Getting enough magnesium may support sleep health and improve mood. It may also lower your risk of cardiovascular disease and migraine episodes.

Your body requires magnesium for more than 300 enzymatic reactions. A deficiency can have a drastic effect on your health.

Although magnesium is found in a wide variety of foods, supplements can offer benefits, particularly for people with low intake.

But with magnesium supplements available in a wide variety of forms and dosages, choosing one isn’t always easy.

This article looks at the benefits and side effects of magnesium supplements and highlights the various forms and dosages.

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Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in your body. Your body can’t work properly without it.

The nutrient is essential for hundreds of metabolic processes and many other important bodily functions, from producing energy to building important proteins.

Dietary sources of magnesium include:

Meat and fish contain smaller amounts.

An estimated 9% to 17% of adults and 15% to 20% of adolescents have a magnesium deficiency.

Magnesium deficiency may play a role in the development of health conditions, such as:

  • type 2 diabetes
  • heart disease
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • atherosclerosis, or a narrowing of the arteries due to a cholesterol plaque

Though it’s possible to get adequate amounts of magnesium from your diet, a supplement may be helpful if you have difficulty meeting your magnesium needs through food or if you have a deficiency.

If you have a deficiency, it can take 20 to 40 weeks of magnesium supplementation to reach a steady level.

While more research is needed, magnesium supplementation in people with a deficiency can have health benefits:

May help reduce blood pressure

Taking magnesium supplements may help reduce blood pressure levels.

Studies show that people with high blood pressure may see improvements when supplementing this mineral.

A 2021 review of 7 studies associated supplementing with a dose of 300 mg or more of magnesium daily for at least 12 weeks with a 5.78 mm Hg drop in systolic and a 2.5 mm Hg drop in diastolic blood pressure in participants with type 2 diabetes.

May improve sleep

Magnesium plays an important role in sleep.

People with low magnesium levels are more likely to experience sleep problems, such as difficulties falling or staying asleep.

A review of 3 studies among older adults found that supplementing with 320 to 720 mg of magnesium daily for up to 8 weeks decreased the time it took them to fall asleep and increased total sleep time compared with placebo.

According to another study, magnesium supplementation may help people, especially older adults, fall asleep quicker and stay asleep longer.

Learn more about magnesium supplements for sleep.

May improve mood

Some studies link low levels of magnesium with depression, and this has led researchers to wonder whether supplementing with this mineral could help treat this condition.

According to a 2023 review of studies, magnesium supplementation may help reduce symptoms of depression in adults with depressive disorder. However, the authors note that more studies with larger sample sizes and longer follow-ups are still needed.

May benefit blood sugar management

Magnesium plays a crucial role in insulin and glucose metabolism.

Many people with type 2 diabetes, a condition that impacts blood sugar, have a magnesium deficiency because high blood sugar or insulin levels can increase the amount of this nutrient lost through urine.

Some researchers hypothesize that taking magnesium supplements may improve insulin resistance, a metabolic issue in which your cells don’t respond properly to insulin.

Insulin is a hormone that helps regulate your blood sugar levels, and improving insulin resistance can promote better blood sugar management, especially in people with diabetes.

However, experts are divided on whether magnesium supplements actually help regulate blood sugar in practice, with different studies having conflicting findings.

Though more research is needed, magnesium supplements may help stabilize blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes and a magnesium deficiency.

May reduce heart disease risk

Low magnesium levels are linked to an increased risk of heart disease. One reason for this may be that low levels negatively affect heart disease risk factors such as blood sugar and blood pressure.

Eating a diet rich in foods high in magnesium can lower your risk of heart disease. But this may also result from the combination of other beneficial nutrients in these foods, such as potassium and calcium. More research is needed to determine the effects of magnesium alone.

According to a 2020 study, taking oral magnesium supplements may improve levels of certain proteins associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. However, more research is needed to determine if this lowers the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

While these results are promising, more studies are needed to determine the possible benefit.

May improve migraine

A magnesium deficiency may increase the risk of migraine, a neurological condition characterized by intense, recurring headaches that occur with additional symptoms.

While more research is needed, a daily dose of 400 to 600 mg of magnesium may help prevent migraine in people with a magnesium deficiency. This dosage is slightly higher than the recommended value provided by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

A 2018 review of 5 studies showed that treating migraine with a high 600-mg dose of magnesium was safe and effective.

Still, more studies are needed before firm dosage recommendations can be made for treating migraine.


Taking a magnesium supplement to address a deficiency has been linked to health benefits. These include:

  • improvements in blood pressure
  • mood
  • blood sugar management
  • lower risk of developing health conditions such as heart disease
  • lower risk of migraine episodes, in people who have migraine

Experts currently do not recommend magnesium supplements for people who do not have a magnesium deficiency.

Though magnesium supplements are generally considered safe, you should check with a healthcare professional before taking them, especially if you have a medical condition.

The mineral supplement may not be safe for people who take certain diuretics, heart medications, or antibiotics.

Most people who take magnesium supplements don’t experience side effects, but magnesium can cause gut-related issues, especially when taken in large doses. Side effects can include:

  • diarrhea
  • nausea
  • vomiting

People with kidney issues are at a higher risk of experiencing adverse effects related to magnesium supplements, including toxicity, if their levels become too high.

Additionally, there’s no evidence that supplementing magnesium supports health in people who don’t have a deficiency. So if you’re not experiencing any effects of magnesium deficiency, or if you know you don’t have one, you probably don’t need to take a supplement.

Always speak with a healthcare professional before starting or stopping any supplements.

A diet high in magnesium includes healthy whole foods such as:

  • whole grains
  • nuts
  • seeds
  • legumes

It’s possible to get the daily recommended amount of the mineral through diet alone. This is 400 to 420 mg for males and 320 to 360 mg for females. However, many modern diets are low in magnesium-rich foods.

If you can’t get enough magnesium through your diet, and if it’s safe for you to do so, you may want to take a supplement.

How much should you take?

The recommended dose for magnesium supplements varies between 200 to 400 mg per day, depending on the brand.

That means a supplement can provide 100% or more of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI).

The tolerable upper limit for supplemental magnesium is 350 mg per day. Below this level, you’re unlikely to experience any digestive side effects.

If you have a deficiency, you may need a higher dose, but you should check with a healthcare professional before taking large doses of magnesium that exceed this limit.

Which type should you choose?

Magnesium supplements come in a variety of forms, some of which your body can absorb more easily than others.

Better absorbed types include:

  • magnesium citrate
  • magnesium lactate
  • magnesium aspartate
  • magnesium chloride

Supplements are available in a variety of delivery systems, such as pills, gummies, powders, and liquids.

The delivery system doesn’t make much of a difference in terms of absorption, so choose one that you prefer.

Also, when shopping for a supplement, choose brands with third-party verification, which indicates that the supplement has been tested for potency and contaminants.

The mineral magnesium is essential for keeping your body functioning at its best. Adequate magnesium intake has been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and other conditions.

Dietary sources of magnesium include nuts, leafy greens, legumes, and seeds.

Taking a supplement can help you meet your daily needs if you don’t get enough of this important nutrient from food alone. Side effects are unlikely at doses below 350 mg per day.

If you’re interested in trying a supplement, choose a product that contains a well-absorbed form of magnesium, such as magnesium citrate, and that has been tested by a third party, such as USP.

Magnesium supplements are widely available in stores and online.