Can Magnesium Deficiency Cause Depression?

Can Magnesium Deficiency Cause Depression?
By William Lovett, M.D.
May 5, 2018

Depression is one of the leading causes of disability in the world. Unfortunately, many people lack proper knowledge or access to medical treatment. But that just may change after the latest research from the University of Vermont Medical (UVM).  

The Challenges of Depression

Depression is a complex mood disorder. It can be situational (death of a loved one for example) or biochemical (mineral, electrolyte, and/or hormonal deficiencies). Some people respond well to behavior-based therapy, while others take supplements or anti-depressants, which often have risks and side effects. And then there is the issue of the millions of people who can’t afford treatment, don’t have access to it, or are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed.

The Link Between Depression and Magnesium

Researchers at the University of Vermont Medical Center (UVM) recently conducted an investigational study to determine if magnesium deficiency caused depression, and if over-the-counter supplements could be used to mitigate the symptoms. They allowed the study participants to take the supplements at the time that worked best for them. This meant they were able to gather data about morning, evening, and split doses.

The double-blinded, cross-sectional study found that magnesium was beneficial for mild-to-moderate depression regardless of race, gender, or age.

They also concluded that the general population does not get enough magnesium in their diet, because overall Americans tend to eat more carbohydrate-rich foods rather than high-quality foods like whole unprocessed grains, nuts, legumes, and green, leafy vegetables.

The Benefits of Magnesium

Combined with previous studies, magnesium supplements are now known to be beneficial in treating:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetes
  • Muscle cramps like “Charlie Horses” (especially at night)
  • Biochemical depression

UVM’s study did mention that magnesium does not benefit everyone, and that it can interact with some medications. While it can have added benefits when combined with Zinc, Fish Oil, and Folic Acid, it is always important to talk to you doctor before introducing a new supplement into your regime.


If you have questions about introducing magnesium to your health program – or if you are interested in treating depression naturally with hormone replacement – please let us know during your next appointment. New patients can submit an online consultation form to get started or visit our check out our YouTube page for interviews with our physicians.

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