Magnesium is a very important mineral in the body that plays a role in many cellular processes, bone structure, and muscle function.
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Some studies indicate that low magnesium status may be a risk factor for osteoporosis.
Magnesium is critical for maintaining a healthy heartbeat and may protect against cardiovascular disease.
Some studies have shown that magnesium supplementation can increase testosterone levels in men.
It is recommended that men have at least 400–420 mg per day of magnesium, which can come from food or a combination of food and supplements. Having too much or too little can be dangerous for your health.
A common side effect of magnesium supplementation is loose stools.
Magnesium supplements can interact with certain medications and may not be safe in those with certain medical conditions. Talk to your healthcare provider before taking magnesium if you have kidney disease or if you are taking bisphosphonates, antibiotics, diuretics, or proton pump inhibitors.
What is magnesium?
Magnesium is a mineral that is involved in several of the body’s processes. Magnesium is fairly abundant in the body, with approximately 25 g residing in the bones, soft tissues, and blood. Magnesium is involved in numerous cellular reactions including building protein, DNA, and RNA, producing energy, and assisting with how calcium and potassium ions interact with cells. It also has large-scale functions, impacting bone structure, muscle contractility, and heart rhythm. Because magnesium is present in so many different parts of the body, it is difficult to assess exactly how much magnesium an individual has and whether they require supplementation.
Where does magnesium come from?
Magnesium can be found in a wide variety of foods, including plant sources, animal sources, and even water. Foods that have fiber are typically good sources of magnesium. This includes leafy vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. Magnesium can also be found in avocado, dark chocolate, yogurt, and certain fruits. Some foods, such as breakfast cereals, are fortified with magnesium. This means that magnesium is added to the food in a public health effort to help make sure everybody is getting enough each day.
What are the health benefits of magnesium?
The health benefits of magnesium are far-reaching since the mineral is a necessary part of numerous cellular processes.
It has been reported that magnesium supplementation may be beneficial for sugar control in those with type 2 diabetes, however studies are limited. The American Diabetes Association currently states that there is not enough evidence to support supplementation with magnesium in those with diabetes (6).
Small studies have shown that magnesium supplementation may play a role in the prevention of migraines, given magnesium’s role in neurotransmitter release and vasoconstriction. However, the amount of magnesium used in these studies (600 mg per day) exceeds the Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) of suggested magnesium supplementation, which means some people may experience gastrointestinal side effects (6).
Magnesium has also been indicated in the treatment of depression. One study found that six weeks of supplementation with 248 mg per day of elemental magnesium led to an improvement of depression scores, with results being seen within two weeks (11). Another review states that while the mechanism of action of magnesium in depression may not be well understood, including it with other treatments for depression may be effective (9).
Magnesium also has the following health benefits, which is why it was chosen to be an ingredient in the Roman Dailies:
Magnesium is known to affect levels of vitamin D and parathyroid hormone (PTH) in the body, which regulate bone turnover (6). Studies regarding magnesium’s effects on the bone include:
Osteoporosis: One small study demonstrated that postmenopausal women and elderly women with osteoporosis who received 1,830 mg per day of magnesium citrate had reduced bone turnover, which means bone loss was lessened (1). Other studies have found associations between bone mineral density and magnesium status, indicating that deficiency may be a risk factor for osteoporosis (6).
As a part of normal physiology, magnesium interacts with calcium on heart cells and is crucial for maintaining a healthy heartbeat. Additionally, studies have shown that magnesium can have beneficial effects on cardiovascular health. They include:
Hypertension: One small study in patients with hypertension (also known as high blood pressure) found that magnesium supplementation in combination with lifestyle modifications led to a small improvement of blood pressure. Study participants received 600 mg per day of magnesium (3).
Heart disease: Multiple studies have shown that magnesium supplementation may have protective effects, such as reducing the chances of heart disease and stroke (6). One review of epidemiologic studies concluded that higher magnesium intake was associated with a reduction in cardiovascular risk factors, including metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and hypertension (8).
Studies looking specifically at magnesium’s effects on men are limited. They include the following:
Testosterone: One study that looked at the effects of magnesium supplementation in both sedentary and athletic individuals found that testosterone levels increased after four weeks. Study participants were given 10 mg/kg of body weight of magnesium (2). Another study found that magnesium levels in men ages 65 and older are closely associated with testosterone levels (4). And one review suggested that more studies should be done to ascertain the role of magnesium on testosterone levels, given the reported positive effects (5).
How much magnesium is recommended?
The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of magnesium is 400 mg per day for men ages 19–30 and 420 mg per day for men ages >30. Women ages 19–30 should have 310 mg per day unless they are pregnant (350 mg per day) or 320 mg per day for ages >30 (360 mg per day when pregnant). The RDA represents the daily amount of a mineral that is considered sufficient for 97–98% of healthy individuals.
On the other end of the spectrum, the UL for supplemental magnesium is 350 mg per day for both men and women over the age of 8. Taking supplements of magnesium in excess of this amount may cause diarrhea, nausea, and abdominal pain in some people (6). This level is lower than the RDA because it refers to magnesium obtained from supplements and not to the total amount of magnesium ingested daily (including that obtained from food).
