Stress (chronic) is a major contributor to most of disease states currently in the world. According to Mayo clinic, the long-term activation of the stress-response system and the overexposure to cortisol and other stress hormones that follows can disrupt almost all your body's processes. This puts you at increased risk of many health problems, including:
This is stress resulting from repeated exposure to situations that lead to the release of stress hormones. This type of stress can cause wear and tear on your mind and body. Many scientists think that our stress response system was not designed to be constantly activated. This overuse may contribute to the breakdown of many bodily systems.
Short term survival is the name of the game when your stress response kicks in and this means that your body is going to prioritize certain areas over others – your heart, lungs and muscles are of real importance here so any nutrients that can support these places, such as magnesium, B vitamins and vitamin C, are going to be redirected here. You also have to consider that your adrenal glands will be working overtime to produce stress hormones such as adrenalin and cortisol so will be utilizing plenty of vitamin C to make sure this is getting done properly.
Acute stress has been shown to be associated with increased plasma Mg levels and increased urinary Mg excretion. This means that during times of chronic stress the body is having to use a lot of magnesium. Clinical manifestations of hypomagnesemia include neuromuscular irritability and weakness (tremors, fasciculations, tetany and positive Chvostek’s and Trousseau’s signs, although some of these features may be due to concomitant hypocalcemia), headaches, focal seizures, hyper- emotionality, generalized anxiety, panic attack disorders, insomnia, fatigue, and asthenia.
An interesting correlation has been reported between Mg deficiency and attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Elevated subjective stress levels and stress intolerance is often mentioned as part of the clinical presentation of ADHD, and often these patients present high post-stress cortisol concentrations.
GABA is a brain chemical that blocks certain communication between nerve cells in the brain. Researchers think GAMA may make you calm or boost your mood. Magnesium has been shown to modulate GABA activity in the brain. Magnesium ions can occupy GABA receptors acting as GABA receptor agonists to help facilitate GABA neurotransmission. GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain that plays a role in motor control, vision, and anxiety. GABA and magnesium bind to benzodiazepine receptors resulting in an anxiolytic effect. These are the same receptors that are targeted with anxiolytic prescription medications like Lorazepam (Ativan) or Diazepam (Valium).
Glutamate is an excitatory neurotransmitter that plays an important role in the development of the brain and is a key player in neuroplasticity, learning, memory, and locomotion. The amount of glutamate released in the brain is tightly regulated by the central nervous system. Increased levels are found in the brains of patients suffering from major depressive disorder, which may play a role in its pathophysiology.
Magnesium is a very potent inhibitor of NMDA receptors (N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor), which are a subtype of glutamate receptors. Magnesium is a natural antagonist to calcium and exerts its inhibitory effect in the nervous system by blocking the flow of calcium through the voltage-dependent NMDA receptors, preventing an excitatory response in the brain.
A magnesium deficiency coupled with high levels of calcium and glutamate is a recipe for disaster in the brain. This combination can depolarize neuronal membranes and lead to altered synaptic function and the development of anxiety and depression. The NMDA/glutamate pathway is one-way magnesium exerts its anxiolytic and antidepressant effects in the brain.
Vitamin B6 is a water-soluble vitamin that was first isolated in the 1930s. The term vitamin B6 refers to six common forms, namely pyridoxal, pyridoxine (pyridoxol), pyridoxamine, and their phosphorylated forms.
Pyridoxine nutritional status has a significant and selective modulatory impact on central production of both serotonin and GABA – neurotransmitters which control depression, pain perception, and anxiety – owing to the fact that the decarboxylases which produce these neurotransmitters have a relatively low affinity for pyridoxal phosphate (PLP). In a prospective study of 3,503 free-living people aged 65 and older from the Chicago Health and Aging Project, total vitamin B6 intakes (but not dietary intakes alone) were inversely correlated with the incidence of depressive symptoms during a mean follow-up period of 7.2 years.
Glutamine is the most abundant nonessential amino acid in the body and like arginine it becomes a conditionally essential amino acid in states of stress. It is the preferred fuel source for the small bowel enterocyte, which is thought to help maintain its structure and function during times of stress. It has beneficial anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. L-glutamine is used directly by the brain as fuel as well as to build and balance GABA. GABA is a neurotransmitter formed from glutamine that is known to have anxiety reducing benefits. It has been shown to enhance both mental performance and memory.
Selenium is a nutrient that is important for reproduction, thyroid gland function, DNA production, and protecting the body from damage caused by free radicals and from infection. The body generates toxic substances, like reactive oxygen species by default, but even more so during periods of high stress, Antioxidant function is mediated by selenoproteins, the most well-known of which is glutathione peroxidase (GPx). These selenoproteins help to scavenge and neutralize toxic reactive oxygen species that are formed at an increased level during periods of high stress.
L-Lysine is an essential amino acid which cannot be synthesized by mammals, thus making it indispensable. A diet deficient in L-lysine (Lys) decreases the whole-brain content of Lys and affects norepinephrine activity in the hypothalamus. Of all indispensable amino acids (AA), 2 Lys is the one most strongly conserved, due to its capacity for storage and slower catabolism. Prolonged lysine supplementation reduced plasma cortisol in animals by inhibiting long-term anxiety but without directly affecting the adrenal gland.