Woman eating a tablet
Magnesium Glycinate is a mineral supplement that social media is talking about Image Credit: Pexels.com

Hashtag Magnesium. TikTok was buzzing with this trending hastag recently. It gained over 450 million views, where excited users uploaded videos of themselves gushing about the magic of the pills. People were vouching for the supplements, expounding on how it helped in alleviating anxiety. Melissa Gray, a Florida-based TikTok user, shared a video where she explained that magnesium glycinate supplements cured her sleeplessness and anxiety. Within a week of taking the pills, she said that she felt well-rested and less anxious. The video was viewed more than 16 million times.

Another user by the name of ‘Mandy and Kelsey’ posted a video saying that it made a ‘huge difference’ to her mood swings, anxiety and sleeping. “Run and get yourself some,” she advises. Other similar videos reiterated the same point. They had greatly benefited from taking the ‘magic’ pills. There was no more anxiety, or sleepless nights, they asserted. These videos received millions of views, inspiring others to do the same.

TikTok is responsible for an overwhelming amount of trends, including beauty hacks and skincare routines. However, when it comes to healthcare, you must exercise caution.

What’s the correlation between magnesium glycinate pills and well-being?

Can such pills be consumed at random?

We know that magnesium is available in abundance, in our bodies. It’s in our teeth and bones. It also plays a role in many of the crucial bodily functions, including the nervous, cardiovascular and muscular systems. It helps in the body’s normal detoxification processes, says Shirley D’Souza, a fitness trainer and Keto coach. Your bones, muscle, nerves and brain needs it.

Decoding the buzz surrounding the glycinate pills, she says, “It’s trending because it is more available in markets. It does ensure a better sleep pattern for most people without laxative side effects that other kinds of magnesium does cause,” she says. Magnesium helps in relaxing the muscles, by preventing the calcium from contracting them. This results in a good night’s sleep.

As a person grows older, the body’s ability to absorb magnesium decreases, leading to a higher risk of magnesium deficiency. “This can contribute to a number of health problems, such as muscle cramps, insomnia, anxiety, and high blood pressure,” explains Sagar Jadhav, a Dubai-based sports nutritionist. The symptoms of this deficiency also include nausea, fatigue, vomiting, cramps and loss of appetite.

When a person is deficient in magnesium, they’re started on magnesium supplements like magnesium glycinate, under expert guidance. This helps to replenish the body’s magnesium levels. Abhinav Gupta, an internal medicine specialist at the Life Medical Centre adds that magnesium glcyinate pills have prevented migraines and shown satisfactory results.

However, there’s no conclusive data about magnesium supplementation subduing anxiety. There is still ongoing research about the connection between magnesium supplementation on anxiety and stress. Gupta mentions that a few recent studies have shown that magnesium deficiency might be associated with agitation, anxiety, irritability, sleepless and headache. This pointed towards the idea that magnesium glycinate might have a positive effect on these aspects of well-being. Yet, this is still not established.

Magnesium deficiency can contribute to a number of health problems, such as muscle cramps, insomnia, anxiety, and high blood pressure

- Sagar Jadhav, Dubai-based sports nutritionist

In a systematic review comparing 18 studies about the effects of magnesium supplementation on subjective anxiety and stress, studies suggested the benefits of magnesium supplementation. The evidence was inconclusive and needed further investigation.

There’s no quick fix

People are ready for the quickest fix for anxiety that they can find.

Certain neurotransmitters such as serotonin and Gaba (gamma-aminobutyric acid) affect our mood. “Gaba, especially, works by inhibiting or slowing down the activity of other neurotransmitters in the brain, which can help to reduce anxiety, promote relaxation, and improve sleep,” Jadhav explains. These low levels of Gaba are linked to anxiety disorders, depression and insomnia.

The intake of magnesium pills could contribute to reducing anxiety by increasing Gaba levels. “However, random consumption of any kind of pills can be harmful in the long run,” he warns.

