Don’t Let Divorce Stress You Out—Proper Nutrition Can Help

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By Dr. Carolyn Dean

Divorce and/or separation can be an extremely stressful time in your life. Feelings of nervousness, irritability and being unable to relax affect one’s ability to sleep and add to your stress levels. These feelings which are generally stress related have a biological effect which involves the influx of calcium into your cells, resulting in a temporary, drastic change in the cells’ internal magnesium-to-calcium ratio. Normal cells at rest contain 10,000 times more magnesium than calcium. If the amount of cellular magnesium falls however, calcium flows into the cell when NOT required. Such an imbalance, puts the cell into a hyperactive state leading to nervousness, inability to relax and a hard time falling asleep.

Magnesium is the anti-stress mineral and is known as a sleep aid which has proven to alleviate stress, anxiety, insomnia and even depression. One of the most absorbable forms of nutritional magnesium is magnesium citrate powder which can be taken with hot or cold water just before bedtime and can be found in most health food or vitamin stores.

In a recent study entitled: “Changes in brain protein expression are linked to magnesium restriction-induced depression-like behavior” published in Amino Acids magazine, 2011 Apr edition, the findings provide evidence of low magnesium-induced alteration in brain protein levels and biochemical pathways, contributing to depression like behavior.

In another study published in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society, Jan 201 edition entitled “The effect of melatonin, magnesium, and zinc on primary insomnia in long-term care facility residents in Italy”: a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial found that the administration of nightly melatonin, magnesium, and zinc appears to improve the quality of sleep and the quality of life in long-term care facility residents with primary insomnia.


An important study in 1995 showed that even marginal magnesium deficiency could induce the brain to become hyperexcitable, as shown by EEG measurements. The study lasted six months, with thirteen women ingesting a total of 115 milligrams of magnesium daily, only 30 percent of the RDA, for the first three months, during which time their EEGs showed hyperexcitability. During the second three months, they received 315 mg daily—a little closer to the 360 mg RDA recommended for women. However, even on this low dose of magnesium (315 mg), it took only six weeks for EEG readings to show significant improvement in brain function and decreased excitability.

Emotional and physical stress is so prevalent in our daily life that we have become desensitized to it and the message it is trying to give us, which is to slow down. Anxiety is a chemical reaction created when the adrenal glands respond to a stressful event, such as low blood sugar, by releasing adrenaline. When you are hungry or skip meals, you lower your blood sugar. The brain becomes extremely vulnerable to excitotoxins during episodes of low blood sugar or hypoglycemia. Pound for pound, the brain uses more blood sugar than any other part of the body. Low blood sugar occurs when you are malnourished or even when you skip meals. It also occurs in individuals whose adrenal glands are depleted and can’t mount the necessary adrenaline response to raise blood sugar when it gets too low. Magnesium is responsible for balancing blood sugar. With sufficient magnesium and balanced meals to prevent low blood sugar, you can protect yourself against anxiety and mood disorders. Supporting the brain as much as possible with safe nutrients and a safe environment, you may never need medications with their harmful side effects that are prescribed for these disorders.

Carolyn Dean, MD, ND has been a heath, nutrition and diet pioneer for over 25 years. She’s authored 22 books including “Future Health Now Encyclopedia”, “The Complete Natural Guide to Women’s Health,  “Hormone Balance”, “Menopause Naturally”,”365 Ways to Boost Your Brain Power: Tips, Exercise, Advice”, “The Yeast Connection and Women’s Health”, “IBS for Dummies” and “The Magnesium Miracle”. Radio, TV and magazines interview her regularly including ABC’s The View, NBC and CBS. Know the Cause with host Doug Kaufmam, Your Health with Dr. Becker, The Women’s Connection with Barrie Switzen, Weekend Today in NY, WNBC with Dr. Ian Smith, Health Matters with Christine Crosbie, Global TV to name a few. She’s the Medical Director for the non-profit Nutritional Magnesium Association. For more information, free articles and a free booklet entitled, “Magnesium” and other valuable resources visit http://www.nutritionalmagnesium.org

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