Around the world, 350 million people report suffering from depression. And by the year 2020, depression?may be?the second leading cause of healthy years of life lost (behind only to heart disease). But a new study gives hope to sufferers of this devastating condition.
The mainstream medical approach is to treat depression with antidepressant drugs. But this option is expensive, can take weeks to have an effect, and all-too-often fails to provide any net benefit to patient quality of life. Many medications also bring with them a range of undesirable side effects, such as weight gain, insomnia, and reductions in positive feelings.
Non-medical approaches to treatment, including cognitive behavioral therapy and somatic therapy, can also be effective ? but these treatments require motivated participants and skilled professionals, and results can be unpredictable.
So with the need for better treatment options, the interest in the role of nutrition in treating depression has grown. Now, new clinical?research?published in?PLoS One?offers a surprising and remarkable finding:
Magnesium supplementation was found to be a safe, fast, inexpensive, and effective treatment for mild-to-moderate depression in adults, with positive effects observed within 2 weeks and less risk for side effects than drug treatment options.
Magnesium has been?found?to have an association with lower inflammation, and many researchers have theorized that it might have a role in treating depression. But few clinical trials have studied the effects of magnesium supplementation on depression? until now.
The purpose of the randomized controlled trial published in?PLoS One?in June 2017 was to test the association between magnesium intake and depression in the adult U.S. population.
The study involved 126 participants ? with a mean age of 52 ??in outpatient primary care clinics, who consumed 258 mg of magnesium chloride per day for six weeks. The result? Eighty-nine percent of those taking the magnesium supplement showed clinically significant improvement in measures of depression and anxiety symptoms.
This isn?t the only study to find benefits from magnesium supplementation for depression and anxiety.?Case?studies?of oral magnesium supplementation have reported improvements in anxiety and sleep within 1 week.