Should you be taking magnesium supplements?

Should you be taking magnesium supplements?

Magnesium supplements have grown in popularity over the past few years despite not being new to store shelves. Proponents of the supplement point to magnesium’s ability to help with energy levels, muscle tension, sleeping problems and more.

While typical diets have foods that contain magnesium, research suggests half of the U.S. population may be magnesium deficient.

“Magnesium is an essential mineral our bodies need to help maintain strong bones, healthy blood pressure and blood sugar, muscle and nerve functions and more,” explains Dr. Connor Harmann, a family medicine physician at Aurora Health Care. “Men between 19-51 years of age should be consuming between 400-420 milligrams of magnesium each day, and women within that same age range should be getting about 310-320 milligrams.”

Magnesium is found in foods like nuts and legumes, seeds, whole grains, dark leafy vegetables, fish, poultry and beef. But how do you know if you aren’t getting enough through your diet?

Signs of magnesium deficiency can include:

  • Muscle weakness, cramps, twitches and tremors
  • Depression and apathy
  • Weak bones and bone fractures
  • Fatigue
  • Irregular heart beat

Magnesium deficiency can ultimately lead to serious health conditions including heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and osteoporosis.

“If you eat a healthy, well-rounded diet, there’s a good chance you are getting the magnesium you need,” says Dr. Harmann. “Even if you don’t get enough one day or week, you probably are meeting your body’s need the next. So it’s likely you do not need to take magnesium supplements. If you are worried about your magnesium intake or are experiencing any of the symptoms of magnesium deficiency, talk to your doctor.”

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  1. Julie-anne Gilbert March 6, 2023 at 6:56 pm · Reply

    Hi just a warning. I was taking magnesium once a day but also in a multi vitamin.
    I noticed continually loose stools. Stopped magnesium and stools returned to normal

    • Magnesium chloride (sold as “slow-mag”) absorbs more gradually which reduces the side effect of diarrhea. Also, take with a meal and work your dose up gradually. You’ll become acclimated to it.

    • Hi,

      Yes many magnesium salts can cause loose stools, our product MagZorb contains magnesium glycinate which is the highest absorbing form of magnesium without the nasty side effect of loose stools.

    • Hi- you were most likely taking Magnesium Citrate or the multivitamin consisted of mag citrate. This form of mag is widespread and wirks as a stool softener or laxative for constipation and/or slow metabolic activity. Mag Glycinate or Malate is the best.

      • I was taking the Mag Glycinate and had the issue with loose stools. I had to stop using the product. It is a shame I had to stop taking it because soon after stopping I started having headaches again and sleep issues returned.

    • You may have success with a lower dose. Loose stools from magnesium are typically an acute symptom, and go away relatively quickly once the dose is lowered, or stopped altogether.

  2. Amazing

  3. I like the information

  4. I had always suffered from horrible constipation and started a magnesium supplement with my fiber that I take daily. I eat tons of vegetables nuts and fruit. I drink lots of water. But when I started taking a magnesium supplement with my fiber my problems were solved. Not surprising when we’ve all heard of milk of magnesia.

  5. I had suffered from migraines all my life. About 2 yrs ago, I never thought possible but I had a migraine for almost 3 weeks, Non-Stop! The worst was I was already on migraine medication. It had gotten so bad and debilitating that after the Urgent Care “Migraine Cocktail” didn’t work, we were sent to the hospital. All the normal tests were run. I believe there were 3 separate medications or just lactated ringers even though I wasn’t dehydrated, hung before they finally tried Magnesium. I was on the lowest side of normal for both magnesium and zinc. After that, I’ve taken a multi everyday and magnesium and zinc. Sure I’ve had breakthrough migraines. Nothing like that ever again though. If the magnesium hadn’t worked, I would have had to have a CT. Thank God for a smart doctor!

  6. I take magnesium every day. I have a neurological disease called Dystonia and it really helps with muscle spasms. The kind of magnesium you take can affect your gut. Citrate can cause diarrhea but with glycinate or tartrate all is normal. Couldn’t live without it!

  7. I have stage 1 .COPD and have had it for at least 8 or.9.years
    I was in the hospital for asthma exacerbation and my wheezing was taking long to go away , even with nebulization . So….they de ides to try magnesium. They put it in my IV and the next day my wheezing was so much better. I supplements now. It’s great for.the lungs.

  8. I take magnesium for restless leg syndrome snd leg cramps

  9. I understand that Magnesium Oxide tends not to be well absorbed by the body and so is less effective, that Magnesium Citrate tends to cause loose stools. I use Magnesium Bisglycinate which seems to work well with no adverse side effects.

  10. I take magnesium due to vertigo issues that started the song I’m doing much better no new episodes for the last 3 months.

  11. Love this magnesium….L- threeonate magnesium fixed irregular heart, and can pass the blood/ brain barrier. Other forms cannot

    • Yes! Magnesium L-Threonate for brain function. Taken daily in my house and loving the improvement!

