Does Magnesium Have Mental Health Benefits?

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People take supplements frequently from a daily multivitamin to fish oils. Why? Most want to maintain a healthy life. They search for ways to stay healthy both physically and mentally. People have likely heard of fish oil and vitamin D supplements, but magnesium is typically not the first thing people say when asked what supplements they are taking. Leading experts have found that most people have low levels of magnesium due to their diet. The experts agree that maintaining sufficient levels of magnesium can provide a variety of benefits.

Benefits of Magnesium

Magnesium levels have an important impact on a person’s physical health. It is a supplement that plays a critical role in many vital metabolic reactions within the human body. If the levels are low, it has the potential to cause major issues. Individuals with low levels of magnesium are more likely to be more at risk for heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension. Low levels can also lead to insomnia, seizures, and migraines. Magnesium is often used in the form of injection. For example, it is commonly used for someone suffering from a severe asthma attack and a pregnant woman experiencing symptoms of pre-eclampsia.

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Maintaining adequate levels of magnesium can help people avoid some mental health issues as well. Magnesium aids in calming the nervous system which helps with a variety of mental health issues like anxiety, depression, ADHD, and even individuals with schizophrenia. As research on magnesium and mental health continues, results thus far illustrate the value between the two.

Magnesium in the Diet

Many people are often deficient in magnesium at some level. A diet of high-processed foods and magnesium removed from water supplies can lead to lower levels of the supplement. There are certain foods that can help increase levels including: green, leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, peas, and whole-grains. There are foods and beverages that can deplete magnesium including: alcohol, coffee, soda, and large amounts of calcium, vitamin D, and zinc (these decrease magnesium absorption). Eating certain foods and avoiding others can help people regulate their levels of magnesium. However, individuals can take a magnesium supplement if needed.

Other Information to Keep in Mind

When learning of the benefits of certain foods or supplements, it is tempting to dive head first into maintain adequate levels. However, it is possible to ingest too much magnesium. Too much magnesium can lead to cramping, diarrhea, and low blood pressure. It is important to figure out the proper dose of magnesium needed and where you might be lacking in your diet. It can be helpful to consult with your doctor before adding a magnesium supplement to your regimen. Individuals with certain conditions like diabetes or intestinal diseases tend to have lower levels of magnesium already. It would be important to figure out the proper dosage. Magnesium also might not be safe with certain medications like diuretics and some antibiotics. To get the benefits you desire, it would likely be the best and safest to speak to your doctor about what is best for you.

Michelle Overman is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist working as a counselor for students, faculty, and staff at Abilene Christian University in Abilene, Texas. She works with athletes, bridging the gap between athletics and mental health at ACU. She is becoming a Certified Mental Performance Consultant in sports psychology.  Michelle ran her own private practice in Austin, Texas where she worked with a diverse population, including couples and families. Michelle earned a Master’s in Marriage & Family Therapy and has been working in the field for 6 years.