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How do I Use Magnesium for Depression?

By C. K. Lanz
Updated May 17, 2024
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Using magnesium for depression typically involves increasing and monitoring a person's dose of the mineral. Some people who suffer from depression have reported that increasing the amount of magnesium in their diets has helped improve or even relieve their symptoms. The amount of calcium and potassium consumed daily may also be related to a magnesium deficiency. If the symptoms of depression do not respond or worsen with this type of treatment, a medical professional should be consulted.

Many symptoms of magnesium deficiency also coincide with those of depression. Irritability, anxiety, and fatigue are common in those who need to increase their daily intake of the mineral. Additional symptoms include apathy, confusion, and poor memory and attention. If a magnesium deficiency is a suspected aggravator of a person's depression, increasing the daily intake of the mineral may help alleviate symptoms.

Keeping a food diary for a period of several days is an effective way to establish the baseline of how much magnesium, calcium, and potassium are consumed every day. Calcium intake should be around 800 milligrams, with 3500 milligrams of potassium. When using magnesium for depression, the daily recommended amount for adults is approximately 400 milligrams. Many foods contain magnesium; therefore, adding more than 350 milligrams from a supplement is not recommended.

Simple dietary changes are usually sufficient when increasing the amount of magnesium consumed daily. Dried figs, artichokes, and avocados are good sources of magnesium. Additional foods rich in magnesium include almonds, spinach, and watermelon.

When increasing the daily intake of magnesium for depression, calcium must be kept in balance. Calcium can affect the body’s absorption of magnesium, as do alcohol, protein, and fats. By consuming calcium at a rate twice that of magnesium, an individual’s magnesium deficiency can actually get worse. Dairy foods are often high in calcium.

A low level of potassium may also aggravate a magnesium deficiency. Bananas are a rich source of potassium. Potatoes, tomatoes, and peanuts also provide significant doses of potassium.

If a magnesium supplement is necessary to ensure proper daily intake, avoid multivitamins that contain only magnesium oxide. Magnesium oxide is not as effective because it is not bio-available. Magnesium glycinate, magnesium citrate, or magnesium taurinate are the recommended forms of the mineral. Magnesium glutamate and magnesium aspartate are believed to actually worsen depression symptoms.

Consuming more than the recommended dose of magnesium for depression can be counterproductive. The goal is to achieve balance, so therefore more magnesium is not always more effective. If the use of magnesium for depression is done with care, symptoms should improve within a few days. Magnesium deficiency is not always related to depression, but consuming the proper amount daily is recommended for most adults.

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Discussion Comments
By anon232283 — On Nov 30, 2011

Contrary to the suggestion above, I found that,in supplements, the ratio calcium 2-magnesium 1 to be most effective.

I believe most supplements have just that. In fact I'm looking at one such bottle right now. (calcium 500mg, magnesium 250mg)

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