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What is it?


Magnesium (Mg) is an element and essential mineral. It is a cofactor in over three hundred enzymatic reactions involved in protein synthesis, muscle contraction, nerve function, blood pressure, glucose regulation, hormone receptor binding, cardiac conduction, transmembrane ion flux, and calcium channel gating. (72) It is required for the production of ATP, (48) and the synthesis of RNA and DNA. (72)

Not to be confused with: Manganese

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Main uses

Cardiovascular disorders
Gastrointestinal distress
Metabolic, endocrine, and hormonal disorders
Musculoskeletal disorders
Neurological disorders
Respiratory disorders
Sleep and fatigue


Absorption rate
Magnesium aspartate
~42-45% absorption (54)(64)
Magnesium lactate (90)
~42% absorption (23)(64)
Magnesium citrate (3)(90)
~30% absorption (45)(51)(64)(85)
Magnesium glycinate (81)
~24% absorption (64)(71)(87)
Magnesium chloride (6)(25)
~20% absorption (11)(52)(64)
Magnesium gluconate
~20% absorption (52)(57)(64)
Magnesium hydroxide (13)
~15% absorption (11)(24)(64) (11) (24) (64)
Magnesium sulfate (4)(9)
~4-7% (53)(64)(78)
Magnesium oxide (1)(2)
~4% absorption; ~23% in px with ileal resection (32)(64)(71)
Magnesium fumarate (64)
No absorption data
Magnesium orotate (80)
No absorption data
Magnesium pidolate (17)(29)
No absorption data
Magnesium pyrrolidone carboxylic acid (26)(27)
No absorption data

Dosing & administration

Adverse effects

While Mg is generally well-tolerated, oral supplementation may cause diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting. Intravenous overdose may cause thirst, hypotension, drowsiness, muscle weakness, respiratory depression, headaches, flushing, cardiac arrhythmia, coma, and death. (37)(47) There is no evidence of adverse effects from dietary sources. (43)



  • Occurs in the ileum (56%), jejunum (22%), duodenum (11%), and colon (11%)
  • At low GI concentrations, Mg is uptaken through active transport via the saturable Transient Receptor Potential Channel Melastatin members TRPM6 and TRPM7. (89)
  • At high GI concentrations, Mg is absorbed primarily via passive paracellular transport. (70)


  • After absorption, Mg is distributed to bone (53%), muscle (27%), soft tissues (27%), and blood (0.8%). (31)


  • In bone, Mg from the blood substitutes positions with the Mg in bone promoting, chondrocyte column development, osteoblast proliferation, and osteoclast activity. (18)
  • In the brain, Mg inhibits post-synaptic NMDA receptor excitation by increasing chloride uptake by GABA receptor stimulation, and by antagonizing calcium, reducing pre-synaptic glutamate release. (18)
  • In the heart and vascular system, Mg reduces ion channel activity in the myocardium, calcium availability and binding in cardiac muscle, and inflammation in the vascular system. Mg increases vasodilation. (18)
  • In muscle, Mg maintains the level of muscle contractility with calcium. (18)


