The Ultimate Guide To Magnesium For Anxiety and Depression

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Key Information

Magnesium Powers Metabolism

Magnesium is involved in over 300 metabolic processes, playing a crucial role in your body’s function.

Magnesium Deficiency is Common

Most people are deficient in Magnesium, highlighting the importance of a balanced diet or supplements.

Magnesium Boosts Brain Health

Numerous pathways in the brain are magnesium-dependent, emphasizing its role in cognitive function.

Magnesium Lowers Stress

Magnesium is the top nutrient needed to lower stress, making it vital for mental health and wellbeing.

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Hey there!

Welcome to my guide on using magnesium for anxiety, depression, and general mood-boosting.

I’ve spent over 50 hours researching and testing different forms and brands of magnesium and then sorted them based on effects and type.

The good news is that quality magnesium for anxiety and mood-boosting is very affordable and easy to find.

If you’re ready to learn more about the wild world of Magnesium, let’s jump into it!

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Best Magnesium For Anxiety and Depression Quick Guide

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Best Magnesium For Low-Oxalate Diet

What Does Magnesium Do

Magnesium is an essential mineral used in the body to maintain homeostasis.

It ensures the correct functioning of all human cells used in more than 300 biochemical reactions in your body.1R Swaminathan. Magnesium metabolism and its disorders Clin Biochem Rev. 2003

These reactions include metabolism, enzymatic activity, ATP production, and making sure other minerals like calcium function properly.2Joel Michels Topf, Patrick T Murray. Hypomagnesemia and hypermagnesemia Rev Endocr Metab Disord. 2003

Magnesium is required for optimal nerve transmission. It is involved in the formation of membrane phospholipids, which ultimately gives this powerful mineral a fundamental role in your central nervous system’s correct functioning.3 M F Ryan. The role of magnesium in clinical biochemistry: an overview Ann Clin Bioche. 1991

In short, you need adequate magnesium for your body to function optimally throughout the day.

This is especially true for mental health, as it plays a critical role in brain function and mood.

What Is Magnesium Good For

Because magnesium is necessary for so many biochemical reactions, getting adequate amounts can be helpful for the following conditions:

  • Anxiety/Depression
  • Sleep problems
  • Leg cramps
  • Migraines
  • Constipation
  • Heart health

While we can discuss the full spectrum of metabolic processes that use magnesium, we will stick to its brain benefits for the sake of this article.

Magnesium and The Brain

Adequate magnesium levels are necessary for a well-working brain.

Along with being essential for hundreds of metabolic processes in the body, we also know that magnesium plays a critical role in brain-specific processes like myelination4Takahiro Seyama, et al. Pretreatment with magnesium sulfate attenuates white matter damage by preventing cell death of developing oligodendrocytes J Obstet Gynaecol Res. 2018, synaptic formation and maintenance5Qifeng Sun, et al. Regulation of structural and functional synapse density by L-threonate through modulation of intraneuronal magnesium concentration Neuropharmacology. 2016, and regulation of serotoninergic, dopaminergic, and cholinergic transmission.6A A Spasov, et al. Features of central neurotransmission in animals in conditions of dietary magnesium deficiency and after its correction Neurosci Behav Physiol. 2009

There is a lot of evidence that shows magnesium’s effectiveness in enhancing many different aspects of overall cognitive performance.

It’s been shown to increase synaptic plasticity by enhancing neurogenesis and the maturation of newly generated neural cells while increasing neural stem cells’ proliferation.7Chao Wu, et al. Magnesium promotes the viability and induces differentiation of neural stem cells both in vitro and in vivo Neurol Res.2019

These geeky, big worded features of magnesium translate into:8Inna Slutsky, et al. Enhancement of learning and memory by elevating brain magnesium Neuron. 2010

  • Enhanced learning abilities,
  • Better Working memory
  • More Short- and Long-term memory
  • Better focus and concentration
  • Mood boost

