Research indicates that taking magnesium in doses between 125–600 mg daily can offer positive effects. Nonetheless, the ideal dosage might differ based on individual requirements.
Magnesium is an essential mineral for maintaining good health.
This mineral plays a pivotal role in several body functions, including energy production and the creation of proteins. Furthermore, magnesium aids in brain operations, maintains bone strength and regulates heart and muscle actions.
Natural sources of magnesium encompass foods such as nuts, green leafy vegetables, and dairy products.
Incorporating this crucial mineral as a supplement has been associated with numerous advantages, such as alleviating constipation, bettering blood sugar control, and enhancing sleep quality.
This piece delves into the various magnesium supplements available and guides you in choosing the optimal daily intake for your circumstances.
- Recommendations by age
- Blood sugar
- Muscle cramps
- Side effects
Recommended daily amounts of magnesium
Magnesium is vital for good health.
Yet, many people don’t get enough of it.
This deficiency is often seen in individuals who consume a standard Western diet, characterized by processed foods and refined grains. Such diets might be low in foods like green leafy vegetables and legumes, which are rich in magnesium and other key nutrients.
Here’s a guide on the daily magnesium recommendations for adults, infants, and kids.
- Birth to 6 months: 30 mg
- 7–12 months: 75 mg
- 1–3 years: 80 mg
- 4–8 years: 130 mg
- 9–13 years: 240 mg
- 14–18 years: 360 mg
- 19–30 years: 310 mg
- 31–50 years: 320 mg
- 51+ years: 320 mg
- Birth to 6 months: 30 mg
- 7–12 months: 75 mg
- 1–3 years: 80 mg
- 4–8 years: 130 mg
- 9–13 years: 240 mg
- 14–18 years: 410 mg
- 19–30 years: 400 mg
- 31–50 years: 420 mg
- 51+ years: 420 mg
The requirements for pregnant people 18 or older are increased to 350–360 mg daily.
Certain diseases and conditions are associated with magnesium deficiency, including high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and alcohol use disorder.
Taking a magnesium supplement may help increase magnesium levels in those with a higher risk of deficiency or who don’t consume enough in their diet.
Summary: The recommended daily intake for magnesium for adults is 310–420 mg, depending on age and sex.
Types of magnesium supplements
Many forms of magnesium supplements are available.
The most important thing to consider before deciding on a supplement is its absorption rate, or how well your body absorbs it.
Here are brief descriptions of the most common magnesium supplements.
Magnesium gluconate comes from the magnesium salt of gluconic acid. In one older animal study, it was shown to have the highest absorption rate among other types of magnesium supplements.
Magnesium oxide has the highest amount of elemental, or actual, magnesium per weight. However, it’s poorly absorbed. Studies have found that magnesium oxide is essentially insoluble in water, making absorption rates low.
In magnesium citrate, magnesium in salt form is combined with citric acid. Magnesium citrate is absorbed relatively well by the body and has a high solubility in water, meaning it mixes well with liquid.
Magnesium citrate is found in pill form and is commonly used as a saline laxative before a colonoscopy or significant surgery.
Like magnesium gluconate and citrate, magnesium chloride is absorbed well by the body.
It’s also available as an oil that can be applied topically, but further studies are needed to fully understand how well magnesium in this form is absorbed through the skin.
Suggested read: Magnesium supplements: Benefits, side effects, and dosage
Magnesium hydroxide, also known as milk of magnesia, is commonly used as a laxative to treat constipation and in some antacids to treat heartburn.
Magnesium aspartate is another common magnesium supplement that is highly absorbable by the body.
Magnesium glycinate has been shown to have a relatively good absorption rate with less of a laxative effect.
According to some older research, this is likely because it’s absorbed in a different area of your intestine than many other magnesium supplements.
Summary: Many types of magnesium supplements are available. It’s important to consider the absorption rate of supplements before making a purchase.
Magnesium dosage for constipation
It can be uncomfortable when dealing with acute or chronic constipation.
Magnesium oxide and magnesium hydroxide are two magnesium compounds commonly used to promote bowel movements.
Magnesium hydroxide, or milk of magnesia, works as a laxative by pulling water into your intestines, which helps soften your stool and ease its passage.
The recommended dose depends on the product. Always follow the dosage instructions.
Exceeding the recommended intake could cause watery diarrhea or electrolyte imbalances.
Due to its laxative effect, milk of magnesia is generally used to treat acute constipation and is not usually recommended for chronic cases.
Magnesium citrate is another magnesium supplement used to treat constipation, which helps draw water into the intestine to improve stool consistency.
The standard dose for magnesium citrate is 240 milliliters (mL) per day, which can be mixed with water and taken orally.
Summary: Magnesium citrate and magnesium hydroxide are common magnesium compounds used to treat constipation. For best results, always follow standard dosage recommendations on the label.
Magnesium dosage for sleep
Adequate magnesium levels are essential for a good night’s sleep. Magnesium can help your mind relax, and your body achieve deep, restorative sleep.
Suggested read: Magnesium oxide: Benefits, side effects, dosage, and more
In fact, older studies in rats have shown that suboptimal magnesium levels led to poor sleep quality.
Currently, a limited number of studies have studied the effects of magnesium supplements on sleep quality, making it difficult to recommend a specific daily dose.
However, one review found that older adults with insomnia who took between 320–729 mg of magnesium per day from magnesium oxide or magnesium citrate could fall asleep significantly faster than a placebo.
Summary: Based on limited research, taking 320–729 mg of magnesium daily may help you fall asleep faster.
Magnesium dosage for blood sugar regulation
People with diabetes may be more likely to have low magnesium levels.
