Depression is a condition that can affect a significant portion of the population. Thus, researchers have investigated potential causes for this debilitating condition. It is generally agreed that causes comprise a combination of environmental, biological, psychological and social factors. There is also increasing support for a role of diet and nutrient deficiencies in depression and other mental health disorders.
In a recent review paper published in Internal Medicine Journal it was confirmed that magnesium plays a role in people with depression . This paper consisted of a systematic review and meta-analysis. This basically means that only high-quality studies were reviewed and the data from all these studies were statistically analysed to ensure reliable conclusions. Based on data from over 19,000 patients, people with low magnesium levels had a 34% greater risk of suffering from depression compared to people with normal magnesium blood concentrations.
Although there are only a few studies, magnesium supplementation has been linked to improvements in symptoms of major depression and post-natal depression . Magnesium supplementation can also reduce stress levels and improve sleep which are both linked to depression.
Magnesium may play an important role in depression as it can influence several biological pathways associated with depression. It can affect the levels of numerous hormones and neurotransmitters that have been linked with depression. Magnesium also influences inflammation, which is regularly higher in people with depression.
If you are suffering from depression, increasing your magnesium intake may be helpful. Some of the best food sources of magnesium include: dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, fish, beans, avocadoes, yoghurt, and bananas.
Supplementation with magnesium may also be beneficial. There are several forms of magnesium available each with different levels of absorption in the body. For example, magnesium oxide is poorly absorbed in the body, while magnesium glycinate has significantly better absorption. It is available in many supplements, which are available from health food stores and pharmacies.