New Treatments | Depression: Physiological cause; Treat with magnesiumglycinate 

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One out of 20 people is depressive
  A depression is horrible. It's not possible for friends to imagine how it feels. All plesure and joy are being sucked out of a depressive person. If it's not treated well, it can eventually even suck out the person's life.

It's very common in the Western world. Every moment, about 1 out of 20 people (5% of the population) are depressive. Please note that a depression is nothing like the ocassional temporary moments of feeling bad after problems in your life. In healthy people good and bad experiences and feelings come and go. In depressive people, on the other hand, these bad feelings keep on lasting for indefinite times. During these periods, the depressed person isn't able to enjoy any facet of life.
Depressions often seem to be caused by stress. Especially in cases where members of the familily or close friends have just died or because of situations at work. Fysical stress might also be the direct trigger.
In this article, you will learn through which mechanisms stress can cause depression and, more important, how magnesium supplements can be used to overcome the depression. This works in up to 80% of all depression cases.


Please note that the discovery and the research was all done by George Eby. This article is just a short summary of his findings. Please read his full, wonderful article and his testimonial here: George Eby's site.
Below are also some of my (Ed's) personal experiences:
When I discovered in 2001 that I suffered from a magnesium deficiency, I started to supplement magnesium by taking magnesium-glycinate tablets. I was pleasantly surprised by the broad range of effects this had on my health. I used to feel really bad when I was hungry. After I started to use magnesium, I feel in my stomach I'm hungry, but the feeling is restricted to my stomach. My mood isn't affected anymore. After doing some experiments, I discovered I could even manage without food for eight hours (Please note: I have hypoglycemia).
My heart arhithmia problems disappeared instantly, my muscle spasms disappeared, I was feeling much more positive and energetic. I enjoyed life better and my sleep improved also. Fascinated by these impressive results, I studied magnesium further.

Magnesium: A very essential mineral

I've studied many articles and studies. I learned that magnesium is a very essential mineral in human health. The recomended daily dosage is 350 mg per day. The western diet, alas, doesn't contain enough magnesium, only 200 mg at best. This is because we eat too many refined foods which are deprived of essential minerals and because the vegetables grow on soil that lacks minerals.
The FDA even wonders if they shouldn't increase the recomended daily dosage to 800-900 mg per day.

High Carbohydrate diet can cause magnesium deficiency
Studies [Barbagallo, Renick 1994] show that high blood glucose levels causes the flushing of different minerals, among which magnesium. Calcium, on the other hand, is not affected. This poses a problem, because calcium is the antagonist of magnesium. A mineral antagonist "fights" some other mineral, meaning that high calcium levels will cause lower magensium levels. Check all mineral interrelationships. After eating a high-carbohydrate diet for several years, a magnesium deficiency will be inevitable. This won't show up on the blood magnesium tests, because most magnesium is stored inside the cells, intracellular.

A magnesium deficiency, hypomagnesemia, can cause many problems, among which:

  • Hypoglycemia
  • Heart arhithmia, muscle spasms
  • Asthma and allergies
  • Headaches, migraine and depressions

Relation between hypomagnesemia and depression

Several studies show without doubt that there is a definite relation between magnesium deficiency and depression

Low magnesium status in patients that try to commit suicide
Patients who had made suicide attempts (by using either violent or nonviolent means) had significantly lower mean CSF magnesium level irrespective of the diagnosis.

Ratio Calcium/Magnesium is significantly elevated in depressive patients
Serum and CSF Ca/Mg ratios were found to be elevated in the depressed patients compared with the controls

Magnesium suppletion causes significant improvement in manic patients
Ten patients with severe, therapy-resistant manic agitation received magnesium sulphate infusions.
Seven (of 10) patients showed a marked improvement in the Clinical Global Impression scale


  • The Western Diet is very low in magnesium. This can easily cause a magnesium deficiency
  • High carbohydrate consumption causes the flushing out of magnesium
  • In extremely depressed patients that try to commit suicide, the magnesium levels are very low
  • The ratio Calcium/Magnesium is significantly elevated in depressed patients
    This shows that it's important to not only measure the magnesium levels, but also the calcium levels. A high Ca/Mg ratio means that there is relatively more calcium than magnesium. Because of the antagonizing effects, the magnesium levels don't even have to be low. Even when the magnesium levels are normal, but the calcium levels are higher, this can cause a functional magnesium deficiency and thus depression.
  • Magnesium suppletion causes marked improvement in condition of depressed patients.

Rest of the translation follows soon

Depression: Not a psychological cause, but a physiological cause !

I dare to propose that most depressive people have a simple deficiency of magnesium that causes their disease: A physiological cause instead of psychological cause. If this is correct, all session with shrinks can be considered worthless. A simple magnesium supplement can make the depression disappear fully in only two days. It is however important to take the right supplement, because there are many forms of magnesium and most of them are absorbed very poorly or contain ingredients that acts as excitotoxins (poison to the neurons in your brain). The one and only effective supplement (until now) is the Magnesium-glycinate supplement, produced by Carlson Labaratories. Please don't use the Solgar's magnesium-glycinate supplement (no offence, Solgar has other great products), since it also contains considerate amounts of calcium, which will act as an antagonist on magnesium.

