Magnesium Oxide: Benefits, Dosage, and Side Effects

2022-12-09 06:02:30 By : Ms. Sarah Shi

Can magnesium oxide help with some health conditions?

Alena Clark, PhD, is a registered dietitian and experienced nutrition and health educator Magnesium Oxide Use

Magnesium Oxide: Benefits, Dosage, and Side Effects

Melissa Nieves, LND, RD, is a registered dietitian working for a private practice.

Magnesium oxide is a magnesium salt form. While most people get magnesium from food, sometimes supplementation is needed. It is one of a few types of magnesium supplements and is also an ingredient in some over-the-counter (OTC) medications.

Magnesium oxide is most commonly used in treating low magnesium levels and constipation. It has also been studied for its effects on blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and migraines.

Available without a prescription, magnesium oxide is generally safe, although it may cause stomach aches and diarrhea in some. The recommended daily magnesium intake from all sources is between 310 milligrams (mg) and 400 milligrams for younger adults and between 320 milligrams and 420 milligrams for older adults.

This article discusses the purported uses of magnesium oxide, including the possible side effects, risks, interactions, and how it differs from other forms of magnesium (such as magnesium citrate).

Supplement use should be individualized and vetted by a healthcare professional, such as a registered dietitian nutritionist, pharmacist, or healthcare provider. No supplement is intended to treat, cure, or prevent a disease.

Magnesium oxide is a magnesium mineral supplement that consists of magnesium and oxygen ions. There are other types of magnesium supplements as well.

Magnesium deficiency in the general healthy population is uncommon, but low intakes (e.g., older adults) or losses due to health conditions (e.g., gastrointestinal diseases, type 2 diabetes, alcohol abuse) may lead to a magnesium deficiency.

Early signs of a magnesium deficiency include:

When deficiency worsens, symptoms can progress to:

Note that you can receive magnesium through diet and supplements. Before starting any supplements, please discuss them with your healthcare provider.

Magnesium can be a primary ingredient in some laxatives (e.g., Philips' Milk of Magnesium).

Magnesium oxide should only be used short-term as a laxative to help with constipation. The supplement has an osmotic effect. It draws water into the intestines to soften stool, making it easier to pass.

One randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial evaluated the effects of magnesium oxide in adults with chronic mild-to-moderate constipation. Seventeen individuals took magnesium oxide for 28 days and 17 took a placebo.

At the end of the study, magnesium oxide significantly improved overall symptoms, including spontaneous bowel movement, stool form, colonic transit time, and abdominal symptoms compared with the placebo.

If you have constipation, talk to your healthcare provider about the most appropriate treatment option for you. Call your healthcare provider if your constipation does not improve or worsens.

Magnesium oxide has also been researched to reduce high blood pressure (hypertension) and lower the risk of stroke.

A review that looked at seven prospective studies found diets high in magnesium can reduce diastolic blood pressure and reduce the risk of stroke, especially ischemic strokes.  An ischemic stroke occurs when the artery to the brain is blocked. It is typically caused by high blood pressure.

Another systematic review of 49 studies involving oral magnesium supplementation and blood pressure effects showed promising but conflicting results. The review concluded with the following findings:

Diets high in magnesium have been associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.

One long-term meta-analysis of seven studies including 286,668 people found that 100 milligrams per day in total magnesium intake significantly lowered the risk of diabetes.

Another meta-analysis of 13 studies demonstrated a dose-dependent association between magnesium intake and type 2 diabetes risk. However, this was only statistically significant in individuals who were overweight.

However, very few short-term clinical trials have been done on its effects on controlling type 2 diabetes.

Note that the American Diabetes Association states there is not enough research to support using magnesium supplements to improve blood glucose in people with type 2 diabetes.

If you have diabetes, please consult your healthcare provider before starting magnesium oxide supplementation.

Magnesium oxide supplementation may reduce the number and intensity of migraines.

A randomized, double-blind crossover study showed that taking 500 milligrams of magnesium oxide appeared to be as effective as valproate sodium in preventing migraine attacks. Sixty-three people in the study took either magnesium oxide or valproate sodium.

