“How does magnesium help with anxiety?” is by far one of the most popular questions I get asked whenever I mention magnesium on my Instagram page.
And if you’ve followed me on Instagram for any length of time, you’ll know how much I could go on and on about this stuff!
So, I decided to write this blog and answer every question I get about magnesium for anxiety.
But, before I continue, here is a table of contents you can use to skip to any section of this blog:
I’m the type of girl that will geek out at a natural health store when I find the magnesium section.
But it wasn’t always like that.
I always knew the very basics of magnesium…
I knew that it is a mineral (thanks gr 9 Science class).
I knew our bodies need it.
And, well… that’s about it.
It wasn’t until I was studying nutrition that I learned a whole lot more about this special mineral and how the majority of people are not getting their recommended intake.
Up to 75% of people, in fact!
And the most at-risk groups of being deficient in this mineral include:
- Those with alcohol dependencies
- Those with type 2 diabetes
- Those with gastrointestinal diseases (Crohn’s disease, gluten-sensitive)
- Older adults
Magnesium is excellent for heart health and can actually prevent heart attacks, but it’s the calming, and mood-boosting properties that really had me interested to learn more.
What are the symptoms of magnesium dificiency?
One of the biggest consequences of an even mild deficiency in magnesium is mental health disorders. This includes anxiety and depression which may manifest as any number of the following symptoms:
- Frequent anxiety or panic attacks
- Dizziness or brain fog
- Being easily startled
- A feeling of “tired but wired”
- Unable to handle stress
- Experiencing insomnia
- Unable to focus or concentrate
I took SSRIs for the better part of a year and while I wasn’t in a constant state of panic, I certainly wasn’t jumping for joy either.
In fact, my emotions were kinda just numb, dumbed down so I wasn’t the extremely emotional being I usually am, essentially I just wasn’t really myself anymore.
You can hear all about my experience during that time of my life here:
This is a tricky topic because I know that if you are seriously struggling and suffering from suicidal thoughts then prescription medications may be the best immediate option for you.
Trust me when I say, in no way am I judging anyone for this decision.
I also don’t believe you need to be on them forever.
Now you’re probably wondering how a mineral can be compared to prescription medication, so let’s talk a little more about my superstar supplement.
What are the benefits of magnesium for anxiety?
1. You’ll feel happier
GABA is a neurotransmitter in the brain, necessary for calming the mind and balancing your mood.
When GABA levels get too low, for whatever reason, you may start to experience anxiety symptoms and depression.
Magnesium helps to increase the levels of GABA in your brain so not only will your anxiety start to get better, you’ll feel a whole lot happier too.
2. Reduces internal inflammation
High levels of inflammation can cause anxiety and depression and this inflammation may be due to a variety of different factors, from chronic stress to poor eating habits.
Magnesium helps to reduce internal inflammation and man, what a difference that makes!
3. Magnesium decreases cortisol levels
What the heck is cortisol, you ask?
It’s your body’s stress hormone.
In small amounts it makes sense and is the body’s defense mechanism, but when it gets out of control, why not calm it down with some magnesium?
Not only does magnesium lower cortisol in the body, but it can also actually prevent it from entering the brain and contributing to anxiety! That’s badass.
4. Helps with sleep-related symptoms
Another thing people struggle with when dealing with an anxiety disorder is sleep or fatigue issues which often stem from muscle weakness (due to magnesium deficiency).
You may find it hard to fall asleep, wake up with twitching or tightness in your calves, or even break out in a panic attack upon waking suddenly.
Magnesium helps to strengthen the muscles, which could reduce sleep-related symptoms.
To put it simply, present me with a problem and I am probably going to tell you to take magnesium right away!
I wouldn’t go so far as to say magnesium cured my anxiety, but it definitely plays a major role in keeping my body nutritionally balanced; which in turn curbs anxiety.
5. Reduces tension caused by anxiety and depression
As I briefly touched on above, lack of magnesium may lead to tense muscles.
Magnesium helps to relax these tight muscles, which is something most anxiety sufferers are familiar with.
In fact, it helps to relax them without you needing to do a damn thing!
