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Magnesium Can Help Relieve Panic Attacks and Anxiety

Updated on July 9, 2013
Nuts are a great source for magnesium.
Nuts are a great source for magnesium. | Source

Do you think it's a coincidence that with the rise of anxiety disorders, there is also a rise of magnesium deficiencies? Studies have shown that people who suffer from depression and panic attacks suffer from low levels of magnesium as well.

"Magnesium used to be an abundant mineral found in numerous foods," states. "But over time, food processing practices essentially stripped magnesium out of most diets, causing numerous people to be magnesium deficient."

While there can be other symptoms of magnesium deficiency (restlessness, confusion, irritability, dizziness, muscle cramps, high blood pressure, etc.), anxiety is becoming one of the most common.

How Can Magnesium Reduce Panic Attacks?

If you're looking for ways to ease anxiety and panic attacks, magnesium can reduce the effects due to its ability to relax the muscles, which, in turn, keeps the heart calm and the anxiety with it.

"Magnesium naturally calms the nervous system and the muscles," Elizabeth Walling writes on, "whereas, a deficiency can result in a tense body and an anxious mind."

When taken regularly, a supplement of 400 mg per day can provide natural relief for anxiety. Not only will a person feel more relaxed, which is the main function of magnesium and the reason it can aid in sleepless nights, but it can also help to strengthen your heart and bones.

If you decide to take a magnesium supplement, the serving size for most over-the-counter bottles is normally three tablets, which equals 400 mg. Because they help you to relax, it's best to take one tablet three times throughout the day, rather than taking them all at once when you first wake up.

Should Magnesium Be Used as a Cure for Anxiety?

While there are many people who have claimed magnesium cured their anxiety, it should still be used with caution. It is possible to take too much (see side effects below), and if you're using prescription medicine for your anxiety disorder, the two might not mix well, so talk with your doctor first.

For most people, however, magnesium could very well be the natural anxiety cure for which you have been looking. Especially for people whose anxiety is a result of deficient magnesium.

"Magnesium is unlikely to cure anxiety in everyone," CalmClinic adds. "Instead, the most likely reason that magnesium is so effective is because many people are experiencing the more pronounced anxiety symptoms as a result of their magnesium deficiency. By taking magnesium supplements, these individuals are no longer deficient, and any effects magnesium may have had on their health become less problematic."

So, if you are experiencing anxiety and depression due to low magnesium in your body, then obviously taking more is exactly what you need. If not a full cure, it is still one of the best ways to ease anxiety and panic attacks.

What Foods are High in Magnesium?

Taking a magnesium supplement is fine, but eating foods high in magnesium is even better. Some foods to consider are:

  • Bananas
  • Red (Kidney) Beans or Black Beans
  • Whole Wheat Bread and Other Whole Grain Foods
  • Brown Rice
  • Oatmeal, Shredded Wheat or Raisin Bran
  • Quinoa (which can be used in place of rice)
  • Dark Green Leafy Vegetables like Spinach or Greens
  • Chicken, Halibut or Tuna Fish
  • Most Nuts (Almonds, Peanuts, Pecans, Cashews and more)
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Dark Chocolate

This isn't an exhaustive list, but it should get you going in the right direction. For more, do a search for "magnesium food sources" or "foods high in magnesium."

Are There Magnesium Side Effects?

Magnesium is a natural mineral, which makes it generally safe to take. If you stick to the recommended dosage of 400 mg per day for adults, it's unlikely that you will have any side effects from taking a magnesium supplement. However, you shouldn't exceed this recommended dosage.

According to WebMD, "It's safe to get high levels of magnesium from food. But excessive use of magnesium supplements can be toxic."

One minor side effect from taking too much of a magnesium vitamin is diarrhea. lists some of the more severe side effects as: "Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); black, tarry stools; nausea; slow reflexes; vomit that looks like coffee grounds."

Although side effects are uncommon, you should keep them in mind before deciding to up your daily dosage of magnesium.

Magnesium may not decrease all of a person's depression and anxiety, but if taken regularly and sensibly, it can very possibly make a world of difference for those going through so much pain. If you are one of the millions suffering from a panic disorder, it's worth looking into.


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      Tammy 3 years ago from Louisiana

      Anne, thank you for sharing your experience with magnesium. I have been taking it for a while myself, and it has helped me to feel more calm and relaxed as well. It really is amazing how well it works. Thanks again for sharing.

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      Anne 3 years ago

      Just to let everyone know...this absolutely did work for anxiety. The mag I take is from walmart, Spring Valley or something like that. It takes 3 pills throughout the day to = 400 mg which is the suggested dose. Well, I like to take things slowly and actually started it for constipation. I started with 1 pill and took it for a year. It started to work less well for constipation so I upped it to 2 pills. You would not believe how much more calm I was on 2 pills, which I had not anticipated, and I slept so well. I didn't take it for anxiety, which is a problem for me anyway, but it certainly had an impact. I say HAD though because my blood pressure dropped too low and so I had to go back to 1 pill a day. Nevertheless, it is good to know that magnesium can work for anxiety.

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      Michel Pike 4 years ago

      Basically magnesium can reduce the number of panic attacks or can be consider as a medicine but do these help to reduce OCD too. Please help me out on this. I've read about ways to help panic attacks but want to know about OCD. I've also find that magnesium is really useful but in lower rates of panic attacks.

      Take a look on

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      Danica 4 years ago

      Thanks a lot for sharing this information! People who experience panic attacks should be really acquainted about the foods that can trigger these attacks. Take time to check for more information.

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      Tammy 4 years ago from Louisiana

      Adham, thanks for stopping by. You've written a great article as well.

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      Adham gits 4 years ago

      thanks a lot for sharing this great article , I really like it , by the way welcome to my new one :