Magnesium is an essential mineral in the body. In fact, it’s the fourth most abundant mineral in the body, and it plays a vital role in so many body and brain functions (more than 600). So where does this mineral come from? What are the health benefits of magnesium supplements, side effects, and recommended magnesium dosage?
What are the Health Benefits of Magnesium Supplements?
Most of the magnesium in your body is found in your bones, but this mineral is also found in your blood, soft tissues, muscles, and fluids. Every cell in your body needs magnesium to function properly. But even with a healthy diet, many people are lacking magnesium. You can use topical magnesium or take magnesium supplements. Supplements can help bridge the gap to help you maintain healthy magnesium levels. Taking magnesium supplements may provide many benefits, from better sleep to reduced inflammation, better digestion, and lower blood pressure.
May Improve Your Sleep
Having trouble sleeping? You’re not alone. An estimated 10%-30% of adults have chronic insomnia, although some research suggests that this figure is closer to 50%-60%. Lifestyle certainly plays a role in insomnia, but other factors may be at play, such as lack of nutrients.
Magnesium is an important nutrient for sleep. It helps relax your muscles and gets your body ready for sleep. It also helps calm your mind. It works by regulating the neurotransmitters that keep you awake. Magnesium plays an essential role in regulating your sleep cycle.
A 2012 study found that magnesium supplements were effective at improving sleep and helping people sleep longer.
Along with relaxing your muscles, magnesium is also believed to reduce inflammation and help maintain melatonin and glutathione.
A 2011 study showed older adults with insomnia taking magnesium and melatonin supplements had better overall sleep, slept longer and felt more alert in the morning.
Magnesium Dosage for Sleep
One study found that taking 500 mg of magnesium daily had overall better sleep quality compared to adults who were given a placebo.
May Help Fight Depression
Magnesium plays an important role in your mood and brain function. Low levels of this mineral have been linked to a higher risk of depression. One analysis of more than 8,800 people found that people under 65 with the lowest magnesium intake had a higher risk of depression.
Although more research is needed to make a conclusive link between magnesium deficiency and depression, there is evidence that supplementing this mineral may significantly reduce depression symptoms. One study found that taking 450 mg of magnesium was as effective as taking an antidepressant drug.
Magnesium Dosage for Depression
How much magnesium should you take to improve your mood?
- One study found a 248 mg dose of magnesium chloride improved symptoms of depression in people with moderate depression.
- Another study found that 450 mg of magnesium chloride was just as effective as an antidepressant at alleviating depression symptoms.
If you are worried about ingesting magnesium to help with depression, there are also topical magnesium options available.
May Lower Blood Pressure
Some research suggests that magnesium supplements may help lower blood pressure in people with high blood pressure.
One study found that people who take 450 mg of magnesium per day saw a significant decline in blood pressure. Another study found that while magnesium lowered blood pressure in people with high blood pressure, it had no effect on people with normal levels.
Magnesium Dosage for Blood Pressure
Magnesium dosages vary depending on the condition and your deficiency level. For blood pressure, research shows that patients who took 300 mg of magnesium had lowered blood pressure within a month.
May Reduce Inflammation
Low levels of magnesium may be linked with chronic inflammation, which can lead to other health issues, like a chronic disease.
In one study, children with low magnesium levels also had the highest levels of CRP, an inflammatory marker. These children also had higher levels of insulin, blood sugar, and triglyceride levels.
Studies show that magnesium supplements may reduce CRP and other inflammation markers in older adults who are overweight and have prediabetes.
Magnesium’s effect on inflammation is still being researched. In one study, researchers depleted magnesium in rats. After a few days, the rats developed chronic inflammation and increased production of free radicals and cytokines. As soon as the rats were given sufficient amounts of magnesium, the inflammatory process decreased.
Magnesium Dosage for Inflammation
The general recommended daily dietary intake for magnesium is:
- 19-30 years of age: 310 mg for women and 400 mg for men
- 31+ years of age: 320 mg for women and 420 mg for men
May Help with Migraines
Migraines can be debilitating. Along with severe pain, they can also cause nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light.
Some research has linked magnesium deficiency with migraines. Other research suggests that magnesium supplements can help prevent or treat migraines. In fact, one study found that taking 1 gram of magnesium was just as effective at alleviating a migraine attack as medication.
People who suffer from migraines may be more susceptible to magnesium deficiency because of several factors, including excess stress (causing increased magnesium execration) and a genetic inability to absorb magnesium.
