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Magnesium is an antidepressant

Daily supplementation with 250 mg elemental magnesium can help relieve mild depression. American researchers at the University of Vermont write about this in PLoS One. According to the Americans, the effect of extra magnesium is visible after just two weeks.

The researchers performed an experiment with 112 people suffering from mild depression. Their average Patient Health Questionnaire-9 Depression Score [HPQ-9] was 10.6. Psychiatrists and psychologists use a standardised questionnaire to determine patients' PHQ-9 score. Scores can vary from 0 to 27.

0 - 4 no depression, 5 - 9 mild depression, 10 - 14 moderate depression, 15 - 19 moderate to serious depression, 20 - 27 serious depression.

Half of the participants took 4 tablets containing 500 mg magnesium chloride daily for six weeks. This meant they consumed 248 mg elemental magnesium every day. After that they took nothing - not even a placebo.

The other participants did it the other way round. They first took nothing for six weeks and then magnesium chloride for six weeks. The product the researchers used was Magnesium Chloride, manufactured by Alta Health Products.

During the supplementation the participants' PHQ-9 score went down by 6 points. For a number of participants this meant that their depression disappeared.

Magnesium is an antidepressant

The supplementation also reduced the participants' anxiety. The researchers measured this using the Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7 Anxiety Score. This can vary from 0 to 21. The participants' average score at the start of the experiment was 8.6, but the supplementation reduced this by 4.5 points.

0 - 4 no anxiety, 5 - 9 mild anxiety, 10 - 14 moderate anxiety, 15 - 21, serious anxiety.

Magnesium supplementation was equally effective in the participants who used pharmacological antidepressants and in those who did not take pharmacological products.

"There was no placebo arm and randomization was not blinded for either the study team or the volunteer," the researchers admit. "The use of placebo and blinding are essential for a study that seeks to understand the mechanism of action of an intervention."

"However, they are not useful when the research seeks to assess the presence and magnitude of the effect of an intervention. Whether magnesium works because it induces a physiological change in the subject, or only because of the placebo effect (or a combination of the two), it remains that subjects do report better levels of depression and anxiety when taking magnesium than when not."

"Daily supplementation with 248 mg of elemental magnesium as four 500 mg tablets of magnesium chloride per day leads to a significant decrease in depression and anxiety symptoms regardless of age, gender, baseline severity of depression, or use of antidepressant medications."

"While the cross over design of this trial is robust in controlling for internal biases, it would be reassuring to see the results replicated in larger clinical trials that test long term efficacy and provide additional data on subgroups."

"However, this efficacy trial showed magnesium supplements may be a fast, safe, and easily accessible alternative, or adjunct, to starting or increasing the dose of antidepressant medications."

PLoS One. 2017 Jun 27;12(6):e0180067.

Magnesium protects against hardening of the arteries, high blood pressure and diabetes 08.04.2017
Magnesium supplement lowers blood pressure 17.12.2016
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Human trial. Sponsored.