Month: March 2020

Is Magnesium An Effective Tool For Managing Depression?

Chances are you, or someone you know, has suffered with depression at some point. Although these symptoms typically come and go based on life circumstances, an individual is diagnosed with depressive disorder when sadness becomes persistent or severe enough to interfere with one’s ability to function in day-to-day activities.  

Depression is associated with a variety of behavioral and physiological challenges, including but not limited to:

  • Impaired sleep quality
  • Appetite changes
  • Low energy
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Agitation
  • Low self-esteem
  • Lack of interest in normally pleasurable activities
  • Suicidal thoughts

Although the etiology behind depression is not clearly understood, doctors believe a combination of genetic predisposition, abnormal neurotransmitter activity and psycho-social factors are responsible.

Nutritional Support For Depression

In cases of persistent or severe depression, treatment typically involves medication and/or psychotherapy. Unfortunately, this disease is difficult to treat and requires an individualized approach. This knowledge has led researchers to look into the role of various micronutrients in depression management.

Magnesium is a great example of a micronutrient important for mental well-being. Why? Well, magnesium is involved in over 300 enzymatic processes in the body, and every organ requires magnesium to function properly. In addition, magnesium regulates neurotransmitters and activates the parasympathetic nervous (or the rest and digest) system. In fact, the calming effect of magnesium is so significant that it has been coined “the original chill pill”.

Despite its crucial role in the body, most Americans aren’t getting enough. In fact, magnesium is considered one of the most prevalent nutrient deficiencies in the United States, following closely behind vitamin D deficiency.

A large number of studies have been conducted in an effort to better understand the role of magnesium in mental health. Although research consistently reports an association between magnesium deficiency and depression, clinical trials have yielded conflicting findings. Therefore, researchers recently conducted a randomized controlled trial (RCT) to evaluate the efficacy of magnesium supplementation in improving depressive symptoms.

Magnesium And Depression

A total of 126 adults with mild to moderate depression from various outpatient primary care clinics were included in this trial. The participants were randomly assigned to take a total of four 500 mg tablets of magnesium chloride per day for either the first or second half of the 12-week trial.

The researchers evaluated the change in depression and anxiety symptoms from baseline to completion of each treatment period. Here is what they found:

  • After two weeks, participants began experiencing improved depression and anxiety symptoms.
  • By the end of the six week treatment, magnesium supplementation significantly improved depression and anxiety scores (p < 0.001).
  • A total of 61% of the participants stated they would continue using magnesium in the future.

The researchers summarized their findings:

“Magnesium is effective for mild-to-moderate depression in adults. It works quickly and is well tolerated without the need for close monitoring for toxicity.”

Magnesium And Depression: Summary

The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for magnesium ranges between 320 – 420 mg per day for the average adult. However, some research suggests adults need anywhere between 500 – 700 mg of magnesium per day to receive the full scope of health benefits from this mineral.  

Although magnesium is considered safe and well tolerated in these doses, it’s always wise to check with your physician prior to introducing this supplement if you have health problems or are taking any medications. Have you found magnesium has helped benefit your health? If so, please reach out to share your experience!


Tarleton, E. et al. Role of magnesium supplementation in the treatment of depression: A  randomized clinical trial. PLOS ONE, 2018.

Male Infertility: Can Vitamin D Improve Pregnancy Success?

Consider this scenario: You and your partner are ready to start a family. However, after a year of failed attempts to conceive, you decide to visit a fertility specialist to determine what is preventing your family from growing. The tests come back. You or your partner are diagnosed as infertile.

Unfortunately, this is the reality that over 5 million people face within the United States alone. In addition, according to a new study, male infertility is on the rise. Researchers from this study found sperm counts have declined by nearly 60% over the last 40 years among European, North American and Australian men.

Vitamin D And Pregnancy

Vitamin D has developed a reputation for benefiting sexual health; however, is there any merit behind the puns? It turns out, there is.  Research suggests vitamin D status indeed plays an important role in reproductive health. In fact, vitamin D status has been linked with sexual function,  testosterone levels and fertility. In addition, studies have found vitamin D deficiency is more prevalent among men with low semen production, quality and motility, along with lower inhibin B levels.

Embryologist Kez Emeny explained the relevance of inhibin B status on male fertility:

“Inhibin B levels reflect testicular function and Sertoli cell function. Inhibin B levels are reduced in men with infertility problems compared with fertile men. Studies show that inhibin B levels are a more sensitive marker of male factor infertility than other hormones.”

RCT Evaluates Relationship Between Vitamin D And Male Fertility

In an effort to determine whether vitamin D supplementation may improve semen quality and hormonal imbalances among infertile men, researchers from Denmark conducted a triple blinded, randomized controlled trial. Men were included in the study if they were part of a couple diagnosed with infertility due to impaired semen quality, had vitamin D levels below 20 ng/ml (50 nmol/l) and did not have any serious secondary diseases.

