Depression may be improved by magnesium supplements


  • After 6 wk, magnesium supplementation was associated with reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety, but the study did not include a placebo control.

Why this matters

  • Magnesium supplementation is safe and inexpensive.

Study design

  • 108 adults with depression were randomly assigned to 6 wk of treatment (248 mg of elemental magnesium per day) or to delayed treatment.
  • Funding: University of Vermont.

Key results

  • After adjustment for confounders, there was a clinically significantly higher net improvement in Patient Health Questionnaire-9 score during treatment periods than during nontreatment periods (difference, −6.0 points; P<.001).
  • Similarly, magnesium supplementation was associated with greater improvement in anxiety symptoms (Generalized Anxiety Disorders-7 scale difference, −4.5 points; P<.001).
  • 61% of participants said they planned to take magnesium supplements in the future.


  • The study was not placebo controlled or blinded.

Tarleton EK, Littenberg B, MacLean CD, Kennedy AG, Daley C. Role of magnesium supplementation in the treatment of depression: A randomized clinical trial. PLoS One. 2017;12(6):e0180067. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0180067. PMID: 28654669

© 2016 Univadis International, Inc. All rights reserved.