We’ve all heard about all the negative effects of stress and the modern lifestyle.
We’re all rushing around, overworked, in a constant state of fight-or-flight and it has disastrous effects on our health.
But what if “stress” wasn’t the real problem?
What if our bodies knew exactly how to cope with the intensity of modern life… if we just gave the body what it needed to thrive?
And the key may be one little mineral.
Magnesium is one of the most critical minerals for maintaining optimal health. It wears a lot of different hats in the complex workings of our bodies.
It’s involved with the absorption of almost every other mineral. That means not having enough magnesium can quickly catalyze other mineral deficiencies and secondary health problems.
It also plays a crucial role as a cofactor in everything from vitamin D, metabolism, energy production, bone health, cardiovascular health, and at least 300 known biochemical reactions. [1-3]
Most people don’t realize that they may be magnesium deficient. The problem is that because magnesium plays such an important role in so many other biological properties, it’s easy to misdiagnose.
With widespread industrial agriculture methods, our soil is quickly becoming stripped of minerals like magnesium.
Even with a supposedly “healthy” diet, you may not be getting the magnesium you need for health. According to virtually every reliable source you can find, somewhere between 75 and 90% of the American population is magnesium deficient. [1,4]
If you’d like to know more about magnesium deficiency and potential signs, you can check out our in-depth article here.
The surprising part, though, isn’t that we are magnesium deficient.
The most astonishing part about this hidden epidemic is that it may actually destroy your ability to handle stress.
One of the biggest problems we blame on the modern lifestyle is this feeling of “never turning off.”
Our brains seem to always be going and going and going.
This is one of the primary drivers of anxiety, where our nervous system is so over-driven we just can’t seem to relax.
Magnesium turns down the volume on our nervous system and stress levels in two important ways.
The first way has to do with the connections between brain cells. The second way has to do with the “neurotransmitter of relaxation.” Let’s start with the first one.
The connection between brain cells (neurons) is called the synapse.
The synapse is that tiny gap between two neurons where they communicate through biochemical messenger molecules called neurotransmitters.
Usually, a neurotransmitter fits into a receptor like a key fits into a lock. Then the lock turns and sends the signal to the inside of the cell.
In the picture above, neurotransmitters are the little yellow dots. The receptors are the bigger yellow blops on the left side.
One of the most powerful stimulating neurotransmitters is called glutamate. It’s so powerful, that too much can actually kill a neuron if there is too much of it. It binds to a receptor in the synapse called an NMDA receptor.
But what’s interesting is that there is also a high concentration of magnesium in the synapse.
The magnesium can enter the receptor as well. When it does, it blocks the glutamate. Magnesium is like your brain’s way to keep the glutamate signal from getting too strong. [5-6]
It’s like a natural limiter for your nervous system to keep you from getting spun out, overwhelmed, and stressed out.
But without enough magnesium, glutamate pushes our nervous system into unhealthy hyperactivity, amplifying the sensations of stress and anxiety in our lives. 
Magnesium turns down your stress before it even happens.
Now let’s look at the other way magnesium helps your body cope with stress.
Now before we get into the second way magnesium affects your ability to cope with stress and relax, we need to get into a bit of biochemistry.
One of the most important proteins for a healthy body is what’s called the “sodium-potassium pump.” It’s involved in everything from the firing of neurons to muscle contraction to blood pressure.
You can think of it like a gate-keeper for your cells, making sure you have the right balance of minerals inside the cells for optimal function.
When you get too much of one mineral, the cells cannot function as well. After a while, this starts showing up as symptoms, depending on which cells are most affected.
Balance is the key to optimal health, and this little sodium-potassium pump is one way the body maintains balance.
And, as you might suspect, magnesium plays a critical role in its function. [8,9]
And this sodium-potassium pump is especially important for the “relaxation” signal in your brain.
The other way magnesium buffers us against the negative effects of stress is through a different neurotransmitter called GABA.
GABA is the relaxation signal in our brains. It turns everything off. That nice relaxed buzz you may feel from a glass of wine? A big part of that comes from the alcohol turning on the GABA signal in your brain.
The main way GABA affects the body is through the sodium-potassium pump. And like we learned above, magnesium is critical to its proper function. That means without enough magnesium in your body, the GABA signal is broken. 
It’s like cutting the wires on the brakes of a car. You can push the pedal all you want, but the car won’t respond. No matter how much GABA signal your brain sends, the rest of the body won't get the message.
That means stress –– and all of the problems that come with it –– keeps on piling up even when you should be relaxing.
And all because of magnesium deficiency.
Any time your nervous system is overactive, you will likely find sleep problems.
As we just learned, one of the many side-effects of magnesium deficiency is too much glutamate stimulation, which can push us into stress and anxiety.
Another side effect is not having enough GABA signal to calm things down. So without magnesium, our stress levels go up and we lose the ability to recover and relax.
It should come as no surprise, then that one of the most common uses of magnesium supplements is as a sleep aid. 
Research also shows that magnesium may increase melatonin –– the sleep hormone –– during sleep. 
With the combination of reducing glutamate, boosting GABA, and increasing melatonin, Magnesium helps your nervous system calm down at night so you can more easily drop into the “rest and relax” state you need for rejuvenating sleep.
There are many ways to get more magnesium into your body.
The first one is through diet. Magnesium-rich foods include:
Nuts, chocolate, dark leafy greens, dates, figs, avocado, whole grains like buckwheat, barley, millet, and rye, and seaweed.
Now, because of soil depletion, the mineral content of most foods continues to fall –– even organic food. So you may want to consider supplementation.
When it comes to supplementation, there are many options.
Your skin is highly absorbent and is an excellent route to get more magnesium into your body.
Magnesium is a critical piece of the optimal health puzzle.
However, please understand that we are not suggesting magnesium will miraculously solve your life problems. No amount of a mineral supplement will compensate for an unhealthy lifestyle.
Getting enough magnesium will, however, supply your body and brain with the resources they need to properly regulate your health, and help you get the rest, relaxation, and deep sleep you need.
And in our hectic modern world, we all need all the help we can get.
If you want an extra boost to make sure your body is fortified, click here to find out more about BodyHealth Calm.
The importance of having a well-functioning and healthy immune system has become increasingly obvious in recent times.
Sadly, everyone seems to have a different answer as to how you should go about strengthening your immune system. When you go to your local health and wellness shop, you might see twenty or thirty products that tout their “immune boosting” powers. An Amazon search reveals thousands of results.
Well, we’re here to tell you about an effective and ancient remedy that has been in use for over two thousand years: the red reishi mushroom.
I hope this finds you healthy and able to still get outside (or inside) for a daily run during this trying time of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many of us are grieving several losses including race cancellations. Though it's a bummer, I want you to know that your hard-earned training is far from wasted.
Those miles are in your legs and all kinds of wonderful benefits have occurred including the addition of mitochondria, adding new capillary beds for increased blood flow, and strengthening the heart muscle for future training.
As athletes, it's important for us to be proactive in maintaining a strong immune system. We're not only doing this for our own prevention but also our loved ones that we spend time with.
Read on for 5 tips to consider as you seek to stay healthy.
Chronic obesity often persists because of hormone dysregulation. The hormones regulating appetite, body weight, and metabolism create a normalized “set-point.” This is a key feature of how the intelligence of the body maintains homeostasis across our lives.
When we deviate from this set point by losing weight, the body will attempt to regain homeostasis. There are many reasons this can occur and in this article we'll discuss them.