Magnesium is an essential mineral found in many foods and is available as a dietary supplement. It is known to have numerous health benefits, including being linked to decreased symptoms of depression. While the potential effects of magnesium on depression have been studied, anyone considering taking magnesium for depression should consult their medical professional first.

In this guide, we will discuss the possible benefits of using magnesium for depression treatments as well as provide some tips on safely incorporating it into your treatment routine.

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 Benefits of Magnesium for Depression

Magnesium has been found to have a beneficial effect on managing depression, with numerous scientific studies showing that it may be able to reduce feelings of depression. In one study, adults with mild to moderate depression were found to have significantly higher levels of magnesium in their bodies, suggesting a link between the two.

The benefits are due to the fact that magnesium plays an important role in a number of biochemical reactions in the body. It functions as an enzyme co-factor in the metabolism of carbohydrates and proteins and also helps regulate mood-related chemicals such as serotonin, norepinephrine, and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA).

It has been proposed that magnesium deficiency can lead to reduced production of these compounds, which can contribute to symptoms of depression. By supplementing the body with adequate magnesium, these biochemical pathways may be improved, leading to decreased symptoms of depression.

Warning Signs of Magnesium for Depression

If you have decided to use magnesium as a part of your depression treatment, it is important to be aware that there may be potential side effects. Although these side effects are generally mild and not particularly serious, they can still be uncomfortable. Some common side effects include nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, and diarrhea. It is also possible to experience an allergic reaction, although this is rare.

In addition, it’s important to note any potential interactions with other medications that you may already be taking. Magnesium can interfere with the actions of certain drugs, so it is best to discuss taking magnesium supplements with your doctor. Your doctor will be able to advise you on the best course of action for your individual situation.

Types of Magnesium

When considering adding magnesium supplements to your treatment plan, it’s important to understand the different forms of magnesium. There are several types available, each offering its own benefits for managing depression. Here’s a look at some of the most common forms:

  • Magnesium Glycinate: Magnesium glycinate is a chelated form of magnesium, meaning it’s bound to an amino acid. This form of magnesium is more easily absorbed by the body and is generally better tolerated than other forms. Magnesium glycinate may help reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety, irritability, and insomnia.
  • Magnesium Oxide: Magnesium oxide offers high doses of elemental magnesium, making it one of the most commonly used forms. It’s often found in over-the-counter laxatives and stomach remedies as it helps relax the muscles of the digestive tract. Magnesium oxide may be beneficial in reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety.
  • Magnesium Citrate: Magnesium citrate is a highly absorbable form of magnesium that has been combined with citric acid. It adds an alkalizing effect in the body, helping to balance pH levels. Magnesium citrate may help alleviate symptoms of depression, anxiety, and insomnia.
  • Magnesium Chloride: Magnesium chloride is a form of magnesium combined with chloride ions. It can be taken orally or through topical treatments, such as baths and lotions. It helps increase the bioavailability of magnesium in the body and may help reduce stress, depression, and fatigue.

Because everyone is different, it’s important to talk to a medical professional before starting any kind of supplement regimen. Your doctor can help you determine what type of magnesium may be best for your individual needs.

Foods Rich in Magnesium

Magnesium is an essential mineral for overall well-being and can be found in a variety of foods. Leafy greens like spinach and kale are packed with magnesium, as well as nuts, whole grains, legumes, and fish. Additionally, some fortified foods contain added magnesium such as breakfast cereals. There are also a variety of forms that magnesium can be consumed in, including powder, tablets, and capsules.

If you are looking to include more magnesium-rich foods in your diet, here are some delicious and healthy options:

  • Swiss chard
  • Black beans
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Quinoa
  • Salmon
  • Avocado
  • Tofu
  • Yogurt
  • Dark chocolate

Eating a variety of these foods will help ensure that you are getting adequate levels of magnesium for your body’s needs.

Comparing Oral vs Topical Forms of Magnesium

When it comes to taking magnesium for depression, there are two major forms—oral and topical. Taking oral supplements is the traditional approach, where magnesium molecules are digested in the stomach, absorbed by the small intestine, and then circulated throughout the bloodstream.

Topical magnesium is a relatively new form that involves applying magnesium oil directly to the skin, allowing the mineral to be absorbed through the pores. This method offers a faster absorption rate than oral supplements, but it may not be suitable for everyone. It is recommended to consult with a healthcare professional before choosing a form of magnesium for depression.

The type of magnesium supplement you choose will depend on your individual circumstances. Oral forms of magnesium may be better suited for those with gastrointestinal issues or who are unable to absorb minerals well. Meanwhile, topical forms may work well for those who have trouble with digestion or who need a fast-acting supplement.

