Posted on Mon, 26 Mar 12
Anxious? Depressed? Irritable? While there are lots of reasons for mood changes one may be that you are low in magnesium. In fact there is evidence to suggest that magnesium could be a safe and effective treatment for depression.
Magnesium is an essential dietary nutrient found in green leafy vegetables, whole grains and nuts and seeds though intakes have been declining due to modern farming and food processing and most people are not getting enough in their diet (1). Furthermore, physical and mental stress can increase magnesium loss (2).
Experimental studies have linked magnesium deficiency to anxiety and depression (3). And people with low dietary magnesium are much more likely to be depressed (4).
Studies show striking benefits:
A clinical study contrasting the effects of magnesium (450 mg daily) against a popular anti-depressant drug found that magnesium was highly effective in treating depression and as effective as medication (5).
In a series of case studies it was also shown that magnesium treatment (125–300 mg of magnesium with each meal and at bedtime) resulted in rapid recovery from major depression (in less than 7 days) including symptoms of headache, suicidal thoughts, anxiety, irritability, insomnia, post pregnancy depression, cocaine, alcohol and tobacco abuse and short-term memory loss (6)
And as far back as the 1920s magnesium was used to successfully (a 90% success rate) treat agitated depression, increasing sleep and relaxation (7).
The collective evidence and clinical success with magnesium has led some doctors to suggest that “due to its safety and efficacy, physicians should prescribe magnesium for treatment resistant depression without further delay, even though much more clinical research is needed to confirm and extend this important line of research (8).”
How to increase your magnesium intake:
Eat plenty of magnesium rich foods: whole oats, dark chocolate, brown rice, almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, lima beans, spinach, swiss chard, okra, and bananas.
Take a high quality magnesium dietary supplement providing about 300 mg of magnesium once to twice daily for 3-4 months.
1. Ford ES, Mokdad AH. Dietary magnesium intake in a national sample of US adults. J Nutr 2003;133:2879–82.
2. Johnson S. The multifaceted and widespread pathology of magnesium deficiency. Med Hypotheses. 2001 Feb;56(2):163-70.
3. Sartori SB, Whittle N, Hetzenauer A, Singewald N. Magnesium deficiency induces anxiety and HPA axis dysregulation: modulation by therapeutic drug treatment. Neuropharmacology. 2012 Jan;62(1):304-12.
4. Jacka FN, Overland S, Stewart R, Tell GS, Bjelland I, Mykletun A. Association between magnesium intake and depression and anxiety in community-dwelling adults: the Hordaland Health Study. Aust N Z J Psychiatry. 2009 Jan;43(1):45-52.
5. Barragán-Rodríguez L, Rodríguez-Morán M, Guerrero-Romero F. Efficacy and safety of oral magnesium supplementation in the treatment of depression in the elderly with type 2 diabetes: a randomized, equivalent trial. Magnes Res 2008;21:218–23.
6. Eby GA, Eby KL. Rapid recovery from major depression using magnesium treatment. Med Hypotheses 2006;67:362–70.
7. Weston PG. Magnesium as a sedative. Am J Psychiatry 1921–22;1:637–8.
8. Eby GA 3rd, Eby KL. Magnesium for treatment-resistant depression: a review and hypothesis. Med Hypotheses. 2010 Apr;74(4):649-60.