If you suffer from anxiety attacks, depression, bipolar disorder or other mood disorder, boosting your nutrient intake, particularly magnesium, may be the key to improving your life.
According to the National Institutes of Health, 26.2 percent of American adults – 1 in 4 – suffer from some diagnosable mental disorder. It is not surprising that there is universal interest in finding effective natural treatments for these disorders, with a lower risk of adverse effects or withdrawal.
Medical studies have long found an association between higher levels of nutrient intakes and better mental health, in particular, magnesium deficiency is has been linked to quite a number of mental disorders.
The first medical study using magnesium to treat depression was published in 1921, and showed an 88 per cent success rate, and there have been many more studies and reports since then demonstrating that magnesium levels have an effect on brain disorders.
Why is this? According to a study in the journal Medical Hypotheses:
Magnesium ions regulate calcium ion flow in neuronal calcium channels, helping to regulate neuronal nitric oxide production. In magnesium deficiency, neuronal requirements for magnesium may not be met, causing neuronal damage which could manifest as depression.1
The study presented case histories of patients showing rapid recovery from major depression by regular magnesium intake (125-300 mg of magnesium glycinate and taurinate four times a day). The authors state that other, related mental illnesses were also positively affected, including brain injury, headaches, suicidal thoughts, anxiety, irritability, insomnia, post partum depression, substance abuse, short term memory loss and IQ loss.1
Other researchers are seeing the potential of magnesium as a therapeutic treatment for depression as well. An Italian study of 123 patients with depression found that patients with higher plasma magnesium levels responded better to antidepressants2, a 2011 Canadian study found that magnesium inadequacies were found in patients with mood disorders3, and an Australian study found magnesium intake was “significantly related to depression.”4
Bipolar disorder is another mental illness affected by magnesium levels in the body. A 2011 review of literature found found several randomized, controlled trials that demonstrated that magnesium is effective in reducing the intensity of mania in BD.5,6
Anxiety, one of the most prevalent mental disorders in the western world, has also been linked to magnesium deficiency. In a study reported in Neuropharmacology, scientists were able to increase the anxiety-linked behavior in mice by creating a magnesium deficiency.7
It is clear from the literature that magnesium plays a large part in maintaining and improving mental health. Preventing magnesium deficiency can be as simple as changing your diet by eating lots of leafy green vegetables and whole grains, while recovering from a deficiency may require supplementation. If you’re suffering from a brain disorder, adding more magnesium to your diet may help you out.
1 Eby, George A., and Karen L. Eby. “Rapid Recovery from Major Depression Using Magnesium Treatment.” Medical Hypotheses 67, no. 2 (January 2006): 362–370. doi:10.1016/j.mehy.2006.01.047.
2 Camardese, Giovanni, Luisa De Risio, Giusy Pizi, Bruna Mattioli, Francesco Buccelletti, Riccardo Serrani, Beniamino Leone, Alessandro Sgambato, Pietro Bria, and Luigi Janiri. “Plasma Magnesium Levels and Treatment Outcome in Depressed Patients.” Nutritional Neuroscience 15, no. 2 (2012): 78–84. doi:10.1179/1476830512Y.0000000002.
3 Davison, K.M., and B.J. Kaplan. “Vitamin and Mineral Intakes in Adults with Mood Disorders: Comparisons to Nutrition Standards and Associations with Sociodemographic and Clinical Variables.” Journal of the American College of Nutrition 30, no. 6 (December 2011): 547–58.
4 Forsyth, Adrienne K., Peter G. Williams, and Frank P. Deane. “Nutrition Status of Primary Care Patients with Depression and Anxiety.” Australian Journal of Primary Health 18, no. 2 (2012): 172–176.
5 Sarris, Jerome, James Lake, and Rogier Hoenders. “Bipolar Disorder and Complementary Medicine: Current Evidence, Safety Issues, and Clinical Considerations.” The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 17, no. 10 (October 2011): 881–890. doi:10.1089/acm.2010.0481.
6 Sarris, Jerome, David Mischoulon, and Isaac Schweitzer. “Adjunctive Nutraceuticals with Standard Pharmacotherapies in Bipolar Disorder: a Systematic Review of Clinical Trials.” Bipolar Disorders 13, no. 5–6 (2011): 454–465. doi:10.1111/j.1399-5618.2011.00945.x.
7 Sartori, S.B., N. Whittle, A. Hetzenauer, and N. Singewald. “Magnesium Deficiency Induces Anxiety and HPA Axis Dysregulation: Modulation by Therapeutic Drug Treatment.” Neuropharmacology 62, no. 1 (January 2012): 304–312. doi:10.1016/j.neuropharm.2011.07.027.