What Is the Best Form of Magnesium for Anxiety and Depression?

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 10/01/2023

Magnesium plays a vital role in various physiological functions, such as brain health and mood regulation, and magnesium deficiency has been linked to depression and anxiety-related disorders.  

Discover what is the best magnesium for anxiety and depression and how magnesium works to promote healthy brain function. 

Woman with depressive symptoms

How magnesium affects anxiety and depression

Magnesium is well-known for its role in muscle function and blood pressure control, and combining magnesium with vitamin D3 and K2 benefits skeletal health and lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease.  

What’s not as widely recognized is that magnesium may be one of the best natural remedies to manage symptoms of depression and anxiety. 


Magnesium has calming and relaxing effects on the nervous system and is a cofactor for various enzymes needed to regulate neurotransmitter production. 

Magnesium doesn’t stay in the body for long periods, and a low magnesium intake can lead to deficiency, which has been linked to an increased risk of anxiety, depression, insomnia, low-stress tolerance, irritability, and brain fog. 

“Magnesium helps regulate neurotransmitters such as GABA and serotonin, which play a vital role in mood regulation,” explains Dr. Berg. “Lack of sufficient magnesium can imbalance neurotransmitters associated with mental health conditions including anxiety and depression.” 

In addition, adequate magnesium levels promote normal muscle and nerve function, which relaxes the body and can improve sleep quality, a crucial aspect of mental well-being. 

A study published in The Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine found that magnesium deficiency induces anxiety symptoms and can significantly increase the risk of depression. 

In addition, evidence published in Nutritional Neuroscience suggests that magnesium supplementation can be as effective in managing depression and mild anxiety disorder as therapeutic drug treatment.  

Watch the video below to learn more about magnesium's effect on mood.

What is the best form of magnesium for anxiety and depression?

According to the American Anxiety and Depression Association (AADA), many individuals with mood and neurological disorders use nutritional and herbal supplements such as magnesium to manage their symptoms.

However, it can be challenging to determine which supplement contains the best and worst type of magnesium for anxiety and depression. 

The most common forms of magnesium are:

  • Magnesium glycinate 

  • Magnesium sulfate 

  • Magnesium chloride

  • Magnesium oxide 

  • Magnesium threonate 

  • Magnesium taurate

  • Magnesium lactate 

Magnesium threonate is readily absorbed and can cross the blood-brain barrier, making this form of magnesium supplement potentially the most effective type for preventing and managing mental health conditions.

Magnesium taurate is another brain health-promoting form of magnesium. This type of magnesium is bound to the essential amino acid taurine, which is converted into GABA and has been found to promote neurological health by improving nerve signaling in brain tissue.

There is also evidence that magnesium glycinate can be especially beneficial for individuals with anxiety. Magnesium glycinate acts as a natural relaxant and can help lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which is associated with reduced feelings of anxiety and stress. 

Magnesium deficiency survey

Causes of magnesium deficiency

Despite the availability of a wide variety of magnesium-rich foods, more than half of U.S. adults don't meet their daily recommended magnesium intake, leaving many people at risk of deficiency.

Not consuming enough leafy greens, avocados, seeds, and nuts can quickly lead to insufficient magnesium levels, significantly increasing the risk of anxiety and depression.

In addition, conditions such as low stomach acid, Crohn's disease, or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) can impair the body's ability to efficiently absorb magnesium. 

Diuretics and prescription medications, such as antibiotics and proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), can also interfere with intestinal mineral absorption and contribute to magnesium deficiency. 

Magnesium has many health benefits and is needed for more than 600 biochemical processes. Because it’s involved in a wide range of bodily functions, deficiency can manifest in a variety of symptoms.

Here are common signs of magnesium deficiency:

Woman checking supplement label

Magnesium dose for anxiety and depression

While there is significant evidence that taking magnesium supplements for anxiety and depression can be effective, exact dosage recommendations have not yet been established. 

A systematic review published in Nutrients summarizes that studies investigating the effect of magnesium on anxiety and depression used dosages ranging from 75 to 360 mg of magnesium daily. 

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) suggests that a magnesium intake of 320 to 420 mg daily is sufficient to maintain healthy magnesium levels and prevent deficiency, which aligns with the research findings regarding magnesium’s benefits for mental health.  

Clock and white tablets

When is the best time to take magnesium?