When your muscles start to relax, you naturally start to feel a lot more chilled out.
For example, you may be reading this and holding tension in your body right now.
Go ahead, pay attention.
Are you holding tension in your jaw?
Go ahead and release it.
Feel that instant relief?
Now pay attention to any other areas of your body you’re holding onto tension and let that shit go.
As I am writing this, I realized my shoulders are hunched up around my ears.
I couldn’t tell you, but I am now aware of it and feeling better already with them lower and in their rightful place.
A few years ago when I began experiencing tension and tightness associated with anxiety, the first thing I did was rush off to the doctor to immediately get a prescription because I refused to feel that way!
Little did I know that “Nature’s Valium” was just waiting for me to discover it and when I did, what a difference it made…
Magnesium doesn’t just help to relax stubborn, unhappy muscles.
It helps to stop those twitches that may have had you booking in with a neurosurgeon in the past.
Once your muscles are no longer so tight, twitches gradually fade away so you don’t have to worry about them so much anymore.
What is the best magnesium for anxiety?
Before you run off to your local drugstore to stock up on magnesium, listen closely…
Not all magnesium variations are made the same, and it matters a lot which one you choose for anxiety.
The worst forms of magnesium you can purchase for anxiety are:
- Magnesium oxide of which only 4% is absorbed by your body, so you’re going to be wasting your money
- Magnesium sulfate which is found in Epsom salt, may harm you internally and cause you to get really sick; so save this one for warm baths and external applications
Now let’s talk about the more commonly used forms for anxiety…
Magnesium citrate for anxiety VS magnesium glycinate for anxiety
Let’s be clear.
Magnesium citrate is best for occasional bouts of constipation, as it has a mild laxative effect.
It goes right through you, trust me.
It’s the form you reach for when you need some relief (if you know what I mean) but for correcting mood imbalances, magnesium glycinate (magnesium bis-glycinate is used interchangeably) is the one you want.
Magnesium glycinate is beautifully absorbed by the body, where it can actually help you out with all your issues, instead of just sending you running straight to the washroom.
Don’t get me wrong, high doses will get things moving as they should, but it’s a whole different story than its citrate cousin.
I recommend heading to your local health store to stock up on this guy or why not check out a few brands I personally use.
Brands of magnesium I use
First up, is Essential Magnesium by Organifi.
Organifi is a US based brand that creates various organic superfood blends proven to have many health benefits.
Their magnesium is the perfect addition to any of these superfood blends; my favourite being the GOLD blend which is packed with nutrients and adaptogens ideal for helping ease your anxiety. I highly recommend this blend!
Shop Organifi Magnesium, and GOLD blend! Don’t forget, you can save 20% using my code TAMRYN
Secondly, is Magnesium Bis-Glycinate by CanPrev.
Developed by licensed, Canadian naturopathic doctors, these magnesium supplements are professional-grade, yet family-friendly, naturopathic products.
If you shop on Amazon, here is the link to grab the exact one I use. Or, you can try any of the following:
- CanPrev Magnesium Bis-Glycinate 200, Veggie Capsules, 240 Count
- CanPrev Magnesium Bis-Glycinate 200 Gentle, Veggie Capsules 120 Count
- Canprev Magnesium Bis-Glycinate 300 Ultra Gentle (Liquid), 500 ml (if you prefer liquid)
- CanPrev Magnesium Bis-Glycinate (400mg Ultra Gentle Powder, 240g) (if you prefer powder – good to add to smoothies or drinks)
I also use the following Magnesium Glycinate from Orange Naturals.
Orange Naturals is also a Canadian company.
I’ve worked very closely for many years (I write their blog posts), and I stand behind them 100%.
Shipping for the Orange Naturals brand is via Well.ca
This makes it best for you to buy if you’re in Canada.
However, I do believe Well.ca delivers to the United States as well!
Check their website to be sure.
How to take magnesium if you don’t like pills
While magnesium supplements (like the ones above) are the most common, these aren’t your only options.
Maybe you’re someone who doesn’t enjoy swallowing pills?
I get it, it’s not my favourite thing either.
So, if you’d like to skip over magnesium supplements for anxiety, there are many other options for you!
