Saturday, September 24, 2011

Magnesium May Improve Sleep

I'm collecting studies that address the effect of magnesium on sleep.

This first article is from the USDA's Agricultural Research Service, of all places:

Do You Have Trouble Sleeping? More Magnesium Might Help
by: Forrest H. Nielsen PhD (Frosty) (I'm linking the author because I think he has a laudable career in the field of nutrition research.)

"A low intake of the mineral magnesium may be one nutritional factor causing sleep problems."

"Magnesium plays a key role in the body's chemistry that regulates sleep. This may be why persons with long-term lack of sleep, or abnormal brain waves during deep sleep, often have low magnesium in their blood."

"Magnesium treatment increased deep sleep and improved brain waves during sleep in 12 elderly subjects. (See below.) Magnesium treatment decreased time to fall asleep and improved sleep quality of 11 alcoholic patients who often have a low magnesium status. (See below.) Magnesium deficiency increased time awake at the expense of deep sleep in rats. Feeding magnesium to the rats restored their sleep patterns to normal."

"A national food consumption survey found that many Americans, especially older women, consume less than the RDA for magnesium."

"Another risk factor for low magnesium status in older women is the use of calcium supplements without magnesium for bone health. High calcium intakes can make magnesium deficiency worse."

"Foods that have good amounts of magnesium are whole grains, nuts and green leafy vegetables. Green leafy vegetables are a good source of magnesium because the green color is chlorophyll, a chemical that contains magnesium and converts sunlight into food energy."

Oral Mg(2+) Supplementation Reverses Age-Related Neuroendocrine And Sleep EEG Changes In Humans, Pharmacopsychiatry, 2002

This was a placebo-controlled, randomized cross-over study with 12 older (aged 60 to 80 years) participants. Magnesium supplementation (30 mmol/730 mg) significantly reversed electroencephalogram (EEG) changes, including decreased slow wave sleep, that occur during aging.

This was interesting:
"The similarities of the effect of Mg(2+) and that of the related electrolyte Li+ furthermore supports the possible efficacy of Mg(2+) as a mood stabilizer."
Magnesium as an anti-depressant?

Magnesium Treatment Of Primary Alcohol-Dependent Patients During Subacute Withdrawal: An Open Pilot Study With Polysomnography, Alcoholism, Clinical and Experimental Research, 2004

Here, magnesium treatment (30 mmol/730 mg) of alcohol-dependent patients (alcohol consumption is known to disturb magnesium metabolism) significantly decreased sleep onset latency (the time it takes to fall asleep) and improved subjective sleep quality. Unfortunately, this one didn't have a placebo group.

Clinical, EEG, Electromyographic And Polysomnographic Studies In Restless Legs Syndrome Caused By Magnesium Deficiency, Romanian Journal Of Neurology and Psychiatry, 1993

This small study (10 cases of restless leg syndrome) found magnesium deficiency linked to:
  • Agitated sleep with frequent periods of nocturnal awakenings.
  • Changes in the intensity and duration of sleep stages, favoring light sleep periods over deep sleep periods
  • Decrease of duration and percentage of REM sleep.
There does appear to be something to this.
The pumpkin seed photo is from NutsOnline. I used to buy dried tomatoes from them until I posted about them and they ran out. Info: An ounce of pumpkin seeds have 150 mg of magnesium, thanks shaun! The DRI for magnesium is 320 mg for adult women, 420 mg for adult men.
Related post: Magnesium For Hot Flashes?


Mike said...

Nice compilation, Bix. I had always assumed that the deep-tendon relaxation effects of acute Mg administration was the mechanism that helped folks fall asleep.

Bix said...

Tendon relaxation ... Well, there's yet another effect of Mg.

Pumpkin seeds are pretty high in omega-6. NutritionData has kale and spinach as other good sources.