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Home > Learn > Nutrition > >Can You Take Magnesium While Breastfeeding?

Can You Take Magnesium While Breastfeeding?

Nov 23, 23 8 min

By Dr. Kenosha Gleaton, OBGYN

You likely already know how important a healthy diet is while breastfeeding, but are you aware of the specific function and benefits of nutrients like magnesium? Is magnesium even safe to take while breastfeeding? Here’s everything you need to know. 

What Is Magnesium and Why Is It Essential?

Magnesium is an abundant mineral in the body that’s responsible for facilitating hundreds of biochemical reactions. [1] 

Role of Magnesium in the Human Body

Magnesium plays a role in protein synthesis, muscle function, nerve function, blood pressure regulation, and more. [1] Dietary magnesium comes from food sources like green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds, whole grains, and legumes. Magnesium is also an essential electrolyte that can be found in tap, mineral, and some bottled waters. [1] 

Magnesium Deficiency in New and Expecting Mothers

Even though magnesium can be found in many food sources, it’s estimated that nearly a third of the population is deficient. [2] Some groups are at an even higher risk of magnesium deficiency, including those with gastrointestinal diseases, type 2 diabetes, alcohol dependence, and older adults. [1] Magnesium deficiency can cause nausea, muscle weakness, abnormal heart rhythms, low blood sugar, and more. [1] Many of these symptoms can be especially dangerous and difficult to manage when pregnant or breastfeeding. 

How Much Magnesium Can You Take While Breastfeeding?

Magnesium is an essential mineral needed in everyone’s diet, especially anyone pregnant or breastfeeding. Here’s what you need to know about magnesium supplementation while lactating. 

Recommended Daily Intake

The Food and Nutrition Board recommends that lactating people between the ages of 19 and 30 consume 310 mg of magnesium every day. [1] Lactating people 31 and older are recommended to consume 320 mg daily. [1] It’s also recommended that all people stay below 350 mg of magnesium per day to avoid negative side effects like diarrhea, cramping, and magnesium toxicity. [1] 

Keep in mind that some magnesium is already consumed through your diet, so supplement dosage will likely need to be lower than the recommended daily intake. If you’re concerned about your magnesium intake, speak with a healthcare provider. 

Supplementation Methods

If you are hoping to increase your magnesium intake while breastfeeding, be sure to speak to a healthcare provider first. There are a few options for consuming more magnesium, including dietary changes, supplements, and drink mixes. Natalist offers a drink mix with magnesium powder as well as a Hydration & Energy Drink Mix that both contain magnesium. Some multivitamins will also contain magnesium, such as prenatal vitamins. Just ensure you’re picking a supplement that is evidence-backed, high-quality, safely manufactured, and adheres to the recommended guidelines. 

Safety of Magnesium Supplementation

It’s important to note that some research suggests certain types of magnesium (like magnesium citrate) taken during pregnancy may delay the onset of lactation, however, this isn’t always the case. [3] Most forms of magnesium are thought to be safe while breastfeeding and no adverse reactions have been reported. [1,3,4] If you have concerns or questions about magnesium supplements, talk with your healthcare provider. 

Benefits of Magnesium for Breastfeeding Mothers

Magnesium is essential for many body processes and has even shown some specific health benefits for postpartum and breastfeeding parents. 

Supports Postpartum Nutrition and Recovery

Recovering from childbirth can be a long process. Whether you’ve just had your first baby or your fourth baby, it’s important to equip your body with the right amount of rest, nutrients, water, and self-care you need to heal. Magnesium supplementation can aid in this process by supporting healthy mineral levels in the body. [1,5] When breastfeeding, mom and baby share many nutrients. If there is a low intake of any specific mineral or vitamin, the baby’s needs will be prioritized at the expense of mom’s stored nutrients. [5] Magnesium also plays an important role in muscle function, which may aid in the reduction of the uterus in the postpartum period. [6] 

Supports Postpartum Mental Health

Pregnancy and breastfeeding are both marked by many hormonal, physical, and emotional changes. Postpartum mental health conditions, such as postpartum depression (PPD), are seen in up to 20% of people. [7] PPD is associated with negative thoughts, crying spells, mood swings, and other symptoms of depression. We still need more information on the association, but some studies show that magnesium’s effect on the nervous system and neurotransmitters may actually improve PPD symptoms or reduce the risk of PPD in some. [8] If you are struggling with your mental health, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Therapy, medication, and other treatment methods can be very useful. 