You could try magnesium glycinate powder and magnesium glycinate liquid.
Both are excellent for adding to smoothies or drinks.
What is the recommended magnesium dosage for anxiety?
Below you’ll find a handy chart that breaks down exactly the RDA of magnesium for every age group.
- Birth to 6 months: 30 mg
- 7–12 months: 75 mg
- 1–3 years: 80 mg
- 4–8 years: 130 mg
- 9–13 years: 240 mg
- 14–18 years: 410 mg (male), 360 mg (female), 400 mg (pregnancy)
- 19–30 years: 400 mg (male), 310 mg (female), 350 mg (pregnancy)
- 31–50 years: 420 mg (male), 320 mg (female), 360 mg (pregnancy)
- 51+ years: 420 mg (male), 320 mg (female)
What is the best time of day to take magnesium for anxiety?
I usually take around 600mg to 800mg spread out throughout the day.
For a 31-year-old female, you’ll notice I’m taking double (if not more) my RDA.
Magnesium overdose is not very likely, with the Office of Dietary Supplements noting that “very large doses of magnesium-containing laxatives and antacids (typically providing more than 5,000 mg/day magnesium) have been associated with magnesium toxicity.”
Personally, I find 600 to 800mg is the ideal daily amount for me, but I would encourage you to first talk to your physician if you are considering going over the RDA for any reason.
I’ll take 200mg in the morning, 200mg in the afternoon (if I remember and if I feel a little stressed), and then 400mg before bed helps me to sleep like a baby.
If there’s one thing I recommend starting today for your own anxiety struggles, it’s taking magnesium.
You may feel more chilled out, your mood will start to lift.
You won’t have any stomach woes and you’ll sleep better, what could be better?
The worst that can happen from too much magnesium is looser stools but I think anyone would take that over a dark cloud of depression any day, I know I do!
Sorry if TMI, but you deserve to know!
We’ve come to the end, kudos to you if you made it all the way down here.
Now it’s your turn, leave a comment if you have any questions or had any revelations while reading this article.
I’m always excited to read comments from you!
This post contains affiliate links which simply means if you click and purchase something I’ve recommended, I’ll get a small commission. This won’t cost you any extra money, and it’ll help to keep my site ad-free. Thank you for your support!
Thank you for this!
My pleasure, Jessica! <3
Not sure if you are aware that there are some editing notations and cross outs visible in the above post about magnesium.
But more importantly, my doctor recommend Magnesium Lactate by Standard Process. What is the difference from your recommendation ?
Thank you for letting me know Karen! I have updated the links now and they should be working. Unfortunately, I have not used the magnesium brand you mentioned so I can’t comment on it. The brands I use and recommend are Canprev and Orange naturals. However, any filler-free magnesium glycinate you may find in your local health store online would be the same. Hope this helps!
Hiya just wondering of you could tell me if magnesium chelate is any good? I’ve been using it without any issues but I don’t evyqully know what kind of magnesium it is and if it’s actually helping my anxiety.
wow this was great, thank you so much for all the info! I have read all your magnesium posts on Instagram, but this blog answered all the questions i still had. Definitely going to buy the canprev brand you take 🙂
Thank you so much Hannah <3 Canprev is great!
Thanks so much for this! I’m taking magnesium for my anxiety but it wasn’t working until I started taking more. I’m starting to feel so much better, and reading your blog definitely helped.
Hi Sonia 🙂
It’s my pleasure. I’m so glad you’re finding it works for you, makes me happy to hear that!
Hiya I’ve recently just found your page and it’s so refreshing too read all your post it makes me feel so normal too know that many others go through this cycle off anxiety.. I’ve recently just started too take magnesium with B6 I never knew that there was different ones and u could take more than one a day!! I think I might invest in the specific one that you spoke about am hoping that not only helping anxiety but could possibly help my muscles top relax am so tense all day I actually forget what it feels like too relax my body 🙁
Hey Sam thanks so much for your comment, I’m so happy to hear you’re part of the community on IG <3
Take note of the daily recommendations, but yes, you can take more than one daily 🙂
For your tense muscles, try a magnesium gel or spray as well, topical magnesium is faster acting for muscles x
Hey there, very nice article as i am going through some magnesium deficiency atm which give me high anxiety for no reason (never had it before lol) so, i was wondering if the 600 to 800mg you take daily are ‘elemental magnesium’ ?
