What you need to know about magnesium (2023)

If you’re looking for ways to level up your health, then magnesium may be for you. From improved sleep to migraine management and reduced blood pressure, this mineral can greatly benefit your health when taken in the right amounts. Here’s everything you need to know about magnesium and why science says you should include it in your supplement routine.

Why is magnesium important?

Magnesium plays many critical roles in the body–including protein synthesis, bone health, energy production, disease prevention, and heart, muscle, and nerve function–and is involved in over 600 enzymatic reactions [3].

Despite its importance in the body, magnesium is largely under-consumed and is easily depleted by both stress and sweat [1, 2]. As such, it’s estimated that 60% of adults do not meet the RDA for magnesium [17].

How much magnesium do you need?

Magnesium needs vary by age and gender. Here is the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for magnesium [4]:

  • Males 14-18 years: 410 mg/day

  • Males 19–30 years: 400 mg/day

  • Males 31+ years: 420 mg/day

  • Females 14-18 years: 360 mg/day (400 mg/day during pregnancy)

  • Females 19–30 years: 310 mg/day (350 mg/day during pregnancy)

  • Females 31+ years: 320 mg/day (360 mg/day during pregnancy)

Sources of magnesium

You can obtain magnesium through food or supplementation.

(Video) What You Need to Know About Magnesium

What you need to know about magnesium (1)

What you need to know about magnesium (2)

Dietary sources

Chlorophyll-containing green vegetables (like spinach, kale, peas, lima beans, and artichokes) are rich in magnesium, as well as nuts, seeds and whole grains. Legumes, fruit, meat and fish contain moderate amounts of magnesium as well [15].

What you need to know about magnesium (3)

What you need to know about magnesium (4)


Supplemental magnesium comes in different forms which vary in its medical uses, absorption, and potential side effects. Here are the best forms of magnesium for treating a deficiency, constipation, preventing migraines and easing muscle soreness [18].

  • Magnesium citrate vs. magnesium glycinate: Magnesium citrate is more commonly used to treat constipation, whereas magnesium glycinate is the best form for increasing magnesium levels, treating deficiency, and having the fewest potential side effects.

  • Magnesium oxide: This is the best form of magnesium for preventing migraines, and has been found to be as effective as valproate sodium without adverse effects.

  • Magnesium sulfate: This is the best form of magnesium for soothing aching muscles, and is also found in Epsom bath salts.

If you’re confused by how much (and what form of) magnesium you should take, there’s no need to worry. At Elo Health, we take the guesswork out of the equation by overlaying your blood biomarker results, wearable data, and questionnaire answers to recommend the right nutrition and supplements for you. Your personalized daily smart supplement pack contains custom-dosed nutrients selected for your biomarkers, health data, and goals, based on the latest available science. Moreover, Elo’s formulary includes over 60 nutrients (including magnesium), all of which undergo rigorous third-party testing.

Try Elo out for yourself today!

(Video) Everything You Need To Know About Magnesium

How long does magnesium stay in your body?

Magnesium stays in your body for roughly 24 hours. Magnesium excretion follows a circadian rhythm, with maximal excretion occurring at night, primarily by the kidneys and mostly through urine and stool [15]. How much magnesium is absorbed depends more on your overall magnesium status than how much you take. The lower your magnesium level, the more of this mineral your gut will absorb. When magnesium intake is low, the kidneys also reduce excretion of magnesium in the urine and feces [15].

Magnesium supplements can be taken at any time of day, but it’s recommended to take them with food to reduce the potential for digestive upset.

Benefits of magnesium

Magnesium has an array of health benefits, so here’s what science has to say about its importance in your body.

What you need to know about magnesium (5)

What you need to know about magnesium (6)

Better sleep.

If you struggle with sleep, then magnesium supplementation may be the answer to getting better shut-eye. Studies have found that adults who took 320 mg/day of magnesium citrate showed significant improvements in sleep quality, with other clinical trials demonstrating that 325-375 mg/day of supplemental magnesium can also have positive effects [6].

