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Magnesium is a chemical element that chemists refer to by the symbol Mg, but Mg never exists by itself anywhere on the planet. It is embedded in rocks, or molten in earth, or dissolved in seawater.

Magnesium is essential to life, found in every living cell and involved in every physiological process we rely on to live. Our energy currency is called ATP, and magnesium is essential for its production and utilization. Magnesium plays a vital role in the contraction and relaxation of muscles, including skeletal muscles, as well as the of the gastrointestinal tract, and muscles regulating blood flow, blood pressure and breathing passages. Our heart is a muscle, and regulation of the electrical and muscular function of the heart depends on magnesium. Optimal mental and emotional function require adequate magnesium for neurotransmitter and hormone production.

Dealing with Depression

What Is Known About Depression
Healthy Steps: Depression—First Steps
Healthy Steps: Depression—Full Program
Preventing Depression
From Dr. Deborah's Desk

Not to be confused with sadness lingering after a grievous loss, depression arises without apparent cause and drains us of vitality and casts a gloomy pall on everything we experience and do. It makes the simplest tasks seem daunting and can leave us feeling helpless, hopeless, and alone.

If you experience such feelings, you've got company: A 2010 U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study revealed that 10% of adult Americans suffer from depression, making it one of the most common psychiatric disorders.