I’m thinking about getting supplement to lift my mood 🙂
I’m very interested in a response to this question 🙏
If you look at the CanPrev bottle of magnesium she recommends, it says 200mg “elemental” magnesium, so must be
Thank you so much Nellie for finding this, you’re right!
Hi Roberts, great question, and yes – the CanPrev brand I recommend and take myself is elemental magnesium. Hope this helps!
You didn’t say if you can take magnesium while taking sertaline
Hey there, K. For any questions regarding mixing vitamins/minerals and medication, please speak to your doctor or pharmacist 🙂
Hi tarmyn. In my country magnesium glycinate have other ingredients like magnesium oxide or sterate I dnt no of that is ok to take.
I’m currently taking mag bisglycinate in powder version with water to correct deficiency but i get very loose stool from it even tho it correct my anxiety. Is it normal to have these side effect when you begin taking high dose ? Does it goes away over time ?
Awesome post otherwise 🙂 it really did helped with my mag deficiency !
My nurse just advised that magnesium gly, SAMe, omega-3, and vitamin D would be safe to take with my sertaline. Because I’ve express so deeply to therapist that I’m not interested in long term antidepressants. I want to get rid of this brain fog feel more clear to myself. Thank you so much for this and your instagram has bn soooo uplifting during my learning process ❤️❤️
Thank you Kev for your kind words! Happy to hear that magnesium has been helping you 🙂
I learned that someone suffering from Vitamin D deficiency, taking high doses of vitamin D also depletes your magnesium even more! It is important to balance magnesium with Vitamin D – add vitamin K2 with taking vitamin d. B6 with magnesium. Calcium too if needed – electrolytes need a careful balance. I just started magnesium bisglycinate chelate today. Hoping to feel better soon. Thanks for this article, it is well done! I enjoyed it.
Thank you so much Lacy, you’re very kind 🙂
Thank you for all the great info,right now I’m taking the AOR brand 90mg per capsule 2 in the am and 2 in the evening and I noticed the ” the crazy trigger” mellow a bit. I’m wondering if I should go up a bit .
I’m a 52 year old male
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
I’ve found conflicting information about whether to take calcium to best absorb magnesium and wanted to know what you think. I know it’s considered very important to take magnesium to absorb calcium, but with the emphasis on best absorbing magnesium, some say you need to take calcium 2: 1, and others say you should have at least two hours go by after having calcium rich foods, before taking magnesium.
What’s your thoughts?
I recently ordered and received CanPrev magnesium Bis-Glyconate 200. I’m excited to see if it makes a difference in my always anxious state, as well as for my headaches and depressive episodes that last for far too long. (Not able to take antidepressants)
I am not able to take anti depressants either. I get the strangest and most painful é irritating side effects even on the lowest doses.
My nurse practitioner who deals with bio identical hormones and natural medicine for women recommended 200mg for one week then 400mg all the way up to 600 for anxiety etc… I hope this worked for you.
great read gonna try it. thank you!!
My pleasure, and thank you Sean!
Hi, Tamryn! Ijust picked up some magnesium and am excited to give it a go. Which Vitamin B complex do you recommend? I think I heard you speak about it on a podcast.
Thanks for your willingness to share! I’m sure I can speak for everyone in that were extremely grateful!
Hi Robbie! Great question (and great idea for another blog post, so thank you!) – I currently use “Orange Naturals – B-Complex w L-theanine, 45 v-caps”, but I also love “Natural Factors Active B Complex | Metabolism Support, Stress Relief Dietary Supplement” and “AOR – Advanced B Complex 180 Capsules – Biologically Active Full-Spectrum B-Complex” – you can find them all on Amazon!
I am so glad that my Google feed showed this article on your website!
