All the Surprising Benefits and Uses for Magnesium Citrate

(Last Updated On: August 3, 2018)

Our bodies need all the essential nutrients to function properly. Every day, our bodies produce blood that carries all the nutrients from the food we eat and oxygen to various organs. Our bodies also formulate chemical messages that make different organs and systems work to sustain our lives. But for our bodies to be able to do all of these, we need vitamins and minerals, as well as other dietary components. These help us heal wounds, make our bones stronger, boost our immune systems, convert food into energy and repair cellular damage. All of which keep us alive.

Vitamins and minerals that you body needs

It’s common knowledge that our bodies require lots of vitamins and minerals. They are compounds that help us grow and function. Because our bodies cannot produce all of these nutrients, we must obtain them through the food we eat. But what are the most important vitamins and minerals that are essential to our health?

  • Vitamin A

It’s good for the eyes, teeth and skin. It can be found in orange-colored foods like carrots, cantaloupe and sweet potatoes, to name a few. These fruits and vegetables get their color from the carotene pigment.

  • B vitamins

These vitamins help boost your energy levels and immune system, as well as aid in proper iron absorption. Some of the best sources of B vitamins include potatoes, chili peppers, lentils, yeast, bananas and molasses.

  • Vitamin C

It helps strengthen blood vessels, make your skin more elastic and allow proper iron absorption. Aside from that, it has antioxidant properties to get rid of toxins in your body. To have ample supply of vitamin C in your body, eat orange, kiwi, guava, cantaloupe, red and green peppers, strawberries, grapefruits and Brussels sprouts.

  • Vitamin D

It is essential for stronger bones. One of the best ways to get vitamin D is by spending a few minutes under the sun, as it stimulates the production of this nutrient. You can also get it from fish, mushrooms and eggs.

  • Vitamin E

This nutrient helps stimulate blood circulation and protect you against free radical damage. The best sources of vitamin E includes almonds and other nuts, as well as tomatoes and sunflower seeds.

  • Vitamin K

What this nutrient is best for is it helps in blood coagulation, which is when your blood clots. You can get this vitamin from leafy green vegetables, like spinach, broccoli, kale and Brussels sprouts.

  • Calcium

We all know that this nutrient helps keep our teeth and bones strong. Best sources of calcium include dairy products, like milk, cheese and yogurt, as well as tofu and black molasses.

  • Zinc

It’s for growth, fertility and immunity. You can get this from spinach, dark chocolate, beans and cashew nuts.

It is good for preventing birth defects and for cell renewal. Some of its natural sources include cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus, corn, beans, citrus fruits, peas, seeds, nuts, lentils, beets and dark leafy green vegetables.

  • Chromium

What makes this mineral important is that it helps in ensuring that every cell in your body gets the energy it needs. Some of the best sources of chromium include whole grains and fresh herbs and vegetables.

  • Iron

It’s a crucial nutrient that helps build muscles and keep blood healthy. Organ meats and oysters, as well as cereal, spinach, pumpkin seeds, lentils, beans and soybeans are some of the best sources of iron.

You see, vitamins and minerals are crucial to our health. Without them, our bodies won’t function the way they should.

Magnesium citrate: another essential nutrient

Another essential and beneficial mineral that you need is magnesium citrate. It is a mixture of citric acid and magnesium carbonate. It is a naturally occurring mineral that is incredibly valuable, especially for our nerves and muscles, as well as our intestines. It is responsible for more than 300 enzyme reactions mainly in your brain, muscles and bones. It also helps boost your energy, stabilize membranes and relax the muscles. However, statistics show that an estimated 80 percent of Americans are deficient in this nutrient.

Here are the surprising benefits and uses of magnesium citrate:

  • It’s the ultimate relaxation medication.

What a lot of people do not know is that magnesium citrate is an excellent antidote to stress. In fact, it can help improve your sleep.

  • It helps regulate bowel movement.

Magnesium citrate is often used in bowel preparation for patients that needed to have their colons cleared for an operation or certain procedures, like radiography, colonoscopy, etc. It also helps ease constipation and regulate bowel movement. This mineral is also a saline laxative that is believed to work by increasing the fluid in your small intestine. As a result, you’ll get to relieve yourself within 30 minutes to three hours after taking it.

  • It is useful in keeping your heart healthy.

This mineral improves muscle function and steadies a person’s heart rhythm. It also helps manage blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases. Several studies that involved 200,000 people discovered that those who use an extra 100 milligrams of this mineral every day have lower risk of stroke by eight percent.  An analysis on this mineral found that people who take more than 370 milligrams of magnesium a day have lower blood pressure.

  • It can aid in controlling blood sugar.

Studies have found a relationship between type 2 diabetes and low magnesium levels. Magnesium deficiency could worsen insulin resistance, leading to an increase in blood sugar levels. In other words, low magnesium could worsen diabetes.

