Does magnesium really relieve anxiety?

Research shows that magnesium may relieve anxiety by calming the nervous system, improving mood, and promoting relaxation. There are a variety of magnesium types and supplements available, and choosing the right one can be overwhelming.

This article discusses the potential of magnesium as an anxiety relief tool, the different types of magnesium, and how to choose the right magnesium supplement to support your mental health and well-being.

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Which type of magnesium is best for relieving anxiety?

Magnesium is an essential mineral that plays an important role in more than 300 body processes, including muscle and nerve function, blood sugar control, immune system function and mood regulation.

Magnesium occurs naturally in many foods (e.g., green leafy vegetables, nuts, whole grains), but nearly half of adults in the United States don’t get enough magnesium through their diet alone. There is a well-established link between magnesium deficiency and anxiety, suggesting that magnesium supplementation may benefit people with anxiety disorders.

Here’s information about the different types of magnesium that can relieve symptoms of anxiety.

Magnesium glycinate

Magnesium glycinate Is a highly bioavailable form of magnesium that is rapidly absorbed by the body. This magnesium supplement combines magnesium and glycineAn amino acid that acts as a neurotransmitter (chemical messenger) and is known for its calming effects on the nervous system.

Supplementing with magnesium glycinate can promote relaxation and improve sleep quality, two key factors in managing anxiety. It’s also gentler on the digestive system than other forms of magnesium, making it a good choice for people with sensitive stomachs.

Magnesium, Anxiety, and Sleep

Anxiety can make it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night, and getting too little sleep can worsen anxiety symptoms. This creates a vicious cycle that is difficult to break out of when living with anxiety. Magnesium promotes better sleep by calming the nervous system, relaxing tense muscles, and promoting the production of melatonin, a natural hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle.

magnesium taurate

Magnesium Taurate Combines magnesium with taurine, an amino acid with anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective properties. Taurine promotes the production of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter that has a calming effect on the brain and may help relieve anxiety and improve mood.

Studies exploring the effectiveness of magnesium taurine on anxiety using animal models have shown that magnesium taurine supplementation can calm the nervous system and significantly reduce fear and stress. This calming effect may benefit people with anxiety disorders. However, more research is needed to study this effect in humans.

Magnesium L-threonate

Magnesium L-threonate Crosses the blood-brain barrier, increases magnesium levels in the brain, and interacts with receptors that regulate mood, cognitive function, and stress responses. Preliminary research using animal models found that magnesium L-threonate supplementation resulted in significant reductions in anxiety and improvements in cognitive function and mood regulation.

A 2022 study examining the effects of magnesium L-threonate on older adults suffering from stress and anxiety found that study participants who took 1.52 grams of magnesium L-threonate daily reported that after 12 weeks of supplementation, Their anxiety symptoms were significantly reduced.

magnesium chloride

Easily absorbed by the body magnesium chloridesome studies show it can promote relaxation, improve sleep, and relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety. A 2017 study investigated the effects of magnesium supplementation in people with depression and found that 248 mg of magnesium chloride significantly improved symptoms of anxiety and depression.

In another study, fibromyalgia patients took 100 grams of magnesium chloride daily for a month. At the end of the month, study participants reported significant pain relief and reduced stress levels.

How much magnesium do you need for anxiety?

The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for magnesium from all sources (including food and supplements) is 400,420 mg per day for adult men and 310,320 mg per day for adult women. The RDA meets your body’s basic magnesium needs and is not specifically magnesium for anxiety control.

The amount of magnesium you need to take to treat anxiety will vary depending on your age, gender, overall health and the type of magnesium, since different magnesium types are absorbed into the body at different rates.

As with any dietary supplement, it’s important to consult your healthcare provider for guidance on the type and dosage of magnesium that suits your needs.

magnesium in food

Eating a balanced diet is the best way to ensure you get enough magnesium. There are many delicious and nutritious foods that are rich in magnesium, including:

  • green leafy vegetables: Spinach, kale, mustard greens and turnip greens
  • Nuts and seeds:Almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds and chia seeds
  • beans: Black beans, chickpeas, lima beans, pinto beans
  • whole wheat:Brown rice, quinoa and millet
  • fruit: Avocados, bananas, and dried fruits such as raisins and apricots
  • milk: Dairy products (milk) and milk alternatives, such as soy milk

How long does it take for magnesium to work?

The time it takes for magnesium to relieve anxiety depends on several factors, including:

  • Magnesium forms:Each form of magnesium has unique properties that affect how well it is absorbed by the body. Highly bioavailable forms include magnesium glycinate, magnesium chloride, and magnesium L-threonate.
  • Baseline magnesium level: If you are deficient in magnesium, supplementation may take longer to increase magnesium levels in your body and reduce anxiety.
  • diet:The food you eat affects how your body absorbs magnesium. There is evidence that protein and medium-chain triglycerides (fats) found in certain foods, such as coconut oil and whole milk, may aid in the absorption of magnesium in the body.
  • Dosage and time: Research shows that spreading doses of magnesium supplements throughout the day (three smaller doses instead of one larger dose) improves absorption and effectiveness.

How long it takes for magnesium to work on anxiety varies from person to person. Some people may notice improvements within a week of supplementing with magnesium, while others may not see any benefits for six weeks or more. If your condition doesn’t improve after a few weeks, talk to your healthcare provider about adjusting your dose or exploring other anxiety treatment options.

anxiety coping strategies

Magnesium can be an excellent tool for managing anxiety when used in conjunction with other coping strategies, such as:

  • exercise regularly: Physical activity releases endorphins, feel-good hormones that help relieve stress and anxiety.
  • breathing exercises: Focused breathing techniques can calm your mind and body.
  • good sleep hygiene: A regular sleep schedule and a relaxing bedtime can promote good sleep quality.
  • social support: When you feel anxious or stressed, connecting with family and friends can provide comfort, support, and understanding.
  • time in nature: Spending time outdoors each day can lower anxiety rates and improve mood.

Are there any side effects?

Although magnesium is generally considered safe, some people may experience mild side effects, especially if they take more than recommended. Possible side effects of magnesium supplementation include:

  • stomach cramps
  • diarrhea
  • nausea

If you experience side effects while taking magnesium, talk to your healthcare provider. They may recommend adjusting your dose or trying another form of magnesium.

Consuming more than 5,000 milligrams of magnesium per day can cause magnesium toxicity, which can cause more serious side effects and require immediate medical attention to prevent complications such as kidney failure or cardiac arrest. Symptoms of magnesium toxicity include:

  • hypotension
  • Vomit
  • Facial flushing (redness)
  • lethargy
  • muscle weakness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • arrhythmia

If you are considering taking magnesium to help manage anxiety, talk to your healthcare provider. They can guide you in choosing the most effective type and appropriate dosage to meet your needs.


Magnesium can reduce anxiety symptoms by improving sleep quality, calming the nervous system, improving mood, and reducing muscle tension. Research shows that magnesium L-threonate and magnesium glycinate may be particularly beneficial in improving anxiety. Although individual responses vary, noticeable improvements may occur within a few weeks of daily magnesium supplementation. Combining magnesium with other healthy coping strategies can enhance its effectiveness.

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