Magnesium Deficiency Induces Anxiety

A 2012 study in Neuropharmacology1 initially sounded promising, “Magnesium Deficiency Induces Anxiety and HPA Axis Dysregulation” but then the second part of the title, “Modulation by Therapeutic Drug Treatment” made no sense at all.

This study proves that in an animal model magnesium deficiency induces anxiety and dysregulation of the way the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis works. The interactions among [the hypothalamus, the pituitary gland, and the adrenal glands] make up the HPA axis, a major part of the neuroendocrine system that controls reactions to stress and regulates many body processes, including digestion, the immune system, mood and emotions, sexuality, and energy storage and consumption.

The HPA axis is often impaired in depression and anxiety as well as chronic fatigue syndrome creating too much cortisol as a manifestation of stress. It’s not specifically known what comes first, stress or HPA dysregulation. This is a very important animal model proving the serious effects of magnesium deficiency as the possible cause of HPA axis dysregulation.

The next step, you would assume, would be to show that supplementing with magnesium eliminated those signs and symptoms. But that’s not what happened. Instead of doing the obvious, the researchers proved that these magnesium deficiency symptoms “showed sensitivity to treatment with anxiolytics and antidepressants.”

What’s even more distressing about scientifically “proving” that antidepressants and anxiolytics can treat magnesium-deficiency anxiety and depression, many anxiolytics and antidepressants contain fluoride molecules. For example, Prozac contains three fluoride molecules. What’s wrong with fluoride? Fluoride binds magnesium making it unavailable and ineffective. Magnesium fluoride (MgF) or sellaite, is the compound created. Sellaite is insoluble and brittle and takes the place of flexible magnesium in bone and cartilage, making bone prone to fracture and cartilage prone to tears. Thus, the dysregulation caused by magnesium deficiency is compounded by the use of magnesium-depleting drugs.

Why would drugs that cause more magnesium deficiency seemingly relieve anxiety and depression? Dr. Mildred Seelig has reported that when drugs are taken the body responds by forcing magnesium out of storage to try and detoxify the drug. In the process there can be a transient improvement in symptoms as magnesium levels in the blood become elevated. This improvement occurs in a short window of time – usually the duration of the study.

A March 2013 study has found magnesium supplementation to be a viable, natural, non-toxic solution to depression which avoids the dangerous and harmful side-effects of anti-depressants. Yary T, Aazami S, Soleimannejad K: Dietary intake of magnesium may modulate depression. Biol Trace Elem Res; 2013 Mar;151(3):324-9

The results of the study demonstrated that the lower the magnesium intake the more symptoms of depression were recorded. These symptoms, which persisted even after adjustments for sex, age, body mass index, monthly expenses, close friends, living on campus, smoking (current and former), education, physical activity, and marital status.

Expert Commentary provided by Carolyn Dean, MD, ND


1. Sartori SB, Whittle N, Hetzenauer A, Singewald N. “Magnesium deficiency induces anxiety and HPA axis dysregulation: Modulation by therapeutic drug treatment.” Neuropharmacology. 2012 January; 62(1): 304–312.

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