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September 17, 2018

What is Magnesium?

Magnesium is an essential mineral. Every cell, tissue and organ in your body needs it, together with other macrominerals such as calcium, phosphorus and potassium, so that your body will function properly.

Magnesium deficiency is associated with different health problems which include gastrointestinal disorders such as celiac and Crohn's disease and chronic diseases like hypertension, diabetes and osteoporosis.  

Our body does not produce magnesium naturally that’s why you need to regularly maintain your magnesium levels by supporting your body with magnesium-rich foods and supplements.

According to the Natural Health Research Institute (NHRI), magnesium supplements can help improve sleep quality as well as your sleep and wake cycle or how your body clock will run properly.

Signs you are running low in Magnesium

Hypomagnesemia or magnesium deficiency could affect you in different ways. Here are some of the symptoms you could experience if you are deficient in magnesium:

  • muscle cramps and muscle pain   
  • osteoporosis and fibromyalgia
  • headaches and migraines
  • gastrointestinal disorders
  • fatigue and tiredness
  • high blood pressure
  • irregular heartbeat
  • insomnia


Food Sources

Magnesium can be found in different types of foods and beverages especially foods that are high in dietary fibre are known to contain high levels of magnesium.

You can also find magnesium on water such as tap, mineral and bottled waters, but the amount of it varies by the type and source of water.

Here are different magnesium-rich foods that you can add to your diet:

  • Vegetables especially leafy greens, spinach, squash, and broccoli
  • Fruits like avocado, banana, and apple
  • Nuts and seeds (almonds, cashews, peanuts, and pumpkin seeds)
  • Seafood and fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel
  • Meat (chicken breast and beef)
  • Legumes especially soybeans, black beans, and kidney beans
  • Dark chocolate has a high magnesium content  
  • Whole grains and cereals (rice, oatmeal, and whole wheat bread)


Health Benefits

There are different health benefits that magnesium can offer to your body. Here are some:

  • Energy-booster. It can improve metabolism and energy production for it powers our enzymes. 
  • Stress Relief. Decreases cortisol which is the stress hormone. Also, help alleviate anxiety levels and depression.  
  • Mood Stabilizer. Can decrease symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) such as mood swings and irritability. 
  • Controls your Health Numbers. Regulates blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels. 
  • Heart Health. Maintains heart rhythm and heart muscle function. Also, prevents strokes and heart attacks.
  • Brain Health. Improves brain memory formation and cognition. Also, prevents Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Bone and Muscle Health. Helps in muscle activity and bone development which is very essential for older adults.
  • Improves Sleep. Promotes relaxation and treat sleep problems like insomnia and restless leg syndrome. 


Forms of Magnesium Supplements

Here are the different forms of magnesium:

  1. Magnesium malate. Gives you energy, soothes muscle pain but can be too stimulating for some.
  2. Magnesium threonate. Boosts memory and improves brain health but has low bioavailability.
  3. Magnesium oxide. Good for constipation for it has a laxative effect.
  4. Magnesium citrate. Has calming properties and good absorption but has a laxative effect.
  5. Magnesium sulfate. For detox and muscle relaxation but can cause stomach irritation. 
  6. Magnesium glycinate. For sleep and relaxation, relieves anxiety. Also, non-laxative and has high bioavailability  


Which is the best form of magnesium for sleep?

Doctors recommend taking citrate and glycinate instead of oxide because our body doesn’t absorb it very well. Also, avoid taking sulfate and oxide for it can cause stomach irritation that can lead to diarrhoea.

In addition, glycinate and citrate forms are highly bioavailable, meaning they are easily and effectively absorbed by your body. Therefore, the types of magnesium mentioned are the best form for sleeping and relaxation.


What Magnesium Can Do to your Quality of Sleep  

With the aid of magnesium, you can have a good night’s sleep for it is very essential in regulating levels of melatonin, the sleeping hormone that regulates your sleep and wake cycle.

 Aside from this, it also helps maintain healthy levels of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), a neurotransmitter in your central nervous system that promotes relaxation and sleep. Studies have found that optimal GABA levels can prevent you from having insomnia and other sleeping disorders.

It will help you have a deeper and sounder sleep for it promotes calmer nervous system that will make you feel more relaxed during bedtime.


Recommended Dosage

Before you start taking supplements, you should consult first your healthcare provider for you to know the right dosage you could take.  

The recommended dosage for your general health and better sleep is 100-350 mg daily which is the lowest suggested dose. Then, you can gradually increase your daily intake when needed.

But, dosing will vary for every individual which depends on their age and lifestyle. Here are the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for magnesium developed by the Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) at the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Sciences:






Birth to 6 months

30 mg*

30 mg*



7-12 months

75 mg*

75 mg*



1-3 years

80 mg

80 mg



4-8 years

130 mg

130 mg



9-13 years

240 mg

240 mg



14-18 years

410 mg

360 mg

400 mg

360 mg

19-30 years

400 mg

310 mg

350 mg

310 mg

31-50 years

420 mg

320 mg

360 mg

320 mg


420 mg

320 mg



                                             *Adequate Intake (AI)


Side Effects

The side effects of taking magnesium include nausea, vomiting, bloating, having cramps, diarrhoea etc.

Remember that large doses of magnesium can lead to serious side effects which include arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat, low blood pressure, coma and even death.

So, it is very much important to consult your healthcare professional to prevent any serious side effects and for you to know the right dosage.  


Precautions and Interactions

There are also precautions if you’re taking other medications and supplements which could interact with magnesium. Consult your doctor if you are taking another medicine or if you use any of these:

  • Calcium

High dosage of calcium intake can reduce doses of magnesium in your body.

  • Boron

Boron supplements could slow down the processing of magnesium in your body.

  • Zinc

Like boron and calcium, zinc can also reduce the levels of magnesium that your body absorbs.

  • Antibiotics (aminoglycoside, quinolone, tetracycline and doxycycline)

Insoluble complexes can form if you are going to take magnesium supplements with antibiotics.

  • Blood pressure medications (nifedipine, verapamil, diltiazem, and diuretics)

Taking magnesium with these kinds of medications can make the blood pressure to go low.


Bath Recipes for Better Sleep

Here are different recipes you can try to help improve your sleep and prevent those restless and sleepless nights:

Epsom Salt and Lavender Oil Recipe from VisiHow

Dissolve 1 to 2 cups of epsom salts into your bath. If you put it in the water, the salt breaks down into sulphate and magnesium which can help relax your sore muscles

Aside from this, you could also add essential oils like lavender oil in your bath together with the epsom salt. Just put 10 drops of the oil then stir in a circular motion before soaking. This recipe will surely give you a good quality sleep during bedtime.


Epsom Salt and Baking Soda Recipe from butterbeliever

Dissolve 2 to 4 cups of epsom salts and 1 cup baking soda in a regular-sized full bathtub that is filled with hot water. This recipe will surely release all the muscle tension in your body.

This bath recipe and the combination will provide a gentle yet effective detox bath for you. Since, baking soda is also a powerful sleep aid that gives a calming effect that relieves stress, anxiety and restlessness.

Disclaimer: The vitamin health information published on this web page is solely intended for educational purposes. VitaminsOnly strongly recommends to consult health care professionals for any questions concerning your health.

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