Lower blood pressure.

Evidence suggests that magnesium supplementation appears to reduce blood pressure in individuals with magnesium deficiency or elevated blood pressure (>140/90) [5].

Reduced asthma symptoms.

Research shows that magnesium supplementation may slightly reduce asthma symptoms in individuals with untreated asthma [5].

Improved diabetic conditions.

Supplemental magnesium may be beneficial for those with (or at risk of developing) diabetes and/or diabetic neuropathy. Studies show magnesium supplementation can improve insulin sensitivity and reduce fasting insulin levels in both type 2 diabetics and those at risk of type 2 diabetes [5]. Additionally, one trial found long-term magnesium supplementation (300 mg/day over 5 years) significantly reduced symptoms associated with diabetic neuropathy in type 1 diabetics with low magnesium levels [7].

Moreover, studies have shown that those who consume higher amounts of magnesium in their diet have a significantly lower risk of developing diabetes. One meta-analysis of seven large clinical studies found that a 100 mg/day increase in total magnesium intake decreased the risk of diabetes by 15% [4].

(Video) Doctor’s tip: Reasons why most people need to take magnesium | Get The Gloss

Migraine management.

If you suffer from chronic migraines, then you may want to consider taking magnesium. Research suggests that supplementation may reduce migraine severity, but not frequency, with 600 mg of elemental magnesium/day [8]. Another more recent clinical trial found 500 mg of magnesium oxide twice daily to be as effective as valproate sodium at preventing migraine attacks without adverse side effects [9].

What you need to know about magnesium (7)

What you need to know about magnesium (8)

Reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Magnesium plays a big role in regulating brain function, as studies have found that a deficiency of this mineral is linked to depression-like changes in the brain [10]. As such, research suggests that magnesium supplementation may help alleviate symptoms of depression and reduce anxiety, but more research is needed in this area to establish efficacy and treatment standards [5,11,12,13].

Easier bowel movements.

If you suffer from occasional constipation, a little magnesium can help get things moving. Magnesium citrate has a gentle laxative effect that helps relax the bowel and draw water into the intestines, making stool easier to pass. For best results, it’s recommended to drink a tall glass of water immediately before or after taking magnesium citrate.

Improved muscle function.

Magnesium supplements are marketed for the prevention of muscle cramps, but there is lacking scientific evidence to support this claim as magnesium supplementation does not appear to be effective for reducing or preventing leg cramps [14]. However, magnesium can promote normal muscle function, contraction, and relaxation, so if you’re wondering how much magnesium to take for leg cramps, you should follow the RDA guidelines for your age group.

What causes low magnesium?

Chronically low levels of magnesium have been associated with a number of health conditions including migraines, Alzheimer’s disease, osteoporosis, stroke, high blood pressure, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes [3,4]. Several factors can cause low magnesium, including [4]:

  • Poor diet

  • Gastrointestinal diseases (like Chron’s and celiac)

  • Diabetes

  • Aging

    (Video) What You Need to Know About Magnesium

  • Long-term vomiting or diarrhea

  • Kidney problems

  • Certain medications (including diuretics and proton pump inhibitors)

  • Alcoholism

Side effects of magnesium

Common side effects of magnesium include stomach upset, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal cramping [4]. When taken in very large amounts (exceeding 350 mg daily), magnesium is possibly unsafe.

Though rare, consuming around 5,000 mg/day from supplements or medications can cause magnesium toxicity and/or serious side effects including irregular heartbeat, low blood pressure, confusion, slowed breathing, coma, and possibly death [16]. Risk of magnesium toxicity is greater in those with poor or reduced kidney function which can severely reduce magnesium excretion [4].

Who shouldn’t take magnesium supplements?

Magnesium supplementation isn’t right for everyone, as supplements may interact with certain medicines (including diuretics, heart medicines, and some antibiotics) and could cause negative issues if you have diabetes, or kidney, heart, or intestinal disease [16].

