69 who previously had a heart attack. Now they were followed for over 12 years in general. So that’s a well powered study, does lots of people lots of time. It’s in the journal Frontiers in Cardiovascular Medicine. That’s from Wageningen University over in the Netherlands. So it’s all good. It’s a good study, and it’s especially important for the older people. They need more. Older people need magnesium in general. They need a number of supplements. They need to have to make sure they’re getting lutein and zinc and magnesium and several other supplements because of fish oils, because the levels drop with age. I’ve done podcast episodes on that. So a higher intake of-these are heart attack survivors over the age of 69. A higher intake of magnesium from food, from supplements greater than 320 milligrams, reduce their risk of developing cardiovascular disease, but also reduce their risk of dying from cardiovascular disease by 28% and reduce their risk of dying from all cause mortality by 22%. What’s all cause mortality? Dying from any cause. Now, if they were on a diuretic, this was especially important. Having sufficient-having a good amount of magnesium and people over 69 with cardiovascular disease on a diuretic like hydrochlorothiazide or furosemide or triumph to reduce their risk of dying from cardiovascular disease by 45%. Now, I would add to that other supplements, they can help keep you alive if you’ve had a heart attack. Cocoa, Ubiquinol, fish oils, B vitamins. They’re all important along with the magnesium.† [00:24:09]

[00:24:11] So I gave you a lot of info there. I hope you enjoy it and it’s very useful practical information. Thanks for listening to our podcast episode. You can find all of our episodes for free wherever you listen to podcast and let you know subscribe and leave a review if you could, because that helps. Or just go to You can also find InVite on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at InViteⓇ Health. I want to thank you so much for listening. Hope to see you next time on the next episode of your InViteⓇ Health podcast. Jerry Hickey signing off. Have a great day.† [00:24:11]


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