By Jim S Lovasz
One of the most significant culinary tidbits that I have stumbled upon is how to overcome depression with nutrition. To grasp the consequence of the relationship between depression and nutrition we need to look at the historical incidence of the condition in a large population group.
A little over a century ago this ailment was rare and only 1% of Americans born in 1905 suffered from depression before the age of 75. It used to occur primarily in the elderly. Of the Americans born in 1955 fully 6% suffered from depression by the age of 24.
Current estimates are that well over 10% of the population suffers from one type of depression or another. Even more disturbing is the fact that the condition has become common with the very young. The current rate of adolescent suicide attests to that truth.
Interestingly prior to 1905 whole grains were not refined and were a ready source of magnesium adequate to supply the needed 400 mg per day. Today only 16% of the magnesium found in whole wheat is left in refined flour.
Although there are many cases on record of successfully treating depression with magnesium supplementation there has not been a lot of research funded. This is not surprising as much of that sort of funding comes from the well to do pharmaceutical industry.
With the amount of income produced by the sales of a host of anti-depression medication it is certainly not in the industry’s interest to promote a natural remedy!
In today’s world some cities remove all the minerals in their water treatment and bottled/filtered water using reverse osmosis techniques does the same. With the surge in popularity of drinking “clean” water the magnesium deficiency widens.
The phosphoric acid, contained in soft drinks and “deli meats” such as hot dogs blocks absorption of magnesium adding to the general deficiency. Commercial salt is stripped of all of its natural magnesium salts, not because they interfere with it running smoothly, no, because they are worth more in the chemical market.
This, as well as soil depletion, deprives us of other historical sources. Magnesium is one of the most depleted minerals in farm soils.
The media propaganda perpetuated by refined vegetable oil interests, successfully scaring the general populace away from red meat, linking it to heart disease removes yet another excellent historical source of bioavailable magnesium. It is no wonder that deficiencies are widespread!
“For decades, statisticians have demonstrated that the majority of Americans do not get the government’s minimum daily requirement for magnesium.”
Magnesium And Depression
Notwithstanding the inadequacy of research there are major studies, such as the Hordaland Health Study in Western Norway involving a sample of 5,708 individuals which supports the hypothesis that magnesium consumption is positively correlated with depression in the community.
This is not surprising as magnesium is well known to be essential in nerve transmission. The “feel good” hormone serotonin, mimicked in many antidepressant drugs, requires magnesium to balance our moods and avoid anxiety and depression.
It has also been shown in a study conducted in Germany that depriving lab mice of their usual uptake of magnesium increased symptoms of anxiety, which was concluded to be “depression-like” behavior.
Needless to say, there exists a plethora of personal testimony as well as clinical experimentation demonstrating the effectiveness of fighting depression with increased magnesium uptake. For protection of corporate interests alluded to earlier in this article and issues too complex to delve into here, these results are rarely, if ever, publicized in the mainstream media.
Another factor contributing to the muddying of the water is that large scale commercial producers of magnesium supplements prefer to produce magnesium oxide. It is both easy to manufacture and compact. Unfortunately, it lacks bioavailability!
Because doctors began to see frequent cases of magnesium deficiency in their patients a study was conducted of the bioavailability of magnesium in its various forms in US commercial preparations. It was found that the common magnesium oxide has poor bioavailability as compared to magnesium chloride, lactate, and aspartate.
Interestingly, magnesium chloride (Magnesia Muriatica) has been used successfully for decades by homoeopaths to treat depression as well as a host of other emotional disorders.
How To Fight Depression
Insuring that we are getting sufficient magnesium into our systems is no longer a simple task, but it is doable. It requires a diet well balanced in the necessary minerals and vitamins. A reliable source is found in bone broths, which being in electrolytic form is very assimilable.
Consuming this broth regularly in soups, sauces and other dishes fortified with a tsp per serving of ionic magnesium in liquid form taken from the Great Salt Lakes in Utah is an excellent source of magnesium.
Whole grains, including the germ where most of the mineral is present, is another great source. A cautionary note is to be sure to neutralize the phytic acid, which will bind with the magnesium and carry it out of the body.
Using authentic, naturally gathered sea salt is always a good practice as well as other products of the ocean like kelp and other vegetables. Remember that magnesium is the third most abundant mineral in seawater. So fish, especially deep water cold types are rich in magnesium.
Magnesium is the quintessential mineral required by every cell in our bodies to function properly. It is essential in 300 enzyme reactions effecting every metabolic function. It is also, for reasons unknown, the hardest mineral for our bodies to hold onto.
Therefore, although I rarely recommend supplements, due to the importance and difficulties in ensuring sufficient uptake of magnesium it is a serious consideration. My research has convinced me that the most effective and, by far safest method of supplementation is topical. Magnesium oil, which is really just a supersaturated concentration of magnesium chloride and water is sprayed on the body.
This is rapidly absorbed and does not subject you to some of the potential unpleasant side effects of too much magnesium such as the laxative effect. Compared to oral supplementation it provides greater amounts to be absorbed and can be effective in a matter of weeks rather than months!
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