Readers often write to us about the benefits they have found in taking magnesium for a range of neurological problems, from anxiety, to poor sleep, to tics.
There is considerable evidence the positive effect of optimal magnesium levels for a range of central nervous system ssues.
An overview of the need for magnesium
A naturopath or integrative physician should be able to help you determine your need for magnesium. See this article by Dr. Joseph Mercola for more on this topic including his recommendations near the end of the article.
Scientific review of research
The summary of a recent comprehensive scientific review is included below, as well as a link to the full journal article.
Introduction: Magnesium is a very important macromineral in the diet with a multitude of roles in the human body, including serving as a cofactor in more than 300 enzymatic reactions. Magnesium is essential for regulation of muscle contraction (including that of the heart), blood pressure, insulin metabolism, and is required for the synthesis of DNA, RNA, and proteins. In the nervous system, magnesium is important for optimal nerve transmission and neuromuscular coordination, as well as serving to protect against excitotoxicity (excessive excitation leading to cell death).
Conclusion: In conclusion, the amount of quality data on the association of magnesium with various neurological disorders differs greatly. There is strong data for the role of magnesium in migraine and depression.
There is also good potential for magnesium to be having an effect in chronic pain conditions, as well as commonly comorbid psychiatric disorders, such as anxiety and depression.
Much more research is needed in regards to magnesium’s effects on epilepsy, including clinical trials evaluating the use of magnesium as an adjunct treatment. Neurological disorders, like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, would benefit greatly from additional research that include measures of central nervous system magnesium levels. Finally, there is some research to suggest a positive effect of magnesium for improving post-stroke outcomes, and as an important dietary strategy for potentially preventing stroke, though more prospective studies are needed in this regard.