Natural remedies like magnesium are valuable resources to add to your game plan for improving your mood and calming your stress. Some foods that are good sources of magnesium are nuts and seeds, whole grains, dark leafy greens like spinach, beans and lentils.

A 2015 survey done in the U.S. found that half of the population was not getting enough magnesium in their diet. The percentage is even higher for teens and the elderly. Full-blown magnesium deficiency (the type that would lead to severe symptoms) is not very common but many of us are not getting an ideal amount of magnesium from our diets.

Scientists think a lot of us may be walking around with a “sub-clinical” magnesium deficiency. This means that if we were to test our magnesium levels in the blood, they would most likely be normal, but our bodies may still be begging us to get more magnesium into our systems.

This could be why having more magnesium is helpful for so many different conditions – especially mental health conditions. Here are 4 different ways you can use magnesium to help with your mental health:

1. Reduce Depression – Magnesium plays an important role in many chemical reactions in the brain. It’s involved in the activity of brain chemicals (called neurotransmitters) that are key for a happy mood. Numerous studies have found that magnesium is able to improve mood in depressed patients and can potentially help anti-depressant medications work better.

2. Reduce Stress and Anxiety – Magnesium has been found to reduce anxiety is several studies. Of course magnesium can’t change the situations in your life that are causing you stress but many of my patients say they feel a lot more “balanced” and more resilient to stress while taking magnesium.

3. Soothe PMS Anxiety – If you find that your anxiety and mood are worse during PMS, magnesium may be a good fit for you. Studies have shown that it can reduce premenstrual anxiety and I’ve found it to be effective both in practice and personally for premenstrual mood issues.

4. Improve Sleep – Magnesium is a gentle sleep aid. I like to use it to help some of my patients struggling with insomnia. Magnesium does not make you drowsy (hence why it’s fine to take during the day) but it helps you relax, which in turn helps with sleep. I especially like that it doesn’t make you feel groggy the next day like some other sleep remedies.

It’s important to note that the form and dose of magnesium I recommend is different for everyone based on their health history, medications and symptoms. Getting the dose or form wrong can lead to unwanted side effects or a lack of results. I know it can be overwhelming to go to the health food store and see all the options and hear all the opinions about which supplement is the “best”. If you’re confused, talk to a naturopathic doctor. We’re here to help you sort through all that confusion using science, individualized health assessments and our clinical experience.

Take control of your mental health as best as you can. I know this is sometimes easier said than done. Maybe asking a healthcare provider about magnesium will be your first step to reducing your depression, anxiety or stress. If you stay focused, that first step can turn into a revolutionary plan to get you feeling happier, more positive and at peace.

If you are interested in naturopathic services please contact Holland Landing Health Centre at 905-853-7900 or via e-mail at



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