Magnesium is a mineral you legit can’t miss. It’s vital to healthy muscle and nerve function, blood sugar control, and blood pressure regulation. It also helps build protein, bone, and DNA. The thing is, most peeps don’t get enough through their daily diet.
Here’s how to hit your daily magnesium goals and what time to take it in.
Try a magnesium massage
You can opt for a topical product made with magnesium (usually magnesium citrate). Peeps claim these products can help with muscle relaxation, which is why they’re so popular post-workout or before bedtime. There are lots of magnesium lotions, gels, or sprays you can try out.
PSA: In a 2017 review of studies on topical magnesium products, researchers concluded there was not yet enough evidence that a therapeutic amount of the mineral could be absorbed through skin. So while the results aren’t proven, it can’t hurt to try!
Take a mineral soak
Epsom salt, bath flakes, magnesium sulfate… Whatever you call them, they’re a common treatment for sore muscles. Just dissolve them in a tub of steamy, hot water for an uber soothing experience.
Like with the topical treatments mentioned above, it’s not clear how much magnesium you can actually absorb through your skin. But a relaxing bath is always a good idea 🛁.
Magnesium is available in multivitamin pills. It’s commonly combined with other supplements like calcium. You can also get it on its own in tablet, capsule, powder, or liquid form.
The types of magnesium are most easy to absorb are:
- magnesium citrate
- magnesium lactate
- magnesium chloride
- magnesium aspartate
Take take your magnesium with a meal or snack to prevent an upset tummy. Diarrhea and nausea are common side effects if you take the supplements on an empty stomach (especially if they’re a higher dose).
Magnesium supplements can interact with some prescriptions, supplements, and other medications. Here’s what to look out for:
- Bisphosphonates. These osteoporosis drugs don’t absorb as well if you take them alongside magnesium.
- Antibiotics. Magnesium can also affect the absorption of antibiotics. Def don’t take these two at the same time.
- Diuretics. These can increase or decrease the amount of magnesium your body gets rid of when you pee.
- Acid reflux meds. Long-term use of acid reflux or peptic ulcer prescriptions can lead to low magnesium levels.
- Zinc. High doses of zinc can mess with your body’s ability to absorb and regulate magnesium.
When to ask a doctor
Talk to your doctor about how to space out your medications and magnesium supplements. They can help you find the right balance.
You should try to get your magnesium from actual food as often as possible. Nom-noms are tastier than pills anyway, right?
Here’s the all-star list for eating your magnesium:
- fortified cereal
- milk and yogurt
- soy products like tofu
- peas, beans, and seeds
- nuts like almonds, and cashews
- whole grains like brown rice and millet
- green leafy vegetables (think spinach, Popeye)
- fruits like bananas, dried apricots, and avocados
Here’s how much magnesium you actually need on the daily (in milligrams), according to the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements.
|birth to 6 months||30 mg|
|infants 7–12 months||75 mg|
|children 1–3 years||80 mg|
|children 4–8 years||130 mg|
|children 9–13 years||240 mg|
|teen boys 14–18 years||410 mg|
|teen girls 14–18 years||360 mg|
|pregnant teens||400 mg|
|pregnant adults||350–360 mg|
|breastfeeding teens||360 mg|
|breastfeeding adults||310–320 mg|
FYI: You might have a harder time getting enough magnesium if you have a gastrointestinal (GI) disease, type 2 diabetes, or alcoholism.
If you’re not hitting your daily target, you have lots of supplement options. The three most popular are:
This is a mix of magnesium and citric acid. It’s a laxative and can be taken for constipation.
Don’t let the name fool you! This mixture (in spray form) of magnesium citrate and water isn’t really an oil! They’re totes popular now for relieving pain or inducing sleep.
Symptoms of magnesium deficiency include:
- loss of appetite
Advanced deficiency may cause numbness, tingling, muscle cramps, seizures, or abnormal heart rhythms.
Low magnesium has also been associated with these chronic diseases:
- Cardiovascular disease. A 2018 review concluded that higher magnesium intake can protect from cardiovascular disease ❤️.
- Insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. A small 2018 study found magnesium supplements improved insulin resistance and glucose control in participants with type 2 diabetes.
- Migraines. Some migraines can be linked to low magnesium levels. There’s even some evidence that magnesium supplements can relieve migraine symptoms.
The science is still limited on some of these topics, but there’s hope that paying attention to magnesium levels could impact health in other ways:
- There’s evidence that magnesium supplements could help with dysmenorrhea (period cramps), PMS, and menstrual migraines.
- Promising research shows it could help with depression.
- Higher magnesium levels may improve mineral density in bones and prevent osteoporosis.
- People with Alzheimer’s disease tend to have lower magnesium levels, but the connection is unclear. Scientists are looking at how magnesium impacts the brains of laboratory animals.
- Studies indicate that many people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have low magnesium levels. Supplementation may help.
Magnesium is a vital nutrient that your body needs for important functions and preventing illness. Most folks don’t get enough in their daily diet so you might want to take a supplement. Our top timing tip for magnesium is to take it consistently, at the same time every day.