A diet low in magnesium may be connected to depression

Researchers in Turkey recently published a study in Clinical Nutrition, showing a connection between magnesium consumption and mental health.

Researchers collected dietary intake data for nearly 400 young adults (average age of 22.6), as well as information on their mental health. The participants were selected randomly, and none were taking supplements, antidepressants, or anxiolytics. Researchers measured diet, as well as depression levels.

What the researchers discovered was that participants were unlikely to meet the recommended daily allowance of magnesium: only a third of the women consumed enough dietary magnesium, while 1 out of every 5 men consumed enough. Not only were they not eating enough dietary magnesium, participants consumed less than half of the RDA, barely over a quarter of the RDA, even.

Researchers also found a significant connection between intake of dietary magnesium and depression.

Now, this is dietary magnesium. In other words, the researchers measured magnesium intake based on the magnesium levels of whole foods participants ate. Participants were not taking single-nutrient magnesium supplements.

Foods high in magnesium

Here are foods that are high in magnesium. Note, however, that the study didn’t research these foods specifically.

Food Mg content
per serving
Spinach, cooked 157 mg
Pumpkin seeds 150 mg
Black beans, cooked 120 mg
Cashews 82 mg
Buckwheat 65 mg
Dark chocolate 64 mg
Avocado 58 mg
Salmon 53 mg
Tofu 53 mg
Banana 37 mg


Did you know that Truehope’s EMPowerplus Advanced contains magnesium? It’s one of the 36 all-natural vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and amino acids found in this formula specially designed to support mental and physical well being. Just two capsules contain about 80 mg of magnesium, which would put it in 5th place in the above table if it were a food.

This study joins a growing body of research showing a strong connection between nutrition and mental health. Here at Truehope, we’ve been promoting nutrition as mental health treatment for over 25 years.