Magnesium Deficiency and Depression


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 A1, Szopa A, Wlaź P, Nowak G, Radziwoń-Zaleska M, Skalski M, Poleszak E. “Magnesium in depression.” Pharmacol Rep. 2013;65(3):547-54.

Expert Comments by Kathy Gruver, Ph.D., author of The Alternative Medicine Cabinet at

“Once again we see another study touting the importance of magnesium in mood disorders. Though the mechanism of action is not fully understood there is significant evidence that increased intake of magnesium can help with depressive symptoms. And that people who are experiencing symptoms of depression tend to have diets that are low in magnesium. Given the safety and ease of magnesium supplementation, we could see this as having multi-fold benefits to those people suffering from mild depression. Not to mention the benefits to the muscle health, headache relief and quality of sleep in those people who increase magnesium intake.”


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