Magnesium Supplement Benefits for Anxiety, Depression and More
I've seen many of my clients experience anxiety relief, better sleep, pain reduction, and improved mood when they included magnesium in their supplement regimes. It has so many benefits that I use it regularly myself.
Magnesium is necessary for hundreds of chemical reactions in your body including reactions that are triggered in response to stress and those that lift your mood. You need magnesium to help you deal well with stress and stress burns through magnesium. It's a stress-magnesium double-bind.
What's in this Article
|How Magnesium Helps You Cope With Stress|
|Magnesium Anti-Anxiety Anti-Depression Research|
|Other Magnesium Supplement Health Benefits|
|You might also like this post: Best Forms of Magnesium Supplements for Anxiety, Depression, and More|
Note: This article should not be taken as medical advice. It is always advisable to talk to your personal medical professionals before taking natural remedies.
How Magnesium Helps You Cope With Stress
Magnesium is a mineral required for approximately 600 of your body’s chemical reactions, including reactions that get triggered when you are stressed and reactions that help you feel calm and relaxed.
“Magnesium calms the nervous system and relaxes muscle tension, helping reduce anxiety and panic.”(1) --Dr. Carolyn Dean, M.D., N.D.
Magnesium helps you deal better with stress and reduces anxiety and depression by helping with all these physical processes: (1)
adrenal gland function,
creation and use of calming neurotransmitters (serotonin, dopamine, and GABA),
restful rejuvenating sleep,
gut health, and
- control of blood glucose levels.
Magnesium is also necessary for your brain to be able to use the feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin.
"When stress depletes magnesium, a vicious cycle spins out of control and depression can occur. The body needs magnesium in order to release and bind adequate amounts of serotonin in the brain for balanced mental functioning." (1) --Dr. Carolyn Dean, M.D., N.D.
NOTE: I explain how each the body processes listed above are involved in your body's response to stress and anxiety in my book Feed Your Calm: Anti-Anxiety Anti-Stress Diet and Supplement Tips for Stress Resilience
Magnesium Anti-Anxiety Anti-Depression Research
Here’s a sampling of relevant animal studies:
- Multiple studies have demonstrated that magnesium deficiency increases anxiety-related behavior in mice and rats. (2)
- Danish researchers found that magnesium deficiency changed the bacteria in the guts of mice and increased their anxiety-like and depression-like behavior. (3)
- Polish researchers including Ewa Poleszak used depression and anxiety tests to compare stressed mice supplemented with magnesium to those not supplemented. They concluded that magnesium induces both an antidepressant and anti-anxiety effect without the development of tolerance. (Not developing tolerance means that, unlike many pharmaceutical drugs, magnesium can keep working over the long term.) (4)
- In a separate study, Poleszak’s group also found that magnesium boosted the effectiveness of the antidepressant drug imipramine. (5)
Some large studies have looked at dietary intake of magnesium and incidence of depression:
- Two thousand men included in a twenty-year study in Finland were assessed for magnesium intake from their food over a four-day period and depression rates. Lower magnesium intake was associated with increased risk for depression. (6)
- A similar project in the US, comparing the dietary intake of magnesium and depression rates in more than 8,000 participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, found a correlation between low magnesium diets and depression. (7)
Since magnesium is used by so many chemical reactions in your body, low magnesium levels are implicated in many diseases, illnesses, and physical challenges.
Magnesium can potentially help with many problems besides depression and anxiety, including: (1)
- osteoporosis (you need magnesium to lay down calcium in bone and keep it there)
- gallstones, kidney stones, and tissue calcifications including benign breast lumps (low magnesium causes calcium to be swimming in your blood instead of being in your bones and that excess available calcium can land in your organs and body tissue)
- high blood pressure and heart problems including palpitations
- headaches and migraines
- muscle cramps, twitches, tics, restless leg syndrome, and TMJ
- neck and back pain
- PMS and painful periods
- menopausal symptoms including hot flashes
- weight gain
- insulin resistance and diabetes
- libido and fertility issues (male and female)
- acid reflux
- intestinal problems
- detoxifying heavy metals and other toxic substances
- mental confusion, dementia, and Alzheimer’s
- learning problems
- sensitivity to “loud” noises (what constitutes “loud” can be exaggerated with sound sensitivity)
Clearly, optimizing your magnesium levels has the potential to help in all sorts of ways.
Anxiety and Depression Resources
(1) Carolyn Dean, The Magnesium Miracle: Discover the Essential Nutrient That Will Lower the Risk of Heart Disease, Prevent Stroke and Obesity, Treat Diabetes, and Improve Mood and Memory (New York: Ballantine Books, 2014), xxi.
(2) S. B. Sartori, R. Landgraf, and N. Singewald, “The Clinical Implications of Mouse Models of Enhanced Anxiety,” Future Neurology 6, no. 4 (2011): 531–571, https://doi.org/10.2217/fnl.11.34; S. B. Sartori et al., “Magnesium Deficiency Induces Anxiety and HPA Axis Dysregulation: Modulation by Therapeutic Drug Treatment,” Neuropharmacology 62, no. 1 (2012): 304–312, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropharm.2011.07.027; Marijke C. Laarakker, Hein A. Van Lith, and Frauke Ohl, “Behavioral Characterization of A/J and C57BL/6J Mice Using a Multidimensional Test: Association between Blood Plasma and Brain Magnesium-Ion Concentration with Anxiety,” Physiology & Behavior 102, no. 2 (2011): 205–219, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.physbeh.2010.10.019.
(3) Bettina Pyndt Jørgensen et al., “Dietary Magnesium Deficiency Affects Gut Microbiota and Anxiety-Like Behaviour in C57BL/6N mice,” Acta Neuropsychiatrica 27, no. 05 (2015): 307–311, https://doi.org/10.1017/neu.2015.10.
(4) Ewa Poleszak et al., “Antidepressant- and Anxiolytic-Like Activity of Magnesium in Mice,” Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior 78, no. 1 (2004): 7–12, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pbb.2004.01.006.
(5) Ewa Poleszak et al., “Enhancement of Antidepressant-Like Activity by Joint Administration of Imipramine and Magnesium in the Forced Swim Test: Behavioral and Pharmacokinetic Studies in Mice,” Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior 81, no. 3 (2005): 524–529, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pbb.2005.03.017.
(6) Teymoor Yary et al., “Dietary Magnesium Intake and the Incidence of Depression: A 20-Year Follow-Up Study,” Journal of Affective Disorders 193 (2016): 94–98, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2015.12.056.
(7) E. K. Tarleton and B. Littenberg, “Magnesium Intake and Depression in Adults,” Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine 28, no. 2 (2015): 249–256, https://doi.org/10.3122/jabfm.2015.02.140176.
- Ann Silvers