One of the most popular treatments for depression, SSRI antidepressants, is risky, expensive and not very effective. This has prompted scientists to look for alternatives and it seems that they have found a solution: magnesium!
More than 350 million people on our planet suffer from depression and it affects not only these people, but also their loved ones. Scientists from the Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont have found promising results after a clinical study of the use of magnesium tablets in depressed patients. Magnesium is important for many of our body functions, including our blood pressure, heart rhythm and bone strength. The freely available mineral also helps against inflammation in the body and now also with depression.
In a randomized crossover study with 126 outpatients with primary care, participants with mild to moderate depression were studied for 12 weeks. Some participants received 248 milligrams of magnesium per day for a period of six weeks, followed by six weeks without magnesium. Others received no treatment for six weeks followed by six weeks of magnesium.
All participants received biweekly assessments of their depressive symptoms. Those who took magnesium noted clinically significant improvements in anxiety symptoms and the degree of depression. Also on the Patient Health Questionnaire 9, participants scored considerably lower on the despression classification during their magnesium time. Best of all, they have experienced these improvements after just two weeks of magnesium. Patients of all ages and depressions tolerated the supplements well and noticed comparable levels of effectiveness.
Link magnesium and depression previously established
These results seem to support another study in a Croatian psychiatric hospital that discovered that many patients who had committed suicide had suffered from dangerously low magnesium levels. Depression is, in addition to muscle cramps, ringing in the ears, migraine, kidney stones and abnormal heart function, also known as one of the symptoms of magnesium deficiency.
Further research needed
Additional research will have to show whether a larger and more diverse population produces the same results. It is hoped that magnesium and other safe alternatives will eventually replace antidepressants completely, given their dangerous side effects. Depression is a serious condition and it is perfectly understandable for patients and those around them to find a way to control it, but rather a natural solution without extremely dangerous risks, right?