It’s generally recommended to take magnesium supplements with a meal. This can enhance magnesium absorption and lowers the risk of gastrointestinal upset. 

Individuals with sensitive stomachs should avoid taking large doses of magnesium and instead take smaller amounts twice daily to minimize intestinal issues such as diarrhea or nausea. 

Magnesium has a calming and relaxing effect, and taking magnesium with dinner may be particularly beneficial for individuals who suffer from sleep issues such as insomnia linked to anxiety and depression

How long does it take to see results?

How long it takes to see results depends on your magnesium levels, dosage, dietary magnesium intake, and the severity of the health condition you are addressing. 

Symptoms of mild anxiety or depression may improve within two to three weeks of starting magnesium supplementation. However, more severe cases may take up to two months to respond to magnesium. 

Side effects information

Are there side effects of taking magnesium?

Magnesium is generally well tolerated and considered safe when taken within recommended dosages. 

A study published in PLOS found that “Magnesium is effective for mild-to-moderate depression in adults. It works quickly and is well tolerated without the need for close monitoring for magnesium toxicity.”

However, taking more magnesium than recommended can increase the risk of gastrointestinal issues, muscle weakness, and electrolyte imbalances, and it’s crucial to carefully follow the intake recommendation of the magnesium supplement you plan to use. 

In rare cases, excessive magnesium intake or kidney issues can lead to hypermagnesemia, a potentially serious condition characterized by elevated blood magnesium levels. 

If you suspect you may have taken too much magnesium and develop symptoms including shallow breathing, dizziness, confusion, and nausea, it’s crucial to consult a healthcare provider immediately.   

happy and sad faces

Key takeaways

Evidence suggests that magnesium promotes neurological health and may help reduce symptoms of mood disorders. However, there are many different forms of magnesium—so what is the best magnesium for anxiety and depression?

Both magnesium threonate and magnesium taurate can cross the blood-brain barrier, which makes these types of magnesium particularly beneficial for individuals with mental health conditions, including anxiety and depression. 


1. Can magnesium help with anxiety and depression?

Yes, magnesium can help with anxiety and depression.

Evidence suggests that magnesium plays a vital role in neurological and mental health, and magnesium deficiency can significantly increase the risk of anxiety disorders and depression in teenagers and adults. 

2. What is the best form of magnesium for anxiety and depression?

Magnesium threonate and magnesium taurate can pass through the blood-brain barrier and enter brain tissue, which may explain why these types of magnesium appear more effective in managing mood disorders than other common forms of magnesium, such as magnesium oxide or sulfate.

3. How much magnesium should I take for depression?

Specific magnesium dosages for the management of depression haven’t yet been established. 

However, it’s thought that dosages between 75 and 320 mg of magnesium daily can help improve symptoms of depressive disorders.

4. How much magnesium should I take to calm anxiety?

Many people find relief from anxiety symptoms with daily magnesium doses ranging from 200 mg to 400 mg. 

5. Which form of magnesium is best for anxiety?

Magnesium glycinate is one of the most effective forms of magnesium for anxiety due to its ability to relax the nervous system and minimize the neurological effects of the stress hormone cortisol.    

6. Is magnesium citrate or glycinate better for anxiety?

Magnesium glycinate is generally considered more effective for managing anxiety than magnesium citrate.  

Magnesium glycinate helps regulate neurotransmitters and nerve transmission, which has a calming effect on the brain and nervous system and has been found to reduce anxiety symptoms.

7. How long does it take for magnesium to calm anxiety?

While acute anxiety symptoms can improve within a few days after starting magnesium supplementation, more severe cases of generalized anxiety disorder or postpartum anxiety may take several weeks or months of consistent magnesium supplementation. 

8. Can magnesium help you sleep?

Yes, magnesium promotes healthy sleep and lowers the risk of insomnia and other sleep issues that may worsen symptoms of anxiety or depression.


Magnesium helps relax muscles and has a calming effect on the nervous system, which can reduce feelings of stress and anxiety that often interfere with restful sleep. 

9. How does magnesium help with anxiety and depression?

Magnesium plays a crucial role in mental health by regulating neurotransmitters such as GABA and serotonin, which impact mood and neurological health. 

Magnesium is also a natural relaxant that calms the nervous system, mitigates the effect of stress on the body, and promotes healthy sleeping patterns, which are essential aspects for managing symptoms of anxiety and depression.

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