Signs of Magnesium Deficiency

Magnesium deficiency is surprisingly common and can be difficult to detect. Some of the common signs and symptoms may include nausea, fatigue, muscle cramps and spasms, irregular heartbeat, tingling in fingers and toes, and even depression. Other more serious side effects associated with magnesium deficiency include seizures, breathing difficulties, and heart failure.

If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to seek medical advice as soon as possible, as magnesium deficiency can be easily treated with supplements or dietary changes.

It’s also important to note that magnesium deficiency can be related to certain health conditions such as Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, type 2 diabetes, alcoholism, kidney problems, and chronic diarrhoea.

Problems Associated With Magnesium Deficiency

Low levels of magnesium can affect different parts of the body, including the brain, heart, and muscles. This can lead to issues with memory, mood, sleep, and physical performance. It can also contribute to an increased risk of developing certain illnesses and diseases, including diabetes, hypertension, stroke, and osteoporosis.

Magnesium is essential for proper nerve and muscle function, and a deficiency in this mineral can lead to poor coordination, tremors, and numbness in the extremities. It’s also known to contribute to a weakened immune system, making it more difficult for the body to fight off infection and inflammation.

Overall, it’s important to ensure adequate levels of magnesium in your body to maintain optimal physical and mental health. Pay attention to any signs of magnesium deficiency and speak to your doctor if you think you could be deficient.

Dosing for Magnesium and Depression

When it comes to taking magnesium for depression, it’s important to ensure that you’re not exceeding the recommended dosing amounts. Too much of this mineral can cause side effects like stomach upsets, diarrhea, weakness, and more. It’s best to start with a lower dose and work your way up to the suggested dose after speaking to a doctor or qualified health professional.

If taking supplemental magnesium, it’s important to read the labels and follow all directions carefully. The amount of magnesium per day and the form taken should be based on the advice of your healthcare provider. Generally, doses range from 250 milligrams to 500 milligrams daily.

For those who are unable to take magnesium in oral supplement form, topical application of magnesium may be an option. This is done using magnesium oil or lotion that can be applied directly to the skin. Since topical forms of magnesium bypass the digestive system, they tend to have fewer side effects. However, it is important to ensure that the product is suitable for the skin.

It is also important to pay attention to magnesium levels in food. Foods rich in magnesium include bananas, nuts, seeds, oats, whole grains, dark leafy greens, and legumes. Consuming a balanced diet with adequate magnesium intake is key to helping manage depression.

Common Preparations of Magnesium Supplements

When taking magnesium for depression, it’s important to know what the different preparations are and which one is right for you. Magnesium supplements are available in a variety of forms, including tablets, capsules, powders, and topical treatments, each of which may work better for different people.

Tablets are perhaps the most popular form of magnesium supplements as they are easy to take and are widely available. They come in a variety of doses, allowing for customization of dosage levels.

Capsules are similar to tablets in that they are easy to take and come in a variety of doses. They are a bit more expensive than tablets but may be easier to swallow since they are smaller.

Powders are great for those who prefer a more natural option. The powder can be mixed with food or drinks, making them easy to integrate into your daily routine. They also have the advantage of being able to be taken sublingually, which means they can be absorbed directly into the bloodstream for faster action.

Finally, there are topical treatments such as creams, lotions, and sprays, which are applied directly to the skin. These can be helpful for those who need a more direct form of magnesium, as they are absorbed directly into the skin. However, these can be more difficult to find and can be quite expensive.

Sources of Magnesium

If you are considering adding magnesium to your treatment plan for depression, it’s important to know where to find it. Magnesium is found in both food-based sources and in supplemental magnesium products.

Food-based sources of magnesium include a variety of foods such as nuts, seeds, dark leafy greens, legumes, and whole grains. Additionally, some dairy products, meats, fish, and avocados also contain magnesium. For those looking for an easier way to obtain magnesium, there are also a variety of supplements available that can provide the necessary amounts.

Common forms of magnesium supplements include tablets, capsules, powders, and topical solutions. It is important to consult with your doctor before adding magnesium to your diet, as too much can be dangerous and could have negative consequences. The risk of over-consuming magnesium is higher when taking supplements as opposed to getting it from natural sources.


Magnesium has been studied as a potential treatment for depression, with promising results. With proper consultation and guidance from healthcare professionals, magnesium can have a positive effect on mental health. It is important to be aware of the side effects and long-term benefits of taking magnesium, as well as the possible interactions with other medications.

If you are considering magnesium supplementation as a potential option for treating depression, it is important to speak to your primary healthcare provider first. Your doctor or health professional will be able to provide the best advice regarding your individual needs and circumstances.

Resources & References

When researching magnesium for depression, it’s important to seek out credible sources and facts. Here are some resources and references that can help you learn more:

It’s essential to consult with a medical professional before making any changes to your treatment plan for depression. Make sure to discuss the safety and efficacy of supplementing with magnesium with your doctor or healthcare provider.