I’m in my late 30’s, and I have suffered with anxiety for most of my life. This year, with the birth of my 2nd child, I discovered magnesium and it’s calming affects due to my chance encounter with magnesium sulfate in the hospital, due to my bout of postpartum preeclampsia this year in 2021. Weeks later, on my Google feed, a chance article on Halle Berry’s vitamin regimen appeared, and I saw the magnesium supplement listed, and I became even more curious, remembering the magnesium sulfate drip I had in the hospital from the preeclampsia. I feel REBORN taking the magnesium! I feel like a different person, AND I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU GOT IT RIGHT ABOUT THE TWITCHING, IT’S GONE (I had had it on my face and in my hands)!
I feel like magnesium has made me a different person almost. I feel so frustrated to NOT have discovered this mineral sooner.
Reading your article, it’s like you mirror my thoughts on the results you report. I’m in disbelief and how better I feel. I can sleep without issue now. I am calm, and not running ‘raggedity’.
I needed magnesium many years ago, and I feel so angry to not have discovered it sooner. I remember being in the nurse’s office at college, and asking her if it was possible for me to be deficient in any minerals or vitamins, and all I remember is her giving me the most absurd look on her face. Like, how can an American with an American diet be vitamin deficient in anything ??? I truly needed this electrolyte added to my diet many, many years back. I’m glad I found it now, at least.
You’re definitely not alone! I was also not told about magnesium when I went to the doctor for my anxiety. I had to learn about this very common deficiency many people have all on my own as you did by researching yourself! But I think it’s a good thing for us to have the ability and knowledge of our own bodies 🙂 So glad you stumbled upon this article of mine. If you haven’t yet, please come join our community on Instagram (@honestlyholistic) or if you don’t enjoy Instagram, you can join my email list too for a weekly email. Just see the links on the top of my site 🙂
Does this type of magnesium cause any type of gi upset?
What are your thoughts on Marine Magnesium?
I really enjoyed reading and finding out more information about mag. glycinate for anxiety. I’m actually researching and asking for my fiance who struggles with depression and anxiety. I recently was told by a colleague to have him take B12 and magnesium. I then researched and looked into mag. citrate vs. glycinate and that he could benefit from taking glycinate for stress, anxiety, and sleep issues. I also looked into Ashwagandha Extract and was told at the health store it’s good for anxiety and a natural option as well. I’m wondering what is best to take with the other and time of day. I was told Ashwagandha in the morning with B12 and mag. glycinate with dinner for the evening/before bed. I read a comment above about B6 and mag. glycinate and was wondering about that combo.
I would appreciate any advice as to what he should take together, separate, and time of day. We are hoping more natural options will help as well!
What are your thoughts on Calm magnesium? I’m not a fan of pills and someone has recommended this to me.
Thank you by the way! I’m soo glad I came across your Instagram page!
Thank you for this blog. I feel less alone. I’ve been dealing with anxiety, panic attacks and depression since many years ago. I don’t remember the last time I felt normal. You sharing all of this has helped me so much! I have changed my entire nutrition , and are now taking all my supplements including magnesium. I Am now waiting fo see big changes with faith and hope. Again, THANK YOU! ❤️
Hi Jessica – how did you get on? Just interested as I have recently started taking a magnesium supplement.
Hi Tamryn, thanks for the article. I’ve just ordered some magnesium glycinate powder and was googling around to try to figure out the right dose, as there seems to be a lot of conflicting information about this. I’ve realised that most articles, including yours, are referring to milligrams of “elemental magnesium” which is not the same as milligrams of the actual powder. The amount of elemental magnesium in each type of magnesium supplement varies quite a lot, and in the case of magnesium glycinate the amount of elemental magnesium is 141mg per gram of magnesium glycinate (according to Wikipedia). Therefore to get 320mg of elemental magnesium as recommended in your dosage table, you would need to take 2.27g of magnesium glycinate. This makes sense to me because I saw on some magnesium glycinate powders a recommended dose of 2.5g (half a teaspoon), which at first seemed like a lot. I’m not a nutrition expert so hopefully you can confirm this.
Hello! I have anxiety about taking new things. Last night I took a magnesium pill (glycinate) and I felt some palpitations. I think I was overthinking it and maybe caused myself anxiety. How can I help reduce the anxiety of taking something new?
