Magnesium deficiency is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies, and yet it never gets talked about. With over 80 percent of the U.S. population being chronically deficient in magnesium, it’s important that we get on the magnesium track sooner than later.
Magnesium is involved in over 300 different enzymatic reactions in the body, which are responsible for things like proper bowel function, heart muscle contractions, relaxation of blood vessels, regulating blood sugar levels, proper formation of bones and teeth, creation of ATP (energy molecules of the body) and supporting the function of the master antioxidant glutathione (which reduces our cancer risk).
Now, a breakthrough study has found that magnesium is better at treating depression than current anti-depression drugs.
Magnesium and Depression
Over 350 million people worldwide suffer from depression (1), but traditional treatments of SSRI’s (anti-depressant drugs) like Citalopram (Celexa), Escitalopram (Lexapro), Fluoxetine (Prozac), Paroxetine (Paxil), Sertraline (Zoloft) and Vilazodone (Viibryd) carry the burden of high price, and nasty side effects.
“New clinical research results show magnesium is effective at addressing symptoms and is safer and easier on the wallet than prescription therapies,” reports Science Daily.
The Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont published a study in the Public Library of Science (PLoS), which found that 248mg of magnesium every day significantly improves symptoms of depression (2).
The researchers conducted an open-label, blocked, randomized cross-over trial that involved 126 adults in outpatient primary care clinics. The study participants, who were experiencing mild-to-moderate depression, has a mean age of 52, with 38% of them male. Those who received magnesium were given 248 milligrams every day for six weeks. Those in the control received no treatment. Depression symptom assessments were conducted on all participants on a bi-weekly basis.
Over 89% of study participants had clinically significant improvement in measures of depression and anxiety symptoms. These effects didn’t take long to take place either – just two weeks of magnesium supplementation every day was enough to have the study participants feeling better.
“This is the first randomized clinical trial looking at the effect of magnesium supplementation on symptoms of depression in U.S. adults,” says Emily Tarleton, Ms, RD, CD, a graduate student in Clinical and Translational Science and the bionutrition research manager in the University of Vermont’s Clinical Research Centre. “The results are very encouraging, given the great need for additional treatment options for depression, and our finding that magnesium supplementation provides a safe, fast, and inexpensive approach to controlling depressive symptoms.”
While doctors have certain medication to treat the symptoms of depression, there is no “cure,” according to many health professionals. Many of the treatments for depression are made en mass by Big Pharma, and are so powerful that those with higher strengths even turn patients into walking “zombies.” Of course, Big Pharma pushes these drugs on people, and do everything in their power to stay atop of the market, while bashing alternative, natural therapies.
I personally, believe there is a cure to depression. Perhaps the antidote to depression could be a combination of proper diet, connection to community, healing our traumas and understanding where we come from so that we feel a source of connection to our Earth Mother. In the meantime, keep in mind that natural medicines have no nasty side effects, and often nourish the body instead of deplete it. The way magnesium has been proven to treat depression so effectively just goes to show that sometimes natural is best.
Benefits of Magnesium and Symptoms of Deficiency
Magnesium does more than just help with depression, it has been found to help in a variety of health-related cases. It’s helped with individuals suffering from fibromyalgia, atrial fibrillation, type 2 diabetes, PMS, cardiovascular disease, migraines and aging.
It is also one of the most powerful relaxation minerals known to man, and being deficient in magnesium makes you twice as likely to die as other people (3). It reduces stress, and improves sleep by reducing the production of cortisol (the stress hormone). Magnesium is also a critical element in cardiovascular health, and for this reason, is often used by people who have suffered a heart attack or arrhythmia.
Unfortunately, a lot of the magnesium content in fresh produce today has seen declines from 25-80%, since pre-1950. This, combined with poor food choices, have resulted in the drastic magnesium deficiencies we see in the population today.
The demand for higher produce yields have also led to farmers selecting fast-growing crops where vegetables and fruit have very little time to make or uptake a sufficient amount of nutrients. Pesticides also destroy organisms that are essential for providing nutrients to the plant. Vitamin-fixing bacteria, and earthworms in the soil have been nearly completely removed from American crop land, too, producing vegetation with poor nutrient quality.
If you’re not getting enough magnesium, you’ll experience:
– Sensitivity to noise
– Sleep disorders
– Frequent headaches
– Tightness of the muscles (muscle aches and pains)
– Temperature swings
– Digestive issues
How To Remediate Magnesium Levels in The Body
While soil magnesium levels aren’t that adequate, foods that tend to be higher in magnesium are raw cacao, sea vegetables (nori, wakame, dulse), raw pumpkin seeds, cilantro (coriander), almonds, and hazelnuts.
I highly suggest taking a magnesium glycinate supplement. On top of that, you can take epsom salt baths as a nice relaxation every now and then.
In addition to these things, make sure to reduce your stress, as stress can affect how our body uptakes magnesium. Take up relaxing practices like deep breathing, journaling, and meditation to reduce stress. Also, avoid eating junk food, and limit your intake of caffeine, low-quality table salt, alcohol and refined sugar.