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Nutrition

Magnesium

General Information

Magnesium is a mineral that is involved in many body functions, including maintaining bone strength and keeping the heartbeat steady. About half of the magnesium in our bodies is stored in bones. Magnesium is found in supplements, medications (e.g., antacids, laxativelaxativean agent that stimulates bowel movement and relieves constipations) and foods, especially foods that are high in fibre (e.g., whole grains, raw leafy green vegetables, almonds, cashews, seafood, and coca).

Common Name(s)

magnesium, magnesium chloride, magnesium citrate, magnesium fumarate, magnesium gluconate, magnesium hydroxide, magnesium lactate, magnesium oxide, magnesium succinate, magnesium phosphate, magnesium sulfate

Scientific Name(s)

magnesium

How is this product usually used?

Magnesium is usually taken by mouth. It is available in different forms, including chewable tablets, capsules, drops, and liquids.

As supplements, magnesium is coupled with another substance or a salt. Some examples are magnesium citrate, magnesium hydroxide, and magnesium oxide. Elemental magnesium refers to the amount of magnesium in each compound.

The dosing range of magnesium supplementation varies for different age groups. The minimum dose reflects about 5% of the highest adequate intake (AI). The maximum daily doses for children and adolescents are based on the tolerable upper intake levels (UL) that apply to magnesium supplements only.

µ
Age groupMagnesium
(mg/day)
minimum maximum
Children 1 to 3 years
4 to 8 years
12
12
65
110
Adolescents 9 to 13 years
14 to 18 years
12
20
350
350
Adults 19 years and up 20 500

Your health care provider may have recommended using this product in other ways. Contact a health care provider if you have questions.

*Adults include pregnant and breast-feeding women.

What is this product used for?

Magnesium is used to help maintain good health. Specifically, it is used to:

  • help the body metabolize carbohydrates, fats, and proteins
  • form and maintain bones and teeth
  • help form tissue
  • maintain proper function of nerves and muscles

When taken orallyorallyto be taken by mouth (swallowed) (by mouth), magnesium has been used for a number of conditions, including:

  • preventing or treating magnesium deficiency
  • treating constipation
  • treating heartburn (by reducing stomach acid)
  • preventing migraine headaches

Research in migraine prevention has produced mixed results: some studies found that magnesium may help to reduce the severity and frequency of attacks, while others did not. More studies are needed to confirm its role in managing migraines.

A few studies have suggested that magnesium may improve bone mineral density (a marker of bone health) and reduce bone loss in people with osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a condition where the bones are thin and can break easily.

Your health care provider may have recommended this product for other conditions. Contact a health care provider if you have questions.

What else should I be aware of?

Side effects reported with magnesium include nausea, stomach upset and diarrhea (particularly when taking more than 350 mg per day).

Magnesium can interact with certain medications, including some antibiotics, antacids, digoxin, and some medications you may be taking for your bones or to manage your blood pressure. Check with your pharmacist if you are concerned.

If you have a heart problem (called heart block) or severe kidney problems, you should consult a health care professional before starting magnesium.

Magnesium is safe for pregnant or breast-feeding women when it is taken in recommended amounts.

Before taking any new medications, including natural health products, speak to your physician, pharmacist, or other health care provider. Tell your health care provider about any natural health products you may be taking.

Source(s)

  • Magnesium (monograph). Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. (Accessed online May 26, 2016).
  • NIH: Office of Dietary Supplements. Magnesium. http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/magnesium.asp (Accessed online May 26, 2016).
  • Health Canada. Licensed Natural Health Products database: Magnesium. http://webprod.hc-sc.gc.ca/nhpid-bdipsn/monoReq.do?id=135 (Accessed online May 26, 2016).
  • MayoClinic. Magnesium Supplements (Oral Route, Parenteral Route). Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/magnesium-supplement-oral-route-parenteral-route/description/drg-20070730. (Accessed online 9 March, 2014)

    All material © 1996- MediResource Inc. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.