Before taking a magnesium supplement, talk to your doctor to see if it’s right for you.


Magnesium plays many critical roles in the body (such as protein synthesis, bone health, energy production, and heart, muscle, and nerve function), yet despite it being involved in over 600 enzymatic reactions in the body, many people don’t get enough magnesium in their diet. Magnesium is critical to disease prevention and overall health and appears to have beneficial effects on sleep, blood pressure, asthma, diabetes, migrantes, depression, and digestive health.

You can obtain magnesium through dietary sources–like spinach, kale, artichokes, nuts, seeds, fruits, whole grains, and legumes–and/or supplementation, as this will bridge any nutritional gaps in the diet or help those who are at risk for magnesium deficiency. However, magnesium supplementation isn’t right for everyone, as supplements may interact with certain medicines (including diuretics, heart medicines, and some antibiotics) and could cause negative issues if you have diabetes, or kidney, heart, or intestinal disease. Before taking a magnesium supplement, talk to your doctor to see if it’s right for you.

Disclaimer: The text, images, videos, and other media on this page are provided for informational purposes only and are not intended to treat, diagnose or replace personalized medical care.

(Video) Low magnesium (Hypomagnesemia) | Causes, Symptoms, Treatment | & Role of Magnesium, Dietary Sources


What do I need to know about magnesium? ›

Magnesium plays many crucial roles in the body, such as supporting muscle and nerve function and energy production. Low magnesium levels usually don't cause symptoms. However, chronically low levels can increase the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis.

How important is magnesium in our life? ›

Magnesium is a nutrient that the body needs to stay healthy. Magnesium is important for many processes in the body, including regulating muscle and nerve function, blood sugar levels, and blood pressure and making protein, bone, and DNA.

What do magnesium supplements do? ›

The claimed benefits of magnesium supplementation range from boosts in everyday wellness — better sleep, increased energy levels and improved mood — to specific health benefits, such as lower blood pressure, reduced risk of heart disease and improvement in migraines.

What are the seven signs you need magnesium? ›

This article lists 7 symptoms of magnesium deficiency.
  • Muscle twitches and cramps. Share on Pinterest Goodboy Picture Company/Getty Images. ...
  • Mental health conditions. ...
  • Osteoporosis. ...
  • Fatigue and muscle weakness. ...
  • High blood pressure. ...
  • Asthma. ...
  • Irregular heartbeat.
12 Apr 2022

What are 5 interesting facts about magnesium? ›

  • Magnesium has an ancient healing history. ...
  • Magnesium is the 8th most abundant element in the universe. ...
  • Magnesium doesn't naturally exist on its own. ...
  • Isolating magnesium has helped us fly and travel to space. ...
  • Magnesium ions are found in every cell of the body.
23 Dec 2021

What are 3 things magnesium is used for? ›

Magnesium is used in products that benefit from being lightweight, such as car seats, luggage, laptops, cameras and power tools. It is also added to molten iron and steel to remove sulfur. As magnesium ignites easily in air and burns with a bright light, it's used in flares, fireworks and sparklers.

Where is magnesium stored in the body? ›

More than half of the magnesium in our body is stored in bones, and the remaining in various tissues throughout the body.

Where is magnesium found in the body? ›

About 99% of total body magnesium is located in bone, muscles and non-muscular soft tissue [17] (see also Table 2). Approximately 50–60% of magnesium resides as surface substituents of the hydroxyapatite mineral component of bone [14, 18].

What is the best form of magnesium? ›

Magnesium glycinate -- Magnesium glycinate (magnesium bound with glycine, a non-essential amino acid) is one of the most bioavailable and absorbable forms of magnesium, and also the least likely to induce diarrhea. It is the safest option for correcting a long-term deficiency.

What should you not take with magnesium? ›

Magnesium can decrease the absorption and effectiveness of numerous medications, including some common antibiotics such as tetracycline (Achromycin, Sumycin), demeclocycline (Declomycin), doxycycline (Vibramycin), minocycline (Minocin), ciprofloxacin (Cipro), levofloxacin (Levaquin), moxifloxacin (Avelox) and ofloxacin ...

