Depression is a global epidemic. Americans are among the most depressed in the world, currently ranking third according to some sources. The condition places a great financial burden to the individual as well as society. Anti-depressant drugs are especially expensive. But according to recent findings, over-the-counter magnesium supplements could be used as much cheaper alternatives.
In fact, findings from a recent trial suggest that the effects of magnesium supplements may just be as beneficial for depression sufferers as some prescription antidepressants.
Now, if you’re on antidepressants don’t trash them just yet. For one, magnesium supplements were tried for mild to-moderate-depression. Your case could be more serious.
Second, and most importantly, you should consult your doctor before stopping medications or even starting on a new supplement.
Are You Depressed?
Practically everyone feels depressed at times. Losing a loved one, losing a job, divorce and other difficult situations can make us feel sad, scared, lonely, or anxious. These feelings are natural reactions and usually pass with time.
Plus, we all experience “the blues” or feel “down” from time to time. While we many say that are “depressed”, this is not really depression in clinical terms.
To be considered depressed, one must be experiencing significant symptoms for at least two weeks on an ongoing basis. This is excluding external causes such as loss of employment. Please note that this is a rather lose and simple definition of depression.
Magnesium and Depression
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 Center, performed a clinical trial of over-the-counter oral magnesium tablets for mild-to-moderate depression.
Tarleton and her colleagues at common over-the-counter (OTC) magnesium tablets for potential benefits in treating mild to moderate depression.
The researchers found that those taking magnesium tablets showed improvement in their depression and anxiety symptoms. Remarkably, the improvement was noticed in as little as two weeks. Magnesium also appeared to be well tolerated, with little in way of side effects, regardless of age or gender, or even use of other medication.
Magnesium deficiency is quite common in America with more than less that 30 percent of adults get the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA). Deficiency is mainly caused by insufficient dietary intake or impaired absorption of the mineral.
Magnesium deficiency has been linked to, among other things; fatigue, cramps, seizures, headaches, irritability, anxiety, and yes, depression.
Foods with high magnesium content include dark leafy greens, beans, nuts, fatty fish, avocados, dark chocolate, and bananas. Magnesium supplements are available in various forms including citrate, chloride, amino acid chelate, malate, and more.