Magnesium is one of the most essential minerals in the human body, connected with brain biochemistry and the fluidity of neuronal membrane. A variety of neuromuscular and psychiatric symptoms, including different types of depression, was observed in magnesium deficiency. Plasma/serum magnesium levels do not seem to be the appropriate indicators of depressive disorders, since ambiguous outcomes, depending on the study, were obtained. The emergence of a new approach to magnesium compounds in medical practice has been seen. Apart from being administered as components of dietary supplements, they are also perceived as the effective agents in treatment of migraine, alcoholism, asthma, heart diseases, arrhythmias, renal calcium stones, premenstrual tension syndrome etc. Magnesium preparations have an essential place in homeopathy as a remedy for a range of mental health problems. Mechanisms of antidepressant action of magnesium are not fully understood yet. Most probably, magnesium influences several systems associated with development of depression. The first information on the beneficial effect of magnesium sulfate given hypodermically to patients with agitated depression was published almost 100 years ago. Numerous pre-clinical and clinical studies confirmed the initial observations as well as demonstrated the beneficial safety profile of magnesium supplementation. Thus, magnesium preparations seem to be a valuable addition to the pharmacological armamentarium for management of depression.
Serefko A, Szopa A, Wlaź P, Nowak G, Radziwoń-Zaleska M, Skalski M, Poleszak E. “Magnesium in depression.” Pharmacol Rep. 2013;65(3):547-54.
Expert Commentary: Carolyn Dean, MD, ND
The study contends that “…magnesium influences several systems associated with development of depression.” With more than 600-700 enzyme systems in the body depending on magnesium for their function, that is a safe assumption. The researchers uncovered a little known fact that “The first information on the beneficial effect of magnesium sulfate given hypodermically to patients with agitated depression was published almost 100 years ago.” They agree that “Numerous pre-clinical and clinical studies confirmed the initial observations as well as demonstrated the beneficial safety profile of magnesium supplementation.” And conclude “Thus, magnesium preparations seem to be a valuable addition to the pharmacological armamentarium for management of depression.”
At the NMA we agree wholeheartedly and have received emails and reports from countless people whose depression and anxiety have been greatly alleviated by the use of magnesium in therapeutic amounts.
1. A deficiency of magnesium magnifies depression and stress. Serotonin, the feel good brain chemical that is boosted artificially by some medications, depends on magnesium for its production and function. A person that is going through a stressful period without sufficient magnesium can set up a deficit that, if not corrected, can linger, causing depression and further health problems.
2. Magnesium deficiency can be an underlying cause of anxiety and depression, as determined in several clinical trials as referenced in the following:
3. Symptoms of chronic magnesium deficiency include paranoia, anxious behavior, depression, hyperemotionality, apprehension, confusion, anger, nervousness, insomnia, and nervous fits to name a few.
4. 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.
5. Stress is so prevalent in our daily life and with an athlete even magnified further, that we have become desensitized to it and the message it is trying to give us, which is to slow down. Depression and anxiety is a chemical reaction created when the adrenal glands respond to a stressful event, such as low blood sugar, by releasing adrenaline.
6. Hypoglycemia – 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 depression, anxiety and mood disorders. Supporting the brain as much as possible with safe nutrients and a safe environment, you may never need the brain-altering medications that are prescribed for these disorders and thereby avoid their dangerous side effects. See Psychiatric Drugs Side Effects Database.
8. Magnesium is the anti-stress mineral and is known to alleviate stress, depression, anxiety and insomnia something we all need in these tough and stressful economic times. One of the most absorbable forms of nutritional magnesium is magnesium citrate powder which can be taken with hot or cold water.