Magnesium for Depression - Role in Prevention and Relief

What is the role of magnesium for depression prevention and relief / treatment?

Several reasons both psychological and physiological in nature can be responsible for causing depression in people. One of the relatively recent findings indicate that a lack of magnesium in the human body can affect a person’s mood drastically and cause severe depression.

Reports and studies conducted on people who have attempted or committed suicide indicated low levels of magnesium. Evidence suggests that a lack of magnesium or decreased magnesium in the human body can exacerbate depression in persons who are prone to the condition. Therefore, with the role of magnesium for depression prevention and relief becoming increasingly clear, it is important that people suffering from depression maintain adequate levels of this metal in their bodies.

Unfortunately, most carbohydrate-rich diets have a tendency to flush out magnesium from the human body, and they are one of the main reasons for decreased levels of magnesium in the general population. This, of course, contributes to increasing symptoms of depression. This particular condition, where decreased levels of magnesium are exhibited due to various reasons, is referred to as hypomagnesemia.

Hypomagnesemia can increase symptoms of depression and, in persons suffering from severe depression, decreased levels of magnesium can in fact drive them to suicide. This makes the role of magnesium for depression prevention and treatment all the more critical.

Besides a carbohydrate-rich diet which is responsible for flushing magnesium out of the body, stress is another factor that contributes to decreasing levels of magnesium in people. Therefore, people experiencing stress professionally or personally should routinely check magnesium levels and, at the first indication of reduction in magnesium levels, approach their health care practitioner and seek help and advice.

Similarly, a diet high in calcium, too, has been found to flush magnesium out from the human body, and this can once again create depression-related problems in people.

Magnesium has been found to be extremely important for good REM sleep cycles. As most of us are probably aware, sleep-wake cycles with adequate sleep is extremely important for persons suffering from depression. Insomnia is one of the main symptoms of depression, and decreased levels of magnesium can disturb REM sleep, thereby increasing the severity of depression in persons suffering from this condition. This adds further fuel to the importance of magnesium for depression prevention and treatment.

For all the above reasons, people suffering from depression should always maintain a balanced diet that is not too rich in carbohydrate and calcium, and also has generous portions of magnesium in it. Most Western diets are carbohydrate-rich and can reduce magnesium levels, and this is something which is certainly not advisable for persons going through depression.

One of the easiest and most convenient ways of maintaining adequate levels of magnesium is perhaps to take magnesium supplements. However, taking such single-substance supplements can cause imbalances in the body, so while magnesium for depression prevention and relief is important, it may not be advisable to take such supplements without professional supervision. Consulting one's health care practitioner, one who is knowledgeable in the area of nutrition, before commencing the consumption of magnesium supplements, is a good idea.

Certainly, the best way to improve magnesium intake is to eat foods which are rich in it. Good sources of magnesium include nuts, whole grains, beans, green vegetables, as well as fish.

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