  • If not absorbed, Mg is eliminated in the feces (20-70%). (88)
  • If absorbed, Mg can be eliminated in the urine (5-70%). This can occur in the proximal tubules (10-30% via passive paracellular pathways), or the thick ascending limb (40-70% via claudin proteins, 5-10% via active TRPM6 transport). (89)
  • The half-life of Mg is approximately 1000 hours. (72)
  1. Abbasi, B., Kimiagar, M., Sadeghniiat, K., Shirazi, M. M., Hedayati, M., & Rashidkhani, B. (2012). The effect of magnesium supplementation on primary insomnia in elderly: A double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Journal of Research in Medical Sciences, 17(12), 1161-1169. ()
  2. Asemi, Z., Karamali, M., Jamilian, M., Foroozanfard, F., Bahmani, F., Heidarzadeh, Z., . . . Esmaillzadeh, A. (2015). Magnesium supplementation affects metabolic status and pregnancy outcomes in gestational diabetes: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 102(1), 222-229. ()
  3. Aydın, H., Deyneli, O., Yavuz, D., Gözü, H., Mutlu, N., Kaygusuz, I., & Akalın, S. (2009). Short-term oral magnesium supplementation suppresses bone turnover in postmenopausal osteoporotic women. Biological Trace Element Research,133(2), 136-143. ()
  4. Baradari, A. G., Zeydi, A. E., Ghafari, R., Aarabi, M., & Jafari, M. (2016). A double-blind randomized clinical trial comparing different doses of magnesium in cardioplegic solution for prevention of atrial fibrillation after coronary artery bypass graft surgery. Cardiovascular Therapeutics, 34(4), 276-282. ()
  5. Barragan-Rodriguez, L., Rodriguez-Moran, M., & Guerrero-Romero, F. (2008). Efficacy and safety of oral magnesium supplementation in the treatment of depression in the elderly with type 2 diabetes: A randomized, equivalent trial. Magnesium Research, 21(4), 218-223. ()
  6. Bashir, Y., Sneddon, J. F., Stauton, H. A., Haywood, G. A., Simpson, I. A., McKenna, W. J., & Camm, A. J. (1993). Effects of long-term oral magnesium chloride replacement in congestive heart failure secondary to coronary artery disease. The American Journal of Cardiology, 72(15), 1156-1162. ()
  7. Bede, O., Suranyi, A., Pinter, K., Szlavik, M., & Gyurkovits, K. (2003). Urinary magnesium excretion in asthmatic children receiving magnesium supplementation: A randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study. Magnesium Research, 16(4), 262-270. ()
  8. Belfort, M. A., & Moise, K. J. (1992). Effect of magnesium sulfate on maternal brain blood flow in preeclampsia: A randomized, placebo-controlled study. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 167(3), 661-666. ()
  9. Belfort, M. A., Saade, G. R., & Moise, K. J. (1992). The effect of magnesium sulfate on maternal retinal blood flow in preeclampsia: A randomized placebo-controlled study. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 167(6), 1548-1553. ()
  10. Bigal, M., Bordini, C., Tepper, S., & Speciali, J. (2002). Intravenous magnesium sulphate in the acute treatment of migraine without aura and migraine with aura. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Cephalalgia, 22(5), 345-353. ()
  11. Bohmer, T., Roseth, A., Holm, H., Weberg-Teigen, S., & Wahl, L. (1990). Bioavailability of oral magnesium supplementation in female students evaluated from elimination of magnesium in 24-hour urine. Magnesium and Trace Elements, 9(5), 272-278. ()
  12. Bouida, W., Beltaief, K., Msolli, M. A., Azaiez, N., Soltane, H. B., Sekma, A., . . . Nouira, S. (2018). Low‐dose magnesium sulfate versus high dose in the early management of rapid atrial fibrillation: Randomized controlled double‐blind study (LOMAGHI Study). Academic Emergency Medicine, 26(2), 183-191. ()
  13. Bressendorff, I., Hansen, D., Schou, M., Silver, B., Pasch, A., Bouchelouche, P., . . . Brandi, L. (2017). Oral magnesium supplementation in chronic kidney disease stages 3 and 4: Efficacy, safety, and effect on serum calcification propensity—A prospective randomized double-blinded placebo-controlled clinical trial. Kidney International Reports, 2(3), 380-389. ()
  14. Carpenter, T. O., Delucia, M. C., Zhang, J. H., Bejnerowicz, G., Tartamella, L., Dziura, J., . . . Cohen, D. (2006). A randomized controlled study of effects of dietary magnesium oxide supplementation on bone mineral content in healthy girls. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 91(12), 4866-4872. ()
  15. Ceremuzynski, L., Gebalska, J., Wolk, R., & Makowska, E. (2000). Hypomagnesemia in heart failure with ventricular arrhythmias. Beneficial effects of magnesium supplementation. Journal of Internal Medicine, 247(1), 78-86. ()
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  18. De Baaij, J. H., Hoenderop, J. G., & Bindels, R. J. (2015). Magnesium in man: Implications for health and disease. Physiological Reviews, 95(1), 1-46. ()
  19. De Leeuw, I., Engelen, W., De Block, C., & Van Gaal, L. (2004). Long term magnesium supplementation influences favourably the natural evolution of neuropathy in Mg-depleted type 1 diabetic patients (T1dm). Magnesium Research, 17(2), 109-114. ()
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