Historically, magnesium has been used to alleviate headaches, restlessness and irritability. Stress can wreak havoc on the magnesium supply in your body and has been known to yield magnesium depletions, linked with an immune response. This cycle is also brought on by depression. The link between stress, depression and magnesium has caused numerous researchers to explore the issue further.
Magnesium can be found in natural foods such as green leafy vegetables, beans, seafood, dark chocolate, and tofu. You can also supplement your magnesium intake through powders, tablets and pills available at many health food and naturopathic stores.
The required amount of magnesium varies by age and gender. The National Institute of Health recommends children aged 4 to 8 take 80mg of magnesium per day, while children aged 9 to 13 require 240mg. Adolescents need more magnesium, ranging from 410mg for boys and 360mg for girls.
Numerous studies have been conducted to explore the impact of magnesium on depression symptoms, include a 2017 study at the University of Vermont that tested the impact of magnesium supplements on individuals with slight forms of depression. Over the span of six weeks, participants were asked to take magnesium supplements and continue with their depression treatment. According to researchers, participants taking the magnesium supplement reported a decrease in depression symptoms, no matter their age, gender or race. Another study conducted in 2018 found similar results: Magnesium combats depression symptoms, mostly in cases where the subjects know they are taking the vitamin.
Despite the positive outcomes, the authenticity of these results is debated. Although there is no definitive link between magnesium and the decrease of depression and anxiety symptoms, you should consult with a physician before deciding on magnesium supplements as a treatment. While relatively safe, in some people it can cause upset stomach, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Large doses can cause magnesium to build up in the body, resulting in side effects including irregular heartbeat, low blood pressure, confusion, slowed breathing, coma and death.