Magnesium for Mood

Mg can help you stay calm, and has a multitude of other benefits!
foods rich in magnesium

The mineral magnesium is vital for our health.

It’s linked to more than 700 important body functions, ranging from energy production and blood pressure regulation, to heart health and muscle and nerve function.

Food Sources of Magnesium

This mood mineral can be found in:

  • dark green, leafy veggies, like:
    • spinach
    • kale
    • collard greens
  • legumes and peas
  • whole grains
  • nuts, especially:
    • almonds
    • cashews
    • peanuts
  • milk and yogurt
  • dark chocolate

Magnesium Deficiency

Despite magnesium’s widespread availability in food sources, medical research has shown that Americans consistently struggle with magnesium deficiency, not getting the daily recommended amounts.

Part of the reason is that modern soils have been depleted of this mineral. Another factor is that there is too much reliance on processed foods in American diets. Conditions that increase likelihood of a deficiency include obesity and diabetes.

Diagnosing Magnesium Deficiency

However, some people may not be aware of their magnesium deficiency because the mineral works inside cells, not while coursing through the bloodstream.

A deficiency often won’t show up in a blood test, so diagnosis is a challenge.

Although difficult to discover, magnesium deficiencies are common: Up to 80 percent of Americans do not get enough magnesium.

In addition to dietary shortages, deficiencies can also be caused by overactive stress hormones or too much calcium.

Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency

Low magnesium levels can lead to medical issues including:

Low magnesium levels are also linked to Alzheimer's disease, migraines, and ADHD.

Other symptoms of magnesium deficiency include:

  • loss of appetite
  • nausea
  • fatigue
  • weakness
  • numbness
  • tingling
  • abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias)

Who is at Risk?

People who are particularly at risk for low magnesium levels include:

  • those who drink alcohol regularly
  • those with gastrointestinal diseases
  • postmenopausal women
  • the elderly

Supplementing with Magnesium

Taking a magnesium supplement is an easy way to get the recommended daily intake.

However, most multivitamins contain less than 100 milligrams (mg) of magnesium, so taking a separate magnesium supplement may be the best way to reach the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA).

The National Institutes of Health RDA recommendations are: 310 mg for women 19-30; 400 mg for men 19-30; 320 mg for women 31 and older; 420 for men 31 and older.

Pregnant women need higher levels of magnesium: 400 mg for ages 14-18; 350 mg for ages 19-30; and 360 for ages 31-50.

There are different forms of magnesium that perform differently in the body.

Research indicates that some people who take magnesium supplements may experience significant improvements in lipoproteins, C-reactive protein, fasting glucose, and insulin resistance.

Magnesium for Calm

It’s also known as “the mood mineral” because it helps decrease feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression.

The Washington Post listed magnesium as one of the ten nutrients that can "lift your spirits," due to the large role it plays in the development of serotonin, a hormone linked to feelings of happiness and well-being.

It has also been called an antistress mineral as it can help prevent feelings of nervousness or irritability. reviewed scientific studies of the mineral and labeled it the “original chill pill,” because of evidence supporting its health and calming benefits.

Click to See Our Sources

“10 Nutrients That Can Lift Your Spirits” by Maya Dangerfield and,

"Effectively prescribing oral magnesium therapy for hyptertension: A categorized systematic review of 49 clinical trials" by A. Rosanoff, Nutrients, 1/10/21

"Magnesium in Prevention and Therapy" by U. Grober et al., Nutrients, 9/15

“Implications of Magnesium Deficiency in Type 2 Diabetes: A Review” by D.P. Chaudhary et al., Biological Trace Element Research

“Magnesium,” University of Maryland Medical Center,, 2011

“Magnesium”, National Institute of Health,

“Magnesium and the Brain: The Original Chill Pill” by Emily Deans MD,

“Magnesium for Cardiovascular Health: Time for Intervention” by Y. Song and S. Liu, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

“Magnesium Supplementation for the Management of Primary Hypertension in Adults” by H.O. Dickinson et al., Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews

“Suboptimal magnesium status in the United States: Are the health consequences underestimated?” by A. Rosanoff et al., Nutrition Reviews

"An update on magnesium and bone health" by M. Rondanelli et al., BioMetals, 8/21

"Why magnesium is so important for your health" by Hattie Garlick, The Telegraph, 12/17/23


Pamela Bump

Pamela is the Audience Growth Manager for the HubSpot Blog and holds an M.S. in Media Ventures from Boston University. Before HubSpot, she was Taste for Life’s first Web Editor & Social Media Expert and Harvard Business Review’s first Growth Editor.  In her roles, she’s managed content strategy, social media, and audience growth tactics.

Although her career is focused on digital marketing and editorial innovation, she continues to write for TFL to quench her thirst for food blogging and health journalism.