What are the symptoms of having too little magnesium?
Currently, there is no data regarding the number of people in the United States who have low levels of magnesium. According to one study from 2005–2006, 48% of Americans consume less than the required amount of magnesium from food (7). A more recent study that combined data from 2007–2008 and 2009–2010 found that 54% of the population reported deficient magnesium intake (10). Those at risk of developing a magnesium deficiency include those with gastrointestinal diseases, people with type 2 diabetes, alcoholics, and older adults.
Symptoms of a magnesium deficiency (also called hypomagnesemia) can be mild to severe. Since magnesium also plays a role in the absorption of other elements, low magnesium can lead to low calcium (hypocalcemia) and low potassium (hypokalemia). Over time, this can lead to osteoporosis (low bone density). Additional symptoms include (6):
Nausea & Vomiting
Fatigue & Weakness
These symptoms can progress to:
- Muscle twitches
- Irregular heartbeat
What are the symptoms of having too much magnesium?
Having too much magnesium can also cause symptoms and health problems. Magnesium is regulated in the body by the kidneys, which are able to excrete excess magnesium that may have been eaten in the diet. However, if you have impaired kidney function, there is a higher risk of too much magnesium accumulating in the body. It is also possible to have too much magnesium in a single dose with supplementation. Ingesting more than the UL for supplemental magnesium (350 mg per day) may induce:
There have also been reported cases of magnesium toxicity, where individuals have consumed an excess of 5,000mg of magnesium per day. Magnesium toxicity can have additional symptoms including
Low blood pressure
Inability to urinate
What to look for in a good magnesium supplement:
As a supplement, magnesium can come in several forms including magnesium aspartate, magnesium carbonate, magnesium chloride, magnesium citrate, magnesium gluconate, magnesium lactate, magnesium oxide, and magnesium sulfate. Some studies have shown that magnesium aspartate, magnesium chloride, magnesium citrate, and magnesium lactate are absorbed in the body better than magnesium oxide and magnesium sulfate. Magnesium carbonate, magnesium chloride, magnesium gluconate, and magnesium oxide are the forms most likely to cause diarrhea (6). Magnesium can also be used therapeutically and is available as a laxative in the form of magnesium hydroxide, which is intended to be taken in high doses.
How does Roman offer magnesium?
Roman obtains magnesium from a non-GMO source in the USA. It is available synthetically as magnesium citrate.
Roman offers magnesium in the following supplements:
Magnesium is one of ten main ingredients in Roman’s Bone Health supplement. The supplement consists of three tablets that should be taken with water. Each individual tablet contains 83.33 mg of magnesium, for a total daily dose of 250 mg.
Other ingredients in the tablets include ascorbic acid, calcium citrate, D-alpha tocopheryl succinate, silicon dioxide, boron citrate, menaquinone-4, menaquinone-7, phytonadione, cholecalciferol, microcrystalline cellulose, stearic acid, dicalcium phosphate, croscarmellose sodium, magnesium stearate, and pharmaceutical glaze (shellac, povidone).
Magnesium is one of seven main ingredients in Roman’s Heart Health supplement. The supplement consists of four tablets and two fish oil softgels that should be taken with water. Each individual tablet contains 100 mg of magnesium, for a total daily dose of 400 mg. While this level exceeds the UL, it closely matches the RDA for men. Magnesium citrate is also less likely than other formulations to cause diarrhea. When it is used as a laxative, magnesium citrate is given in doses equaling 2.8 g of magnesium, which is seven times the dose contained in Roman’s Heart Health supplement. However, it can only be taken at this dose for a short amount of time.
Other ingredients in the tablets include spirulina whole plant powder, deodorized garlic bulb powder, Coenzyme Q10, menaquinone-7, cholecalciferol, microcrystalline cellulose, dicalcium phosphate, stearic acid, croscarmellose sodium, magnesium stearate, silicon dioxide, and pharmaceutical glaze (shellac, povidone). Ingredients in the fish oil softgels include marine lipid concentrate, gelatin, glycerin, purified water, and mixed tocopherols. The softgels contain fish and should not be consumed by anybody with a fish allergy.
Magnesium is one of five main ingredients in Roman’s Testosterone Support supplement. The supplement consists of four tablets that should be taken with water. Each individual tablet contains 100 mg of magnesium, for a total daily dose of 400 mg. While this level exceeds the UL, it closely matches the RDA for men. Magnesium citrate is also less likely than other formulations to cause diarrhea. When it is used as a laxative, magnesium citrate is given in doses equaling 2.8 g of magnesium, which is seven times the dose contained in Roman’s Testosterone Support supplement. However, it can only be taken at this dose for a short amount of time.
Other ingredients in the tablets include maca root powder, ashwagandha root extract, zinc sulfate, cholecalciferol, microcrystalline cellulose, dicalcium phosphate, stearic acid, croscarmellose sodium, magnesium stearate, silicon dioxide, and pharmaceutical glaze (shellac, povidone).
Does magnesium interact with any other drugs or medical conditions?
