Did you know that depression, anxiety, forgetfulness, and fatigue are all symptoms of a magnesium deficiency? Magnesium is one of the four major ions in the human body. Magnesium along with sodium, potassium and calcium work to regulate hundreds of bodily functions. Magnesium alone is a key element in more than 300 biochemical reactions that take place in our body. Magnesium is extremely important. Lack of the mineral is believed to be a contributing factor in neurotransmitter malfunction that leads to depression and bipolar disorder.
As far back as the 1920s magnesium has been used to successfully (a 90% success rate) treat depression. As an added bonus for us women, a double blind study in 1991 suggest that magnesium may be one of the major factors associated with PMS symptoms. 95% of women taking a magnesium supplement reported less breast pain and less weight gain. Not to mention magnesium is proven to fight cramps. While it is extremely argumentative, less PMS may mean fewer feelings of depression…right?
How Does Magnesium Treat Depression?
One of the many chemical reactions in your body is the release of serotonin. Serotonin acts as a neurotransmitter by relaying messages from one area of the brain to another. Of the approximately 40 million brain cells, most are influenced by serotonin either directly or indirectly. This includes brain cells related to mood, depression, sexual desire and function, sleep, memory, appetite and some social behavior.
Serotonin is dependent on magnesium. The biochemical reactions necessary for serotonin, which is the brains natural feel good drug, cannot function properly if you are suffering from low magnesium. To control depression, you must regulate magnesium.
Mood is extremely objective. On day X we may be influenced by a certain set of circumstances and feel a very specific way about the outcome. The outcome, if negative, may influence feelings of depression. A week later we may be influenced by identical circumstances, experience a nearly identical outcome yet be burdened by zero feelings of depression. Our view on how things should develop is skewed by our perception of the situation. Our perception of the situation is influenced by how, by when, and at what levels serotonin is released.
Serotonin and Your Sex Drive
Sexual desire makes life worth living in my opinion. It has been documented that many anti-depressants on the market actually lower your sex drive. Many prescription anti-depressants focus on increasing the levels of serotonin released by the brain. Increased levels of serotonin in the brain will decrease your pleasure seeking instincts thus lowering your sex drive. To the contrary, extremely low levels of serotonin in the brain will increase your pleasure seeking instincts as you chase “the high.” Nobody want’s to be the sexual gratification seeking whore right? Carrying that label will definitely lead to depression. The key is not to increase the levels of serotonin but to regulate the levels of serotonin.
How Can I Increase My Magnesium Levels?
There are two ways you can increase your daily magnesium intake. The first is by changing what you eat. You must structure your diet to include as many magnesium rich foods as possible.
The second is by taking a daily magnesium supplement. Doctors often recommend a daily supplement because most patients are not successful in obtaining the 400 mg of magnesium needed every day through diet alone.
As always you should consult your doctor before beginning any vitamin supplement program. Once cleared, I encourage you to research the pros and cons of various magnesium supplements on the market before moving forward. There are hundreds of magnesium supplements available and the key to successfully controlling depression is choosing the supplement that is right for you.