There are many factors that contribute to mental disorders, but there are studies that show a link between a deficiency in magnesium and depression. Keep reading to learn more about the effects of magnesium on the brain and how magnesium supplementation may help to relieve symptoms of depression.
According to the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA), nearly 15 million Americans suffer from major depressive disorder – that’s nearly 7% of the U.S. population over the age of 18. Depression affects people in different ways, but it typically causes persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness and an overall “empty” mood.
Antidepressant medications are one of the most common treatments for this condition, and they tend to work well in conjunction with psychotherapy. If you are looking for a more natural remedy, however, you may want to look into the connection between magnesium and depression.
Magnesium and the Brain
Magnesium is a nutrient that plays a role in more than 300 biological processes in the body. In addition to increasing energy, regulating digestion, and supporting heart health, magnesium also affects the brain, particularly in relation to mood. Magnesium is very important for GABA function – GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter responsible for producing “feel good” hormones like serotonin. Other hormones regulated by magnesium provide a calming and relaxing effect on the brain.
When it comes to the link between depression and magnesium, the effects are obvious when you delve into cases of magnesium deficiency. Inadequate magnesium levels have been linked to:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Kidney and liver damage
- Muscle cramps
- Other nutritional deficiencies and behavioral disorders or mood swings
Magnesium deficiency and depression commonly occur together and there is evidence to support the use of supplemental magnesium for depression treatment.
Can Magnesium Help with Depression?
There is a great deal of scientific research to support the benefits of magnesium for depression. Critics do exist, however, who question whether the benefits are real or if it might simply be a placebo effect.
In one study, 126 adult participants with mild to moderate depression spent six weeks taking magnesium supplements and another six weeks without them, all while continuing their current course of depression treatment. Compared to people who were not taking magnesium, those who took the supplements for six weeks saw an improvement in depression symptoms by an average of 6 points on a scale from 0 to 27. There are also studies that show potential in the use of supplemental magnesium for anxiety and other mood disorders.
Tips for Using Magnesium to Relieve Depression
Magnesium supplements come in several different forms, so how do you know which one to take? When it comes to the link between magnesium deficiency and depression, studies have shown the most favorable results from increasing dietary intake of magnesium and using topical magnesium. Foods rich in magnesium include:
- Swiss chard
- Dark chocolate
- Pumpkin seeds
- Black beans
Magnesium oil is a common topical application for the supplement, though some people experience itching as a side effect of magnesium oil. However, there are simple and effective ways on how to feel comfortable using magnesium oil, even if your skin is sensitive. Read more about reducing the stinging sensation and increasing magnesium levels in your body.
How Else Does Magnesium Benefit Health?
The link between magnesium and depression is very promising, but it is just one of the many benefits this nutrient provides for health and wellness. Magnesium deficiency has been linked to a number of symptoms including the following:
- Flu-like symptoms
- Numbness or tingling
- Headaches or migraines
- Muscle pain or cramps
- Insomnia or trouble sleeping
- High blood pressure
- Restless Legs Syndrome
Taking supplemental magnesium can help you repair this deficiency and relieve symptoms. Increasing your magnesium intake may also relieve premenstrual syndrome (PMS) in women, reduce high blood pressure or hypertension, boost energy production and athletic performance, reduce inflammation, prevent migraines, and improve blood sugar. It may also enhance the quality of your sleep which can have profound benefits for your overall health.
If you’re experiencing symptoms of depression and you want to give magnesium a try, there are several Seven Minerals products worth considering. Deep Relaxation Magnesium Chloride Flakes help to relieve stress and anxiety which may also improve your mood and general outlook. Another option is the Destination Zen gift set which includes two soothing magnesium oil sprays for stress and anxiety relief as well as improved sleep.