Study Suggests Magnesium Could Improve Mild to Moderate Depression as Much as SSRIs

November 13, 2017 · Posted in Potential Treatments · Comment 

foods with magnesium

Researcher Emily Tarleton and colleagues report in a 2017 article in the journal PLoS One that over-the-counter magnesium may improve mild to moderate unipolar depression with efficacy similar to that of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants. Magnesium is a mineral that can fight inflammation.

The 126 participants in the open study had an average age of 52. Compared to not taking magnesium, taking 248 mg/day of magnesium produced statistically significant improvement in depression and anxiety symptoms after only two weeks.

The magnesium was well-tolerated by participants. Tarleton and colleagues hope to replicate their findings with a larger and more diverse population.

Dietary Supplements for Autism: Up-to-Date Research

October 20, 2017 · Posted in Potential Treatments · Comment 


A 2017 review article by Yong-Jiang Li and colleagues in the journal Frontiers in Psychiatry describes the current research on dietary supplements that may help improve symptoms of autism spectrum disorder.

Some of the most promising research was on vitamin D, folinic acid, and sulforaphane. Methyl B12 and digestive enzyme therapy had some positive effects, while gluten- and casein-free diets and omega-3 fatty acids did not seem to help improve autism symptoms.

Vitamin D

Li and colleagues described a randomized, controlled trial of vitamin D in 109 children with autism aged 3 to 10 years. The experimental group received doses of 300 IU/kg of body weight/day, not exceeding 5000 IU/day. By the end of the four-month study, vitamin D levels had significantly increased in the experimental group compared to the control group. Those who received vitamin D also showed significant improvement on all ratings of autism symptoms, which included general scales of autism symptoms and more specialized checklists that capture aberrant behavior and social responsiveness.

Folinic Acid

The review article also described a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial of folinic acid in 48 children with autism spectrum disorder and language impairment. Participants received high-dose folinic acid (2 mg/kg/day) or placebo for 12 weeks. Those who received folinic acid, a form of folic acid that can readily be used by the body, showed significant improvements in verbal communication and core autism symptoms compared to those who received placebo. Participants who tested positive for folate receptor alpha autoantibodies (FRAA), which disrupt the transportation of folate across the blood-brain barrier and are common in autism, showed greater improvements from taking folinic acid than those without this abnormality.


Sulforaphane is a phytochemical derived from cruciferous vegetables. It can create metabolic effects that resemble those of a fever, which can improve behavioral symptoms of autism. Sulforaphane also fights oxidative stress, inflammation, and DNA damage, which may play roles in autism. Li and colleagues described the first double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of sulforaphane treatment in 29 boys aged 13 to 17 years. The boys who received sulforaphane showed significant improvement in autism-related behavior, especially social interaction and communication, after 18 weeks compared to those who received placebo. Sulforaphane has low toxicity and is well tolerated. Read more