Magnesium Helps Reduce Anxiety

Supplementation May Alleviate Symptoms

Anxiety disorders can be triggered by fear and thus, affect cognitive functioning. When in danger, fear is essential for survival. This fear triggers the brain to respond with many split-second changes in the body to prepare to defend against the danger or to avoid it. This response is a healthy reaction meant to protect a person from harm.

But in anxiety disorders this reaction is enhanced so that the fear memory continues even when one is no longer in danger, affecting cognitive ability on a daily basis.

"Through our study, we found that increasing brain magnesium with Magtein [a new magnesium compound] enhances not only the learning and memory ability, but also top-down inhibition of fear memory of rats," explains Dr. Guosong Liu, one of the study's principal scientists. "When the cognitive ability is enhanced, fear responses such as anxiety-like and PTSD-like behaviors, are controlled."

According to Liu, the use of a high magnesium treatment induces a unique pattern of action on brain regions involved in and responsible for the body's emotional processes. It heightens the function of the prefrontal cortex; a brain region involved in controlling fear responses, without affecting the function of amygdala–the brain's evolutionary conserved region involved in fear memory formation and storage. "By increasing brain magnesium through Magtein, cognitive ability goes up, fear memory remains unchanged".

Liu and colleagues say that Magtein is a potential supplement to cognitive therapy and treatment against phobias, PTSD, and other anxiety-related disorders. Their findings are found in the latest issue of The Journal of Neuroscience, titled "Magnesium Intake Enhances Retention of Extinction."