Magnesium L-threonate for depression and anxiety

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This article was previously published on June 4, 2020 and has been updated with new information.

A recent coronavirus pandemic has infected more than 5 million people and caused more than 300,000 deaths. This pandemic has also caused the closure of schools and businesses, social distancing and forced millions of people to be locked up in their homes.

Social isolation can lead to feelings of anxiety, stress and depressed mood, and this can lead to other negative health consequences. Although people can exercise and seek counseling, nutrients can make a difference from which magnesium is the most important.

Approximately 50% of American adults do not receive an estimated average magnesium requirement (about 400 mg of magnesium per day).1 Indeed, most Americans consume only about 250 mg of magnesium per day.2

Thus, a significant percentage of the population is likely to be magnesium deficient and may benefit from taking an additional 150 to 200 mg of magnesium through supplementation.

In fact, up to 30% of the population is magnesium deficient based on low serum magnesium levels, and up to 84% of certain patient populations are magnesium deficient when using the IV magnesium load test.3

Therefore, subclinical magnesium deficiency is common and leads to a number of mental health problems. This brief overview will cover the potential benefits of magnesium, especially magnesium L-threonate, for mood and anxiety.

Magnesium L-threonate to help

Symptoms of magnesium deficiency can include many mental problems such as depression, confusion and anxiety.4 People with depression are known to have

  • Lower blood magnesium levels5 and the brain.6
  • Low magnesium content in cerebral spinal fluid.7

Unfortunately, the level of magnesium in the cerebrospinal fluid is strictly controlled, with an increase in blood magnesium levels of 300% only increasing cerebrospinal fluid levels by approximately 10 to 19%.8 However:

  • Magnesium L-threonate has improved efficacy for increasing magnesium levels in cerebrospinal fluid.9
  • Magnesium L-threonate alone, unlike magnesium chloride or magnesium gluconate, increases magnesium levels in cerebrospinal fluid and improves cognition in animal models.10

The first report on magnesium to improve mood was published in 1921, showing success in 220 out of 250 cases.11 Since then, numerous cases have revealed rapid improvements in mood with the use of magnesium supplements without side effects.12 Additionally:

  • One randomized study found that oral magnesium supplementation was just as effective as antidepressant for improving mood.13

Therefore, clinical studies in humans suggest that magnesium supplementation is beneficial for improving mood. Approximately 60% of people who have a depressed mood are considered resistant to treatment, and this may be due to magnesium deficiency.14 Moreover:

  • Low magnesium levels correlate with poor outcomes in people with depressed mood who do not respond to medication.15
  • Higher magnesium intake is associated with better mood scores.16
  • All this points to the potential role of magnesium, especially magnesium L-threonate, for mental health.

In short, a depressed mood can simply be a sign of a lack of magnesium in the brain. Increasing magnesium levels in the brain, especially with the use of magnesium L-threonate, can have great benefits at your disposal.

Importantly, magnesium is needed to make the three primary neurotransmitters in the brain, namely serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine and melatonin, which is important for sleep.

magnesium for dopamine and norepinephrine

Magnesium L-threonate to support anxiety

High levels of stress can lead to magnesium deficiency by increasing the amount of magnesium lost in the urine.17,18

Moreover, magnesium deficiency enhances the stress response.19

Magnesium deficiency increases animal mortality caused by stress,20 while compensating for magnesium deficiency improves the nervous system’s ability to withstand stress.21

In other words, stress leads to magnesium deficiency, and magnesium deficiency leads to stress.

Animals fed low-magnesium foods show increased anxiety-related behavior,22 and this may be due to hyperexcitability in the brain and increased cortisol production.23

Importantly, two studies have shown that animal supplementation with magnesium L-threonate reduces anxiety.24,25

Therefore, magnesium L-threonate may play a central role in supporting anxiety. In short, anxiety can be caused by magnesium deficiency and vice versa. Since most people in the United States do not get enough magnesium from their diet, magnesium L-threonate supplementation can play an important role in supporting anxiety.



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