Magnesium Successfully Treats Depression In Pilot Study

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New research indicates magnesium supplementation can diminish symptoms of depression, is safer than prescription antidepressants, and is far more cost-effective.

A safe, efficacious, and inexpensive depression treatment would benefit burdened health care systems, and the estimated 350 million people with depression worldwide.

The body requires magnesium for a variety of functions, including blood pressure, heart rhythm regulation, and strong bones. Though an association between magnesium levels and mood has been noticed, few studies have focused on the mental health effects of taking magnesium supplements.

Now, researchers at the University of Vermont have performed a clinical trial using OTC (over the counter) magnesium tablets to address mild to moderate depression. The randomized crossover study involved 126 participants, with a mean age of 52, and mild to moderate depressive symptoms. Over a third of the participants were male.

Those in the study’s active group were given 248 milligrams of elemental magnesium daily, for six weeks. The control group received no treatment. All participants were assessed for depression symptoms twice weekly.

The investigators found that of the 112 participants with usable data, the six-week magnesium regimen led to clinically significant improvements in depression and anxiety. Positive effects of the magnesium were measured just two weeks into the study. The supplement was well tolerated by participants despite sex, age, antidepressant use, and other factors.

“This is the first randomized clinical trial looking at the effect of magnesium supplementation on symptoms of depression in U.S. adults,” says researcher Emily Tarleton, MS, RD, CD. “The results are very encouraging, given the great need for additional treatment options for depression, and our finding that magnesium supplementation provides a safe, fast and inexpensive approach to controlling depressive symptoms.”

To build on this research the next step is to replicate the results in a larger study, with a more diverse population.

Source: Science Daily
Photo credit: Leonid Mamchenkov

 
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