What are the 10 benefits of magnesium? ›

12 Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Magnesium
  • Involved in hundreds of biochemical reactions in your body. ...
  • May boost exercise performance. ...
  • May combat depression. ...
  • May support healthy blood sugar levels. ...
  • May promote heart health. ...
  • Boasts anti-inflammatory benefits. ...
  • May help prevent migraine attacks. ...
  • May improve PMS symptoms.

How long does it take for magnesium to start working? ›

Magnesium begins to take effect after one week of consistent supplementation.

What removes magnesium from the body? ›

The use of chemicals, such as fluoride and chlorine, bind to magnesium, making the water supply low in the mineral, as well. Common substances — such as sugar and caffeine — deplete the body's magnesium levels.

What fruit is highest in magnesium? ›

Fruits high in magnesium include dried figs, avocados, guavas, bananas, kiwi fruit, papayas, blackberries, raspberries, cantaloupes, and grapefruit. The daily value (DV) for magnesium 420mg per day.

How do I know if my body is low in magnesium? ›

How is magnesium deficiency diagnosed? Magnesium deficiency is diagnosed via a blood test and sometimes a urine test. Your doctor may order the blood test if you have symptoms such as weakness, irritability, abnormal heart rhythm, nausea and/or diarrhoea, or if you have abnormal calcium or potassium levels.

Does magnesium help you sleep? ›

One study of older adults with insomnia found that magnesium supplementation at a dose of 500 milligrams daily for eight weeks helped them fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, reduced nighttime awakenings, and increased their levels of naturally circulating melatonin.

Why is it called magnesium? ›

Magnesium gets its name from the district of Magnesia in Greece where the compound magnesium carbonate was first found. Magnesium has three stable isotopes including magnesium-24, magnesium-25, and magnesium-26.

Does magnesium lower blood pressure? ›

Magnesium intake of 500 mg/d to 1000 mg/d may reduce blood pressure (BP) as much as 5.6/2.8 mm Hg. However, clinical studies have a wide range of BP reduction, with some showing no change in BP.

What organs are affected by magnesium? ›

Every organ in the body, especially the heart, muscles, and kidneys, needs the mineral magnesium. It also contributes to the makeup of teeth and bones. Magnesium is needed for many functions in the body. This includes the physical and chemical processes in the body that convert or use energy (metabolism).

Which nut is highest in magnesium? ›

Nuts are one of the most magnesium rich foods. Brazil nuts are the most mineral-dense, with 350 mg of magnesium per 100 g serving. Other good choices include cashews (250 mg), peanuts (160 mg), walnuts (150 mg) and hazelnuts (160 mg).

What food has the most magnesium? ›

Magnesium-rich foods
  • pumpkin seeds, 30g (156mg)
  • chia seeds, 30 g (111mg)
  • almonds, 30g (80mg of magnesium)
  • spinach, boiled, ½ cup (78mg)
  • cashews, 30g (74mg)
  • peanuts, ¼ cup (63mg)
  • soymilk, 1 cup (61mg)
  • oatmeal, 1 cup cooked (6 mg)

What is the main source of magnesium? ›

In general rich sources of magnesium are greens, nuts, seeds, dry beans, whole grains, wheat germ, wheat and oat bran. The recommended dietary allowance for magnesium for adult men is 400-420 mg per day.

What produces magnesium? ›

Most magnesium produced globally comes from natural minerals such as dolomite and magnesite in the form of magnesium carbonate. It can also be found in seawater which contains 0.13 percent of the element in the form of magnesium chloride, and in salt lakes brines or underground mineral salt deposits.

What produces magnesium in the body? ›

You get magnesium naturally in many foods. Some of these are peanut butter, nuts, spinach, beans, whole grains, bananas, milk, and salmon. It's added to some breakfast cereals, bottled water, and other foods that you can buy.

