How long does magnesium take to work?

February 20, 2020

How long does magnesium take to work?

How long does magnesium take to work?


The Science Daily estimates that close to 50% of the U.S. population is magnesium deficient. When you have a magnesium deficiency, you may be experiencing nausea, migraines, or lethargy (among other symptoms), and you're eager to find relief. To help ease your symptoms, you've been taking magnesium, and you're probably wondering how long it takes for it to work. The short response is it depends on the magnesium source, dosage, time, and health concern.

What is magnesium?

Magnesium is an essential mineral that is critical role in the body. It's the fourth most common mineral found in the human body and responsible for over 300 enzyme reactions. Magnesium helps with normalizing blood pressure, nerve and muscle function, brain function, and assisting the immune system.


Many foods have magnesium naturally in the nutrient composition, but it’s also added to dietary supplements and included in different medicines. In an adult body, you can find about 25 g of magnesium. Most magnesium storage occurs in the bones (50%-60%) and the remaining in the soft tissues. If you become deficient, it can cause serious health concerns.



What dose do you need?


Ideally, you would receive your required daily dose of magnesium through your diet. Foods high in magnesium include legumes, dark leafy vegetables, nuts, and seeds. However, in the modern diet, it's common for men and women to eat more processed food, absent of magnesium. The daily dose of magnesium for an adult male is 400-420 mg, and an adult female needs 320-360 mg.


If it's not possible to consume magnesium-rich foods, a magnesium supplement helps balance levels. Depending on the brand, the recommended dose of magnesium supplement is 200-400 mg per day. If you take this amount, the supplement offers almost or more than your needed amount. If you have severe low levels of  magnesium, you may require more.


How long does magnesium take to work?

 The amount of time it takes for magnesium to work, depends on the dose, how long you’ve been taking it, and the health issue.



 Eighteen different studies showed that magnesium does reduce anxiety. Although the participants self-reported, meaning that it's subjective. The types of anxiety self-reported in the survey included postpartum anxiety, generalized anxiety, mild anxiety, and anxiety with PMS.


Research shows that magnesium improves brain function and reduces stress. It improves brain function by controlling neurotransmitters that send messages throughout the body. Magnesium also helps regulate the hypothalamus. In turn, the hypothalamus regulates the pituitary gland and adrenal glands, both responsible for producing the stress hormone cortisol.


The optimal dose of magnesium to treat anxiety is between 75-360 mg per day. The specific treatment depends on your gender and age. People report feeling the anti-anxiety effect within one day to a few weeks.


Healthy levels of magnesium promote sound sleep. Men and women with a magnesium deficiency report tossing and turning and regularly waking throughout the night. Magnesium helps maintain optimal amounts of GABA, which is a neurotransmitter that encourages sleep. Taking a magnesium supplement can help you get a good night's sleep.


Studies are limited, but in one study with aging adults, had improved sleep quality when they took 414 mg of magnesium oxide.



 If you have a magnesium deficiency, it may lead to depression. One clinical trial showed that magnesium supplementation had been shown to reduce depression for men and women with low magnesium levels. For six weeks, participants took 248 mg of magnesium each day and reported improvement of depressive symptoms within two weeks.



 Research reveals that people susceptible to migraines have lower levels of magnesium. In one study, 41% of participants taking magnesium reported immediate relief after three days. Each person took 400 mg of magnesium per day. Further research revealed that magnesium supplement helps lower the chances of migraines associated with menstruation.



 Struggling with daily constipation is uncomfortable. Magnesium is a natural diuretic. You can alleviate chronic constipation by adding more fiber, fruit and vegetables, and water to your diet, but supplementing with magnesium can help, too.


The exact dose depends on the product, but typically dosage amounts are 240 ml of magnesium citrate per day. You may start to have a bowel movement within a day or two.


Types of magnesium supplements

You can find magnesium supplements in pill, powder, and cream form. Topical or transdermal creams work by entering the bloodstream through your skin. It’s thought that topical magnesium creams work faster than taking a pill because the vitamin doesn’t have to travel through the digestive system.



Also, a topical cream may be easier for some people to apply. For some taking large pills is uncomfortable or want to avoid going through the ingestion process due to health concerns. A small study showed that magnesium cream boosts levels significantly compared to a tablet. After 12 weeks, all participants, except for one, had a 100% increase in magnesium levels.


Side effects of too much magnesium

 Magnesium supplements help balance critical bodily functions, but taking too much can cause diarrhea, stomach cramps, and nausea.  The daily recommended amount depends on age and gender (200-400 mg per day), but to help improve anxiety, depression, and sleep, participants in certain studies took more to alleviate symptoms.


It might be smart to commence with a lower amount and increase as long as you're not experiencing any side effects. Also, speak to your healthcare professional about magnesium supplements to determine what's right for you.





Tips for improving magnesium absorption

 Improving your magnesium absorption through diet and lifestyle choices is easier than you think. You can improve absorption by abstaining from calcium-rich foods a few hours before or after choosing magnesium foods — certain minerals, like calcium, block the absorption of magnesium.


In addition to avoiding calcium-rich foods, you can try the following to increase magnesium absorption.


  •     Eliminating zinc supplements with high-doses
  •     Treating low-levels of vitamin D
  •     Quitting smoking
  •     Choosing raw vegetables instead of cooked ones


Magnesium plays a critical role in regulating brain function, heart and muscle activity, and bone health. When you have a magnesium deficiency, you may experience uncomfortable side effects. Boosting levels with a magnesium cream help alleviate these symptoms.


How long it takes for magnesium to work depends on the dose, the supplement delivery method, length of time taking it, and the type of health problem you're trying to alleviate. However, multiple studies show that magnesium supplements do work. 

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