Calming the Mind: What Does Magnesium Do for Anxiety Relief?

By Jonathan Hunsaker

Reading Time: 7 minutes

This article discusses emerging/ongoing science and research. It is intended for general informational purposes only. This content is unrelated to products offered by Organixx and does not contain any representations about the performance of such products.

Struggling with anxiety? The role of magnesium might be more crucial than you think.

It modulates stress-regulating neurotransmitters and maintains a healthy brain chemistry, potentially easing anxiety symptoms.

This article breaks down “what does magnesium do for anxiety,” how magnesium supports your nervous system, and what this means for your mental health.

Let’s get started.

Key Takeaways

  • Magnesium contributes to anxiety relief by balancing neurotransmitters and regulating the stress response, as deficiency can disturb mood stabilization and increase vulnerability to stress.
  • Adequate intake of magnesium, through diet or supplementation, is crucial for maintaining mental health.
  • Foods like pumpkin seeds, spinach, and almonds are rich in magnesium, and supplements like magnesium taurate and glycinate show promise for anxiety relief.
  • It’s essential to be mindful of the appropriate dosage and potential side effects when considering magnesium supplementation for anxiety and to be aware of interactions with prescription medications.
  • Professional help should be sought if anxiety symptoms persistently disrupt daily life.

The Role of Magnesium in Managing Anxiety

Magnesium is an essential mineral, especially for bone health and energy production.

It occupies a crucial position in the regulation of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, and GABA within the central nervous system.

These are the neurotransmitters that are critical to stabilizing mood, promoting relaxation, and regulating a healthy sleep-wake cycle.

Should this intricate equilibrium be disturbed by magnesium deficiency, it can lead to symptoms associated with anxiety.

Magnesium’s Impact on GABA Levels

Utilizing magnesium for sleep, often referred to as sleep magnesium, can help diminish anxiety through:

  • Increasing levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain.
  • Since GABA acts as a neurotransmitter that fosters relaxation and minimizes nervous activity, enhancing its levels with magnesium can potentially reduce anxious feelings.

To this, by blocking NMDA receptors—which are specific kinds of glutamate receptors—magnesium helps avoid overexcitation and stimulatory reactions that might otherwise contribute to anxiety.

How Magnesium Regulates the Stress Response

Magnesium plays a crucial role in managing the body’s stress response and maintaining blood sugar control.

It affects the limbic-hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical axis, which allows it to regulate cortisol levels and thus may assist in controlling stress and possibly alleviating symptoms of anxiety.

Nevertheless, there exists a harmful cycle where stress can provoke the depletion of magnesium.

This shortfall then worsens the body’s sensitivity to stress, amplifying symptoms associated with anxiety.

Thus, sustaining balanced levels of magnesium is essential for effective anxiety management.

Combatting Anxiety with Essential Minerals

Magnesium plays a crucial role in supporting nerve and muscle function, as well as being essential for more than 300 different bodily processes.

Insufficient magnesium levels can disrupt the balance of neurotransmitters, which may elevate symptoms associated with anxiety and depression.

While healthy people infrequently experience magnesium deficiency, specific groups like individuals suffering from type 2 diabetes or gastrointestinal issues are at a heightened risk.

It is imperative to ensure sufficient intake of magnesium through dietary sources or supplements to help regulate anxiety effectively.

Magnesium Supplementation: A Natural Approach to Anxiety Relief

Dietary supplements containing magnesium, such as magnesium taurate and magnesium glycinate, might offer a natural alternative to medications for individuals dealing with anxiety.

These forms of magnesium supplements have demonstrated potential benefits in the management of mental health conditions.

Choosing the Right Magnesium Supplement

When selecting a magnesium supplement to alleviate anxiety, it’s important to consider the bioavailability of the supplement and its ability to penetrate the blood-brain barrier.

Magnesium taurate is an option that merges magnesium with taurine, which may enhance the delivery of magnesium into the brain while also being easy on your digestive system.

Alternatively, one could choose magnesium threonate.

There is evidence indicating that magnesium threonate has potential in traversing the blood-brain barrier. Using this type might require higher dosages compared to when using magnesium oxide.

Better yet, choose a full-spectrum magnesium supplement, which has all the most beneficial types of magnesium for overall health.

Dietary Routes to Enhance Magnesium Intake

While taking magnesium supplements is an effective way to alleviate anxiety, they are not the only strategy for boosting your magnesium levels.

Enhancing your diet with foods that are abundant in magnesium can also improve your overall magnesium intake.

Notable sources of dietary magnesium include:

  • Pumpkin seeds,
  • Almonds,
  • Spinach,
  • Cashews,
  • Black beans,
  • Dark chocolate,
  • Avocados.

Consuming whole grains, various seeds, dry beans, and wheat germ can also play a significant role in fulfilling the body’s daily requirements for magnesium.

Fortunately, there’s no need to worry about overconsumption when it comes to food-based sources of this nutrient – unlike supplements.

Dietary forms of magnesium present in foods do not require consumption limits and can be added freely into everyday meals without concern.

