A viral TikTok trend is claiming that the use of several supplements can help ease anxiety.
Anxiety sufferers have tested the effects of magnesium and D3 vitamins to curb their symptoms — and many people say it’s working.
TikTok user Tyler Wesley (@tylerjohnwesley), as a “huge sufferer of anxiety,” reported in a video posted on July 7 that he takes 500mg of magnesium and one dose of vitamin D per day.
He claimed that this combination of supplements has eradicated his anxiety.
“I don’t have anxiety anymore,” he said in the video. “Thirty years, anxiety my whole life — I don’t have it anymore.”
Wesley’s TikTok has received more than two million likes, with other users also claiming this method has worked for them.
One TikToker, @lolbrenden, “stitched,” or responded to, Wesley with another video that explained how taking magnesium and D3 has made a difference in his anxiety symptoms as well.
Brenden, who has been prescribed Klonopin, said he took only 200 mg of magnesium glycinate along with the D3 supplement for four days and noticed results.
“I feel like I took a Klonopin,” he said in the video, which has nearly five million views.
“I feel fine, I feel normal. I have no anxiety.”
The TikToker mentioned that he hadn’t had any anxiety or panic attacks since taking the supplements. In another video, he claimed that his sleep had improved as well.
“Why did the doctor not get me to try this first?” he asked.
Dr. Chris Palmer, assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School in Boston, said this could be because not enough high-quality data exists to warrant recommendations by clinicians.
But the “more likely” reason is that prescription medications are “much more potent at reducing anxiety than magnesium and vitamin D3,” the doctor wrote in an email exchange with Fox News Digital.
“So, they are very likely to work with initial use in most people, which is satisfying to both patients and clinicians,” said the doctor, who is also the author of “Brain Energy: A Revolutionary Breakthrough in Understanding Mental Health.”
“Unfortunately, the prescription anxiolytics (benzodiazepines) are also more likely to result in tolerance and dependence, which can become a problem for some people.”
But the doctor suggested that magnesium likely does work for some people, as it has long been studied for a “variety of psychiatric and neurological conditions.”
Although Palmer shared that research mostly consists of “small pilot trials of poor quality,” some reviews — such as a University of Leeds study published in 2017 — suggest that magnesium could help combat anxiety.
“Magnesium plays a role in many metabolic reactions within the body and brain,” he said.
“One hypothesis of anxiety disorders is that the anxiety pathways/circuits in the brain are hyperexcitable, meaning that they fire inappropriately and cause anxiety.”
“You don’t want to ingest things unless you know what the alternatives are, because even some things that are ‘natural’ can be toxic to your body in higher quantities or when taken the wrong way.”
“Magnesium is known to reduce hyperexcitability of neurons and muscles, which is one of the reasons it is commonly included in over-the-counter muscle relaxants,” the doctor went on.
“This mechanism may account for its ability to reduce anxiety in some people.”
Regarding vitamin D, Palmer suggested that people with low levels could be more susceptible to anxiety or depression.
“Vitamin D plays many roles in the brain and body, but one of them is to reduce oxidative stress, which has been associated with depression and anxiety,” he said.
“Therefore, addressing a vitamin D deficiency may play a role in treating anxiety for some people.”
A randomized controlled trial of the combination of vitamin D3 and magnesium versus a placebo in children with ADHD, which was published by the International Journal of Preventive Medicine in 2020, found the magnesium/D3 duo resulted in improvements in anxiety symptoms and social problems, Palmer noted.
Psychologist Mary Karapetian Alvord, PhD, of Maryland has a more skeptical view of the viral “hack.”
“I think we need to be cautious when just a few people post testimonials,” Alvord said.
“You don’t want to ingest things unless you know what the alternatives are, because even some things that are ‘natural’ can be toxic to your body in higher quantities or when taken the wrong way,” the doctor said.
Just because “somebody says it, doesn’t mean it’s the truth,” she also said.
As an alternative, Alvord recommended behavioral therapies such as interoceptive exposure and cognitive behavioral therapy.
“The opposite of avoidance is to do something,” she said.
“Facing fear helps you overcome it. If you don’t face it, the fear tends to get worse and worse because you’re blowing it up in your head.”