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Supplement of the Month


Magnesium is an abundant mineral in the body. It is a cofactor in more than 300 enzyme systems that regulate diverse biochemical reactions in the body and maintain muscle and nerve function. It is a component of the structural development of bone and helps with the regulation of blood glucose and blood pressure. Magnesium is involved in

many physiologic pathways including energy production, nucleic acid and protein synthesis, and cell signaling. Together with calcium, it is also is involved in muscle contraction and blood clotting (1).

Almost half of the U.S. population does not obtain the daily recommended intake for magnesium. The recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) is dependent on a person’s age and sex. Low magnesium intakes can be associated with a number of chronic health conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, migraines, poor sleep, osteoporosis, mental health conditions, chronic pain, muscle cramping and many more. Early signs of magnesium deficiency include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and weakness. More chronic symptoms include weakness, numbness, tingling, muscle contractions and cramps, seizures, personality changes, and abnormal heart rhythms (3, 4, 5).

Studies show that oral magnesium can be helpful for boosting exercise performance by improving muscle activity and disposing of lactate (7). Additionally, it has been shown to have anti-inflammatory benefits, assist with migraines (9) and even PMS symptoms (11). It also plays a critical role in brain function and mood and has been shown to improve de

pression and mood (8). Magnesium has even been shown to reduce insulin resistance which is the leading cause of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes (10).

Good sources of magnesium include:

  • Dark green leafy vegetables (spinach)
  • nuts and seeds (pumpkin seeds, almost, cashews, peanut butter)
  • legumes (black beans, peas, lentils)
  • whole grains
  • wheat germ
  • wheat and oat bran
  • dark chocolate
  • avocado
  • Essentially food that contains good fiber provide Magnesium.
  • Tap, mineral, and bottled waters can also be sources of magnesium but the amount may vary (1, 3, 4).

Supplemental magnesium is readily available in a variety of forms including magnesium oxide, citrate, glycinate, carbonate, hydroxide and chloride. Studies show that magnesium citrate is the most readily absorbed. The typical recommended dose for ages 9-19+ is about 350mg-400mg.

Although magnesium from food does not pose a health risk, excessive doses from supplements or medications can cause side effects. The most common side effects include gastrointestinal upset with diarrhea and bloating (5). Magnesium is likely safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women when used in doses below the tolerable upper intake level (UL) of 350mg daily (2). Caution is advised if you are taking the following medications: bisphosphonates (e.g. Fosamax, Boniva, Actonel), digoxin, levodopa/carbidopa (Sinemet), and sulfonylureas (e.g. gliclazide, glipizide, glimepiride). Make sure you discuss with your provider before starting any supplements as they can have side effects and could potentially interact with other medications.


  1. Magnesium. National Institutes of Health. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/]
  2. Institute of Medicine (IOM). Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary Reference Intakes: Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Vitamin D and Fluoride. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1997.2.(Reference: Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine. Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Vitamin D, and Fluoride. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1999.)
  3. Rackel, David. Integrative Medicine. Fourth Edition. 2018
  4. Rude RK. Magnesium. In: Coates PM, Betz JM, Blackman MR, Cragg GM, Levine M, Moss J, White JD, eds. Encyclopedia of Dietary Supplements. 2nd ed. New York, NY: Informa Healthcare; 2010:527-37.
  5. Rude RK. Magnesium. In: Ross AC, Caballero B, Cousins RJ, Tucker KL, Ziegler TR, eds. Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease. 11th ed. Baltimore, Mass: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2012:159-75
  6. Guerrera MP, Volpe SL, Mao JJ. Therapeutic uses of magnesium. Am Fam Physician 2009;80:157-62. [PubMed abstract]
  7. Chen HY, Cheng FC, Pan HC, Hsu JC, Wang MF. Magnesium enhances exercise performance via increasing glucose availability in the blood, muscle, and brain during exercise. PLoS One. 2014 Jan 20;9(1):e85486. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0085486. PMID: 24465574; PMCID: PMC3896381.
  8. Barragán-Rodríguez L, Rodríguez-Morán M, Guerrero-Romero F. Efficacy and safety of oral magnesium supplementation in the treatment of depression in the elderly with type 2 diabetes: a randomized, equivalent trial. Magnes Res. 2008 Dec;21(4):218-23. PMID: 19271419.
  9. Wang F, Van Den Eeden SK, Ackerson LM, Salk SE, Reince RH, Elin RJ. Oral magnesium oxide prophylaxis of frequent migrainous headache in children: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Headache. 2003 Jun;43(6):601-10. doi: 10.1046/j.1526-4610.2003.03102.x. PMID: 12786918.
  10. Rodríguez-Morán M, Guerrero-Romero F. Oral magnesium supplementation improves insulin sensitivity and metabolic control in type 2 diabetic subjects: a randomized double-blind controlled trial. Diabetes Care. 2003 Apr;26(4):1147-52. doi: 10.2337/diacare.26.4.1147. PMID: 12663588.
  11. Facchinetti F, Borella P, Sances G, Fioroni L, Nappi RE, Genazzani AR. Oral magnesium successfully relieves premenstrual mood changes. Obstet Gynecol. 1991 Aug;78(2):177-81. PMID: 2067759.

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