Magnesium might be able to help ease anxiety symptoms. Magnesium chelated with amino acids is probably the most absorbable form of magnesium, according to Dr. Elson M. Haas, founder and director of the Preventive Medical Center of Marin. Magnesium bound to one or more amino acids allows the magnesium to enter through the intestinal wall via the amino acid pathway. Talk to your doctor before beginning any supplement regimen.
Magnesium helps maintain healthy muscle and nerve function, blood sugar levels and normal blood pressure, according to the National Institutes of Health. It also keeps heart rhythm steady, the immune system functioning and bones strong. It is known to be involved in energy metabolism and protein synthesis. Magnesium is found in green vegetables, beans, peas, nuts, seeds and whole, unrefined grains.
In a 2004 study on mice that was published in "Neuropharmacology," it was suggested that lack of magnesium in the diet might lead to increased depression and anxiety-related behavior. Nicolas Singewald and colleagues fed mice a diet that provided only 10 percent of their daily magnesium needs and gave a control group a normal diet. The mice who were not fed adequate magnesium showed increased anxious behavior, which was decreased by anti-anxiety medication. The researchers suggested that people with anxiety be screened for magnesium depletion.
Adding magnesium into the diet might decrease anxiety-related behavior, according to a 2008 study on rats that was published in a Russian academic journal. A.A. Spasov and colleagues fed rats a magnesium-deficient diet and observed increased symptoms of anxiety. Administering magnesium salts in combination with vitamin B6 resulted in a decrease in symptoms.
Magnesium in combination with vitamin B6 might reduce anxiety-related premenstrual symptoms, including nervous tension, mood swings, irritability and anxiety, according to a 2004 study published in the "Journal of Women's Health & Gender-Based Medicine." Miriam C. De Souza and colleagues randomly assigned women to groups that took 200 mg of magnesium, 50 mg of vitamin B6, 200 mg of magnesium in combination with 50 mg of vitamin B6, or placebo. The women were asked to keep a menstrual diary recording any instances of 30 premenstrual symptoms for one menstrual cycle. The group that was taking both vitamin B6 and magnesium showed reduced anxiety-related premenstrual symptoms, leading researchers to suggest that magnesium and vitamin B6 might work to ease anxiety when taken together. Still, further studies are needed before general recommendations can be made.
Many American do not get enough magnesium, although true magnesium deficiency is rare. If you choose to take a magnesium supplement, aim for the recommended dietary allowance. The RDA for magnesium is 400 mg a day for men 19 to 30 years old and 420 mg for older men. Women 19 to 30 should get 310 mg per day, and those above 30 should aim for 320 mg. Do not exceed more than 350 mg per day from a supplement. Magnesium might interfere with some medications, so make sure your doctor knows what medications you are taking.
- Science Direct: Magnesium-Deficient Diet alters Depression- and Anxiety-Related Behavior in Mice—Influence of Desipramine and Hypericum Perforatum Extract
- PubMed.gov: Depression-Like and Anxiety-Related Behaviour of Rats Fed with Magnesium-Deficient Diet
- Liebert Online: A Synergistic Effect of a Daily Supplement for 1 Month of 200 mg Magnesium plus 50 mg Vitamin B6 for the Relief of Anxiety-Related Premenstrual Symptoms: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Crossover Study
- National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements: Magnesium
- Healthy.net: Magnesium
- Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.