Magnesium For Anxiety is Trending on TikTok – But Beware of Wild Claims and Follow These Tips to Supplement Wisely

by | Updated: November 5th, 2023 | Read time: 7 minutes

If you happen to follow health trends on TikTok, chances are high your attention has been seized by the magnesium glycinate craze.

To date, all things magnesium—from #magnesiumfoods to #magnesiumsupplements—have garnered millions of views, with creators and commentators claiming the essential mineral can cure everything from anxiety to insomnia.

But is the current, unbridled interest in magnesium earned—and are the almost too-good-to-be-true assertions founded Keep reading as we jump into the topic, explain the merits of magnesium, and show you how this mineral is best consumed.

Woman Sitting at Table Pouring Supplement from Bottle Into Hand Trying Magnesium for Anxiety Trend

What is magnesium, exactly?

Even a cursory search on TikTok indicates that viewers are compelled by magnesium’s “bioavailability,” or its ability to be absorbed.

While this may be factual—taken correctly, which we’ll discuss below, magnesium can have an immediate and even awesome impact on your body—its bioavailability is only one part of the equation.

Magnesium deserves every inch of the praise it’s received before TikTok caught on, as it has a hand in more than 300 biochemical reactions in the human body. Nerve function, muscle contractions, blood pressure control, glucose moderation, cardiovascular health, cognitive agility, the way the body metabolizes vitamin D—all are on magnesium’s list of tasks.

In sum, the vital mineral—which is naturally produced in the body and found in a myriad of foods, dietary supplements and even some medications—helps you perform at your peak and is crucial for everyday wellness.

How does magnesium glycinate differ from regular magnesium?

Magnesium glycinate—the specific type of magnesium that’s been wildly touted across TikTok—is, straightforwardly, a chelated form of the mighty mineral.

Simply put, this means the mineral has been coupled with amino acids, allegedly to enhance its absorption in the body and thereby improving its bioavailability. (I say “allegedly” as, thus far, there is no scientific evidence that chelated minerals are superior to un-chelated supplements.) This process is conducted to help people like you utilize the mineral more rapidly—and much more efficiently. It’s also thought that chelated supplements raise one’s tolerance of vitamins and minerals and help mitigate potential side effects.

Is magnesium glycinate truly a “secret weapon” against anxiety?

A large part of the present obsession with magnesium glycinate is that TikTokers maintain that the mineral offers substantial relief from anxiety.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that the pervasiveness of anxiety, as well as depression, has skyrocketed by 25% since the onset of the pandemic.

Fear of a covid infection wasn’t the only issue that triggered these mental health conditions across the globe, either: The WHO indicates that other major stressors, including social isolation/loneliness, financial concerns and grief following the loss of a loved one, contributed profoundly to depression and anxiety’s prevalence.

And while “depression” and “anxiety” are frequently lobbed about—to the point that they’re undermined by some—these psychological complications arrive with a host of uncomfortable and even debilitating symptoms, such as:

  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Persistent angst
  • A mounting loss of interest in activities that used to offer joy
  • Isolation
  • Substance abuse
  • Spinning thoughts
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Physical tension, such as cramping muscles and tightness in the chest
  • Fatigue
  • A reduction in professional performance and social impairment

The magnesium glycinate TikTok fad insists that supplementing with this mineral can alleviate these symptoms and lead to decreased distress, sounder sleep and a brighter frame of mind.

But what does the science say?

Studies on the correlation between magnesium and anxiety are limited—at least at this time of writing.

According to a 2017 review of 18 studies on the mineral and the mental health condition published in Nutrients, magnesium was found to have a potentially “beneficial” effect on anxiety. The same was concluded in a more recent study, published in the same journal, in 2020. Meanwhile, a 2017 randomized trial featured in PLOS One discovered that a significant proportion of its 126 test subjects experienced diminished anxiety and depression after supplementing with magnesium for six weeks.

That said, the general consensus among scientists and doctors is that, again, we don’t have enough research on the matter yet—and what we do know about magnesium is that it may organically encourage calm in those who have mild anxiety but should not be considered a panacea for people with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) or panic disorder.

In other words? Take those TikTok claims with a grain of salt—but also take into account that magnesium has other, proven benefits.

What are the benefits of magnesium?

While magnesium may not live up to all of the claims purported on TikTok, Insta and more—or, at least, we don’t have strong evidence beyond its anecdotal acclaims yet—an impressive body of research demonstrates that magnesium may help to support quality of sleep, may help promote relief from premenstrual discomforts and naturally support bone health.

What’s more, the mineral may promote nerve and muscle health—meaning, you may experience some abatement in muscle tension, which often goes hand-in-hand with anxiety.

How can I boost my magnesium levels?

It’s estimated that as much as 75% of the general U.S. population doesn’t consume the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of magnesium, which is 400-420 mcg for adult men and 310-320 mcg for adult women.

That said, severe magnesium deficiency is exceedingly rare in the Western world, even though contemporary farming practices and food processes can rob you of obtaining the optimal amount of magnesium you need.

Nonetheless, given magnesium’s benefits, amping up your intake might behoove you—particularly if poor sleep is leaving you feeling tired and wired during the day, or if you’re post-menopausal and have osteoporosis. (Research shows that 84% of post-menopausal women with osteoporosis are magnesium deficient.) To this end, consider implementing the following:

Supplement with care

Whether you elect to take magnesium glycinate, magnesium L-threonate, magnesium citrate, or some other form of this mineral, it’s important to do so mindfully by taking your supplement with food. By doing so, you may dodge magnesium’s negative side effects such as nausea and diarrhea.

Additionally, aim to eat a snack or meal that contains fat and fiber before taking your supplement, such as a slice of avocado toast on sunflower seed bread or apple slices with organic, all-natural almond peanut butter. Both can increase your absorption of the mineral.

Several medications may adversely interact with magnesium, including diuretics, antibiotics and certain heart medications. With this in mind, be sure to get the green light from your physician before supplementing with magnesium (or any other vitamin, mineral, or herb, for that matter).

Further, it’s imperative to select a magnesium supplement from a reputable brand that has received USP seal of approval, which guarantees the product’s strength and lack of contaminants.

Lastly, ensure you take magnesium at roughly the same time every day—and use it consistently for best results.

Redesign your diet

Trust that eating with magnesium in mind is a journey through some of the most delicious foods available. A handful that brim with magnesium include:

Alternatively, you could create a magnesium-rich Buddha Bowl that includes brown rice, shredded chicken, shaved carrots, shelled edamame, roasted pumpkin seeds and cubed avocado: All of these eats are filled with admirable amounts of the magic mineral.

Indulge in a soothing magnesium-rich bath

Yoga, forest bathing, exercise, a dose of lavender in your home or on your wrists—all are effective measures for staving off stress and the anxiety that comes with it.

Another meaningful practice? Soaking in an Epsom salt bath.

The timeless act of self-care ascends to new heights when warm water is paired with Epsom salts—which, by the way, are magnesium sulfate.

A stellar and super-soothing one to try? Vitabath’s lavender chamomile Epsom salts. Infused with vitamins A and B3, this terrific formula will leave you refreshed and ready to gracefully handle whatever may come your way—including the latest TikTok trend and the mix of doubt and cautious optimism that might arrive with it.

These statements have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease.

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