Magnesium is an essential trace element found in many foods. Magnesium is used in many different processes in the body.
It is thought that magnesium deficiency may contribute to depression symptoms in some people. Treating this deficiency with magnesium supplements may lead to improvements in depression symptoms.
There have been several studies looking at the use of magnesium to improve mood, but the findings of these studies are mixed.
Some small studies have found that magnesium can be effective at reducing depression symptoms in people with both depression and magnesium deficiencies. However, larger studies have not been able to find a clear link between magnesium intake and depression symptoms.
More studies of better quality are needed to better understand the effects of magnesium on depression.
While magnesium is generally well tolerated there have been some reported side effects from magnesium, such as abdominal pain and diarrhea. Dietary supplements, including magnesium, may have negative interactions with prescribed medications or other supplements. They should always be taken under the supervision of a health care professional.
Magnesium supplements can be purchased from a chemist and some supermarkets. If you think you might have a magnesium deficiency, it is important to discuss this with your doctor and have a blood test to check.
Given the lack of evidence on magnesium it cannot be recommended as a treatment for depression.
Last reviewed and updated: 1 November 2019