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  • Writer's pictureLexie Haren

4 Key Minerals & Their Impact on the Central Nervous System

Our body needs a variety of minerals to function optimally, particularly for the basic cellular function contributing to nervous system function. Among these minerals, a few play a more significant role in our nervous system's regulation and function. In this blog post, we will delve into the importance of four key minerals: Magnesium, Calcium, Potassium, and Sodium, where to source them, and their impact on our nervous system health.

A well regulated nervous system has the flexibility to respond appropriately to different stressors and triggers in both out external and internal environments. In the classic example of encountering a bear in the woods, it is an appropriate response for the nervous system to “amp up”, release some stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline and prepare the body to either fight or flee the situation. On the flip side, when you opt to sit by the fireside with your cozy cup of tea in hand, it is appropriate for the nervous system to “wind down” and for relaxing and restorative functions like digestion to begin.

It may be a red flag for nervous system regulation if an individual is aiming for a relaxing evening by the fireplace. Yet, they still feel like their blood is boiling and have extreme stress or anxiety. Minerals play a key role in the regulation of these responses in the body. From the brain sensing a trigger to the body's overall response, adrenal function, and release of hormones and all the way up to rest and recovery afterwards.

1. Magnesium (Mg) Magnesium is a macromineral that our body needs in large amounts. It plays a vital role in cell signaling, enzyme function, hormone release, and maintaining balance with Calcium for overall cellular function. When our body has insufficient Magnesium, it can hinder energy production and impair the body's stress response. Someone in this situation may experience a skewed nervous system response such as excessive release of cortisol or adrenaline and ultimately depleted adrenal function. A lack of Mg may also impair the body's ability to tap into the rest and digest mode after experiencing significant stressors, impairing the body's ability to achieve deep rest and adequate digestion. This is why it's important to ensure a good intake of Magnesium in our diet.

Sources of Magnesium Sources of Magnesium include squash, kelp, wheat bran, brewers yeast, molasses, coconut meat, figs, etc.

I also love topical forms of Magnesium like lotions and oils because they are so simple to implement daily!

These are my favs:

I also like quality Magnesium blend supplements:

By including these foods in your diet, you can ensure a balanced intake of this crucial mineral.

2. Calcium (Ca) Calcium is another macromineral that plays a key role in neurotransmission, muscle function, and more when balanced with Magnesium. However, excess Calcium can lead to inflammation, nerve overstimulation, and cell death. On the other hand, a deficiency or build-up in the soft tissues can result in overall slowed metabolism and nervous system response. I don't know about you, but when I encounter that bear in the woods, I want my nervous system to kick in like it's designed to! When there is too much calcium built up in the soft tissues, this reponse may be impaired. To avoid the accummulation of Ca in the soft tissues and to support absorption in the bones (where it is supposed to be), consuming whole food forms of Calcium rather than Calcium supplements can be valuable as well as focusing on other mineral and nutrient intake that can help absorption!

Easily Absorbable Sources of Calcium Some easily absorbable sources of Calcium include oysters, cooked rhubarb, yogurt, cheese, dairy products, cooked leafy greens, and elk velvet.

Including these foods in your diet can help maintain the right balance of Calcium and Magnesium.

3. Potassium (K) Potassium is crucial for cell balance, nerve function, and Calcium absorption into bones. Insufficient Potassium affects nerve impulses, impairing the body’s nervous system function and overall stress response. It is also essential for optimizing the absorption and function of other minerals in the body.

Sources of Potassium Some good sources of Potassium include dried fruits, potatoes, winter squashes, bananas, oranges, coconut water, dairy, beef, chicken, and fish.

Ensuring a good intake of these foods can ensure your body has enough Potassium for optimal functioning.

4. Sodium (Na) Sodium helps stimulate the sodium channels in the body, which allow for the firing of neurons (nerve impulses that allow the cells to communicate with each other). The adrenals also need adequate Sodium to function optimally, aiding in the nervous system and stress response. Inadequate amounts of sodium can lead to delays in the nervous system and appropriate bodily responses to triggers.

Sources of Sodium Good sources of Sodium include high-quality sea salt or Icelandic flake salt. Check out my blog post "Not all Salts are Created Equal" for more on this!

Know of someone who could use some mineral or nervous system TLC? Have them join the Mtn Gal Well Co, an online holistic wellness community, to engage in daily discussion on topics like this, with real tangible steps to get mineral foundations dialed. They can also book a free 15-minute discovery call with Lexie to determine which functional labs would be of most value. More information can be found on the "Work 1:1 Tab".

Did you find this informative? Please Like, Comment, or Share!

Works Cited:

Burgoyne, R.D., Haynes, L.P. Understanding the physiological roles of the neuronal calcium sensor proteins. Mol Brain 5, 2 (2012).

Dean, Carolyn. The Magnesium Miracle. 2nd ed., Ballantine Books, 2017.

DeCoster M. A. (1995). Calcium dynamics in the central nervous system. Advances in neuroimmunology, 5(3), 233–239.

McCorry L. K. (2007). Physiology of the autonomic nervous system. American journal of pharmaceutical education, 71(4), 78.

**None of the information in this post is medical advice & should not be used to diagnose, treat or cure medical conditions. Work with a qualified practitioner to address any medical concerns. Some links may be affiliate links where Lexie receives a small payout from a company for sharing about their products. Lexie only shares about products that she personally uses & has done extensive reserach on. Thanks for choosing to support her & her small business by purchasing through her links!**

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