The proof is in the eating

On George site van George EbyEby's site from Texas USA, you will find his findings on using magnesium-glycinate for treating his severe depression. Below some quotes:
With each meal I took 2 tablets, (400 mg elemental magnesium) totaling 1200 mg of elemental magnesium a day. Within a few days to a short week, I felt remarkably better, my depression lifted noticeably....

....Within a week to 10 days of starting magnesium, I felt close to being well. So well, that my psychiatrist thought I looked better than he had ever seen me....

.... As I improved, I lowered my dosage to find the best dose for me. I lowered it too much and symptoms rapidly came back. Eventually, I stabilized the dosage at four 200-mg elemental magnesium (as magnesium glycinate) tablets a day. Four hundred mg is the RDA for magnesium for men.

My experiences
Like I wrote before, I also noticed a lift in mood whenever I used magnesium-glycinate. When a friend told me he was falling in a deep black hole (i.e. severe depression), I sent him a couple of magnesium-glycinate pills. Within four days the depression had disappeared. He also discovered that after stopping the magnesium supplementation, the depression stricked back at him with a vengeance. He's currently on a daily dose of 800-1000 mg and the depression hasn't returned since.

Another important factor: STRESS

Besides the causes you can read above, there is another possible cause of a magnesium deficiency which then causes a depression: STRESS.

Physical (exhaustion, heat, cold, trauma, burns) and emotional (pain, fear, excitation) stress cause the secretion of several hormones into the blood. These hormones (adrenalin amongst others) cause the excretion of magnesium. When this stress prolongs, a vicious cycle starts because a magnesium deficiency causes a greater release of hormones, which in turn cause a greater excretion of magnesium. You get stressed easier and easier and more and more magnesium gets excreted each time.

A good REM-sleep is important for recovery
Another vicious cycle: For good REM-sleep (Rapid Eye Movement, the deep sleep in which the immune system recovers) magnesium is needed. And on the other hand, Without a decent REM-sleep more magnesium is excreted (through upset hormones because of lack of REM-sleep). A good tip is to use 400mg of (elemental) magnesium-glycinate before sleep: This improves the REM-sleep.


To prevent future depressions, we should try to thwart the causes: Below is a review of the causes:

  • High Carbohydrate Consumption
  • Too low magnesium intake or too high calcium intake
  • Stress
Try to decrease the amount of carbohydrates in the diet. Read here why carbohydrates are so unhealthy. Also read the hypoglycemia article in which the dietary solution is shown. Especially worthwile if you suffer from fluctuating blood sugars or diabetes.

Try to eat foods that contain relatively more magnesium and less calcium. Check this for a quick overview: Nutrient Investigator and you can also construct your own diet, using the Diet Investigator. Also check the list on George's site.

Also try to prevent stress situations. Try to find a less stress-full job. Work ahead of time and work out backup plans in case your car fails, etc. Yoga might be considered. Also check the stress-relief techniques on George's site.

The connection with estrogen, the female hormone

Postnatal depression, depression during menopause and depression after stopping the anti-conception pills all have the same cause. These three situations have in common a decrease of estrogenvalues in the blood. After pregnancy the estrogen levels decrease, during menopause the estrogen levels decrease and after quiting the anti-conception pill the estrogen levels drop to normal levels (during pregnancy and anti-conception they are increased).
Estrogen causes a higher absorption and use of magnesium and zinc. Estrogen is normally associated with pregnancy. During pregnancy the body needs more minerals en estrogen takes care of the higher absorption. The estrogen enables a female to get just enough magnesium out of a low-magnesium diet. When the estrogen levels drop, the magnesium absorption drops and hypomagnesemia (magnesium deficiency) is the result. This can then cause a severe depression or diabetes or hypoglycemia or many other problems.
The anti-conception pill is often used to heal acne. Possibly this works because the estrogen increases absorption of zinc, which is essential for a healthy skin.

George Eby's Rules for Success

Carlson Magnesium Glycinate for DepressionAfter much e-mail correspondence with people not finding success with "magnesium" as rapidly as they wanted, we (they working with me) have found that their personal choices and long-standing dietary habits contributed to failures. If the following rules for success were followed, success in defeating magnesium-deficiency mental health problems was usually theirs:

Please review each of the above links at least once.

This is what a bottle of Carlson Magnesium Glycinate looks like. You should be able to find them at your favorite health food store. If you prefer to order Carlson's Magnesium glycinate, click this graphic of Carlson Magnesium Glycinate to go to George Eby's order form.


90% of what's written down here, is taken from George Eby's site. The NewTreatments article only summarises George's wonderful work. The only thing I've added is the relation with carbohydrate consumption and some details on estrogen.

Overview of studies regarding hypomagnesemia and depression
Overview of studies regarding hypoglycemia

Revision: May, 29th 2002, 2nd December, 30th 2002, Ed

Please note: The information on this website is not a recommendation for treatment. Anyone reading it should consult his/her physician before considering treatment. The author and publisher can't be held responsible for anything. Use on your own risk.