Supports Hydration

As mentioned previously, magnesium is an essential mineral and electrolyte. Other electrolytes include sodium, chloride, potassium, calcium, and phosphate. [9] Electrolytes are necessary for adequate hydration and help the body utilize water properly. Our body also uses electrolytes to conduct different electrical charges, helping the muscles contract, transporting compounds, and maintaining balance in the body. [9] It’s estimated that breastmilk is close to 90% water, so adequate hydration is especially important when breastfeeding to replenish fluids lost in breast milk. [10-11] 

Protects Against Some Complications

Did you know that preeclampsia can arise postpartum? It’s rare, but can occur up to six months after someone has given birth. Postpartum preeclampsia (PP) is associated with high protein content in urine and high blood pressure. [12] When untreated, this condition may lead to seizures, stroke, or death. [12] It’s impossible to prevent postpartum preeclampsia completely, but research shows that magnesium may help to prevent seizures associated with PP. [13] 

Promotes Restful Sleep

The postpartum period can be exhausting, especially if you’re waking up many times throughout the night to pump or breastfeed. We all know that new moms are exhausted, sleep-deprived, and in need of some relaxation! Fortunately, magnesium supplementation may be able to help. Research shows that magnesium can improve sleep outcomes, including sleep efficiency, sleep onset, and quantity of overall sleep. [14-15] Magnesium also promotes muscle relaxation, helping to soothe tense muscles and reduce the risk of muscle cramps and spasms. [16] 

Read more about taking magnesium postpartum. 

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Natalist's Commitment to Reproductive Health 

It can take a while to get into the groove of breastfeeding and caring for a new baby. While you’re adapting to this new way of life, don’t forget to take care of yourself in the process. Supporting your mental and physical health also benefits your baby, so be sure to drink plenty of water, eat a balanced diet, sleep when you can, and find other ways to maximize your self-care while breastfeeding. Magnesium is one example of an important nutrient that can benefit your breastfeeding experience and support health outcomes. Find Magnesium Plus Drink Mix and other breastfeeding essentials here. 

 

References:

  1. National Institutes of Health. Office of Dietary Supplements - Magnesium. National Institutes of Health. Updated June 2022. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/ 
  2. DiNicolantonio JJ, O'Keefe JH, Wilson W. Subclinical magnesium deficiency: a principal driver of cardiovascular disease and a public health crisis [published correction appears in Open Heart. 2018 Apr 5;5(1):e000668corr1]. Open Heart. 2018;5(1):e000668. Published 2018 Jan 13. doi:10.1136/openhrt-2017-000668
  3. Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMed®) [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): National Institute of Child Health and Human Development; 2006-. Magnesium Citrate. [Updated 2022 May 15]. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK500569/
  4. Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMed®) [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): National Institute of Child Health and Human Development; 2006-. Magnesium Oxide. [Updated 2021 Jun 21]. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK500570/
  5. Dror DK, Allen LH. Overview of Nutrients in Human Milk. Adv Nutr. 2018;9(suppl_1):278S-294S. doi:10.1093/advances/nmy022
  6. Deeksha HS, Pajai S, Cherukuri S. Study Based on the Alliance Between Serum Magnesium Levels and Preterm Labor: An Inclusive Review. Cureus. 2023;15(7):e42602. Published 2023 Jul 28. doi:10.7759/cureus.42602
  7. Mughal S, Azhar Y, Siddiqui W. Postpartum Depression. [Updated 2022 Oct 7]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK519070/
  8. Etebary S, Nikseresht S, Sadeghipour HR, Zarrindast MR. Postpartum depression and role of serum trace elements. Iran J Psychiatry. 2010;5(2):40-46.
  9. Electrolytes. Cleveland Clinic. September 2021. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diagnostics/21790-electrolytes
  10. Martin CR, Ling PR, Blackburn GL. Review of Infant Feeding: Key Features of Breast Milk and Infant Formula. Nutrients. 2016;8(5):279. Published 2016 May 11. doi:10.3390/nu8050279
  11. Breastfeeding challenges. ACOG Committee Opinion No. 820. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Obstet Gynecol 2021;137:e42–53.
  12. Postpartum Preeclampsia. Cleveland Clinic. July 2022. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/17733-postpartum-preeclampsia
  13. Anthony J, Johanson RB, Duley L. Role of magnesium sulfate in seizure prevention in patients with eclampsia and pre-eclampsia. Drug Saf. 1996;15(3):188-199. doi:10.2165/00002018-199615030-00004
  14. Arab A, Rafie N, Amani R, Shirani F. The Role of Magnesium in Sleep Health: a Systematic Review of Available Literature. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2023;201(1):121-128. doi:10.1007/s12011-022-03162-1
  15. Abbasi B, Kimiagar M, Sadeghniiat K, Shirazi MM, Hedayati M, Rashidkhani B. The effect of magnesium supplementation on primary insomnia in elderly: A double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. J Res Med Sci. 2012;17(12):1161-1169.
  16. Blancquaert L, Vervaet C, Derave W. Predicting and Testing Bioavailability of Magnesium Supplements. Nutrients. 2019;11(7):1663. Published 2019 Jul 20. doi:10.3390/nu11071663

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