Understanding Magnesium Dosage for Anxiety

It is essential to acknowledge the correct dosage of magnesium supplements for alleviating anxiety.

The Recommended Dietary Allowance suggests that adult men should consume between 400 and 420 milligrams, while adult women need about 310 to 320 milligrams of magnesium daily.

When it comes to mitigating anxiety, research indicates a dosage range from as little as 75 mg up to 360 mg each day can be used.

Professionals often recommend beginning with doses ranging from approximately 100 mg up to an upper limit of around 350 milligrams.

Caution must be taken not to exceed the maximum limit set by the National Academy of Medicine at 350 mg per day through supplemental sources alone to avoid excessive intake risks associated with too much magnesium.

Potential Side Effects of Magnesium Supplementation

Magnesium supplementation, while beneficial in many respects, also comes with its share of potential adverse effects.

Mild side effects from magnesium supplements are not uncommon and can entail digestive issues like upset stomachs, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.

In extreme cases where magnesium is taken in large quantities beyond the recommended dosage, one might experience severe complications that include:

  • an irregular heartbeat,
  • lowered blood pressure,
  • dizziness or lightheadedness,
  • hypoventilation,
  • comatose.

Taking without proper guidance may inadvertently result in excessive weight, so seeking advice from medical experts before starting any regimen involving this mineral is crucial in ensuring safety against unwarranted health risks.

Interactions Between Magnesium and Prescription Medications

Supplementing with magnesium could be an effective way to alleviate anxiety.

As always, caution is necessary due to its possible interference with the absorption of certain prescription drugs.

Magnesium can disrupt medications, such as:

  • antibiotics in the tetracycline category,
  • bisphosphonates,
  • thyroid medication,
  • quinolone-type antibiotics.

To reduce these effects and maintain drug effectiveness, it’s recommended that those taking other medicines consult their healthcare providers to determine a supplementation schedule for magnesium that doesn’t interact with their other treatments.

Individuals who have compromised kidney function must exercise particular caution when considering magnesium supplements because there’s a risk that this mineral could build up in their bodies and reach toxic levels.

When to Seek Professional Help for Anxiety

Using magnesium supplementation and making dietary changes can help reduce symptoms of anxiety.

It’s important to acknowledge when professional intervention is necessary.

Professional therapy should be considered in situations where:

  • anxiety interferes with daily tasks or the capacity for enjoyment,
  • such disruptions persist over a prolonged duration,
  • attempts at self-help do not lead to an improvement in enduring and escalating anxiety symptoms.

These are definitive indicators that one might benefit from professional support.

Persistent feelings of sadness that span beyond two weeks and hinder everyday activities could point towards depression, warranting therapeutic intervention.

If there’s a retreat from pleasurable pursuits or social engagements stemming from either anxiety or depression, this too may signal the time has come for seeking expert assistance.

When physical manifestations of anxiety such as recurrent headaches, stomach pains, or rapid heartbeat occur consistently, they underscore the possible necessity for specialized treatment to tackle root causes.

Struggling to cope with life transitions or challenges along with unyielding negative emotions often serve as markers pointing towards the need for expert advice and guidance in managing these issues.


Magnesium deficiency can worsen symptoms of anxiety, making its role in nerve and muscle function essential for regulating anxiety.

By aiding neurotransmitter regulation and the body’s stress response mechanisms, magnesium contributes to managing anxiety symptoms.

Ensuring sufficient magnesium intake—whether through diet or taking a bioavailable magnesium supplement that penetrates the blood-brain barrier—is vital for symptom management.

It is crucial to determine the correct dosage while being wary of side effects and interactions with any prescription medications one may be using.

While magnesium has valuable benefits for those suffering from anxiety, persistent or worsening symptoms necessitate seeking professional medical assistance.

Learn more about magnesium nutrition here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which type of magnesium is best for anxiety?

Magnesium taurate and glycinate have the most research supporting their effects on anxiety and other mental health disorders, making them the best types of magnesium for anxiety relief.

Magnesium malate and threonine have also demonstrated therapeutic effects and may be useful in many psychiatric cases.

What is the 3 3 3 rule for anxiety?

The 3-3-3 rule serves as an effective method to anchor and concentrate when anxiety strikes, compelling you to:

  • identify three items in your sight,
  • acknowledge three sounds within earshot,
  • and actively engage three distinct parts of the body.

How does magnesium help manage anxiety?

Magnesium assists in controlling anxiety by adjusting neurotransmitters, managing the body’s reaction to stress, and sustaining nerve as well as muscle function.

This contributes to alleviating symptoms of anxiety and fostering relaxation.

How can I increase my magnesium intake?

Boost your magnesium intake by adding foods high in magnesium to your diet or consider taking magnesium supplements.

What are the potential side effects of magnesium supplementation?

Taking magnesium supplements may lead to certain adverse reactions, such as stomach discomfort, vomiting, and light-headedness.

There can also be graver consequences like an irregular heartbeat, decreased blood pressure, disorientation, and reduced respiratory rate.

It is important to ensure that you follow the recommended intake of magnesium supplements in order to prevent these potential side effects.


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