Magnesium Dosage for Migraines
For migraines, one study found that supplementing 600 mg of magnesium citrate reduced the severity of the frequency of migraines.
May Improve Digestion
Many people suffer from digestive problems, like gas, bloating, constipation, acid reflux, and indigestion. Digestive issues can make it more difficult to absorb nutrients, and this can lead to long-term deficiencies.
Magnesium plays a crucial role in digestion. Without this important mineral, your body can’t digest food properly, make digestive enzymes, or make hydrochloric acid. All of these processes make digestion and nutrient absorption possible.
In fact, magnesium helps make the enzymes in your saliva that start breaking down food right from the start.
Along with producing vital enzymes, magnesium also helps keep your pancreas healthy by helping to prevent pancreatic cancer and pancreatitis.
Magnesium is so important for digestion that low levels can lead to constipation and too little stomach acid. If you struggle with absorbing nutrients, topical magnesium is also an option to help increase the amount of magnesium that is actually absorbed into your body.
Magnesium Dosage for Digestion
To help improve digestion and reduce constipation, 8.75-25 grams of magnesium citrate has been used or 2.4-4.8 grams of magnesium hydroxide. Magnesium salts have also been used to treat the occasional bout of constipation.
May Improve Bone Health
When it comes to bone health, calcium takes the spotlight. But calcium is just one of the minerals needed to build and maintain healthy bones. Magnesium is just as important. In fact, more than half of the magnesium in your body is in your bones.
A study from 2013 found that magnesium was needed to keep bones healthy and strong. Too little magnesium can result in bones being more fragile and brittle by:
- Contributing to inflammation in your bones
- Disrupting the normal process of crystal formation in bones
- Affecting the amount of parathyroid hormone your body produces
According to research, people who get higher amounts of magnesium through supplements and food have higher bone mineral density levels. Strong bones may help reduce the risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures.
Magnesium Dosage for Bone Health
To help support healthy bones, the following doses have been used:
- 300-1800 mg of magnesium hydroxide daily for 6 months, and then 600 mg daily for 18 months
- 1830 mg of magnesium citrate daily for 30 days.
May Help with Blood Sugar Regulation
Magnesium may help with blood sugar regulation. Studies have found that as much as 48% of people who have type 2 diabetes also have low magnesium levels. Low levels of magnesium can also affect your body’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels.
Research shows that people who have low magnesium levels may be at a greater risk of developing diabetes. In fact, one study involving more than 4,000 people over 20 years found that those who had the highest magnesium intakes were 47% less likely to experience diabetes.
Another study found that people with type 2 diabetes who took high doses of magnesium saw great improvements in blood sugar levels compared to a control group.
High blood sugar levels can lead to magnesium deficiency. When blood sugar levels are too high, it can increase magnesium loss through urine. Studies have found that taking magnesium supplements can help regulate blood sugar levels by helping better manage insulin action.
Magnesium for Regulating Blood Sugar
For blood sugar regulation, one study found that daily supplementation of 2,500 mg of magnesium improved insulin sensitivity as well as fasting blood sugar levels in people with low magnesium levels.
Although more research is needed, there is evidence that higher-than-usual doses of magnesium supplements may benefit blood glucose control.
Magnesium Supplements Side Effects
Supplements can help bridge the gap if your diet isn’t providing enough magnesium. Although generally safe, magnesium supplements can cause side effects in some people.
According to the National Academy of Medicine, you should not take more than 350 mg of supplemented magnesium per day. When taken at high doses, there is a chance that supplements can cause:
- Abdominal cramps
In some cases, magnesium supplements can interact with medications, such as diuretics and antibiotics. If you are taking medications, talk to your doctor first before taking magnesium supplements to make sure there will be no interactions.
It’s important to maintain a healthy balance of magnesium in the body. Too much magnesium can cause serious side effects, including:
- Low blood pressure
- Slowed breathing
- Irregular heartbeat
Keep in mind that these side effects are the result of very large doses of magnesium, which can cause magnesium build-up in the body. If you don’t exceed the recommended dose of magnesium, these side effects shouldn’t be an issue. For most people, magnesium supplements, when taken at the appropriate dosages, are safe and do not produce any side effects.
Taking magnesium supplements can benefit the body in many ways, especially if you aren’t getting enough of this mineral through diet alone.