The mineral magnesium plays several important roles in the body. Low levels can lead to a number of symptoms and according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, anxiety ranks among them. This suggests supplementing with magnesium might alleviate anxiety, but according to the University of Michigan Health System, the evidence for this therapeutic benefit is weak. Some dosage guidelines exist but consult with your doctor for guidance on whether or not magnesium supplementation is appropriate and at what dose.
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Austrian researchers wanted to conduct an experiment to test the idea that magnesium deficiency influences mood. The study, published in the December 2004 issue of “Neuropharmacology,” examined the effects of a magnesium-deficient diet on the behavior of mice. They observed this change in diet led to an increase in anxiety-and-depression-related behavior.
A study published in the January 2009 issue of the “Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry” found a strong correlation between magnesium intake and levels of depression in community-dwelling adults. The link between magnesium and anxiety was “weaker and not statistically significant.” Whether or not magnesium will actually help reduce your anxiety is not clear but being a generally safe supplement, it cannot hurt to try.
The University of Michigan Health Center notes magnesium supplementation might help with mild anxiety. It notes a typical dose of 200 mg to 300 mg three times a day.
Caution in Certain Individuals
If you have heart disease or kidney disease, do not take magnesium supplements without consulting with your doctor first. If you are pregnant or nursing, your magnesium intake should not exceed 350 mg, which is the safe upper limit in this instance, according to the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Because the recommended dosage for treating anxiety far exceeds this, magnesium supplementation for anxiety appears an inappropriate option.
Other Considerations for Use
Make sure to get enough B-6 either through diet or supplementation as inadequate levels will decrease magnesium absorption. Magnesium might inhibit absorption of several classes of antibiotics -- take these supplements one hour before or two hours after the medications. Supplementing with larger amounts of magnesium can create a calcium deficiency if you already have insufficient levels. Consider getting your calcium levels checked before using magnesium supplements.
- University of Michigan Health System; Magnesium; February 2010
- "Neuropharmacology"; Magnesium-Deficient Diet Alters Depression-and-Anxiety-Related Behavior In Mice; N. Singewald, et al.; December 2004
- "The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry"; Association Between Magnesium Intake and Depression and Anxiety in Community-Dwelling Adults"; FN Jacka, et al.; January 2009
- University of Maryland Medical Center; Magnesium;Steven D. Ehrlich, NMD; June 2009
- Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center; Magnesium; May 2011