Treat depression can be a heavy burden for patients.
The traditional treatment with a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) not only is expensive but also brings some side effects.
In a recent study from the University of Vermont, researchers find that over-the-counter oral magnesium tablets could help treat mild-to-moderate depression.
In addition, the magnesium treatment has fewer side effects.
The mineral magnesium is critical to such body functions as heart rhythm, blood pressure, and bone strength.
It plays a role in combating inflammation in the body and has been proven to have an association with depression.
However, few clinical trials have studied the supplement’s effects.
In the current study, the researchers conducted an open-label, blocked, randomized cross-over trial involving 126 adults in outpatient primary care clinics.
The study participants, who were currently experiencing mild-to-moderate depression, had a mean age of 52, with 38 percent of them male.
Participants in the experiment group received 248 milligrams of elemental magnesium per day over six weeks, while those in the control group received no treatment.
Depression symptom assessments were conducted on all participants on a bi-weekly basis.
The team found that in 112 participants with analyzable data, consumption of magnesium chloride for six weeks led to great improvement in depression and anxiety symptoms.
In addition, these positive effects were shown quickly, at two weeks, and the supplements were well tolerated.
This means that magnesium is safe and effective and comparable to prescription SSRI treatments in effectiveness.
The researchers think their results are very encouraging, given the great need for additional treatment options for depression.
Magnesium supplementation provides a safe, fast and inexpensive approach to controlling depressive symptoms.
Emily Tarleton, MS, RD, CD, a graduate student in Clinical and Translational Science and the bionutrition research manager in the University of Vermont’s Clinical Research Center, is one researcher of the study.
The study is published in PLoS One.
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