Vitamin D3 For Men

A total of 307 individuals participated in this study. The participants provided two semen samples for analysis, as well as received a blood draw at baseline. The men were randomly assigned to either receive a single dose of 300,000 IU vitamin D3 along with a daily dose of 1,400 IU vitamin D3 and 500 mg of calcium for 150 days, or receive two received a single oil based placebo, followed by a placebo pill for 150 days.

Here is what the researchers found:

  • Average baseline vitamin D status was 14 ng/ml (35 nmol/l).
  • The vitamin D group experienced a 17.2 ng/ml (43 nmol/l) increase in 25(OH)D compared to the 2 ng/ml increase in the placebo group (p < 0.001).
  • There were no cases of vitamin D toxicity.
  • A total of 7.3% of the couples in the vitamin D group achieved pregnancy without assistance from physician; whereas only 2.4% became pregnant in the placebo group.
  • In a subgroup analysis of men with low sperm count (oligozoospermia), the chances of a live birth increased to 35.6% in the vitamin D group, compared to 18.3% in the placebo group (p = 0.04).
  • Serum inhibin B levels were 49 pg/ml higher among the vitamin D group compared to the placebo group (p = 0.021).
  • Serum inhibin B/FSH ratio changes were positively associated with changes in vitamin D status over the 5-month period (p = 0.038).
  • Sperm count tended to be higher in the vitamin D group compared to the placebo group, though this did not reach significance (p = 0.07).

Vitamin D And Pregnancy: Summary

Due to the safety of vitamin D supplementation, along with its proven impact on reproductive health among both men and women, the team at Aria Integrative Health recommends supplementing with 5,000-10,000 IU (125- 250 mcg) of vitamin D3 per day in order to maintain optimal status (40-60 ng/ml; 100-150 nmol/l).

We offer a range of services in regards to optimizing reproductive health and sexual function in both men and women. Contact us to learn how we can help ensure your health needs are being met!


Jensen, M., MD. et al. Effects of vitamin D supplementation on semen quality, reproductive hormones and live birth rate: a randomized clinical trial. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 2017.

The Connection Between Vitamin B12 And Parkinson’s Disease Progression

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a debilitating, progressive movement disorder. It is the second most prevalent neurological disorder, following Alzheimer’s disease. Thanks in part to celebrity Michael J. Fox, a PD patient and ambassador, research advancement and public education has dramatically increased over the years. His foundation, along with many others, have made it their mission to find a cure for PD.

However, doctors and scientists must continue to combat PD symptoms through currently established therapies. There are a variety of medications on the market to help improve tremors, muscle rigidity, balance, and cognitive impairment in PD patients. Nevertheless, there is an immediate need to identify and resolve modifiable risk factors to protect the quality and longevity of lives.

The Importance Of Integrative Medicine

Integrative medicine is a particular healthcare approach that treats disease by addressing all imbalances in the body in a holistic manner. Nutrition is a primary component of integrative medicine, as the diet is largely responsible for ensuring our bodies are functioning properly. When considering the fact that nutritional deficiencies impair the way biochemical processes are carried out in the body, it’s crucial to address any imbalances that may contribute to the onset or outcome of chronic disease.

In recent years, researchers began taking an interest in the relationship between micronutrients and PD. For example, a newly published study assessed whether vitamin B12 deficiency is associated with impaired mobility and cognition among newly diagnosed PD patients.

Benefits Of Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient that supports a wide range of bodily functions including properly functioning nerve cells, red blood cell formation, DNA and RNA synthesis, and heart beat regularity.

Unlike most other micronutrients, vitamin B12 is produced by microorganisms (primarily bacteria), not plants. We consume vitamin B12 through meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy. For vegetarians or vegans, vitamin B12 can be obtained through an oral supplement or intramuscular injection.

Low vitamin B12 levels are associated with a range of health consequences. Symptoms of deficiency may include the following:

  • Macrocytic anemia
  • Irregular heart beat
  • Numbness or tingling in the extremities
  • Impaired cognition
  • Elevated homocysteine levels (indicator of general inflammation)
  • and more…

Vitamin B12 And Parkinson’s Disease

Two important components of vitamin B12 deficiency are also present in those with PD: neurological deficits and elevated homocysteine levels. This knowledge has inspired researchers to study this relationship further in recent years.

Although researchers have not found a relationship between B12 and PD onset, some observational studies suggest deficiency may negatively impact cognition, mood, and neuromuscular function in those who have already developed the disease. This research has led scientists to hypothesize that B12 may help delay disease progression in early, untreated PD.

Research Overview

To assess the relationship between vitamin B12 and PD progression, researchers conducted a secondary analysis of a previous randomized controlled trial. A total of 680 newly diagnosed PD patients were included in the study.

