An intriguing article published last month in PLOS One described results of a study on magnesium and depression.
This 12-week study of 126 adults found that magnesium supplementation relieved some symptoms of mild to moderate depression. This is an active research area considering magnesium’s role with brain biochemistry and the neuronal membrane. Two limitations of this study were no placebo control and no diet analysis.
If you are experiencing significant depression, talk to your doctor. If you want to improve mood and body function with magnesium-rich foods, read on.
Magnesium is abundant in the body. Adequate intakes are essential for blood pressure, heart rhythm, a strong immune system, energy production, bone structure and nerve and muscle contraction. Assessing magnesium levels is challenging since the majority is in bone and soft tissue and less than 1 percent is in blood. Large national diet surveys have consistently shown that magnesium intake is lower than recommended.
People with Type 2 diabetes, gastrointestinal diseases and alcohol abuse are at an increased risk for low magnesium levels. Older adults are also at greater risk with less magnesium absorption in the gut and greater excretion through the kidneys.
Recommended magnesium intake for an adult is 320-420 mg a day. Magnesium is most abundant in green leafy vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds and whole grains. Processed grains that remove the germ are lower in magnesium. The body absorbs approximately 30 to 40 percent of magnesium in food. For more magnesium information including a longer food list, go to https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/
Sheah Rarback is a registered dietitian on the faculty of the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine. Follow her on Twitter @sheahrarback.