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School of Medicine > Family Medicine & Community Health > The Benefits of Magnesium

The Benefits of Magnesium

Research studies have shown that magnesium supplementation can help lower high blood pressure, lower the risk of developing diabetes, decrease the symptoms of PMS, reduce migraine symptoms, and help depression and anxiety. Magnesium has also been shown to help muscle cramps, as well as constipation, kidney stones, osteoporosis, insomnia, fibromyalgia and asthma.

Magnesium is needed for calcium to be used by bone. It is needed to help keep muscles relaxed, including those of the heart and blood vessels. It is needed in the function of vital co-factors and enzymes.

Diuretics (water-pills) can rob the body not only of potassium, but also of magnesium...yet little advice is given to supplement with magnesium. Magnesium is not as readily available as potassium in common foods, and is depleted by cooking and processing. Sources of magnesium are whole grains, greens, nuts, and seeds; however, the soil itself is depleted of magnesium and these foods do not have as much magnesium now as they used to 50 years ago.

People who should not take magnesium are those with kidney failure, bowel obstruction, myasthenia gravis, or heart block.

In a situation of magnesium deficiency, it may take up to 6 months of oral supplementation to correct things.

There are several types of oral magnesium available, including magnesium citrate, magnesium chloride, magnesium malate, magnesium taurate, magnesium aspartate, magnesium glycinate, and magnesium oxide.

Magnesium Citrate is probably the most cost effective. (400 to 600 mg at bedtime is a good dose; or 200 to 300 mg two to three times a day). It diarrhea is a problem, cut back on the dose or switch to magnesium glycinate or aspartate. Magnesium oxide is poorly absorbed, and hence likely to cause diarrhea. We do not recommend magnesium oxide.

If one is going for maximum absorption, it is best to use smaller divided doses throughout the day than one big dose once a day.

If oral magnesium is giving you diarrhea and you still need more magnesium, you can try oil of magnesium, which is magnesium chloride, rubbed onto the skin. Or you can soak your feet in an Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) bath.

Type A personalities and people under stress will tend to need more magnesium.

Because it helps with constipation, magnesium can also be used as a laxative. Magnesium as a laxative is sold as a liquid in bottle of magnesium citrate. The difference between magnesium as a supplement and magnesium as a laxative is the dose.

Last modified: Jun 21, 2019