Depression is a common but dangerous mental illness.
Currently, about 350 million people worldwide suffering from the disease.
The traditional SSRI treatments put a burden on patients – in dollars and side effects.
Now a study published in PLoS One shows that over-the-counter magnesium may be a safe and effective way to treat mild to moderate depression.
Magnesium is an essential nutrient our body needs. It is critical to body functions like heart rhythm, blood pressure, and bone strength.
Magnesium plays a role in combating inflammation in the body and has been proven to have an association with depression.
However, few clinical trials have examined the supplement’s effects.
In the study, researchers from the University of Vermont studied how over-the-counter oral magnesium tablets could treat mild-to-moderate depression.
Their results show that magnesium is safe and effective and comparable to prescription SSRI treatments in effectiveness.
The study enrolled 126 adults, who were experiencing mild-to-moderate depression. Their average age was 52, and 38% of them were men.
Half participants received 248 milligrams of elemental magnesium per day over six weeks, while the other half received no treatment.
Depression symptom assessments were conducted on all participants on a bi-weekly basis.
The team found that in 112 participants, intake of magnesium chloride for six weeks resulted in a bigger improvement in depression and anxiety symptoms.
In addition, these positive effects appeared quickly, at two weeks, and the supplements were well tolerated.
The team suggests that this is the first randomized clinical study looking at the effect of magnesium supplementation on symptoms of depression in U.S. adults.
The results are very encouraging, given the great need for additional treatment options for depression.
Magnesium supplementation could provide a safe, fast and inexpensive approach to controlling depressive symptoms.
In the future, the researchers will examine if the results can be replicated in a larger, more diverse population.
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