Magnesium For Depression

Magnesium’s mood-boosting effects have been studied extensively in both animals and humans.9Andrea Botturi, et al. The Role and the Effect of Magnesium in Mental Disorders: A Systematic Review Nutrients. 2020

Studies have shown that a diet low in Magnesium is associated with increased depression10Marie-Laure Derom, Carmen Sayón-Orea, José María Martínez-Ortega, Miguel A Martínez-González. Magnesium and depression: a systematic review Nutr Neurosci. 2013

and suicide.11Magdalena Sowa-Kućma, Bernadeta Szewczyk, Krystyna Sadlik, Wojciech Piekoszewski, Franciszek Trela, Włodzimierz Opoka, Ewa Poleszak, Andrzej Pilc, Gabriel Nowak. Zinc, magnesium and NMDA receptor alterations in the hippocampus of suicide victims J Affect Disord. 2013

Magnesium supplementation has been shown to improve cases of major depression12George A Eby, et al. Rapid recovery from major depression using magnesium treatment Med Hypotheses. 2006, mania13D Pavlinac, R Langer, L Lenhard, L Deftos. Magnesium in affective disorders Biol Psychiatry. 1979, bipolar disorder14G Chouinard, L Beauclair, R Geiser, P Etienne. A pilot study of magnesium aspartate hydrochloride (Magnesiocard) as a mood stabilizer for rapid cycling bipolar affective disorder patients Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 1990, and affective symptoms associated with chronic fatigue syndrome15I M Cox, M J Campbell, D Dowson. Red blood cell magnesium and chronic fatigue syndrome Lancet. 1991.

One of magnesium’s most interesting anti-depressant features is its ability to work synergistically with other anti-depressant therapies.16Daan H H M Viering, et al. Genetic causes of hypomagnesemia, a clinical overview Pediatr Nephrol. 2017

In fact, magnesium has shown to have a strong, synergistic effect with ketamine.17Harald Murck. Ketamine, magnesium and major depression–from pharmacology to pathophysiology and back J Psychiatr Res. 2013

While there is quite a bit of evidence for magnesium’s ability to improve humans’ mood disorders, many conflicting data also exist. The relationship between Mg levels and depression is yet to be fully elucidated.18J F CADE. A SIGNIFICANT ELEVATION OF PLASMA MAGNESIUM LEVELS IN SCHIZOPHRENIA AND DEPRESSIVE STATES Med J Aust. 1964

This is mostly due to poor study design.19Neil Bernard Boyle,* Clare Lawton, and Louise Dye. The Effects of Magnesium Supplementation on Subjective Anxiety and Stress—A Systematic Review Nutrients. 2017

The bottom line is that magnesium has many anti-depressant benefits; it hasn’t been expressed well enough in the scientific literature.

Magnesium For Anxiety

Anxiety disorders are often found as a comorbidity with depression.20Zhiguo WU and Yiru FANG. Comorbidity of depressive and anxiety disorders: challenges in diagnosis and assessment, Shanghai Arch Psychiatry. 2014

And like depression, magnesium shows promise as a potent therapy for anxiety.

According to the WHO, anxiety-related conditions are the most common affective disorders present in the general population.21Ronald C Kessler, Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola, Jordi Alonso, Somnath Chatterji, Sing Lee, Johan Ormel, T Bedirhan Ustün, Philip S Wang. The global burden of mental disorders: an update from the WHO World Mental Health (WMH) surveys Epidemiol Psichiatr Soc. Jan-Mar 2009

Several clinical studies have shown low serum levels of magnesium in people who experience anxiety.22Felice N Jacka, Simon Overland, Robert Stewart, Grethe S Tell, Ingvar Bjelland, Arnstein Mykletun. Association between magnesium intake and depression and anxiety in community-dwelling adults: the Hordaland Health Study Aust N Z J Psychiatry. 2009

Social Anxiety

These nerve-calming attributes can also improve instances of social anxiety.23Victoria Papadopol and Mihai Nechifor. Magnesium in neuroses and neuroticism Adelaide (AU): University of Adelaide Press; 2011.