  • It can offer relief from pain from fibromyalgia.

The National Library of Medicine discovered that magnesium could treat chronic fatigue syndrome as well as relieve pain from fibromyalgia, which is a long-term disorder that causes fatigue, musculoskeletal pain and tenderness in affected areas.

  • It helps relieve atrial fibrillation.

This the kind of medical condition wherein a person’s heart rate is regular and often rapid, making them more at risk of heart failure and stroke. Some episodes come and go, but others may require treatment. Although it’s not really a serious disease, it can sometimes require emergency treatment.

  • It can help PMS.

Depression, irritability, mood swings, food cravings and tender breasts are just some of the symptoms of PMS or premenstrual syndrome. An estimated 3 out of 4 women suffer from this syndrome when it’s that time of the month. Studies reveal that low magnesium levels could worsen PMS.

  • It can prevent migraine.

Magnesium is believed to be involved in our bodies’ blood circulation and neurotransmitter function, which means that it can help prevent migraine pain through the release of hormones that reduce pain as well as minimize constriction of the blood vessels that cause blood pressure to rise. It was also discovered that when magnesium supplement is used, symptoms are significantly improved.

  • It boosts energy.

Magnesium activates adenosine triphosphate in your body, which are considered the “energy currency of life.” In other words, ATP is the molecule that stores all the energy your body needs to function properly. So, if you are suffering from magnesium deficiency, you will most likely get easily fatigued. You will also get tired faster when performing physical activities.

  • It calms nerves and prevent anxiety.

This essential mineral regulates certain hormones that help calm the brain and promote relaxation. It is also crucial for GABA function, which is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that creates the happy hormones, like serotonin. A report made in 2012 indicated that when mice were made to have low magnesium levels, they displayed behaviors related to anxiety. The animals also showed signs of increased production of cortisol, particularly by activating the paraventricular hypothalamic nucleus (PVN), which is a part of the brain that’s responsible for controlling stress and anxiety responses.

  • It can treat insomnia.

Because magnesium is the ultimate relaxation supplement, it can help you fall asleep faster. A study involving forty-six patients discovered that those who were given magnesium supplements for eight weeks showed signs of being able to sleep easier, as well as having higher melatonin concentrations. Researchers concluded that this mineral is effective for minimizing symptoms of insomnia and improving sleep efficiency and onset.

  • It relieves muscle pains and spasms.

When a person has magnesium deficiency, his muscles can go into spasms. This is because this mineral plays a crucial role in muscle contractions and neuromuscular signals. It helps relax the muscles and contract, allowing you to move around. Aside from that, it prevents against calcium overload, which can lead to problems in muscle control.

  • It can prevent osteoporosis.

This essential mineral helps in proper bone formation and stimulate the osteoblasts and osteoclasts, which are responsible for building healthy bone density. Magnesium is also beneficial in balancing blood concentrations of vitamin D, which is the number one regulator of bone homeostasis. Research shows that increasing magnesium consumption could prevent against or reverse osteoporosis.

Best sources of magnesium citrate

Best sources of magnesium citrate

The best way to ensure ample supply of all the important vitamins and minerals in the body, many people prefer to eat a balanced diet instead of resorting to supplements. But it is important to note that the levels of magnesium in your food depend on the levels of magnesium in the soil where the fruits, vegetables and nuts are grown. This means to say that organic produce will obviously have more magnesium because the fertilizers used in conventional farms have high nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous content.

  • Avocado – 1 ounce: 50 milligrams
  • Almonds – 1 ounce: 80 milligrams
  • Spinach – 1 cup: 157 milligrams
  • Pumpkin seeds – 92 milligrams
  • Black beans – ½ cup: 60 milligrams
  • Dark chocolate – 1 square: 95 milligrams
  • Chard – 1 cup: 154 milligrams
  • Yogurt – 1 cup: 58 milligrams
  • Figs – ½ cup: 50 milligrams
  • Banana – 1 medium: 32 milligrams
  • Mung beans – 1 cup: 97 milligrams
  • Cashews – ¼ cup: 91 milligrams
  • Potatoes – 1 large: 85 milligrams
  • Brussels sprouts – 1 cup: 32 milligrams
  • Broccoli – 1 cup: 32 milligrams

There are times though when doctors might recommend magnesium supplements, especially to those who are suffering from preeclampsia, high blood pressure, PMS, irregular heartbeat, heart attack and high cholesterol levels. This mineral is also best for people who have altitude sickness, Lyme disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD), hay fever and asthma. It can also help treat skin infections, muscle cramps and kidney stones. But are supplements safe?

Just like everything else, too much magnesium in your body could lead to a deficiency in another. In this case, excessive magnesium from supplements or laxatives could lead to calcium deficiency. Oftentimes, patients suffering from kidney issues are more prone to overdose on this mineral. Symptoms include upset stomach, vomiting, slowed heart rate, confusion and very low blood pressure. This could potentially lead to problems, like coma, irregular heartbeat, difficulty breathing and even death.

