Magnesium and Mental Health. Everything You Need to Know

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My hands got sweaty, and I could feel the panic creeping up my neck.

It's silly to think about it now because I wasn't in any danger.
A friend of mine was telling me about how her husband was going on a business trip and would be gone for four days, and she was feeling a little stressed out, but it wasn't something a little magnesium couldn't fix.

What is magnesium?
Helps your stress??

We were at our five-year-old's mutual friend's birthday party so I couldn't grill her for an explanation then . . . but you can bet I went home and looked it up.

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I found thousands of articles, studies, and Pinterest pins about magnesium and it's benefits.

I bought some that day on Amazon, and I tried it that weekend. Thanks, two-day shipping!

It changed my life.
I always feel silly saying things like that, but really, it was incredible.

Then I thought about how YOU might not know about magnesium, just like I didn't.
Who am I to keep all of this to myself?

I decided it was time for another ultimate guide.

There isn't a big guide about the benefits for mental health which I found disappointing, so I put one together for us.

If you have a question answered here, please feel free to comment below, and I will add it on for the next reader.

Magnesium and Mental Health title, with a cup and a fizzing tablet inside

What is Magnesium?

Magnesium is an essential mineral for bone growth and health, which aids in creating blood cells, possibly the most important thing in your body. It's important for getting oxygen to your cells, protein creation, and the energy your body runs on.

It's also important for activating your B-vitamins, an important brain health supplement.
Lastly, magnesium is essential for insulin use in your body.

It's kind of a big deal, don't you think?

Sadly, with convenience foods being so prevalent, most diets don't have enough magnesium anymore. The processing of the majority of foods eliminates magnesium.

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What food is highest in magnesium?

You'll have to add more whole foods to your diet to get magnesium without supplements. The best way to remember where to get magnesium is to associate it with fiber.

Foods high in fiber tend to also be high in magnesium.

So, what food is best?

Organic Greens.

As raw as you can.

Any processing will reduce magnesium. What is processing? Heating, reheating, or milling.
This strips all the good vitamins and minerals present in the rawest forms.

Other great forms of magnesium are nuts, seeds, and beans.

Oftentimes, our diet isn't enough. Our body uses a LOT of magnesium every day, usually around 300mg a day in ideal conditions.

Stress, sweating, or exertion causes you to use it up quicker than normal.

How do you know if you're not getting enough?

What are the symptoms of a Magnesium Deficiency?

You know now that Magnesium is responsible for around 300 different processes in your body, and it's so necessary for everyday life, it's insane to think most people don't know about it.

How will you know if you don't have enough?

There are so many symptoms you probably already have, and can't explain. Forgetfulness, for example.

I can forget literally anything that's not written down. Sometimes I write things down and I forget that I wrote it down, and still end up forgetting it.

I was saying something here, what was it?

Ah yes, problems with cognition.

Problems with Cognition

A magnesium deficiency can result in cognitive difficulties, such as brain fog, memory problems and difficulty concentrating.

Also known as being a mom.

A lot of people call this “pregnancy brain”.

Magnesium plays a big role in your mitochondria function, which means it helps with producing energy for your body. Without proper magnesium, the mitochondria in your brain cells will have trouble producing the energy necessary for powering your thinking processes.

Headaches and Migraines

I come from a long line of chronic headache sufferers.

I remember my mother being unable to leave a dark room some days because the pain was so intense. My headaches are not as bad or life stopping, but still annoying. When I found out magnesium could reduce or eliminate them, I was so excited to add it into my diet.

Studies have shown that people who get migraines tend to have lower levels of magnesium.

If you find yourself suffering from chronic headaches, maybe low magnesium is the reason.


Low magnesium can often lead to stretches of constipation.

Magnesium works to keep you regular in a couple of ways.

The first is drawing water into the intestines, as magnesium is a salt. Magnesium keeps your stool soft for an easier time going to the bathroom.

The second way it helps digestions is it keeps the muscle contractions in your intestines regulated and working normally.

Muscle Cramps and Spasms

Magnesium is essential in supporting your muscles, so missing that key nutrient can lead to painful muscle cramps or spasms.

You know, those awful leg cramps in the middle of the night that feel so bad you want to cut your own leg off? That's from low magnesium.

Switching between contracting and relaxing is difficult without magnesium, so when you're low it becomes uncoordinated.

Muscle spasms are an early tell tale sign of a magnesium deficiency and are most often felt in the legs.

When you get those terrible cramps, it might be time for a supplement

What does a Magnesium Supplement Do?

Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in your body. 

It helps your body create new blood, keeps your bones healthy, and can even help with PMS and maintaining your mental health. 

That's all great, but if you google “magnesium supplement”, there are about 106,000,000 results. 

