Study Finds Magnesium May Treat Depression Better Than Antidepressant Drugs

Depression is among the most common mental disorders globally, with an estimated number of about 300 million people from all ages suffering from it.

It is the leading cause of disability, but due to the stigma of this disease, numerous cases are left unreported, and usually end up with suicide.

An episode is considered to be a result of depression when a person has lost interest and is in a depressed mood for at least 2 weeks, and experiences various symptoms that alter their ability to function normally.

Depression usually causes symptoms linked to sleep, energy, eating, concentration, self-image, and suicidal thoughts. These are the most common depression symptoms:

  • Feeling sad or having a depressed mood
  • Feeling worthless or guilty
  • Difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
  • Loss of energy or increased fatigue
  • Increase in purposeless physical activity
  • Thoughts of death or suicide
  • Changes in appetite — weight loss or gain unrelated to dieting
  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much

People who suffer from depression often experience a multitude of physical symptoms that aggravate the state even more, such as the following:

  • Fatigue and exhaustion
  • Migraines and general headaches
  • Back pain
  • Chest pain (particularly during an anxiety attack)
  • Joint pain
  • Muscle aches
  • Digestive issues
  • Premenstrual syndrome

It is very complex, and experts maintain that it is actually a combination of brain chemistry, inherited traits, biological differences and hormones.

Depression can be of several types, and the National Institute of Mental Health lists the following:

  • Persistent depressive disorder, or dysthymia, which is a persistent depressive disorder that leads to a depressed mood lasting two years.
  • Psychotic depression is a disorder that causes major depressive symptoms along with symptoms of psychosis, like delusions (false beliefs) and hallucinations (auditory, visual, or otherwise).
  • Perinatal depression, which leads to major depressive disorder during pregnancy or after delivery, known as postpartum depression.
  • Bipolar disorder can be of more types, and it leads to periods of “low” or depressive states followed by “high” or euphoric states, termed “mania”.
  • The seasonal affective disorder is accompanied by increased sleep, weight gain, and social isolation, and is characterized by the shifting of the seasons to winter, due to the lack of natural sunlight

Yet, therapies which include medications that treat depression have been found to be harmful at times, and according to Sansone and Sansone, contemporary data in the past ten years showed that half or 50 percent of psychiatric patients and primary care patients are noncompliant with their medications, which leads to adverse effects, fears, addiction, and discontinuation of the therapy.

On the other hand, a 2018 study has found that magnesium is an effective way to treat moderate depression in adults, as it has an impact on brain chemistry and hormones, and does not cause any side-effects.

Researchers studies participants divided into two groups for 6 weeks. The first one was control group, while the second was an interventional group, which received six weeks of active treatment with 248 mg of elemental magnesium daily, divided into four 500 mg tablets of magnesium chloride.

Researchers evaluated their symptoms twice a week, and they initially noticed a difference in depression symptoms compared to the baseline before the treatment. Their secondary outcomes focused on changes in symptoms linked to anxiety, adherence to the magnesium supplement regimen, side-effects, and intent to continue magnesium supplementation.

After the end of the study, the depressive and anxiety symptoms of the participants from the interventional group were drastically improved, and the adherence to the regimen was 83% in terms of pill count.

They tolerated the regimen well, and 61% of them reported that they would continue taking magnesium supplements.

Therefore, magnesium might be the fastest, safest, and easily accessible alternative to traditional antidepressants, which can be of great help in the struggle with this very common and extremely serious health issue.