However, many people have magnesium deficiency.

Symptoms of magnesium deficiency

As previously mentioned, magnesium is responsible for a lot of bodily processes. So, low levels of this mineral in your system could lead to certain diseases. Here are some of the symptoms of magnesium deficiency:

  • Muscle cramps – when you feel an intense and painful tightening of your muscles that could last for a few seconds or minutes, it could be a sign that you are magnesium deficient.
  • Insomnia – it’s the inability to sleep, which can be caused by psychiatric problems, medical conditions or low magnesium levels.
  • Coronary spasm – it is the temporary tightening of artery walls. This could also be a case of magnesium deficiency. But if the spasm lasts longer, it could be a more serious medical condition, like myocardial infarction.
  • Fatigue and weakness – it’s normal for people to feel tired after a long at work or after doing any physical activity. But if get easily tired or are feeling weak all the time, then it could mean that you lack magnesium citrate in your body.
  • Anxiety – as mentioned, magnesium is the ultimate relaxation supplement. So, if your body lacks this mineral, it could lead to problems, like depression and anxiety.
  • Irritability – when you’re irritable, you get easily frustrated, agitated or upset in stressful situations. This could be a symptom of a health condition or lack of magnesium in your body.
  • Constipation – magnesium is known to improve bowel movement. This means that low magnesium levels could lead to constipation. You’ll know you’re constipated if you haven’t relieved yourself for more than three days.
  • Migraines and headaches – when you have a virtually disabling headache that occurs multiple times a week, it can sometimes be difficult to treat using conventional means. Taking magnesium citrate could be the solution to this kind of problem.
  • Asthma – this respiratory condition causes people to have difficulty in breathing. It could be a result from an allergic reaction to dust, food or medicine. But it could also be due to lack of magnesium in the body.
  • Kidney stones – these are small, hard mineral deposits in your kidneys. These are formed when urine becomes concentrated, making the mineral turn to crystal and stick together. As a result, passing urine could be painful. Getting rid of the stone could be done through proper medication. But sometimes, it could require surgery.
  • Obesity – this is when you have too much body fat, causing increased risk of various diseases that could reduce the quality of life, including diabetes, stroke, arthritis and more.
  • Osteoporosis – this medical condition is characterized by brittle and fragile bones from tissue loss, which may be due to vitamin D, calcium and magnesium deficiency.
  • Acid reflux – some of the symptoms include chest pain after a meal, hoarseness of voice, cough and/or asthma, nausea and excessive saliva. If left untreated, acid reflux or heartburn could lead to Barrett’s esophagus, which could also lead to cancer.
  • High blood pressure – this means that the artery walls constantly receive too much pressure, which could cause chronic headache, nausea, dizziness, epistaxis, palpitations, dyspnea, heart problems and even death.
  • Type 2 diabetes – it is a kind of medical condition wherein there is too much buildup of sugar in your bloodstream because your cells don’t use insulin the way they are supposed to.
  • Respiratory disease – this include problems in upper respiratory tract, bronchi, alveoli, pleural cavity, trachea and the like. It could range from mild to life-threatening conditions, including asthma and lung cancer.
  • Restless leg syndrome – this neurological disorder is characterized by creeping, throbbing or other uncomfortable sensations in the legs, which can sometimes be uncontrollable and overwhelming. Symptoms usually happen at night when a person is at rest. Severity could range from uncomfortable to painful. This syndrome could be caused by chronic diseases, certain medications and mineral deficiency.
  • Bacterial infections – these could be caused by low levels of nitric oxide or weak immune system. But it could also be due to lack of magnesium in your body.
  • Impotence – this is when a person is unable to achieve or maintain an erection or ejaculation, which could be caused by several factors, including endocrine diseases, nerve disorders, certain medications, lifestyle and low levels of magnesium.

Final thoughts

When taking magnesium citrate, it is important to consult your doctor first to ensure you know the right dosage. If you experience allergic reactions, including difficulty breathing, hives, constipation, vomiting, diarrhea, flushing muscle weakness, increased sweating or swelling of face, tongue, throat and lips, get emergency medical help immediately.

Written by Irina Radosevic MD
Irina graduated from the University of Belgrade, School of Medicine as a Doctor of Medicine (MD) and spent over 3 years working in the Clinical Hospital Center Zvezdara, in the Department of Emergency Medicine. She also undertook a postgraduate in Cardiology from the same University and had previously worked for over a year as a Physician and Nutritionist Dietitian for the Fitness club Green Zone. She eventually left her chaotic but fulfilling job in the ER to pursue her passion of writing, travelling and mountain climbing which has included writing a first aid course for the alpine club of Belgrade. Irina currently works as a VA for PintMedia focusing on medical and travel writing. Feel free to connect with Irina on LinkedIn and FaceBook. Her CV can be seen here.