Magnesium is a mineral that the body needs for numerous biological functions. It’s found naturally in foods such as wholewheat (brown) bread and pasta, green leafy vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds, but it’s thought that many UK adults don’t consume enough magnesium on a daily basis.
A 2017 review of the available literature suggests that those with both anxiety and low intakes (and therefore blood levels) of magnesium can benefit from taking magnesium supplements to help ease their anxiety symptoms more than those who have an adequate intake. This study looked at 18 separate studies and concluded, “although the quality of existing studies on the subject is poor, magnesium supplements are likely to benefit people with anxiety”.
Therefore, if you’re struggling with anxiety and you think you may have a low intake of magnesium, it’s worth trying magnesium supplements. High doses of magnesium that exceed 350mg per day can cause an upset stomach so it’s not recommended that you take more than this.
Different types of magnesium also have different levels of bioavailability, that is, how well they can be absorbed and used by the body. Magnesium lactate tends to have the highest bioavailability and is gentle on the stomach. If you’re taking antibiotics or antidepressant or anti-psychotic medications, speak to your GP before taking magnesium supplements.