What if your complex health problem had a simple fix? This can happen more than you might think, but our health care system, and even our own thinking, is often not on alert to look for the simple answers. Magnesium might be a key to solving your depression. 

When you have a health issue, finding out what’s wrong is the most critical step of fixing it. This is referred to as finding “root cause.” In today’s health care, the step-by-step process of searching for the main cause of your suffering is often replaced by a focus on symptoms, costly testing and expensive meds, that further elbow it out of the way. You may loose out on putting your issue in your rear view mirror for once and for all.

A great example is my right knee. I’d been having serious knee pain for a while. I was in Arizona months ago and endured sitting for many hours a day at a nutrition relicensing conference. I’d then drive about an hour to go dancing at night. Arizona has amazing dancers, so I got to be spun around by top-level champions. I did a lot of dips, back lunges, and moves I don’t usually do. And… boom, my knee’s been an issue ever since.

I iced it, rested it, stretched it, and taken fish oil and proteolytic enzymes. It’s only gotten worse.
After two months of pain I went to a really smart clinic called Charm in my hometown of Austin, Texas, run by a really smart physiatrist. They couldn’t see anything wrong with a thorough exam, but wanted to send me out for lumbar and knee MRIs. But during the exam they were struck by how tight my iliotibial band was. This is a band of fascia, a sheath of fibrous tissue that goes from the hip down the side of the leg.

On the drive home with scripts in my purse for those 2 MRIs, I kept pondering about that tight band of tissue. Hmmm. Why don’t I take a look at how I might be contracting it without realizing it.
I thought about how I use my knee throughout the day. Even though I work out, dance, and canoe, I sit for hours each day writing books and blogs. I have great ergonomic systems all throughout my home and two offices. But truth be told, I can be a closet ergonomic slut. I get lazy and hang out in my big chair. For hours I might hold the computer on a pillow supported by my knee. While doing so, I clearly saw that I was continually contracting that band down the side of my knee.
So I stopped doing that. I moved back to my ergonomically correct station and started hands-on work on that band. I did focused massage to release that tightness. I worked on it throughout the day, while stuck at a red light in the car, while chatting on the phone. I kept loosening that sheath as best I could.

Within 24 hours, 90% of my knee pain was gone!

Forget the time and money it would have taken to get the lumbar and knee MRIs. Forget the injection therapy or physical therapy that might have been recommended.

What turned out to be the fix was easy and didn’t cost a dime. But it took figuring out what the cause was, and fixing it.

Did the smart practitioner I went to see initially ask me how I used my knee throughout the day? Nope. Did I consider it? Nope.

Simple fixes are easy to miss.

This idea that a simple fix or an easy-to-do lifestyle change might be the cause of your issues, even complex and serious issues, is too commonly the case. It’s not always the case. But if you can apply “less is more” with at least the first attempt to get well for non-emergency health problems, wouldn’t that be great?
What if your depression was that easy to fix? Often we go down a pharmaceutical and medical road when the answer might be much easier and cheaper.

A good example comes from a new study from the Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont. This state now has single payer insurance, so maybe they are especially interested in easier and less expensive answers. They found that a substantial number of cases of depression could be fixed with simple and inexpensive magnesium supplementation.

This was a scientific double-blind study run on humans, not rats. They found that over-the-counter oral magnesium, approximately 250 mg once a day for 6 weeks, got rid of significant number of mild-to-moderate cases of depression. Improvements in depression began after just two weeks of taking the magnesium.

This study showed that magnesium treatment for depression works. It’s safe. And lo and behold, the benefits were equal to the benefits achieved by prescription meds like SSRIs!

Magnesium, within weeks, got rid of depression, anxiety, and even some cases of chronic headaches and migraines.
350 million people worldwide suffer with depression. The cost of medication is high. Side effects can be high, too. Folks can become extremely tired, lethargic, and lose desire and the ability for intimacy. The meds cost money and you have to keep going for medical visits to monitor and renew the scripts.

But what if the answer was simple? Magnesium. As well as eating more greens. Green veggies are the foods naturally rich in magnesium.

How often are we led down a path of more testing, more meds, more visits and treatments, when the answer is a lifestyle change or a simple nutrient and/or dietary change?

I just interviewed Dr. William Davis, the cardiologist and best selling author of the book Wheat Belly. Dr. Davis discussed how he often could reverse aggressive heart disease and get very ill patients off meds and able to avoid procedures, by changing diet and adding supplements. And Dr. Davis emphasized that these benefits occurred rapidly, within weeks! Magnesium blocks nasty artery calcifications! Nutrients and life style changes are sometimes that powerful and that rapid. I’ll be posting his amazing interview soon at Dr. Berkson’s Best Health Radio, available at iTunes and Google Play. Update: Listen to my interview with Dr. William Davis here.

Take charge of your life by analyzing what is wrong and trying to see if you yourself can find a simple answer. Try to avoid becoming another number in our highly medicalized system. Perhaps an apple a day keeps the doctor away is right, but it should be revised to say, a green veggie and magnesium a day, along with a more effective ergonomic system, might keep headaches, depression, and even some cases of knee pain away.

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Role of magnesium supplementation in the treatment of depression: A randomized clinical trial. PLoS One. 2017 Jun 27;12(6):e0180067.

Usefulness of nutraceuticals in migraine prophylaxis. Neurol Sci. 2017 May;38(Suppl 1):117-120.
The Effects of Magnesium Supplementation on Subjective Anxiety and Stress-A Systematic Review. Nutrients. 2017 Apr 26;9(5). pii: E429.

Magnesium Counteracts Vascular Calcification: Passive Interference or Active Modulation? Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2017 Jun 29. pii: ATVBAHA.117.309182.