What’s going on with magnesium?
A growing body of evidence suggests that magnesium deficiency may be associated with mental health problems, including anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation.
In fact, some researchers have argued that this is evidence that magnesium supplements are ineffective and may even contribute to depression.
It’s also possible that the presence of magnesium in the body may be a result of the effects of magnesium itself.
A new study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry suggests that this possibility is probably overstated.
The study examined the association between magnesium intake and the risk of mental health conditions, including mental health disorders.
“Magnesium is important for brain health,” lead author and professor of psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Dr. Mark Kollerstrom, told Medical Daily.
“When we think about the brain, it’s really important for cognition and memory, and it’s particularly important for mental health.”
It turns out that magnesium intake, which ranges from about 2 to 5 milligrams per day, is correlated with reduced risk of depression.
This study, he said, shows that it’s possible to get magnesium in small amounts, without any harmful effects, even when magnesium is deficient.
“We can reduce the risk by taking a low-malt diet or by avoiding low-quality food,” he said.
“I think the real message here is that magnesium should be consumed at a healthy level, in a balanced way, with lots of vegetables and other sources of nutrition.”
So how does this all tie into depression?
Kollerstra said that depression and mental health are linked in some ways.
“Depression can be associated [with] a low magnesium intake.
It may be related to depression itself, but we don’t know exactly what that is yet,” he explained.
“There are many possible mechanisms for magnesium deficiency, but it’s not clear which ones are causative.
We just know that it affects mood and cognitive function.”
But he also noted that people with depression have a higher magnesium intake than people without depression, so it’s unclear whether the effects were caused by the magnesium or the magnesium deficiency.
And Kollerstrok said that people who suffer from depression, even if they’re deficient in magnesium, should still be taking it.
“In general, there’s a range of magnesium levels in people, and people with mild to moderate depression should take a low dose of magnesium and a high dose of vitamin D,” he added.
“But they should also be careful about taking too much magnesium in any given day.
It can cause toxicity.”