Magnesium and Depression
Depression is one of the most common mental illnesses and a leading cause of disability worldwide. It contributes to a decreased quality of life and a greater risk of death.
Reasons You Might Be Magnesium Deficient
While magnesium is critical for health, magnesium deficiency is surprisingly common.
- Dietary magnesium often comes from plant sources. However, magnesium levels can vary depending on how much of the substance the plants absorb from their environment. Environmental factors can, therefore, play a role in how magnesium-rich certain foods are.
- Other dietary factors can affect magnesium absorption. The use of antacids or diuretics and the consumption of alcohol and caffeine can affect how much magnesium people absorb from the foods they eat.
- Excessive stress can also play a role in depleting magnesium from the body. During times of stress, magnesium is released into blood cells and eventually excreted by the kidneys. While this can initially play a role in protecting the body from some of the negative effects of stress, longer-lasting periods of chronic stress
What forms of magnesium are best for anxiety or depression?
There are two main factors to consider when choosing a form of magnesium:
Bioavailability, which indicates how much magnesium can be absorbed by the gut.
Access to the brain, as effective forms of magnesium have to be able to cross the protective blood brain barrier surrounding the brain.
The two most commonly prescribed forms of magnesium – magnesium oxide and citrate – have the lowest bioavailability of the various forms. This means that they are more likely to pass through the gut and cause loose stools and diarrhea, so they are best used to relieve constipation. Magnesium salts like carbonate and sulfate have similar issues with absorption.
Based on recent studies, there are certain forms of magnesium that have better bioavailability and ability to cross the blood brain better, making them better treatment options for addressing symptoms of anxiety and depression.
All in all, magnesium plays an important role in keeping the brain chemistry and hormones in good shape. And if you aren’t getting enough from your diet or supplements, it could be a major cause of concern.