Hi I stumbled across this website while tying to find out whether other people have found magnesium helpful for anxiety.
I had an awful few weeks recently after stopping taking Sertraline quite suddenly – I was ready to stop taking it but should have tapered off more. I felt really stressed and wasn’t sleeping. Generally I would say I get easily stressed and anxious anyway.
I had seen magnesium mentioned in a few different pages so looked into it more and realised that different types of magnesium have different effects, with magnesium glycinate looking best for anxiety. Actually I had taken magnesium a few years ago, again looking for a calming effect and bought a good brand of magnesium citrate – it was disaster, really bad stomach effects, didn’t take them for long.
Having decided on magnesium glycinate , I couldn’t find it in any shops in the UK. There were lots of options on Amazon though (so many options, really didn’t know which would be any good) and I decided on Inspiriko called “smarter magnesium”. So far so good – no stomach issues, and I’m feeling loads better after a few days. I’ve been taking 2 tablets rather than 3 a day (it says to build up). I can’t say for sure that feeling better is due to the magnesium as yet. I’m feeling more positive and health conscious so maybe that’s what has given me a boost. I certainly intend to continue with them – time will tell! It would be great if I can feel like this long term. Maybe I’ll leave another comment after giving them a longer trial.
Thank you for this info! Excited to
Try magnesium glycinate! Have you done any research on magnesium threonate?
I have not! I shall look into it! 🙂
I recommend taking magnesium gummies! I currently take magnesium citrate 415 mg daily (which luckily doesn’t have a laxative effect for me). It’s slightly over the daily recommended dosage but 310 mg isn’t enough for my severe anxiety. I also just ordered magnesium glycinate gummies to see how they compare.
Nice! Which brand did you buy from?
Thanks for the info! What do you think of magnesium in gummies form? I do not like pills. Thanks!
Gummies can be a great option too! I’d just watch out for the other ingredients in them as well as gummies tend to contain sugars, gums, and other additives that may not be the healthiest!
Hi! How long was it until you started seeing results from magnesium? Thanks!
Hey Ana! I’ve been taking it for so many years now I honestly can’t remember a specific time frame after which magnesium started helping me. For everyone it varies I believe! Start as soon as you can 🙂
When I searched the orange natural brand people were complaining in the reviews that it’s a blend of different Magnesium including Magnesium oxide and that it hurt their stomach. I looked at canprev and the same thing, a blend.. is there a Magnesium that is just Magnesium glycinate.. I have IBS and I’m trying to avoid the toilet part..
I usually also have a very sensitive stomach, but neither of these gives me any issues. I would suggest if you’re going to try them, to start slow, with one to two capsules a day with food, and see how it goes? Currently, these are the only brands I personally take, but I’ll look around and update this article in the future perhaps with other brands when I try them!
Just wondering if the magnesium is safe to take while taking antidepressants
Hi Aimee! Unfortunately since I am not a doctor I cannot comment on this, I recommend you reach out to your doctor or pharmacist to ask 🙂
Hi I just wanted to say Thankyou for taking your time out and giving up your experience and helping, I have started to take magnesium glycinate I wasn’t sure when to take it as I took one at night didnt feel good but I wanted to check if I could take it in the morning so looking at your stories I was happy. That you did so I took it in the morning and right now I’m feeling good I suffer with migraines anxiety and panic disorder, I did get anxious taking it ad I feel like my chest hurts. Not sure why this is but is this just Cz I’m nervous taking it or am I not taking enough xxx
I keep reading this post over and over. I’ve had a really bad week, I was convinced I was dying and was in a very dark place. I feel better today. I’ve ordered magnesium glyc (can’t spell it) and it will be here in a few days, I’m from England so can’t use your brand, hopefully the one I get helps me as much as it helps you. Thank you x
Super grateful to have been recommended your Instagram page from a friend today as I was having heart palpitations and a spike in blood pressure from my health anxiety. Gaba has helped me in the past with my anxiety, ne I did take canprev magnesium at one point in the past as well. Just wondering since you have a dosage for pregnancy does that mean it is safe while breastfeeding?