Examining the Effects of Supplemental Magnesium on Self-Reported Anxiety and Sleep Quality: A Systematic Review.

Supplemental Magnesium 

With social media being an ever-expanding source of information, there is always new advice about supplements and medicines. One new, viral trend has been taking magnesium supplements to improve sleep and reduce anxiety. There is always research to be done, but current work has shown that magnesium can help combat anxiety and sleep disturbances.

Magnesium is an essential mineral in the human body, and much of the United States population does not meet the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for magnesium and is at risk for possible insufficiency. Magnesium has been used to treat migraines, arrhythmias, and acute asthma exacerbations, and as a laxative. It is also used in obstetrics for the treatment of eclampsia and pre-eclampsia and in neuroprotection for premature infants.

Neurobiologically, magnesium ions function as NMDA receptor antagonists, meaning they stop the NMDA receptor from producing a response by binding to the receptor in place of calcium. The NMDA receptor is the primary excitatory neurotransmitter in the human brain, so magnesium prevents the excessive activation of the receptor. Magnesium also binds to and stimulates GABA receptors in the brain, which also relaxes the brain.

One review of many articles looking at the relationship between magnesium, sleep, and anxiety has shown that in higher doses it can help to improve sleep and reduce anxiety. Four out of the five studies using MgO reported positive results, and a study using magnesium L-aspartate also showed improvements in sleep quality. Further, five out of seven studies featuring anxiety-related outcomes reported positive results, with higher doses causing greater reductions in anxiety. Variations in the results are attributable to differences in the form of magnesium, dosage, and time period; however, overall, magnesium improved sleep quality and reduced anxiety.

Examining the Effects of Supplemental Magnesium on Self-Reported Anxiety and Sleep Quality: A Systematic Review.

Alexander Rawji, Morgan Peltier, Kelly Mourtzanakis, Samreen Awan, Junaid Rana, Nitin Pothen, & Saba Afzal (2024, Cureus).

The lead author, Dr. Alexander Rawji, is currently completing a neuropsychology rotation at NRS|LS. 

Disclaimer:  Always consult and obtain approval from your primary health care physician before taking an over-the-counter medication.