Certain medications can interact with magnesium supplements or can impact how the body processes magnesium. If you are taking any of the following medications, it is important you talk to your healthcare provider about your magnesium intake (please note that this list may not be exhaustive and other medications may also interact with vitamin D) (6):
- Bisphosphonates: Magnesium supplements can decrease the absorption of these medications. To avoid this interaction, bisphosphonates and magnesium should be taken at least two hours apart from each other. An example of a bisphosphonate is alendronate.
- Quinolone antibiotics: Magnesium interacts with these antibiotics and cannot be absorbed as easily. Taking the antibiotic at least two hours before or at least four to six hours after taking magnesium reduces this interaction. Examples of quinolone antibiotics include ciprofloxacin, levofloxacin, and moxifloxacin.
- Tetracycline antibiotics: Magnesium interacts with these antibiotics, and cannot be absorbed as easily. Taking the antibiotic at least two hours before or at least four to six hours after taking magnesium reduces this interaction. Examples of tetracycline antibiotics include doxycycline, minocycline, demeclocycline, and tetracycline.
- Loop diuretics: Loop diuretics are also sometimes known as “water pills.” Taking loop diuretics may cause the body to excrete excess magnesium through the urine, which can affect levels of magnesium in the body. Being aware of the symptoms of magnesium deficiency may help prevent health problems. Examples of loop diuretics include bumetanide and furosemide.
- Thiazide diuretics: Thiazide diuretics are also sometimes known as “water pills.” Taking thiazide diuretics may cause the body to excrete excess magnesium through the urine, which can affect levels of magnesium in the body. Being aware of the symptoms of magnesium deficiency may help prevent health problems. Examples of thiazide diuretics include chlorthalidone and hydrochlorothiazide.
- Potassium-sparing diuretics: Taking potassium-sparing diuretics may cause the body to excrete less magnesium through the urine, which can affect levels of magnesium in the body. Being aware of the symptoms of magnesium excess may help prevent health problems. Examples of potassium-sparing diuretics include amiloride and spironolactone.
- Proton pump inhibitors: Proton pump inhibitors are typically prescribed to treat heartburn or reflux. When taken for an extended period of time, they may contribute to low magnesium in the body. Prior to being prescribed a proton pump inhibitor and while taking it, it may be beneficial to have your magnesium levels checked. Examples of proton pump inhibitors include omeprazole and pantoprazole.
Roman’s Heart Health supplement contains fish and should not be consumed by anybody with a fish allergy.
- Aydın H, Deyneli O, Yavuz D, et al. Short-Term Oral Magnesium Supplementation Suppresses Bone Turnover in Postmenopausal Osteoporotic Women. Biological Trace Element Research. 2009;133(2):136-143. doi:10.1007/s12011-009-8416-8.
- Cinar V, Polat Y, Baltaci AK, Mogulkoc R. Effects of Magnesium Supplementation on Testosterone Levels of Athletes and Sedentary Subjects at Rest and after Exhaustion. Biological Trace Element Research. 2010;140(1):18-23. doi:10.1007/s12011-010-8676-3.
- Hatzistavri LS, Sarafidis PA, Georgianos PI, et al. Oral Magnesium Supplementation Reduces Ambulatory Blood Pressure in Patients With Mild Hypertension. American Journal of Hypertension. 2009;22(10):1070-1075. doi:10.1038/ajh.2009.126.
- Maggio M, Ceda GP, Lauretani F, et al. Magnesium and anabolic hormones in older men. International Journal of Andrology. 2011;34(6pt2). doi:10.1111/j.1365-2605.2011.01193.x.
- Maggio M, Vita FD, Lauretani F, et al. The Interplay between Magnesium and Testosterone in Modulating Physical Function in Men. International Journal of Endocrinology. 2014;2014:1-9. doi:10.1155/2014/525249.
- Office of Dietary Supplements – Magnesium. NIH Office of Dietary Supplements. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/. Accessed July 19, 2019.
- Rosanoff A, Weaver CM, Rude RK. Suboptimal magnesium status in the United States: are the health consequences underestimated? Nutrition Reviews. 2012;70(3):153-164. doi:10.1111/j.1753-4887.2011.00465.x.
- Rosique-Esteban N, Guasch-Ferré M, Hernández-Alonso P, Salas-Salvadó J. Dietary Magnesium and Cardiovascular Disease: A Review with Emphasis in Epidemiological Studies. Nutrients. 2018;10(2):168. doi:10.3390/nu10020168.
- Serefko A, Szopa A, Wlaź P, Nowak G, Radziwoń-Zaleska M, Skalski M, Poleszak E. Magnesium in Depression. Pharmacological Reports. 2013;65(3):547-54.
- Tarleton EK, Littenberg B. Magnesium Intake and Depression in Adults. The Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine. 2015;28(2):249-256. doi:10.3122/jabfm.2015.02.140176.
- Tarleton EK, Littenberg B, Maclean CD, Kennedy AG, Daley C. Role of magnesium supplementation in the treatment of depression: A randomized clinical trial. Plos One. 2017;12(6). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0180067.