Magnesium’s Role in the Brain
Magnesium is a crucial nutrient that is deficient in today’s diets. Before our ancestors had enough in their meats, seafood, water and even swimming in oceans. Now, modern soils are depleted of most minerals including magnesium, and mg is even removed from our water in routine water treatment.
Benefits of Magnesium
Yes, it does matter that we are deficient. Magnesium plays a highly invaluable role in many biochemical reactions throughout your body. It is used in cell transport activities, and in helping cells make energy anaerobically and aerobically. Also, your bones are a major reservoir for magnesium, and most importantly magnesium is the counter-ion for potassium and calcium in muscle cells, including your heart. If magnesium levels are low you will experience muscle cramps, arrhythmia's, and possibly (in very few cases) sudden death. Ion regulation has everything to do with how muscles contract and how nerves send signals. In the brain, sodium and potassium balance each other. In the heart and all muscles, magnesium pulls a majority of the weight.
Why Magnesium Treatment?
This however, doesn’t mean magnesium is useless in the brain. In fact, George and Karen Eby, who ran a nutrition research facility out of Austin, Texas have released information about the “Miracle Mineral” magnesium. Including an article titled “Rapid Recovery from Major Depression using Magnesium Treatment”
Magnesium has been used for generations as a remedy for all ailments, including but not limited to; anxiety, apathy, depression, insecurity, irritability, headaches, talkativeness, restlessness and even sulkiness, as reported in 1968 by Warren E. C. Wacker, M.D. and Alfred F. Parisi, M.D. who reported that being deficient in magnesium can cause behavioral disturbances such as; depression, muscle cramps, seizures, ataxia, irritability, headaches, and even psychosis. All of which can be relieved with magnesium implementation.
A few examples from Eby’s case studies are as follows:
A woman, 23, whom had traumatic brain injury became extremely depressed after stress with her job, constant noise, and a fast food diet, coupled with less than favorable academic performance. After seven days of magnesium treatment, her depression wavered, her short term memory returned, and her IQ returned to the level prior to her brain injury.
A 40-year-old male, “anxious, moderately depressed, irritable, and extremely talkative to a fault” as well as indulging in “cigarettes, alcohol-abuse, and cocaine” started taking 125mg of magnesium taurinate at every meal and before bed, found his symptoms were gone within the week. His craving for tobacco, cocaine, and alcohol, diminished as well as his mental symptoms.
And finally a 35-year-old female, with a major history of post-partum depression was pregnant with her fourth child. She took 200mg magnesium glycinate before each meal, and did not develop any pregnancy complications or depression.
Magnesium and Depression
Eby continues to ask the same question about depression and its history – why is depression exponentially increasing? His answer is magnesium deficiency. Before the development of grain refining capability, whole grains were a major source of magnesium. Average American intake in 1905 was over 400mg a day. And only 1% of Americans had depression prior to the age of 75. In 1955, white bread, which is completely devoid of magnesium was all the rage, and 6% of Americans had depression before the age of 24. In addition, the amount of calcium being in our modern food interferes with the absorption of magnesium, continuing the cycle of magnesium deficiency.
Even beyond Eby’s case studies there are a number of other studies linking magnesium’s effects to mental health and the body’s stress response system. Magnesium can be linking to every single biological reaction for depression. Magnesium is in-between the synapse between two neurons, along with glutamate and calcium. These two are excitatory and in excess, toxic. They activate the NMDA receptor, but magnesium can “stand” on the receptor without activating it, acting like a guard. Therefore, if we are deficient in magnesium, we have no guard. When the NMDA receptor is activated by calcium or glutamate due to stress, it damages neurons, eventually leading to cell death. In the brain, this is almost irreversible. And can cause synaptic response or major neurological reasoning to decrease.
Magnesium and Stress/Anxiety
Also there is the Stress-Diathesis Model of Depression, a widely accepted theory that states that chronic stress leads to excess cortisol, which eventually damages the hippocampus of the brain, leading to negative responses to outside irritators and continuing the stress, depression, and neurotoxicity cycle. Magnesium is accepted by many M.D.’s as a “hormonal axis” that regulates stress response. Magnesium can suppress your hippocampus from releasing stress hormones, as well as reduce production of ACTH (the hormone that signals the adrenal glands to release cortisol and adrenaline), and even cuts the responsiveness of adrenal glands to ACTH. On top of it all, magnesium can act as a “blood brain barrier” to prevent stress hormones from accessing the brain. This is why magnesium can have such major calming effects.
Finally, magnesium is wasted and sequestered via the urine in times of stress. This is most likely due to our hunter-gatherer ancestry. When we become stressed, due to immediate danger of being in a fight or flight situation magnesium is released, most likely to get the adrenal glands pumping and increase adrenaline and cortisol. This “over-charge” was most likely helpful in the jungle, but not necessarily now when we realize our brain is working 200% on stress hormones and causing permanent synaptic damage to itself in the process.
Quite Possibly the Relief We Seek
It’s without a doubt one of the best natural remedies for depression, anxiety, and stress. It might even work for you. Pharmaceutical drugs are often looked at as the “easy” way to “cure” mental illness. But if you’ve ever seen an antidepressant commercial you will soon realize that you are bargaining for more than just the riddance of your depression. The list of side effects can go on for days, and they might even worsen your current ailments. Magnesium supplement is an all-natural, cheap, and simple possibility to treat mental illness.
Oral magnesium supplements can be a shot in the dark way of absorbing magnesium due to Magnesium Chlorides in-susceptibility to be digested. Due to this most physicians and doctors recommend Magnesium Oils that are applied topically, or salt baths with Magnesium Chloride instead of Magnesium Sulfate. Sulfate is less preferred due to the fact its ions don’t adhere to the bloodstream as effectively as a Chloride. It is recommended to get 400-800 mg a day of magnesium, due to the fact that zinc and calcium use the same bodily transporters. But other than that, you should be clear to fight your anxiety, or depression naturally with Magnesium.