Everyone has a different medical history. When consuming such pills to alleviate anxiety, a lot depends on the type of the pill, the dosage and the health of the person. It needs to be monitored by a healthcare provider, says Gupta. There is evidence that suggests that a placebo role also impacts this perceived effectiveness. “It is important to approach supplements for anxiety with extreme caution and to be mindful of the potential risks and benefits,” he explains.

When is it harmful?

Without the guidance of healthcare professionals and recommended dosage guidelines, it is a dangerous risk to consume pills. An excessive intake of magnesium can lead to diarrhea, nausea, and stomach cramps, says Jadhav. In rare cases, it can escalate into more serious health problems, resulting in irregular heartbeat, low blood pressure and respiratory distress.

When consuming such pills to alleviate anxiety, a lot depends on the type of the pill, the dosage and the health of the person. It needs to be monitored by a healthcare provider

- Abhinav Gupta, internal medicine specialist at the Life Medical Centre

If the person is under medication for other illnesses or problems, these can also affect the impact of the other medicines. This could be dangerous, says Gupta. These pills also have the potential to cause severe, or life-threatening hypersensitivity reactions. It is imperative that they be used under professional advice and with extreme caution.

Can social media’s advice on medical healthcare be trusted?

There’s no doubt that social media, especially TikTok can be a goldmine of information. You want beauty hacks? There’s no dearth of them. Need some skincare regimen? You’ll see innumerable videos explaining different ways to take care of your skin. It’s a blessing - but remember, it isn’t backed by scientific evidence. More importantly, when it comes to the matters of well-being, it is not regulated by healthcare professionals.

It’s the same for taking TikTok-advised magnesium supplements. These trends are supported by anecdotal evidence and personal experiences, says Jadhav. What works for one person, might not work for the other. In fact, it could go dangerously awry. “These are influenced by marketing, rather than genuine health benefits,” says Gupta.

7 commonly known types of magnesium supplements:
1. Magnesium citrate
It is a form that’s bound with citric acid and easily absorbed by the body. It’s mainly used to raise magnesium levels and treat constipation.

2. Magnesium oxide
It is a salt that combines magnesium and oxygen - more frequently used for short-term relief of uncomfortable digestive symptoms, such as heartburn, indigestion, and constipation. It may also be used to treat and prevent migraines.

3. Magnesium chloride
It is a magnesium salt that includes chlorine. You can use it to treat low magnesium levels, heartburn, and constipation. People use topical cream versions to soothe and relax sore muscles.

4. Magnesium malate
It includes malic acid, which occurs naturally in foods like fruit. This acid has a sour taste and is often used as a food additive to enhance flavour or add acidity. It is occasionally recommended as a treatment for symptoms associated with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. However, there’s currently no strong scientific evidence to support these uses.

5. Magnesium taurate
It contains the amino acid taurine. Research suggests that adequate intakes of taurine and magnesium play a role in regulating blood sugar. Thus, this particular form may promote healthy blood sugar levels and healthy blood pressure levels.

6. Magnesium sulfate
It is formed by combining magnesium, sulfur, and oxygen. It’s commonly referred to as Epsom salt. It’s white with a texture similar to that of table salt. It can be consumed as a treatment for constipation. Magnesium sulfate is frequently dissolved in bathwater to soothe sore, achy muscles and relieve stress. It’s also sometimes included in skincare products, such as lotion or body oil.

7. Magnesium orotate
It includes orotic acid, a natural substance involved in your body’s construction of genetic material, including DNA. It’s easily absorbed and doesn’t have the strong laxative effects characteristic of other forms. Early research suggests that it may promote heart health due to orotic acid’s unique role in the energy production pathways in your heart and blood vessel tissue. As such, it’s popular among competitive athletes and fitness enthusiasts, but it may also aid people with heart disease.

Some of the natural sources that magnesium is present in:
Legumes: black beans, edamame
Vegetables: spinach, kale, avocado
Nuts: almonds, peanuts, cashews
Whole grains: oatmeal, whole wheat
Others: dark chocolate

Important note: Please consult your doctor before taking any dietary supplements.

All information courtesy: www.healthline.com