TMD, Magnesium, and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Studies link magnesium deficiencies to TMD (Trans-mandibular Joint Disorder) and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

You are probably familiar with the lettered vitamins that the body needs replaced daily: A, C, E and D. But you may not know that magnesium may be the most important mineral supplement that many Americans are lacking. Magnesium deficiency could even be the cause of the rapid rise for depression, especially among the younger generations.

Why You Need Magnesium

Magnesium helps the body absorb calcium, among another 300 metabolic functions. It's true that calcium is key to maintaining strong bones, but the most important function for TMD sufferers is the transport of calcium through cell membranes to regulate muscle contraction and relaxation. The right amount of magnesium helps muscles to relax.

Magnesium Difficiency Makes TMD Worse

A 2008 study by researchers at the Baylor University Medical Center found that 22% of patients studied who suffered from severe TMD also experienced magnesium deficiencies. Researchers concluded that, while malnutrition is common for individuals with chronic illnesses, deficiencies of magnesium might be “a cofactor interfering with the healing process and causing or augmenting pain and/or depression in patients.” In other words, magnesium deficiencies not only interrupt the healing process, but can actually make TMD and its side effects worse. 

Is A Side Effect of TMD Depression and SAD?

One of these potential side effects of TMD could be depression. Studies have suggested that depression is more common in patients with chronic illnesses. It's likely that magnesium deficiency has a role to play when it comes to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a type of seasonal depression. Magnesium facilitates chemical conversions in the body that produce melatonin and serotonin, two compounds that make you feel happy. So if you’re experiencing TMD pain as well as depression, more magnesium might be the answer.  

Using Magnesium to Relax and Uplift

Taking the proper dose of magnesium for your age and gender can help reduce TMD pain by allowing the jaw muscles to relax properly, in addition to mitigating SAD by restoring “mood stabilizing” compounds. The current RDA for adults is between 320 and 420mg daily and the average US intake is around 250mg daily. If you’d rather not take a supplement, eating naturally magnesium-rich foods like leafy greens, nuts, and beans, can also help. Topical magnesium oil and soaking in an empsom salt (magnesium sulfate) are also quickly absorbed through the skin.

Magnesium Defiency Is Epidemic

If you suffer from magnesium deficiencies, you’re not alone. According to the blog Wellness Momma, nearly everyone in the US is magnesium deficient (or over calcified). While researchers are still trying to definatively prove that magnesium can directly weaken pain associated with TMD, online forums host an array of comments from TMD patients who say the nutrient has drastically reduced their pain. 

For a full consultation for your TMD and possible contributors to your jaw pain and overall mood, make an appointment with Dr. Stern today.

About Dr. Gloria Maczuga-Stern

Dr. Gloria Maczuga-Stern has practiced general dentistry in New York and Connecticut for 19 years. Her own personal experience with TMD led her to pursue further training for her pediatric, adult, and geriatric patients. At the Center for Sleep & TMJ Disorders she has been providing conservative, non-invasive treatment to patients with sleep breathing and temporomandibular joint disorders since 2008.

Dr. Stern strives to provide her patients with the highest level of care. Passionate about continuous education, she has over 2,500 hours of advanced education including orofacial pain, tmj disorders, and sleep disorder dentistry. As a result she is able to offer her patients the latest advancements in this field.

Dr. Stern received advanced training in temporomandibular disorders and sleep disorder dentistry from the Institute of TMD and Sleep Disorders and the Craniofacial Pain Center at Tufts University, and is a Diplomate of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine as well as a Certificate holder of the of American Academy of Integrative Pain Management.

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