Under the Hood

Magnesium Consumption Appears To Relieve Depression Symptoms

Although 600 biochemical reactions are catalyzed with the help of magnesium, the importance of the mineral is not emphasized enough. Particularly, the benefits of consuming magnesium to manage symptoms of Major Depression (MD) is seldom discussed by psychiatrists.

Prescriptions are limited to Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors ( SSRIs), Tricyclic Antidepressants (TCA) and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). The ineffectiveness of these medications has been a cause for concern as 60 percent of MD patients are Treatment Resistant Depression (TRD) cases.

The disease is a major disability affecting 17.3 million adults in the U.S in 2017 in the form of at least one major depressive episode that year. The National Survey of Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) of 2017 said that 35 percent of adults did not receive treatment at all. Thus, showing a major gap in heathcare for mental illness. 

From as early as 1921, studies have repeatedly proven the therapeutic effects of magnesium, but the mineral continues to not be recommended. So, here are five studies illustrating magnesium's usefulness in treating depression and its byproducts or derivatives:

Mild to Moderate Depression

Researchers from University of Vermont enrolled 126 people in their study, half of them had to take four tablets of 500 mg magnesium chloride supplements immediately.

After which they were told to stop taking the supplement for six weeks, while the other patients got on it after consciously not taking it along with the other group. They took magnesium along with their usual treatment given for depression.

During the time the patients were on the supplements, the researchers regularly called every fortnight to check on the symptoms and side effects. When they were assessed using the standard Patient Health Questionnaire 9 (PHQ-9), the subjects received an average of six points lower on the popular scale assesing depression.

Agitated Depression

The first issue of American Journal of Psychiatry published in 1921 highlighted a study conducted on 50 patients suffering from agitated depression.

A whopping 220 doses of magnesium sulfate was given hypodermically to them. The study concluded a 90 percent success rate as patients were able to sleep comfortably for four to six hours with magnesium, which they were not able to do previously.

The side effects of being sedated, if any, were eased through calcium chloride being given hypodermically as well.

Anxiety-Depression and Epilepsy

Magnesium lactate and vitamin B6 were given in combination to 25 patients with anxiety-depression and epilepsy. The positive results on their general well-being was noticed within 14 days and only served to increase as another 14 days passed.

Manic Depression

According to WebMD, rapid cycling bipolar disorder (RCBD) affects 10 to 20 percent of those suffering from bipolar disorder. Magnesium was taken by ten patients suffering from RCBD withindifferent time intervals up to 32 weeks. Its effect was equivalent to the clinical results of lithium for 50 percent of the subjects on magnesium, which is widely used to control bouts of mania. 

The studies said magnesium could possibly be used as an alternative to treat manic depressive illnesses even though lithium comes with many side effects. However, this result should be observed with caution as it needs more investigation.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) have high chances of being diagnosed additionally with depression.

In a clinical trial with 32 patients, 15 were given intramuscular magnesium sulphate for six weeks on a weekly basis. The other 17 patients were treated with placebo medicines.

The patients belonging to the non-placebo group observed that energy levels had improved along with a decrease in pain. Red cell magnesium that tend to be lower for patients of CFS had returned to normal levels in the patients who were fed magnesium.  

Magnesium Capsules Magnesium and potassium aspartate capsules helps the body break down proteins for energy. It also helps with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome associated with depression in some cases. Daniela Buoncristiani / Contributor

 

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