What Is Magnesium Used for?

Magnesium can be used to prevent and treat a variety of health conditions ranging from asthma to osteoporosis.

What is Magnesium Used for?Magnesium supplementation is used to prevent and treat a wide variety of often unexpected conditions.

  • Magnesium citrate is a laxative and can be very effective in treating constipation. Learn how to use magnesium for constipation here.
  • Researchers have found that higher dietary magnesium intake can protect against insulin resistance,[2] and that low magnesium intake is associated with an increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes.[1] This is because magnesium is thought to influence secretion of insulin from the pancreas.[3]
  • Heart disease. Magnesium can protect against high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, heart attack, coronary artery disease, arrhythmia, and other common heart problems.[1,3,4]
  • Alzheimer’s disease. Playing an important role in the brain, magnesium levels can impact cognitive function. Animal studies have shown that magnesium can help reduce plaque build up and decrease the risk for cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s disease.[1] To learn about the best magnesium supplement for reversing memory loss, go here.
  • Magnesium influences many factors involved in the development of depression, including the activity of neurotransmitters and hormones.[3,5] In one study, researchers found a significant association between low magnesium intake and depression.[6]
  • Magnesium affects lung function. It is a bronchodilator (something that relaxes the airways, increasing air flow to the lungs), and it has anti-inflammatory effects, both qualities that make it helpful in asthma treatment.[1,3]
  • Several studies have shown that low levels of magnesium can be associated with lower bone mineral density and osteoporosis.[3,7] Learn more about why magnesium is important for bone health here.
  • Magnesium deficiencies may partly be to blame for migraine symptoms, and supplementation can be an effective and inexpensive treatment for migraine.[1,3,8]

How much magnesium do you need?

The recommended daily allowance of magnesium is 410 to 420 mg per day for men and 310 to 320 mg per day for women. Up to 50% of Americans don’t meet these levels and are at risk for developing a magnesium deficiency. Discover if you have low-magnesium symptoms in our article, Do You Have Magnesium Deficiency Symptoms?

Food sources of magnesium

To boost your levels, eat plenty of natural sources of magnesium:

  • Green vegetables, like spinach, kale, and lettuce
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Cereals
  • Legumes
  • Fruit
  • Fish
  • Meat [1]

Should you take a magnesium supplement?

Most people don’t get enough magnesium through diet. If you want to prevent the conditions listed above, or if you suspect you might have a magnesium deficiency, you may benefit from magnesium supplementation.

A common effective dosage is 300 mg per day. You should consult with your physician to determine the best dosage for your particular needs.

Share your experience

Do you take a magnesium supplement? Do you find it helps improve your health? Share your experience with magnesium in the comments section below.


[1] Nutrients. 2015 Sep 23;7(9):8199-226.

[2] Nutrients. 2013 Sep 27;5(10):3910-9.

[3] Physiol Rev. 2015 Jan;95(1):1-46.

[4] Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2004 Aug 1;61(15):1569-76.

[5] Pharmacol Rep. 2013;65(3):547-54.

[6] J Am Board Fam Med. 2015 Mar-Apr;28(2):249-56.

[7] Osteoporos Int. 2015 Nov 10. [Epub ahead of print]

[8] Expert Rev Neurother. 2009 Mar;9(3):369-79.

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