bottle of magnesium pills

Keeping bones strong calls for life-long attention. During childhood and adolescence, bones increase in density and strength until early to mid-adulthood. To avoid broken bones in later years, we need to do what we can to bolster bone strength. That includes, importantly, weight-bearing exercise such as walking or running. It might also include supplements.

Could Supplements Prevent Broken Bones?

Q. I have osteoporosis and have read that magnesium helps the body absorb calcium. What kind of magnesium should I take and how much? Is it better to take it morning or evening?

A. A recent study found that older people who got more than 400 mg magnesium daily from their diets and supplements were less than half as likely to break a bone during eight years of follow-up than those who got only about 200 mg per day (Veronese et al, British Journal of Nutrition, online, June 20, 2017).  Women who met the recommended daily intake of magnesium (320 mg) were 27 percent less likely to suffer a fracture due to osteoporosis.

What Magnesium Is Best?

Magnesium citrate appears to be best absorbed. If you have good kidney function, you should be able to take up to 300 mg daily without a problem. If your kidneys aren’t working well, DO NOT take magnesium supplements. Your kidneys won’t be able to get rid of any excess, and the mineral could build up to toxic levels (Alaini et al, BMJ Case Reports, March 21, 2017).

You can also get magnesium from green leafy vegetables, whole grains and nuts. That may help to explain why a diet rich in vegetables, nuts and whole grains helps prevent heart disease as well as broken bones. Magnesium is essential for cardiovascular health (Sakaguchi, Hamano & Isaka, Nutrients, Feb. 6, 2017).

It may not matter whether you take your supplement at night or in the morning. Taking it shortly before bedtime, however, might help you fall asleep (Abbasi et al, Journal of Research in Medical Science, Dec. 2012). (We wrote about that use of magnesium here.)

Reader Mary MF remarked:

I have been taking Slow Mag magnesium at bedtime with some warm milk and it has worked wonders in helping me to fall asleep quickly and get a good night’s rest. It was recommended to me by a pharmacist years ago to help prevent leg cramps so I’m getting two benefits from it. I take Citracal daily as my calcium supplement…. all of the above works well for me… so no sleeping pills in my medicine cabinet.

Get The Graedons' Favorite Home Remedies Health Guide for FREE

Join our daily email newsletter with breaking health news, prescription drug information, home remedies AND you'll get a copy of our brand new full-length health guide — for FREE!

  1. barbara
    TX
    Reply

    I have long been told that the citrate form of magnesium was a laxative and shouldn’t be used daily??

What Do You Think?

We invite you to share your thoughts with others, but remember that our comment section is a public forum. Please do not use your full first and last name if you want to keep details of your medical history anonymous. A first name and last initial or a pseudonym is acceptable. Advice from other commenters on this website is not a substitute for medical attention. Do not stop any medicine without checking with the prescriber. Stopping medication suddenly could result in serious harm. We expect comments to be civil in tone and language. By commenting, you agree to abide by our commenting policy and website terms & conditions. Comments that do not follow these policies will not be posted.

Your cart

Total
USD
Shipping and discount codes are added at checkout.