  12. I was taking for less constipation. it worked for a while then had major isdues w very loose stools, so I stopped.

  13. Didn’t know how low my magnesium was until I was hospitalized twice in one month. Take it daily for several reasons.

  14. I have had diarrhea forc2 years. Your info gives me hope!

  15. I’m 69 and taken maggnesium citrate it’s the king of maggnesium and potassium citrate,400 a day,and multi vitamins and minerals lefting dumbbells 7 exercise,you have to found how much you need of maggnesium and potassium citrate away by checking out your wasted 😀

  16. Magnesium is best taken via Transdermal absorbed spray

  17. A family member had his 2nd MI and the hospital got labs back showing very low Mag so they gave him an IV (which he said felt like lava). Apparently smokers deplete magnesium in the body and that was what was behind his deficiency and the 2nd MI.

  18. Take a time release capsule which JigSaw makes no loose stools. Yes, I have used it for five years and if you want to deeply relax before bed take Bioptimizers magnesium version 4.0

  19. Yes Mag Maglecinate or Magnate is the correct one to take !

  20. Worth googling Pyroluria, a condition 10 % of the population has. Tested by a urine sample. Most doctors don’t acknowledge it as it is treated with vitamin B, zinc and magnesium. Most of the symptoms mentioned are caused by pyroluria.

  21. I have been having vicious cramp attacks for about 15yrs. I have gone through the gamut of advice from people meaning well or what may have worked for them. When you are writhing on the floor or looking for a gun, you will try the untried. Yup, straight apple cider vinegar which worked within 15 sseconds, eating lots of dill pickles, buying pickle juice by the gallon. But the salt would spike my blood pressure through the roof. I mentioned all this to my Cardiologist one day, she was not happy about all the salt, and told me to buy magnesium. So I bought the varieties, citrate gummies, glycinate capsules, and oxide capsules. After experimenting, I have settled on 2 citrate gummies in the evening, one oxide capsule in the morning, it has fixed my cramps. On a hot, heavy sweating I may still get tinges of cramps in my hands, chest or thighs– for that or reinforcements during the day I use apple cider vinegar gummies…awesome. Really appreciated the article and the comments. At 80, my body doesn’t have strange things.

  22. Best article

  23. does magnesium can gain weight??

  24. I have stiff legs and my muscles are, should I take magnesium to release the tension. I can’t walk by myself.

  25. Horrible debilitating cramps for years. Kept an emergency kit under the bed with jar of pickles and cramp pills, ate bananas daily. 6th sense kept telling me to try magnesium supplements. I held off because I was already taking a multivitamin. Finally tried them…SHAZAM!! Cramps went away! I had no deficiency, my body simply required more.

  26. Yes I would like to receive yo

  27. Thank you very much everyone for your comments, I have read them all, they are very valuable. I also want to tell you something about my mother, she is going to be 89 this year, 2023, she drinks a lot of water and her face looks perfect, she has her wrinkles like everyone else but they are minimal. One day she went for a general check-up, they did some tests and that they would have the results the next day, (this happened in the best of the pandemic) the next day they call my sister to take her to the hospital emergency, my sister never heard the cell phone, so they had to send the police to tell my sister that it is an emergency that she has to take my mother to the hospital. moments later the ambulance arrived, they took my mother to the hospital and she was hospitalized for 5 days, until they managed to raise her sodium, it turns out that by drinking too much water she cleansed her body eliminating the sodium. I would appreciate it if you could tell me what you know about sodium.

    • Sodium can be diminished by taking in too much water. Other things could be related to medications. Water pills, anti-depressants are major contributors. If she eats a low salt diet with excess hydration.

  28. Heard you all loud and clear, it’s very healthy and sincere to share this

  29. Should we be having our Magnesium level tested before taking a supplement though? I know that there is a possibility of getting too much of certain vitamins. If I remember correctly, magnesium is one of those vitamins.

  30. I love my CALM magnesium powder I take at night to help me sleep. I wish I knew about this before. I will continue to use this product and let others know about it’s benefits.
    Finally getting good rest.

  31. Magnesium was a game changer for me for head comfort, sleep and leg cramps. What I discovered in my journey of taking magnesium is that Isotonix magnesium was the most effective for me. Like getting my magnesium through an IV minus the needle. The Isotonix magnesium doesn’t have the side effects that some of the others do because of the formulation and delivery system (i.e., it’s isotonic). I wish I would have known about it sooner!!!

  32. Can I talk Magnesium Glycinate with Milk of Magnesia? The Glycinate helps me sleep…….Milk of Magnesia helps with bowel movements.

  33. I get muscle cramps a lot, restless legs, etc. If they get bad, I open up the Mg capsule and pour it under my tongue- cramps are gone in a couple of minutes! It was suggested by a natural supplement store owner/massage therapist that I knew and works like a charm. Apple cider vinegar rubbed on the cramping muscle also helps. The product “Stops Cramps” is pretty much just ACV.

  34. Five United States Science Patents April 2, 2024 at 1:18 pm · Reply

    Instead of guessing, get data that is decision grade quality. Your Doctor can test Magnesium Blood Levels. This could be done 2 or more times a year since B-12 (low amounts can cause nerve damage) and D3 or Vitamin D can fluctuate and go low quickly. Instead of centering on toilet habits, perhaps finding out through the data of proper and complete blood tests is a more healthful methodology. Note, some doctors will fight you on blood testing. Get another doctor, you have the human right to best data and good health.

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About the Author

Holly Brenza
Holly Brenza

Holly Brenza, health enews contributor, is a public affairs coordinator on the content team at Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care. She is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago. In her free time, Holly enjoys reading, watching the White Sox and Blackhawks, playing with her dog, Bear and running her cats' Instagram account, @strangefurthings.