Magnesium’s ability to modulate glutamate activity and raise GABA makes it akin to a social lubricant.

This is because GABA is the primary neurotransmitter that is raised when consuming alcohol.24Niladri Banerjee. Neurotransmitters in alcoholism: A review of neurobiological and genetic studies Indian J Hum Genet. 2014

Skip the booze at your next party and opt for a hit of magnesium!

Magnesium and Stress

Stress reduction is magnesium’s most prized attribute.

This is important since stress is the basis of most mental and physical health problems.25Loren Toussaint, Grant S Shields, Gabriel Dorn, and George M Slavich. Effects of lifetime stress exposure on mental and physical health in young adulthood: How stress degrades and forgiveness protects health J Health Psychol. 2016

Magnesium modulates the activity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis.26Bonpei Takase, Takashi Akima, Akimi Uehata, Fumitaka Ohsuzu, Akira Kurita. Effect of chronic stress and sleep deprivation on both flow-mediated dilation in the brachial artery and the intracellular magnesium level in humans Clin Cardiol. 2004

The HPA axis is the body’s inherent stress-response system and is responsible for producing stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline.27Katja Held, et al. Oral Mg(2+) supplementation reverses age-related neuroendocrine and sleep EEG changes in humans Pharmacopsychiatry. 2002. This doesn’t mean that magnesium will take away your stress, but it will reign in your body’s response to stress. Which means more emotional stability and resilience.27H Murck, A Steiger. Mg2+ reduces ACTH secretion and enhances spindle power without changing delta power during sleep in men — possible therapeutic implications Psychopharmacology (Berl). 1998

How Magnesium Works In The Brain

There are several magnesium-dependant pathways in the brain that may be responsible for its effectiveness.

Along with modulating the HPA axis, magnesium also antagonizes glutamate and NMDA receptor activity, leading to neuronal hyperexcitability.28E J Coan, G L Collingridge Magnesium ions block an N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor-mediated component of synaptic transmission in rat hippocampusNeurosci Lett. 1985

Reducing glutamate, an excitatory neurotransmitter can effectively calm the mind and many anxiety-related symptoms at the NMDA receptor.29E J Coan, G L Collingridge. Magnesium ions block an N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor-mediated component of synaptic transmission in rat hippocampus Neurosci Lett. 1985

This action at the NMDA receptor may also raise GABA levels in the brain, which can induce a calming effect.30R Bruce Lydiard. The role of GABA in anxiety disorders J Clin Psychiatry. 2003

Signs of Magnesium Deficiency

Being magnesium deficient has many health consequences.

The most accurate way to check your status is through blood testing or hair mineral testing.31Dilip Gude. ‘Tracing Elements’ in Hair Int J Trichology. 2011 Jul-Dec

Some tell-tale symptoms may indicate magnesium deficiency including:32Abdullah M. Al Alawi, et al. Magnesium and Human Health: Perspectives and Research Directions Int J Endocrinol. 201833Alin Gragossian; Khalid Bashir; Rotem Friede. Hypomagnesemia StatPearls Publishing; 2020,

  • Headaches/Migraines
  • Asthma
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Apathy or general malaise
  • Heart problems
  • Low calcium and potassium
  • Low parathyroid

Causes of Magnesium Deficiency

Many causes lead to magnesium deficiency.

Some of the most common include:

  • Diet
  • Pharmaceutical Drugs
  • Genetics
  • Metabolic Disorders


As stated above, the modern, Western food supply is incredibly magnesium deficient.

