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There’s a link between magnesium and depression. Here’s what you need to know about it

Updated on:18 January 2021, 10:58am IST
There are several studies that show how depression and magnesium deficiency are linked. Do not believe us? Read on to know more.
Geetika Sachdev
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The deficiency of this mineral has a lot to do with your mental health. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

There’s a reason why experts advocate a nutritious and balanced diet for good physical and mental health. That’s because even if you are deficient in a single nutrient, it impacts several functions in your body. Today, we are shedding light on magnesium, a type of mineral that the body needs to conduct various biochemical reactions, including muscle and nerve function, regulation of blood pressure, protein synthesis, and blood glucose control. Not many know that it also helps to combat depression. 

Yes, it’s true. There have been several studies that have proved that magnesium deficiency and depression are linked. 

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Let’s find out how! 

Here’s how magnesium impacts depression

According to an article ‘Role of magnesium supplementation in the treatment of depression: A randomized clinical trial’ published in PLOS One, it was found that magnesium chloride was effective for depression in seniors with type 2 diabetes, while another trial found magnesium citrate decreased depression in patients with fibromyalgia. 

These are only some examples, but there are many that exist today. Let’s understand what an episode of major depression really means. You might think you are going through mood swings or hormonal shifts, but if the episode lasts for at least two weeks, and you seem to have lost interest in everything, or don’t even sleep well, then you are most likely depressed.

Those with depression also show some other physical symptoms that can cause further complications. These include PMS, migraines and headaches, back pain, chest pain, joint pain, muscle aches and digestive issues.

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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. 

This is how magnesium affects your hormones

As we previously mentioned, hormonal balance is what affects your mood and well-being. And if you do not get your daily dose of magnesium, here’s what happens.

This macromineral helps to regulate the stress hormone, cortisol. When you are magnesium-deficient, the body releases cortisol in large quantities and eventually has an impact on other hormones, including progesterone, testosterone, luteinizing hormone, estrogen, and follicle-stimulating hormone.

magnesium and depression
A lack of magnesium in your body can alter your mood.

Even your thyroid, when underactive, can contribute to depression-like symptoms, which is why it is important to keep it healthy. Magnesium helps in the production of the thyroid hormone, so you know why it is so important!

Plus, it also helps you to cut down on sugar cravings and balances your blood sugar levels by controlling insulin production. 

Magnesium for better sleep

Those who suffer from anxiety and depression often struggle to get sound sleep at night. That’s where magnesium really helps — it does not just allow you to sleep better, but also reduces frequent urination at night. That’s because it helps to maintain healthy levels of GABA, a neurotransmitter that helps to promote good sleep. To have good GABA levels, you need adequate magnesium.

Some people also suffer from restless leg syndrome that causes trouble while sleeping. In some cases, arms are also affected. Research suggests that this is a symptom of depression, but worry not because magnesium helps to reduce its occurrence. 

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Magnesium for pain relief

Depression not just wreaks havoc on your mental health, but also manifests in the form of physical symptoms. When you are depressed, you suffer from various aches and pains, and that’s where magnesium helps again.

It is said to reduce headache pain, and yes, it’s true. Research suggests that when you are deficient in magnesium, you are more likely to get headaches. In fact, back, joint and muscle pain also improve when you get your daily dose of magnesium.

Magnesium for better cognitive function 

When you are depressed, it is most likely that you suffer from poor memory or trouble concentrating. It is believed that if you get adequate quantities of magnesium through your diet, you will have improved cognitive function. Several studies indicate that increasing magnesium content in the brain has a positive impact on a person’s cognitive abilities. 

So ladies, now that you know all about it, make sure to get your fill of magnesium every single day by consuming green leafy vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. 

Geetika Sachdev Geetika Sachdev

An independent writer and journalist, Geetika loves sharp and fresh humour, just like her coffee! If not writing, you'll find her cafe-hopping and raiding the best book stores in town.