One month prior to joining the trial, all participants were required to stop any supplementation that exceeded the daily value for all micronutrients. The researchers measured the participants vitamin B12, its derivatives, and homocysteine levels. Patients received a follow up appointment every three months for a total of 24 months to assess disability progression, along with activities of daily living (ADL), cognition and motor functioning.

Vitamin B12 Study Findings

The researchers found that 13% of patients were borderline B12 deficient. A total of 7% experienced elevated homocysteine levels, and 2% had both low B12 and high homocysteine levels.

Those with elevated homocysteine levels experienced greater cognitive impairment at baseline and after one year (p = 0.001). Participants with lower B12 levels (< 234 pmol/L) had more severe mobility deficits than those with higher B12 levels (p < 0.004).

The researchers stated,

“Given that low B12 and elevated homocysteine can improve with vitamin supplementation, future studies should test whether prevention or early correction of these nutritionally modifiable conditions slows development of disability.”

Vitamin B12 And Parkinson’s: Summary

If you are concerned you may not be getting enough B12 from your diet and would like to supplement, the Dietary Allowance for B12 is 6 mcg/day. Aria also offers vitamin B12 injections to help ensure our patients levels are optimized, in addition to therapeutic options to decrease homocystine levels naturally.

Whether struggling with a chronic health condition or simply looking to optimize your health, we are here for you. Contact us to learn more about how the team at Aria can help you reach your potential!


Chadwick, C. et al. Vitamin B12 and Homocysteine Levels Predict Different Outcomes in Early Parkinson’s Disease. Movement Disorders, 2018.

The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research

Vitamin A Eye Drops: A Viable Treatment

We have all experienced that irritating sensation of dry, gritty eyes in our lives. However, when our bodies lose the ability to consistently produce enough tears to protect the eye, dry eye syndrome is diagnosed.

Common symptoms include redness, pain, continuous periods of watery eyes followed by very dry eyes, blurred vision, and a sensation of debris in the eye. About 16.4 million people in the United States live with dry eye; and this number continues to rise.

Why Is Dry Eye So Common?

Researchers believe the use of contact lenses and excessive use of computers and mobile devices are primary contributors to this disorder. Furthermore, women are more likely to develop dry eye then men, and the risk increases with age.

Typical management involves medicated eye drops, artificial tear drops, tear duct plugs, and regular eye exams. In addition, new research suggests vitamin A eye drops may offer a natural treatment option for those with dry eye.

Vitamin A And Eye Health At A Glance

Vitamin A is a powerful nutrient that is crucial for ensuring a wide range of bodily systems are functioning properly. It also helps decrease inflammation, reduce free radicals, and improve immune system health.

Perhaps the most widely recognized roles of vitamin A is in eyesight and function. For example, vitamin A is a precursor of rhodopsin, which is found in rods within the retina of our eye to help us to see at night.

So, when vitamin A levels become depleted in the body, the rod cells inside the eye are unable to undergo their transformation quickly enough to adjust to new levels of light. This causes a condition called night blindness.  

Another consequence of vitamin A deficiency is decreased tear production. This can lead to a host of eye complications including:

  • dry eye syndrome
  • corneal ulcers and scarring
  • Retinopathy
  • And more

Because vitamin A (in the form of retinol palmitate) has shown to improve hyaluronic acid and mucin levels, two important components in eye lubrication, researchers theorize it may help treat dry eye syndrome.

Study On Vitamin A And Dry Eye

In an effort to determine whether vitamin A eye drops offer a viable, low-cost treatment option for dry eye, researchers conducted a randomized, double blinded, placebo controlled trial. A total of 66 participants with dry eye were randomly assigned to either receive the retinol palmitate eye drop solution (n=33) or the the placebo eye drop solution (n=33).

All participants ceased all current eye drop regimens for two weeks prior to beginning the treatment.  Each drop of retinol palmitate solution contained 500 IU/ml of vitamin A. The participants in both groups placed one drop of the solution in each eye six times a day for a period of four weeks.

Vitamin A Research Findings

The findings from this study are promising. For example, researchers discovered that the treatment group experienced a significant improvement in corneal and conjunctival damage after two and four weeks (p < 0.05 & p < 0.01, respectively). In addition, the treatment group experienced significantly reduced blurred vision at one and two weeks (p < 0.01 & p < 0.05, respectively). The patient’s tolerated the treatment well, and no significant side effects occurred in any of the patients.

Vitamin A Eye Drops: Summary

This study suggests vitamin A eye drops offer a safe, cost-effective alternative to treat dry eye syndrome. In addition, research is consistently showing a positive impact on tear production, inflammation and both corneal and conjunctival wound healing.


Toshida, H. et al. Efficacy and safety of retinol palmitate ophthalmic solution in the treatment of dry eye: a Japanese phase ii clinical trial. Drug Design, Development and Therapy. 2017.