With an estimated 16.1 million American adults affected by depression each and every year, it is no wonder that researchers and healthcare professionals have dedicated their time and energy in the search for a cure. One has to wonder, however, is modern medicine truly the answer?
Antidepressant use has been on the rise throughout the United States. In fact, experts estimate that the number of people aged 12 and older taking an antidepressant has increased nearly 65% since 1999-2002. While these medications have proven incredibly helpful for many who are living with the disease, they are still a chemical solution, introducing toxins into our body.
Anytime that we introduce foreign chemicals into the body, we find ourselves facing possible side effects. As such, we must weight the pros and cons, deciding whether the side effects we may face are easier to live with than the condition itself. Antidepressants have been associated with dry mouth, weird dreams, jitteriness, diarrhea, weight gain, decreased sexual desire, and increased anxiety.
There are a number of options available to help you manage your depression symptoms, they are merely Band-Aid solutions, providing a short-term fix to a long-term problem. This includes changes in your diet, introducing exercise into your daily routine, and getting more sunlight.
A new option has recently caught the attention of natural health professionals, offering hope to those that are seeking an alternative treatment option – Magnesium. The human body contains on average 25 grams of magnesium, 50-60% of which is stored within our bones. Necessary in order for hundreds of enzymes to function adequately within the body, it is a vital part of any healthy diet. It works to improve our bone health, maintain heart health, reduce the risk of diabetes, and relieve headaches. For this reason, the average recommended daily requirement for men aged 19 and older is 400 to 420 mg, while it is slightly lower at 310 to 320 mg for women of the same age.
New research shows, however, that magnesium is also an effective treatment for depression. In fact, some experts even believe that one possible cause of depression is a magnesium deficiency.
In a 2006 report published in ‘Medical Hypotheses’, Karen and Georgy Eby outlined the connection between magnesium and depression, and the way in which it can be used to bring relief to those that have been battling this dark cloud. They wrote: “In magnesium deficiency, neuronal requirements for magnesium may not be met, causing neuronal damage which could manifest as depression. Magnesium treatment is hypothesized to be effective in treating major depression resulting from intraneuronal magnesium deficits.”
While there are magnesium supplements available, we can also increase our magnesium intake through dietary sources. Foods known for being high in magnesium include dark chocolate, avocados, nuts (like almonds, cashews and brazil nuts), legumes, whole grains (like buckwheat and quinoa), bananas, fatty fish, and leafy greens.