The Benefits of Magnesium for Mood & Mental Health
Updated: Feb 26
Magnesium is an important mineral that plays a crucial role in over 300 processes in your body. Proper magnesium levels have been shown to improve sleep, energize your body and help maintain a healthy immune system. Maintaining healthy levels of this vital mineral may also play a key role in improving the symptoms of anxiety, depression and other mood disorders.
Unfortunately, “Approximately 50% of Americans consume less than the Estimated Average Requirement (EAR) for magnesium, and some age groups consume substantially less”, according to one study (1).
The numbers are quite shocking, and are likely attributed to the fact that the standard American diet does not contain the adequate levels of magnesium to meet our nutrient needs.
Focusing on eating a diet rich in magnesium, as well as supplementation, may help prevent us from becoming deficient.
Magnesium and Mood Disorders: Is There a Link?
As one of the most abundant minerals in the body – magnesium plays a vital role in regulating our nervous system and our mood.
Several studies have shown that lower magnesium levels are associated with several different neurological and psychiatric disorders, particularly depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, but also anxiety disorders and bipolar disorder (2).
A 2017 review looked at 18 different studies that showed magnesium had been shown to decrease anxiety in a majority of participants (3).
A randomized clinical trial done in 2017 found that magnesium is effective for mild-to-moderate depression in adults (4). There have been several other studies done that also show a link between low magnesium and depression.
More recently, a systematic review in 2020 came to the conclusion that magnesium seemed to have synergistic effects when combined with antidepressants to improve depressive symptoms (5).
Magnesium & Sleep
One important thing to note is the connection between Magnesium levels and better sleep. If we are lacking in the sleep department, our mood can be affected.
Magnesium works directly with the sleep hormone, melatonin, which is responsible for maintaining our natural sleep cycle.
One study showed that supplementing with magnesium shortened the time it took to fall asleep, lengthened overall sleep hours, and decreased the amount of early-morning waking in older adults (6).
How Do You Know You are Deficient in Magnesium?
Identifying low magnesium levels by symptoms alone can be a little tricky. One sign of magnesium deficiency is fatigue. This tell tale sign is often not connected with magnesium deficiency, so testing your magnesium levels is the best place to start.
Other signs may include:
Muscle pain, spasms, weakness
Restless leg syndrome
How Much Magnesium Should We be Getting Daily?
One study suggests that proper magnesium levels for prime health are actually much higher than current recommendations (between 300-420 mg/day). And that our metabolism is actually able to process a much higher amount of up to 600 mg per day (1). It is important to speak with your healthcare provider to find out what levels are right for you.
How can We Increase Our Magnesium Levels?
Eating a diet rich in magnesium is the first thing that should be done when trying to increase your levels. Leafy greens and nuts both contain high amounts of magnesium, as well as:
We can also look at supplementing magnesium to reach proper levels for optimal brain and body function. There are several different types of magnesium that can offer unique benefits.
Speaking with your health care provider regarding which form of magnesium is right for you is recommended.
Magnesium chloride is a very popular selection due to its high absorption rate and consistent ability to help increase magnesium levels in the body. It has also been shown to promote relaxation, aid in getting a restful night’s sleep, reduce muscle pain and tenderness and boost energy.
Check out our wide variety of topical magnesium lotions!