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Home > Learn > Nutrition > >How Long Does it Take for Magnesium to Work?

How Long Does it Take for Magnesium to Work?

Nov 24, 23 6 min

By OBGYN Dr. Kenosha Gleaton

Magnesium is an essential mineral that the body uses to regulate many different chemical reactions in the body. Magnesium aids in energy production, DNA synthesis, hydration, muscle contractions, and much more. [1] We consume magnesium regularly in our diet, specifically when eating leafy green vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and legumes. Magnesium can also be found in supplements, either as capsules, gummies, or magnesium powder, and come in a variety of different forms. [1] Common forms of magnesium include gluconate, oxide, citrate, chloride, and glycinate. Read about the Health Effects of Magnesium Gluconate vs. Magnesium Glycinate

What Happens When You Start Taking Magnesium?

It’s estimated that about 30-40% of magnesium consumed through the diet is absorbed by the body, though this can vary greatly depending on the form of magnesium and magnesium status. [1-2] Forms of magnesium that dissolve easily in liquids (gluconate, aspartate, citrate, lactate, chloride) are often absorbed more completely in the gut than less soluble forms (oxide, sulfate). [1,3] Once magnesium is consumed, it is absorbed mainly by the small intestine and the majority will be stored in the bones. [1-2] 

Magnesium supplementation has been shown to benefit the body in many ways. The effects of magnesium may be more immediate for some people than others, depending on magnesium status, dose, and other factors. [1] If someone is deficient or has very low magnesium levels and begins to supplement with magnesium, they may notice that deficiency symptoms resolve relatively quickly. [1-2] Deficiency symptoms include migraine headaches, loss of appetite, nausea, fatigue, weakness, muscle cramps, numbness, and others. [1] Long term benefits of magnesium supplementation may include improved sleep, mental health, muscle relaxation, pain relief, heart health, bone health, and other effects. [1,4-10]  Read more about magnesium for postpartum life or benefits of magnesium during pregnancy

How Long Before You Feel the Effects?

It’s hard to say exactly when someone may notice the effects of a supplement. This is because there is a combination of factors that can influence how long it may take for noticeable effects to appear. Some examples of these factors include the supplement delivery method, time of day the supplement is taken, dose, consistency, other medications, underlying conditions or deficiencies, and much more. Keep all of this in mind while you continue to research or shop for any dietary supplements. Remember to speak directly to your healthcare provider if you do have concerns or questions about your health, and clear any new supplements with them before use. 

For Sleep

Magnesium supplementation has been shown in a few studies to be very effective for healthy sleep. “Good” sleep habits can be characterized by how long it takes to fall asleep, how long someone is able to stay asleep, daytime sleepiness, etc. [4] Research shows that magnesium status and sleep quality are positively associated, meaning that an increase in magnesium intake is thought to increase sleep quality. [4-5] We don’t have enough data to conclude how long it will take to see these effects, but one study observed positive effects on sleep within 12 weeks of daily magnesium supplementation. [4] Another study observed positive effects within eight weeks of taking 500 mg of magnesium daily. [5]  

For Anxiety and Depression

There have been some researched effects of magnesium on depression, anxiety, and stress. Some studies show that magnesium supplementation may reduce symptoms of mental health disorders and reduce feelings of stress. [6-7] This is likely due to magnesium’s role in various neurochemical and endocrine pathways. One study found that supplementation with 300 mg of magnesium daily was able to improve anxiety and depression symptoms within four to eight weeks. [6] Other studies have shown similar beneficial effects, with doses ranging from 75 mg for 12 weeks to 190 mg for 6 weeks. [7] Some of these studies did combine magnesium supplementation with prescription medication for depression and anxiety, as well as other dietary supplements. 

For Muscle Relaxation and Pain Relief

Magnesium supplementation has also been shown to aid in muscle relaxation and pain relief. [8] Magnesium has been able to decrease muscle soreness, relieve muscle cramps, improve recovery, and support muscle relaxation in various populations. [9-10] Some studies have also found that magnesium may reduce pain associated with neuropathic conditions and surgery. [8] Published research shows varying doses and timelines, ranging from 350 mg/day for 10 days to singular IV doses of 30 mg to 500 mg. [8-10] 

What Helps Magnesium Work Faster?

If you are hoping to see the effects of magnesium sooner, you will want to optimize your body’s absorption. As stated already, the form of magnesium and your existing magnesium status will play a role in how quickly and how much magnesium is absorbed. [1-2] Certain nutrients, medications, and conditions can also impact magnesium absorption. Some tips for increasing absorption include [1,11]:

  • Eating raw vegetables
  • Maintaining adequate vitamin D levels
  • Avoiding high amounts of zinc
  • Avoiding smoking

Magnesium gluconate offers the highest oral bioavailability of magnesium salts, which you can find in Natalist Magnesium Plus! 

Speak with your healthcare provider for a better understanding of medication interactions, underlying conditions, and nutrient absorption. 

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Explore Magnesium Supplements at Natalist

Natalist offers Magnesium Plus, a powdered drink mix formulated with vitamin D3 and calcium, to support bone health, calcium absorption, and relaxation during pregnancy and postpartum. Magnesium Plus is formulated with magnesium gluconate, the recommended form of magnesium that is better absorbed and causes less diarrhea. [3] Support your health today with Magnesium Plus, or keep reading about nutrition on our blog

 

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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. Jahnen-Dechent W, Ketteler M. Magnesium basics. Clin Kidney J. 2012;5(Suppl 1):i3-i14. doi:10.1093/ndtplus/sfr163
  3. National Center for Biotechnology Information (2023). PubChem Compound Summary for CID 71587201, Magnesium gluconate. Retrieved October 31, 2023 from https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/Magnesium-gluconate.
  4. 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
  5. 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.
  6. Noah L, Dye L, Bois De Fer B, Mazur A, Pickering G, Pouteau E. Effect of magnesium and vitamin B6 supplementation on mental health and quality of life in stressed healthy adults: Post-hoc analysis of a randomized controlled trial. Stress Health. 2021;37(5):1000-1009. doi:10.1002/smi.3051
  7. Boyle NB, Lawton C, Dye L. The Effects of Magnesium Supplementation on Subjective Anxiety and Stress-A Systematic Review. Nutrients. 2017;9(5):429. Published 2017 Apr 26. doi:10.3390/nu9050429
  8. Na HS, Ryu JH, Do SH. The role of magnesium in pain. In: Vink R, Nechifor M, editors. Magnesium in the Central Nervous System [Internet]. Adelaide (AU): University of Adelaide Press; 2011. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK507245/
  9. 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
  10. Reno AM, Green M, Killen LG, O'Neal EK, Pritchett K, Hanson Z. Effects of Magnesium Supplementation on Muscle Soreness and Performance. J Strength Cond Res. 2022;36(8):2198-2203. doi:10.1519/JSC.0000000000003827
  11. Biggers, A. Stuart, C. How can I tell if I have low magnesium? Medical News Today. June 2018. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322191#
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