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One of the most abundant minerals in the body, magnesium plays an important role in a number of bodily functions and has a number of health benefits. In addition to these benefits, magnesium may be helpful as a natural treatment for anxiety. While further studies are needed, there is research to suggest magnesium may help fight anxiety.

A 2010 review of natural treatments for anxiety found that magnesium could be a treatment for anxiety.

More recently, a 2017 review that looked at 18 different studies found that magnesium did reduce anxiety. These studies looked at mild anxiety, anxiety during premenstrual syndrome, postpartum anxiety, and generalized anxiety. The studies were based on self-reports, so the results are subjective. The review stated that that further, controlled trials are needed to confirm this finding.

According to this review, one of the reasons why magnesium might help reduce anxiety is that it may improve brain function. Research shows that magnesium plays an important role in regulating neurotransmitters, which send messages throughout the brain and body. This is how magnesium plays a role in neurological health.

Research has found that magnesium may help with brain functions that reduce stress and anxiety. It is believed to affect a part of the brain called the hypothalamus, which helps regulate the pituitary and adrenal glands. These glands are responsible for your response to stress.

If you have an anxiety disorder, you might want to consider using magnesium to help reduce your symptoms.

Magnesium is often bound to other substances in order to make it easier for the body to absorb it. The different types of magnesium are categorized according to these bonding substances. The different kinds of magnesium include:

  • Magnesium glycinate. Often used to reduce muscle pain. Shop for magnesium glycinate.
  • Magnesium oxide. Commonly used to treat migraines and constipation. Shop for magnesium oxide.
  • Magnesium citrate. Easily absorbed by the body and also used to treat constipation. Shop for magnesium citrate.
  • Magnesium chloride. Easily absorbed by the body. Shop for magnesium chloride.
  • Magnesium sulfate (Epsom salt). Generally, less easily absorbed by the body but may be absorbed through the skin. Shop for magnesium sulfate.
  • Magnesium lactate. Often used as a food additive. Shop for magnesium lactate.

According to the 2017 review of studies, most of the relevant studies on magnesium and anxiety use magnesium lactate or magnesium oxide. However, more studies are needed that compare the anti-anxiety effects of different types of magnesium since it’s not clear which type of magnesium is best for anxiety.

According to the Office of Dietary Supplements, studies consistently show that many people aren’t getting enough magnesium from their diets. Many people have low magnesium levels.

The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for adults is between 310 and 420 mg. The exact RDA will differ depending on your age and gender. More magnesium is also needed during pregnancy, as pregnancy can affect how your body absorbs certain vitamins and minerals.

To ensure you have enough magnesium in your diet, eat foods high in magnesium.

Foods high in magnesium

  • leafy greens
  • avocado
  • dark chocolate
  • legumes
  • whole grains
  • nuts
  • seeds

If you take magnesium as a supplement, studies that showed that magnesium can have anti-anxiety effects generally used dosages of between 75 and 360 mg a day, according to the 2017 review.

It’s best to consult a healthcare practitioner before taking any supplement so you know the correct dose for you.

While there are few side effects from taking magnesium supplements, it’s always important not to take more of any supplement than you actually need.

According to the Office of Dietary Supplements, high amounts of magnesium in food sources don’t pose a risk as the kidneys usually flush extra magnesium out of the system. However, it is possible to overdose on magnesium supplements.

The National Academy of Medicine advises adults not to exceed 350 mg of supplemental magnesium per day. While more magnesium can be eaten in the form of food, a higher dosage of supplements can cause side effects.

In some trials, test subjects are given a higher dosage. You should only take more than 350 mg per day if your doctor has recommended that dosage. Otherwise you may have magnesium overdose.

Magnesium overdose symptoms

  • diarrhea
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • cardiac arrest
  • low blood pressure
  • lethargy
  • muscle weakness

If you believe you’ve overdosed on magnesium, contact a healthcare professional right away.

There are many different benefits of magnesium. From improved mood to bowel health, magnesium works throughout the body. Studies have found many other ways magnesium may help your health.

Other benefits

Magnesium is an important mineral with many benefits. While more evidence is needed to fully understand and explain how it works, magnesium seems to be an effective treatment for anxiety. Speak to a healthcare professional before taking any supplements.