Friday, October 1, 2010

Depression and Magnesium

Magnesium helps keep adrenal stress hormones under control and maintain normal brain function. In her book, The Miracle of Magnesium (Balantine Books 2003), Dr. Carolyn Dean points out that the rate of depression has gone up every decade since World War II. It's quite possible that this is related to magnesium depletion. Magnesium deficiency is one of the major nutritional reasons for depression.

CSF magnesium was found to be significantly lower in both depression and adjustment disorder patients.
Patients who had made suicide attempts had significantly lower mean CSF magnesium levels.
Stress intensifies release of "stress hormones", the catecholamines and corticosteroids. Magnesium is a required nutrient for people to handle stress in general and stress in neuropsychiatric disorders.

Not getting sufficient magnesium during treatment for stress related disorders such as anxiety and depression is bound to fail.

Mechanisms of Action on the Nervous System in Magnesium Deficiency and Dementia:
"A neurosis pattern due to magnesium deficiency is frequently observed” and “neuroses are important conditioning factors for stress (thus increasing demand for magnesium). Neuroses may therefore very frequently produce secondary magnesium depletion.”

Dr. Leo Galland points out that stress depletion of magnesium is often so intense that dietary sources are insufficient, and supplementation is required.

Leo Galland
Great Smokies Diagnostic Laboratory, Asheville, N.C., USA

Magnesium has a profound effect on neural excitability; the most characteristic signs of Mg deficiency are produced by neural and neuromuscular hyperexcitability.

These create clinical findings termed tetany syndrome (TS). TS symptoms include muscle spasms, cramps and hyperarousal, hyperventilation, asthenia, migraine attacks, transient ischemic attacks, sensorineural hearing loss and convulsions.

The role of Mg deficit in TS is suggested by relatively low levels Mg and by the clinical response to oral Mg salts, which has been demonstrated in controlled studies.

Mg deficiency may predispose to hyperventilation. Mg deficiency increases susceptibility to the physiologic damage produced by stress, and Mg administration has a protective effect; as shown in studies on noise stress and noise-induced hearing loss.

In addition, the effects of psychological stress increase urinary excretion and eventually deplete body stores.

Use of Mg can decrease neurologic deficit in experimental head trauma, possibly by blockade of N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors. Mg salts benefit 40% of patients with autism, possibly by an effect on doparnine metabolism.

Magnesium ions have a well-established depressant effect on the central nervous system [1] and on neuromuscular transmission [2].
(1)Peck CH, Meltzer SJ: Anesthesia in human beings 18 by intravenous injection of magnesium sulfate. JAMA 1916;67:1131-1133.
(2) Hoff HE,
Smith PK
, Winkler AW: Effects of magnesium on the nervous system in relation to its concentration in serum. Am J Physiol 1940; 130: 292-297.

The cardinal symptoms of severe Mg deficiency in humans are neuropsychiatric: asthenia, tremor, convulsions, irritability, tetanic spasms, muscle cramps and confusion [3-9].
3. Vallee BL, Wacker WEC, Ulmer DD: The magnesium deficiency tetany syndrome in man. N EngI J 20 Med 1960;262:155-161.
4. Greenwald JH, Dubin A, Cardon L: Hypomagnesemic tetany due to excessive lactation. Am J Med 1963;35:854-860.
5. Hanna S, Harrison M, MacIntyre 1, Fraser R: The syndrome of magnesium deficiency in man. Lancet 1960;ii:172-176.
6. Fourman P, Morgan DB: Chronic magnesium deficiency. Proc Nutr Soc 1962;21:34-41.
7. Fishman RA: Neurological aspects of magnesium metabolism. Arch Neurol 1965;12:562-569.
8. Cronin RE, Knochel JP: Magnesium deficiency. Adv Intem Med 1983;28:509-533.
9. Friedman M, Hatcher G, Watson L: Primary hypornagnesernia with secondary hypocalcernia in an infant. Lancet 1967;i:703-705.

These symptoms are largely produced by heightened neural and neuromuscular excitability [3, 7], a condition called tetany.

In experimental human Mg deficiency, asthenia and tetany are usually accompanied by hypocalcemia and hypokalemia [9]. In most clinical studies [3-7], asthenia and tetany occur when serum calcium and potassium are normal, suggesting that Mg deficit may produce neuromuscular symptoms without altering circulating levels of other ions.

Furthermore, when mild hypocalcemia occurs in Mg-deficient tetany, intravenous Mg improves clinical status and raises both Mg and Ca in blood, substantiating the ability of Mg deficiency alone to cause tetany [6, 7, 9].

Although mild hypomagnesemia is quite common in hospitalized patients [10, 11], the identification of tetany caused by mild Mg deficiency is so uncommon that individual case reports are published [12].
10 Ryzen E, Wagers PW, Singer FR, Rude RK: Magnesium deficiency in a medical ICU population. Crit Care Med 1985;13:19-21.
11 Whang R: Routine serum magnesium determination - A continuing unrecognized need. Magnesium 1987;6:1-4.

One explanation for this discrepancy is that hypomagnesemia can occur without alteration of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) Mg concentration.
Chutkow JG, Meyers S: Chemical changes in the cerebrospinal fluid and brain in magnesium deficiency. Neurology 1968;18:963-974.

Extracted from:

Magnesium for Depression: an Alternative Treatment for Depression

The symptoms of magnesium deficiency include anxiety, depression, restlessness, confusion, irritability, brain fog, fatigue and irregular heartbeat and tight, aching muscles.

Magnesium deficiency can cause numerous psychological changes, including depression.

Plasma magnesium levels have been found to be significantly lower in depressed patients than in controls. These levels increased significantly after recovery. So, as you can see, magnesium is one of the natural antidepressants.

Magnesium deficiency is well known to produce neuropathologies.

Magnesium ions regulate neuronal nitric oxide production. A magnesium deficiency, causes neuronal damage which could manifest as depression. Magnesium treatment is hypothesized to be effective in treating major depression resulting from magnesium deficits..

Case histories are presented showing rapid recovery (less than 7 days) from major depression. Magnesium was found usually effective for treatment of depression in general use.

Dietary deficiencies of magnesium, coupled with excess calcium and stress may cause many cases of other related symptoms including agitation, anxiety, irritability, confusion, asthenia, sleeplessness, headache, delirium, hallucinations and hyperexcitability, with each of these having been previously documented. The possibility that magnesium deficiency is the cause of most major depression and related mental health problems including IQ loss and addiction is enormously important to public health and is recommended for immediate further study
Eby GA, Eby KL. Med Hypotheses. 2006

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