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Magnesium to Fight Depression

Magnesium to Fight Depression

Q. Please tell your readers that taking moderate amounts of a magnesium supplement can alleviate depression. I have personally had good results taking magnesium aspartate, oxide or citrate salts, at a dose of at least 400 mg of magnesium a day.

Last year my girlfriend had a friend who was suffering from major depression and had to go on disability from her teaching job as a result. She was under medical care, but still having a lot of difficulties. After we gave her a big bottle of magnesium oxide tablets, she started to recover. She’s doing much better now and is back to teaching and going out and doing things.

I can’t think of another treatment that is so cheap, simple and safe.

A. There is science to back you up. An epidemiological study found a link between low magnesium levels and symptoms of depression in Norway (Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, Jan. 2009). An experiment in Mexico found that magnesium worked as well as the antidepressant drug imipramine to relieve depression in elderly people with type 2 diabetes (Magnesium Research, Dec., 2008).

A review suggests that inadequate magnesium reduces the amount of the neurochemical serotonin in the brain (Medical Hypotheses, April, 2010). The authors believe that magnesium treatment might help many people with depression, including those like your acquaintance with treatment-resistant depression.

At too high a dose, magnesium causes diarrhea. People with kidney disease must avoid supplements of this mineral.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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