Which magnesium is best for nerve pain? ›

Magnesium glycinate is especially for people with nerve pain or nerve degenerative diseases like diabetes mellitus and multiple sclerosis.

What is the fastest absorbing magnesium? ›

Magnesium malate

This type of magnesium is a compound of magnesium and malic acid. Some evidence suggests that it is highly bioavailable and that people tolerate it well. A 2019 animal study found that out of several types of magnesium, magnesium malate was the fastest to absorb after a single dose.

Which magnesium is best for sleep? ›

Without question, magnesium glycinate is the best form of magnesium for sleep. Magnesium glycinate is a combination of magnesium and the non-essential sleep-inducing amino acid, glycine.

Can I take magnesium with vitamin D? ›

Yes! You can and should take magnesium and vitamin D together. In fact, the bioavailability of vitamin D largely relies on magnesium. Also, many nutrients wouldn't work efficiently without magnesium, further highlighting the importance of this mineral!

Should I take magnesium in the morning or at night? ›

Therefore, magnesium supplements can be taken at any time of the day, as long as you're able to take them consistently. For some, taking supplements first thing in the morning may be easiest, while others may find that taking them with dinner or just before bed works well for them.

What vitamins should you not take at the same time as magnesium? ›

Large doses of minerals can compete with each other to be absorbed. Don't use calcium, zinc, or magnesium supplements at the same time. Also, these three minerals are easier on your tummy when you take them with food, so if your doctor recommends them, have them at different meals or snacks.

What happens if you take magnesium everyday? ›

Adequate magnesium intake has been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and other conditions. Dietary sources of magnesium include nuts, leafy greens, legumes, and seeds. Taking a supplement can help you meet your daily needs if you don't get enough of this important nutrient from food alone.

Is magnesium good for leg cramps? ›

Since magnesium plays a role in neuromuscular transmission and muscle contraction, it has been hypothesised that magnesium deficiency may predispose to muscle cramps. Thus magnesium supplements are often recommended to prevent cramps.

Can I take B12 vitamin D and magnesium together? ›

The micronutrient combination (DMB) comprises daily doses of 1,000 IU vitamin D, 150mg magnesium, and 500mcg vitamin B12, for up to 14 days. “Patients who received DMB had a significant reduction of clinical deterioration compared to patients without DMB.

How long does it take for magnesium to work for nerve pain? ›

If you have pain, a dose of 250 to 500 mg of magnesium a day can start to decrease these deficiencies as well as the pain, after just several weeks — while also leaving you feeling more energetic and decreasing your risk of heart disease!

How long does it take for magnesium to make you sleepy? ›

Most experts recommend taking magnesium supplements one to two hours before bed to give them enough time to spur sleepiness and kick-start the body's relaxation response.

Does magnesium dehydrate you? ›

Magnesium is not a good choice for treating chronic constipation or constipation that requires ongoing treatment. Using it too often can lead to excessive dehydration and electrolyte imbalances.

Does coffee affect magnesium levels? ›

Answer: The caffeine in coffee can cause a slight increase in magnesium excreted in the urine, but because coffee provides more magnesium than is lost, it is not necessary to supplement with magnesium, or get more of it from your diet, just because you drink coffee.

How do you check magnesium levels? ›

A blood test will be ordered to check your magnesium level. Normal range is 1.3 to 2.1 mEq/L (0.65 to 1.05 mmol/L). Other blood and urine tests that may be done include: Calcium blood test.

Is peanut butter high in magnesium? ›

Peanuts and peanut butter

Peanuts are legumes, not true nuts, however, they are also a good source of magnesium. A quarter-cup of roasted peanuts contains 63 milligrams, for 15% of the DV. You can get 49 milligrams in 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, for 12% of the DV.

Does magnesium help hair growth? ›

Magnesium has a direct impact on hair growth. It regulates hair follicle production and the overall hair growth cycle, making it an essential mineral for healthy hair growth. When magnesium levels are low, hair follicles go into a resting phase and stop producing new hair, leading to hair loss.

