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Plasma Magnesium and Calcium in Depression

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 January 2018

D. Frizel
Neuropsychiatric Research Unit, Carshalton and West Park Hospital, Epsom, Surrey
Alec Coppen
Area Laboratory, West Park Hospital, Epsom
V. Marks
Neuropsychiatric Research Unit, Carshalton and West Park Hospital, Epsom, Surrey


Recent investigations suggest that there may be an abnormality of calcium and magnesium in depressive illness. Flach (1964) followed the urinary excretion of calcium in depressed patients maintained on a constant intake of calcium before and during recovery. Those patients that recovered showed a significant decrease in the excretion of calcium. Coirault et al. (1959) reported an increase in ionized calcium and a decrease in total plasma calcium on recovery from depression. Cade (1964) reported considerably raised total plasma magnesium levels in depressed patients both before and after recovery. A connection between affective disorders and calcium metabolism is suggested by the common occurrence of such states in both hypo- and hypercalcaemia (Denco and Kaelbling, 1962; Rookus and Speelman, 1961). The present paper reports an investigation into total and ionized plasma calcium and magnesium in a group of depressed patients both before and after recovery. The effects of lithium carbonate, a compound used in the treatment and prophylaxis of affective disorders (Baastrup and Schou, 1967; Schou, 1963) on plasma concentrations of magnesium and calcium was also investigated.

Research Article
Copyright © Royal College of Psychiatrists, 1969 

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