This is mostly due to processed foods, demineralized water, and agricultural practices using soil deficient in magnesium for growing food.34Jeroen H F de Baaij, et al. Magnesium in man: implications for health and disease Physiol Rev. 2015

Pharmaceutical Drugs

Many popular pharmaceutical drugs have been found to cause hypomagnesia.  These include:35. Table 7: Medications associated with hypomagnesemia. Int J Endocrinol. 2018

  • Antibiotics
  • Antifungals
  • Cancer drugs
  • Anti-inflammatories
  • Diuretics
  • Pneumonia Drugs
  • Proton Pump Inhibitors

According to the CDC, almost half of all Americans use at least one prescription drug.36CDC. Therapeutic Drug Use Center For Disease Control

One-quarter of Americans use 3 or more.

In short, that means a lot of magnesium deficiencies.


Genetics also plays a major role in one’s ability to absorb and utilize magnesium.

Mutations in specific genes can greatly influence your magnesium status.

This is because different genes affect the function of magnesium transport and utilization in the body.

Some gene mutations that correlate to magnesium deficiency disorders include:37Daan H H M Viering, et al. Genetic causes of hypomagnesemia, a clinical overview Pediatr Nephrol. 2017

  • Hypercalciuric hypomagnesemia (Genes: CLDN16, CLDN19, CASR, CLCNKB)
  • Gitelman syndrome (CLCNKB, SLC12A3, BSND, KCNJ10, FYXD2, HNF1B, PCBD1)
  • Mitochondrial hypomagnesemias (SARS2, MT-TI, Kearns-Sayre syndrome)
  • Other hypomagnesemias (TRPM6, CNMM2, EGF, EGFR, KCNA1, FAM111A)

You can always check to see if you have any of these genes with a genetics test.

Different Forms Of Magnesium

If you’ve ever shopped for a magnesium supplement, you’ve probably noticed the different forms of magnesium that are readily available.

It’s important to understand the different effects that each form gives.

Different magnesium preparations have different intestinal absorption ability.

Studies have claimed that Organic magnesium supplements (aspartate, citrate, lactate, chloride) have been more bioavailable than inorganic magnesium (oxide, sulfate).38Mohammed S. Razzaque. Magnesium: Are We Consuming Enough? Nutrients. 2018

Here is a quick rundown of some of the more popular forms for supplementation and what they do:

  • Magnesium L-threonate – Relatively new compound consists of a magnesium ion and threonate, which exists physiologically in the brain. Shown to increase Magnesium in the CSF significantly.  Also a favorite for nootropic purposes.

My Top Magnesium Supplement Recommendation

These days magnesium is not as bioavailable in food as it once was, which is why supplementation is necessary.

Traditionally, people obtained magnesium through foods like leafy green vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, and some animal foods.39. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Agricultural Research Service

The problem is that there are many magnesium supplements to choose from, and these supplements are not created equal.

Many magnesium supplements are formulated poorly and contain many added fillers, excipients, and added ingredients toxic to the body.

And because there are so many different magnesium forms, it can be hard to pinpoint the one that works best for you.

This is why my number one choice for Magnesium is Magnesium Breakthrough from BioOptimizers.

Magnesium Breakthrough

Magnesium Breakthrough is the most advanced, comprehensive Magnesium formula on the market.

It contains SEVEN forms of magnesium, including:

  • Magnesium Threonate
  • Magnesium Glycinate
  • Magnesium Taurate
  • Magnesium Citrate

These magnesium forms’ synergistic effect offers more support to the over 300 magnesium-dependent, metabolic processes in your body and brain.

This is essential for optimizing the mind-body connection.

Most importantly, Magnesium Breakthrough is created from high-quality ingredients and contains no added fillers and toxic ingredients found in most commercially available magnesium supplements.

Learn more about Magnesium Breakthrough and get a discount HERE.


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Stay ahead with our newsletter: cutting-edge biohacking tips and the latest in nootropics, all in one place.
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Erik Abramowitz is a certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP), Naturopathic Doctoral student, health coach, and father. He is the primary content creator for and the host of the Holistic Nootropics Podcast.

1 thought on “The Ultimate Guide To Magnesium For Anxiety and Depression”

  1. It does not include Magnesium Threonate because that patented form cannot combined with other forms of Magnesium per the patent.


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