Oh my. 

So what do you need to get?

What is the best magnesium supplement?

Hello, loaded question. 

There are several different kinds, let's break them down. 

Some types are better for different usages.
They are classified by the way they are harvested and what they're mixed with. 

You want what is best for you.

There are several types of magnesium and out of those various types of magnesium, a few of the most popular are magnesium oxide, magnesium malate, magnesium threonate, and magnesium sulfate.

For best results, you should talk to your doctor.

Magnesium Oxide

Magnesium oxide is available over the counter and is effective for those with constipation, high blood pressure, menstrual cramps, and asthma.

It's a little more difficult for our bodies to digest, so it's not very recommended.

If you're looking for the best option of magnesium, I don't think this is it. 

If you're looking for the least expensive and most readily available, this is your jam.

It's best known for it's relaxing benefits as well as relieving constipation.

Magnesium oxide supplements can be found in most over the counter multivitamins and as a stand-alone supplement.

Here a few different options for magnesium oxide:

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Magnesium Threonate

Magnesium Threonate is useful for your brain health.

It's even sometimes called “brain magnesium”. It can cross your blood-brain barrier, so it can bring magnesium directly to your brain.

It helps with learning disabilities, as well as memory loss.

It also helps improve energy levels when awake and helps encourage comfortable and more restful sleep.

Here are a few options for buying magnesium threonate:

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Magnesium Malate

This type of magnesium is combined with malic acid, which is found in many fruits, like berries and oranges.

Magnesium Malate is used to improve energy levels and decrease muscle pain from nervous system diseases like multiple sclerosis or fibromyalgia.

Magnesium Malate is also over the counter, here are a few options.

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Magnesium Sulfate

This might just blow your mind. 


You can absorb magnesium through your skin in the bath. 

Do you know how?

Epsom salt. 


Oh yeah. Epsom salt is magnesium sulfate. 

You can dump it in your bath, you can put it in your homemade bath bombs. You can take a bath every day, and get your daily supplement of magnesium. 

Isn't that amazing?!

Here are a few of my favorite Epsom salts. I go through a lot:

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The benefit of magnesium sulfate is the absorption rate.

No other magnesium will absorb as quickly.

Another great reason to love magnesium sulfate is its versatility. You can mix epsom salt into endless DIY Bath Bomb Recipes (here is a great bath bomb recipe). There are so many different add-ins to make every bath a new experience.

Magnesium is so essential for everyday life functions.

Whatever symptoms you're feeling today, the most important thing is you are taking steps to feel better.

Any step you take now will be a step in the right direction.

What do I use?

I use a dead sea salt magnesium spray.

heart shaped pills overlaid with the words magnesium is the essential nutrient you didn't know you needed

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    1. As a supplement you get from the store, it’s just easier to absorb in the body, and will have the same general effects as other magnesium you take topically. It’s still better absorbed through the skin, but citrate is a good alternative if you can’t access a spray.

      As a powder . . . well that’s what doctors give you to drink before surgery. It will clean you right out within a day.

  1. My Dr. has me on 420 mg of Magnesium Glycinate. You don’t mention it. Also, for leg pain I have been using cell salts with great results.

    1. Hi, I was wondering why it wasn’t mentioned as well. Did she respond to you? I’m taking 500mg and so far it hasn’t helped with my sleep or leg cramps. It’s been a couple of months. Have you had results?

      Thanks, Janette

    2. I was wondering that also, because I was starting magnesium glycinate. And was wondering if it was a good one. I have to be careful because I don’t need magnesium that makes IBS worse. And the Glycinate was the best option

  2. Do you know about magnesium taurate for heart palpitations??
    I am curious for a safe amount of taurate to ease my heart a bit.

    1. I am not a doctor, nor am I YOUR doctor, so I don’t know the exact amount you can use for heart palpitations. But your doctor would! Ask them about it the next time you have a visit, or if your insurance allows for telehealth, that’s a great opportunity to find out as well. Good luck, I hope you find a great solution soon!

  3. That’s exactly where the problem lies. My doctor doesn’t take my health problems seriously. And since I only have 1 health and 1 life, I will have to solve it myself.

    1. Evelien,
      I have found that too, I ask my Doctor about things and I get, “who went to medical school???”

  4. Hi I have been taking “Calm” it is a magnesium citrate supplement. It is a powder that you mix with water and drink. Have you heard of it, and if so what are your thoughts. I didn’t realize there was so many different magesiums. Now I’m not sure which one to take. This product does wonders for my leg cramps.

    1. Generally speaking, magnesium is great for digestion. Magnesium lactate is one that’s especially good for clearing out your system. Any of these would do great, though. Magnesium is my favorite “superfood”!

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