Magnesium Supplement: When to Take It to Maximize Benefits


Magnesium is essential for good health. However, many people do not get enough magnesium from their diet alone. Factors like soil depletion, refined grains, and poor absorption can contribute to magnesium deficiency. Supplementing with magnesium may be beneficial if you experience symptoms like muscle cramps or twitches, anxiety, trouble sleeping, fatigue, headaches, constipation, or irregular heartbeat. These can indicate low magnesium levels. Certain medications, medical conditions, and lifestyle factors like alcohol consumption can also deplete magnesium. Athletes and older adults are at a higher risk of deficiency.

If lab tests confirm low levels, a doctor may recommend a magnesium supplement in pill, powder, or topical form. Look for forms like magnesium glycinate or magnesium citrate which are easily absorbed. Supplementing under medical guidance can help restore healthy magnesium status. However, you must know the optimal times to take your magnesium to get the most benefit.

With Meals

Taking your magnesium supplement with food allows for better absorption and utilization of the mineral. Take with fatty foods when possible. The magnesium will bind to the fat, making it more soluble. The body can then absorb it more easily. Furthermore, magnesium competes with calcium for absorption, so taking it with a meal that contains some calcium allows the body to better regulate the uptake of both minerals. Overall, taking your supplement with a well-balanced meal that contains fat, protein, and some calcium will maximize how much gets absorbed and used by your body. Making it part of your mealtime routine ensures you get the most benefit from this essential mineral supplement.

Drug Interactions

Magnesium can interact with certain medications. If your doctor recommends taking magnesium supplements, ask when they should be taken with other medications. For example, wait four to six hours after taking a magnesium supplement to take an antibiotic. If this isn’t possible, wait two hours after taking the antibiotic to take the supplement.

If you take bisphosphonates to prevent bone loss, always wait two hours before or after taking these medications to take the magnesium supplement. High blood pressure medicines might also interact with the supplement. The same holds for muscle relaxants and antacids. Talk with the doctor to learn when you should take each medicine.

Consistency is Key

Taking magnesium supplements regularly and consistently is important for maintaining healthy magnesium levels in the body. The body does not store magnesium long-term, so magnesium levels can drop between doses if supplements are taken sporadically. Taking magnesium supplements daily provides a steady supply to replenish the magnesium that is routinely used and lost from the body. Skipping days can lead to fluctuations in magnesium status, which may hinder its efficacy.

Being consistent allows magnesium levels to build up and remain stable over time. This helps sustain the wide-ranging health benefits of magnesium. For those taking magnesium supplements, consistency is key to optimizing magnesium intake and experiencing the full effects.

How Much Should You Take?

Adults need between 310-420 mg per day, depending on sex.  If your diet falls short on magnesium, these supplements can help fill the gap. However, too much supplemental magnesium can cause diarrhea and stomach upset. Stay under 350 mg from supplements unless directed otherwise by your doctor. Aim for the recommended daily amount through a balanced diet and modest supplementation as needed.

You may benefit from taking a magnesium supplement. Ask your doctor if a supplement would help. They monitor your health and can determine if it would be good for you.


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