How can I test my magnesium levels at home? ›

You can test your magnesium levels by purchasing a simple at-home finger prick test kit which is then analysed at an accredited lab. Forth offers a number of blood tests which include magnesium such as our Nutri-check test and Menopause Health blood test.

What happens if your magnesium is too high? ›

Particularly high levels of magnesium in the blood can lead to heart problems, difficulty breathing, and shock. In severe cases, it can result in coma.

How long does it take to correct a magnesium deficiency? ›

Chronic magnesium deficiency is often associated with normal serum magnesium despite deficiency in cells and in bone; the response to oral supplementation is slow and may take up to 40 weeks to reach a steady state.

Is it OK to take magnesium every day? ›

Doses less than 350 mg daily are safe for most adults. In some people, magnesium might cause stomach upset, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and other side effects. When taken in very large amounts (greater than 350 mg daily), magnesium is POSSIBLY UNSAFE.

How do u know if u lack magnesium? ›

What are the symptoms of magnesium deficiency symptoms?
  1. loss of appetite.
  2. nausea and vomiting.
  3. fatigue and weakness.
  4. shaking.
  5. pins and needles.
  6. muscle spasms.
  7. hyperexcitability.
  8. sleepiness.

What do I need to know about magnesium before bed? ›

It Can Help Your Body and Brain Relax

In order to fall asleep and stay asleep, your body and brain need to relax. On a chemical level, magnesium aids this process by activating the parasympathetic nervous system, the system responsible for getting you calm and relaxed ( 6 ).

What depletes the body of magnesium? ›

Refining or processing of food may deplete magnesium content by nearly 85%. Furthermore, cooking, especially boiling of magnesium-rich foods, will result in significant loss of magnesium. The processing and cooking of food may therefore explain the apparently high prevalence of low magnesium intake in many populations.

What causes magnesium levels to drop? ›

Causes of low magnesium. Low magnesium is typically due to decreased absorption of magnesium in the gut or increased excretion of magnesium in the urine. Low magnesium levels in otherwise healthy people are uncommon. This is because magnesium levels are largely controlled by the kidneys.

What is the best form of magnesium to take? ›

Magnesium citrate is one of the most common magnesium formulations and can be easily purchased online or in stores worldwide. Some research suggests that this type is among the most bioavailable forms of magnesium, meaning that it's more easily absorbed in your digestive tract than other forms ( 4 ).

What food is highest in magnesium? ›

Magnesium-rich foods
  • pumpkin seeds, 30g (156mg)
  • chia seeds, 30 g (111mg)
  • almonds, 30g (80mg of magnesium)
  • spinach, boiled, ½ cup (78mg)
  • cashews, 30g (74mg)
  • peanuts, ¼ cup (63mg)
  • soymilk, 1 cup (61mg)
  • oatmeal, 1 cup cooked (6 mg)

Which is the best magnesium to take? ›

  • Best Magnesium Supplements of 2022.
  • Mag-Ox Magnesium Supplement.
  • Nature Made Extra Strength Magnesium Oxide.
  • Nature Made Magnesium Citrate.
  • Nature's Bounty Magnesium.
  • NOW Foods Magnesium Citrate.
  • KAL Magnesium Glycinate.
  • BioEmblem Triple Magnesium Complex.
20 Oct 2022

Does magnesium make U Sleepy? ›

One study of older adults with insomnia found that magnesium supplementation at a dose of 500 milligrams daily for eight weeks helped them fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, reduced nighttime awakenings, and increased their levels of naturally circulating melatonin.

Does magnesium help leg cramps? ›

While magnesium deficiency has been proposed as a cause of leg cramps, there is no evidence that magnesium supplements provide a clinical benefit other than for pregnancy-related leg cramp.

Why is magnesium best taken at night? ›

In fact, magnesium may support the body's natural production of melatonin. That being so, you may wonder if it's safe to take supplements of both. Supplementing magnesium with additional melatonin can help you fall asleep more quickly and also lead to a more fulfilling sleep.


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