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Reducing Stress on Your Body and Mind

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  4. September 3, 2018

Stress is a fact of modern life in much of the industrialized world and can be a trigger for many diseases and pathological conditions1. About 40% of adults find themselves feeling stressed on a regular basis, and in a recent survey on self-care2, one in four people reported suffering from stress at least once a week.

Whether it’s a result of juggling a busy schedule, long hours on the job, or a congested commute, stress affects everything from our moods to our performance at work. In fact, one in five people in self-care survey said they had gone to work while stressed 10 times or more in the past year.

We often think of stress as a fact of life with no resolution. As a result, we often just wait for things to change and the stress to pass. But chronical stress can have serious effects on health including a reduced ability of short term memory recall3, cause cardiovascular system disorder4, sleep disruption and insomnia5, and stress mediators exerting effects on the immune system6. Because of this impact, people should look at ways to mitigate the amount of harm all that stress does on their body.

Defeating stress

The association of magnesium deficiency with stress has been well documented. A diet low in magnesium was associated with stress and even depression7,8.

To make matters worse, stress itself causes our bodies to deplete our magnesium stores9. Yet because most people don’t understand that magnesium loss can be aggravated by stress, they don’t do anything about it. Left unresolved, however, the condition can lead to a vicious cycle of increased stress, which in turn decreases magnesium levels even more. The result can be more extreme, when experiencing chronical levels of stress.

The Vicious Circle





People with depleted levels of magnesium can suffer from stress, anxiety, irritability, nervousness and other symptoms that can have a huge negative effect on the quality of life.

Magnesium works to reduce anxiety, sleep disturbances, gastro-intestinal spasms or rapid heartbeat, and relax muscles10.

Vitamin B6 can help the body manufacture neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and serotonin, which aids in the body’s ability to cope with depression, stress and anxiety11,12.

The link between magnesium, vitamin B6 and stress

To understand more about how additional magnesium might help certain high stress individuals with low levels of magnesium in their blood (low magnesemia), Sanofi recently conducted a Phase IV clinical trial involving a product containing magnesium with vitamin B6.

“It has been reported for some time of an existing association between magnesium status and stress levels, where both stress and low magnesemia can heighten each other’s negative effects,” said Dr. Alex Condoleon, Head of Medical, Sanofi Consumer Healthcare.“The question we set out to answer was whether stressed individuals with low magnesemia would see better outcomes on stress reduction by taking magnesium in conjunction with vitamin B6, which modulates neurotransmitters that affect depression and anxiety.”

The Phase IV clinical study by Sanofi involved 264 otherwise healthy adults in France who suffered from stress, with 61% of participants reported severe or extremely severe stress levels at study entry. Individuals (mean age of 31.6 years old and majority women, 74%) also had low levels of magnesium in their blood (low magnesemia). Their stress levels were measured using the Depression Anxiety Stress Scale (DASS-42), a clinically validated, self-reported measure. Half the participants were given magnesium alone, and the other half was given magnesium + vitamin B6.

The study showed that the overall study population benefited from taking Magnesium alone or Magnesium with vitamin B6 from stress reduction. Even more promising, study participants who took magnesium in conjunction with vitamin B6 showed a 24% stronger and significant positive effect in severe or extremely severe stress reduction after eight weeks. This trend was also observed at four weeks.

“While more studies are needed to determine the long-term effects on stress, the data from this study support the benefit of a vitamin B6 and magnesium combination in severe and extremely severe stress reduction in individuals with low blood magnesium levels, but otherwise healthy,” Dr. Condoleon said.

“Given in combination, magnesium and vitamin B6, may offer consumers an important benefit for severe stress.”


References

  1. Habib Yaribeygi et al. 2017. “The impact of stress on body function: A review.” EXCLI J. Vol. 16: 1057–1072. doi: 10.17179/excli2017-480
  2. The ‘Self Care: Be Your Best’ Sanofi Report 2018
  3. Habib Yaribeygi et al. 2017. “The impact of stress on body function: A review.” EXCLI J. Vol. 16: 1057–1072. doi: 10.17179/excli2017-480
  4. J. E. Dimsdale. 2008. “Psychological Stress and Cardiovascular Disease.” J Am Coll Cardiol. Vol 51: 1237–1246. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2007.12.024
  5. Meerlo P., Sgoifo A., and Suchecki D. 2008. “Restricted and disrupted sleep: Effects on autonomic function, neuroendocrine stress systems and stress responsivity.” Vol. 12: 197-210. doi: 10.1016/j.smrv.2007.07.007
  6. Dhabhar F. 2014. “Effects of stress on immune function: the good, the bad, and the beautiful.” Immunol Res. Vol. 58:193-210. doi: 10.1007/s12026-014-8517-0
  7. Cuciureanu MD., Vink R. 2011. “Magnesium and stress.” In Magnesium in the Central Nervous System, Adelaide : University of Adelaide Press.
  8. Eby GA., Eby KL., Murk H. 2011. “Magnesium and major depression.” In Magnesium in the Central Nervous System. Adelaide : University of Adelaide Press.
  9. Cuciureanu MD., Vink R. 2011. “Magnesium and stress.” In Magnesium in the Central Nervous System, Adelaide : University of Adelaide Press.
  10. MagneB6 SmPC. Sanofi
  11. McCarty MF. 2000. “High-dose pyridoxine as an 'anti-stress' strategy.” Med Hypotheses. Vol. 54 :803-7. doi: 10.1054/mehy.1999.0955
  12. Institute of Medicine. 1998. “Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary Reference Intakes: Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Vitamin B12, Pantothenic Acid, Biotin, and Choline.” Washington, DC: National Academy Press.