Magnesium Anxiety Treatment?

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I would like to discuss magnesium anxiety treatment but I will also need to mention another mineral that goes hand and hand with it: calcium.

There has been much discussion over magnesium in relation to panic attacks but is often difficult to separate fact from fiction.  Hopefully this posting will be of assistance to you but I think it’s important to begin with calcium.

Calcium for Panic Attacks

Before looking directly at calcium for anxiety, some basic information about calcium is required.

Calcium is required for muscle contraction, blood vessel expansion and contraction, secretion of hormones and enzymes, and transmitting impulses throughout the nervous system.  The remaining 99% of the body’s calcium supply is stored in the bones and teeth where it supports their structure.  Many Americans do not ingest recommended amounts of calcium from food. 1

Now with respect to calcium for anxiety, the important thing is that calcium is required for transmitting impulses throughout the nervous system.  Obviously it’s important for one to ensure that he/she ingests the recommended amounts of calcium.

This means that we should first look at the standard recommended amounts and then look at what amount of calcium is recommended for anxiety.

In the below table I am showing the Adequate Intakes for calcium according to the website of the National Institutes of Health (retrieved April 20, 2010), in milligrams per day:

Age Male Female Pregnant Lactating
Birth to 6 months 210 mg 210 mg
7-12 months 270 mg 270 mg
1-3 years 500 mg 500 mg
4-8 years 800 mg 800 mg
9-13 years 1,300 mg 1,300 mg
14-18 years 1,300 mg 1,300 mg
1,300 mg 1,000 mg 1,000 mg 1,300 mg 1,300 mg
19-50 years 1,000 mg 1,000 mg 1,000 mg 1,000 mg
50+ years 1,200 mg 1,200 mg

For anxiety, the Prescription for Nutritional Healing suggests that 2000 mg daily of Calcium can act as a natural tranquilizer.

It is suggested that 600-1200 mg daily can be effective to helps relieve anxiety, tension, nervousness. 2

However, you should definitely speak to a healthcare provider about the above dosage amounts.

Now let’s look at Magnesium for Panic Attacks

Again, before directly looking at magnesium for anxiety, some basic information about magnesium is required.

Magnesium is needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body. It helps maintain normal muscle and nerve function, keeps heart rhythm steady, supports a healthy immune system, and keeps bones strong. Magnesium also helps regulate blood sugar levels, promotes normal blood pressure, and is known to be involved in energy metabolism and protein synthesis. According to the National Institutes of Health many Americans might not be meeting the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for magnesium, including children. 3

Additionally, a deficiency of magnesium can present common psychiatric symptoms including depression, anxiety, restlessness, and irritability. 4

As you can see magnesium is required for many things but with respect to anxiety, magnesium helps maintain normal nerve function.

Obviously it’s important for one to ensure that he/she ingests enough magnesium.  So it’s important to look at the recommended daily amounts of magnesium and then look at what amount of magnesium is recommended for anxiety.

Here are the Recommended Dietary Allowances for magnesium according to the website of the National Institutes of Health (retrieved April 20, 2010), in milligrams per day:

Age Male Female Pregnant Lactating
1-3 years 80 mg 80 mg N/A N/A
4-8 years 130 mg 130 mg N/A N/A
9-13 years 240 mg 240 mg N/A N/A
14-18 years 410 mg 360 mg 400 mg  360 mg
19-30 years 400 mg 310 mg 350 mg  310 mg
31+ years 420 mg 320 mg 360 mg  320 mg

The Prescription for Nutritional Healing dosage amount of Magnesium is 350 mg per day for anxiety.  But like with anything, it is best to speak with your health care provider about your specific situation.2

Calcium and magnesium have been shown to be helpful in helping to relieve anxiety, tension, nervousness and even things like twitches.  Magnesium supplementation has also been reported to reduce the occurrence of irregular heart beat, heart pain, nervousness, sleep disorders and irritability. 2

How to take

For calcium and magnesium to be useful you need to take them together and should use a form of magnesium and calcium that come in powder form (as opposed to pill form).

It’s best to dissolve the powder in warm water and then to drink the solution.  The best absorption comes from the powder form dissolve in warm water.

It should be noted that there seems to be evidence building that suggests a possible link between calcium (taken in the form of a supplement) and heart disease.

Don’t be fooled by outrageous claims

You may recall that some time ago that some folks presented coral calcium as a pancea for everything.  It was being marketed in this fashion.

There were fabulous infomercials indicating that it could do all these things – but that you needed to obtain, coral calcium not the other forms of calcium.

Supposedly a doctor had gone to an island and found people who were well past their 100th birthday and he was attributing it to coral calcium.

The marketing was quite effective because I remember talking to a friend who runs a health food store and he indicated that at the time of the hype, all kinds of people were coming in and demanding this form of calcium and that they would not listen to reasonable information about any other kinds of calcium.

I say all this because I don’t want anyone to be scammed into thinking that they can only take coral calcium. My opinion is that the powder form as recommended is best but coral calcium is not required.

While I certainly wouldn’t tout calcium and magnesium as a cure for panic attacks, I would certainly suggest that folks should ensure that they are getting adequate levels of calcium and magnesium, especially folks suffering from anxiety, panic attacks, and agoraphobia.

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Reference (Magnesium Anxiety Treatment)
1. Office of Dietary Supplements • National Institutes of Health. (2010, April 21). Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Calcium. Retrieved from http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/calcium.asp
2. Balch J. & Balch P. Prescription for Nutritional Healing. Avery. New York. 2000.
3. Office of Dietary Supplements • National Institutes of Health. (2010, April 21). Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Magnesium. Retrieved from http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/magnesium.asp
4. Annals Academy Medicine Stetin (Poland) 2002; 48:85–97
5. The Chart • CNN. (2015, May 16) http://thechart.blogs.cnn.com/2012/05/23/more-evidence-links-calcium-supplements-to-heart-attacks/

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