Depression affects more than 350 million people worldwide, a staggering number when you think of all the ways that we really need to be present in our day to day lives. Depression may rob us of our ability to focus, or our drive to create, and be a functioning part of society. It robs some people of their appetite for food, and others of their appetite for life. Then there are those who lose out on a good night’s sleep, experience aches and pains, and tension headaches. Many people who suffer from depression have some combination of these symptoms and even more. Depression affects everyone a little differently, and perhaps that’s why pharmaceutical drugs just don’t have the wide range of positive effects that we wish for. Because we're all so unique, the drugs may not get at the root cause of the depression. Sometimes the side effects are worse than the depression itself, and with the steep cost of most anti-depressants, there are logical reasons for wanting to avoid using them. Magnesium supplements may be the answer for some people.
What is magnesium, and what is it good for? Magnesium is extremely important to your overall health, one of the most important minerals your body needs. Magnesium is involved in energy production in the body, and thanks to its participation in over 300 different enzymatic reactions, it is involved in a whole lot more than that. Studies have also revealed that magnesium is necessary for dopamine, the feel-good hormone, to do its thing in our bodies.
So the connection between magnesium and depression seems a pretty easy and intuitive one.
Researchers wanted to learn more about this, so they brought together 126 subjects for a study. These were people who have been formally diagnosed with mild to moderate depression. The participants had an average age of 52 years, and 62% of them were women.
To begin, the participants completed a PHQ-9 questionnaire which measured the severity of the depression symptoms they experience. Then they split them into two groups: One was given a daily 248mg dose of generic drugstore magnesium chloride, and the other a placebo.
With twice-weekly check-ins, the researchers were able to map and compare the difference the participants experienced since the onset of the trial. Their level of anxiety, adherence to the medication schedule, any side effects they were experiencing, and their desire to continue with the magnesium supplements were also recorded.
The results of the study were exciting: they found that in as little as two weeks, participants began experiencing a reduction in symptoms of depression.
The findings showed that people who took their magnesium as directed at least 80% of the time, reduced their symptoms on the PHQ-9 scale by a whopping 6 points. (For perspective, prescription anti-depressants reduce symptoms by 5 points). They also experienced a significant drop in anxiety levels, and by this point you may be totally unsurprised to learn that 61% of the participants gave a hearty thumbs-up to continuing the therapy after the trial ended.
Anyone who suffers from depression knows, when a new regimen shows promise, it’s like a ray of hope. Depression can be debilitating to the point that it affects a person’s day to day life. If something as simple as a mineral can help reverse those symptoms, it’s certainly worth learning more about!
Are you considering supplementing with Magnesium?
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