High blood sugar levels can increase magnesium loss through urine, causing low magnesium levels in your blood.
Studies have shown magnesium supplements may help regulate blood sugar by managing insulin action.
Insulin is a hormone that helps control blood sugar levels by signaling your cells to take in sugar from your blood.
One 3-month study in 42 people with diabetes found that supplementing with 250 mg of magnesium per day in the form of magnesium gluconate, oxide, and lactate improved levels of insulin, insulin resistance, and hemoglobin A1c, a marker of long-term blood sugar control.
However, another 2014 study found that people with diabetes and normal magnesium levels who received a daily total of 360 mg of magnesium from magnesium lactate showed no improvements in blood glucose regulation or insulin sensitivity over 3 months.
Therefore, more recent, high-quality studies are needed to understand the effects of magnesium on blood sugar control for people with diabetes.
Summary: Doses of 250 mg of magnesium supplements daily have been shown to improve blood glucose levels in patients with diabetes, but more research is needed.
Magnesium dosage for reducing muscle cramps
Many conditions can cause muscle cramps.
Since magnesium is critical to muscle function, a deficiency may cause painful muscle contractions.
Magnesium supplements are often marketed to prevent or improve muscle cramping.
Though research on magnesium supplements for muscle cramping is mixed, one older study found that participants who received 300 mg of magnesium daily for 6 weeks reported fewer muscle cramps than those who received a placebo.
Another study noted the ability of magnesium supplements to reduce the frequency of leg cramps during pregnancy, reporting that those who took 300 mg of magnesium daily experienced less frequent and less intense leg cramps, compared with those who took a placebo.
Suggested read: What’s the best time to take magnesium?
Still, more research is needed, as several other studies have found no effect of magnesium supplements on leg cramps.
Summary: Although further research is needed on magnesium and muscle cramps, taking 300 mg of magnesium daily may help decrease symptoms.
Magnesium dosage for depression
Studies have shown that magnesium deficiency may increase your risk of depression.
In fact, taking a magnesium supplement may improve depressive symptoms in some people.
One study found that taking a total of 248 mg of magnesium (from 2,000 mg of magnesium chloride) per day improved depressive symptoms in those with mild to moderate depression.
Moreover, another study found that taking 305 mg of magnesium (from 500 mg of magnesium oxide) for 8 weeks led to significant improvements in symptoms of depression in people with low magnesium levels.
While magnesium supplements may improve depression in those with magnesium deficiency, further research is needed to know if they can alleviate depression in those with normal magnesium levels.
Summary: Supplementing with 248–305 mg of magnesium daily has improved mood in people with depression and low magnesium levels.
Magnesium dosage for enhancing exercise performance
Various studies on magnesium supplements’ effects on exercise performance have found mixed results.
For example, one older study that used a dose of 365 mg of magnesium daily showed no significant change in exercise performance or muscle gain.
Researchers concluded that athletes not deficient in magnesium are unlikely to benefit from supplementation.
However, another 2014 study found that volleyball players who took 350 mg of magnesium daily showed improved athletic performance compared to a control group.
Summary: Supplementing with magnesium at doses of 350 mg or higher daily may boost exercise performance, but results are mixed.
Magnesium dosage for improving PMS symptoms
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a group of symptoms, including water retention, agitation, and headaches, that many experience about 1–2 weeks before their period.
Some older research has found that supplementing with magnesium may help improve PMS symptoms.
One older study found that taking 200 mg of magnesium (from magnesium oxide) daily improved water retention associated with PMS.
Another 2010 study found that supplementing with 250 mg of magnesium helped relieve PMS symptoms more effectively when combined with 40 mg of vitamin B6.
Summary: Magnesium doses of 200–250 mg daily have been shown to improve PMS symptoms, including mood and water retention.
Magnesium dosage for migraines
People who experience migraines may be at risk of magnesium deficiency due to several factors, including a genetic inability to absorb magnesium efficiently or increased excretion of magnesium due to stress.
According to one review of five studies, supplementing with 600 mg (from magnesium dicitrate) could be a safe and effective option to reduce the frequency of migraine attacks.
Another study showed that taking 500 mg of magnesium from magnesium oxide was similarly as effective as prescription medication at reducing the frequency and duration of migraine attacks over 8 weeks.
Summary: Supplementing with 500–600 mg of magnesium daily has been shown to prevent and possibly decrease the frequency and duration of migraines.
Potential adverse effects and cautions associated with magnesium
The National Academy of Medicine advises against consuming over 350 mg of magnesium from supplements daily.
Nonetheless, some research has explored the use of higher daily amounts.
It’s crucial only to consume a magnesium supplement exceeding 350 mg daily when monitored by a medical professional.
While magnesium overdose is uncommon, high doses of certain magnesium supplements can lead to symptoms like diarrhea, nausea, and abdominal discomfort.
Some medications, such as antibiotics and diuretics, might interact with magnesium supplements.
Summary: While overdosing on magnesium is infrequent, always consult a medical expert before taking more than 350 mg of magnesium supplements daily.
Magnesium plays a role in over 300 biochemical processes in the body and is essential for overall health.
Suggested read: 19 natural laxatives for constipation
The advised daily magnesium intake ranges from 310–420 mg for adults, depending on age and gender.
Should you need a supplement, the suggested dosage might differ based on specific needs like alleviating constipation, enhancing sleep, reducing muscle cramps, or addressing depression.
Research typically shows beneficial outcomes with daily intakes of 125–600 mg of pure magnesium.
Nonetheless, before starting any supplement, particularly at elevated dosages, seeking advice from a medical professional is always wise.