The American Academy of Neurology and the American Headache Society concluded that magnesium therapy is "probably effective" for migraine prevention. However, the typical dose of magnesium used for migraine prevention is more significant than magnesium's tolerable upper limit (UL). Therefore, it should be used under the supervision of a healthcare provider. Still, research is limited.

Please discuss the use of magnesium oxide supplements with your healthcare provider before taking them if you have migraines.

Consuming a supplement like magnesium oxide may have potential side effects. These side effects may be mild or severe.

Upset stomach and diarrhea are the most common side effects of magnesium oxide. Taking magnesium oxide with food can reduce stomach troubles. If side effects are persistent or worsen, it is best to talk to your healthcare provider. 

Severe allergic reactions to magnesium oxide are rare. However, seek immediate medical help if you develop:

People with kidney problems should talk to their healthcare providers before starting magnesium oxide supplements.

In addition, pregnant and lactating individuals and children should avoid magnesium oxide supplements as the risks are unknown.

Always speak with a healthcare provider before taking a supplement to ensure that the supplement and dosage are appropriate for your individual needs.

The following is the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for magnesium:

Magnesium oxide supplements should be taken by mouth with meals to reduce stomach upset. Do not crush or chew the supplements; doing so will increase the risk of side effects. If taken in liquid form, shake and measure the proper dose according to the instructions on the supplement's label.

Discuss your consumption of magnesium oxide with a healthcare provider to determine the appropriate amount for your needs.

It is possible to take too much magnesium oxide. Large doses of magnesium oxide can cause magnesium toxicity. This is more likely in people with kidney problems.

Taking too much magnesium oxide may result in:

If you have any of these symptoms after taking magnesium oxide, seek medical care at once. 

Magnesium oxide may prevent the absorption of several medications. Before starting magnesium oxide supplementation, please discuss the prescription and OTC medications, vitamins, or herbal supplements you take with your healthcare provider.

Magnesium oxide may reduce how well the Parkinson's disease treatment Sinemet (levodopa and carbidopa) works. However, more studies are needed to confirm this interaction.

Other medications that can interact with magnesium oxide include:

Magnesium oxide may interact with the following supplements:

Other interactions may occur. Before starting magnesium oxide, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist for a complete list of potential drug, supplement, and food interactions.

Carefully read the ingredient list and nutrition facts panel of a supplement to know which ingredients and how much of each ingredient is included. Please review this supplement label with your healthcare provider to discuss any potential interactions with foods, other supplements, and medications.

Magnesium oxide is a type of magnesium that also contains oxygen. Other forms of magnesium supplements include:

Of the different types, magnesium citrate is among the most easily absorbed in the body and one of the most popular forms found on drugstore shelves.

The best way to get magnesium is through your diet and eating a variety of magnesium-rich foods, such as spinach, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.

Supplements are an option for maintaining magnesium levels in people whose levels remain low despite diet changes. Please talk to your healthcare provider before starting a magnesium oxide supplement.

A healthcare provider can assist you in determining if magnesium oxide supplements are needed for maintaining and/or increasing magnesium. A blood test is usually used to check the level of magnesium in your blood.

Anyone who thinks their magnesium is low should talk to their healthcare provider before starting a supplement.

Magnesium is found in many plant and animal foods and beverages, including green leafy vegetables (spinach), legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. Usually, foods that are higher in fiber are rich in magnesium.

Magnesium oxide supplements are available OTC without a prescription. Magnesium oxide is sold under several brand names. Your healthcare provider or pharmacist can advise you on which brand might fit your unique situation and overall health.

Before picking up a magnesium supplement, it is a good idea to have your magnesium levels checked by a healthcare provider. There is no way to know if the symptoms you might be experiencing are related to a magnesium deficiency, another deficiency, or an illness. You should always disclose all health conditions and medications to avoid interactions and adverse reactions.

Getting enough magnesium is important for good health. Without it, the body cannot function properly. Eating magnesium-rich foods usually does the trick. These include green leafy vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.

Magnesium oxide can also be found in some laxatives and supplements. Although your daily dose of magnesium is crucial, consuming magnesium in excessive quantities can be detrimental to your health. Therefore, it is always important to consult your healthcare provider before starting magnesium supplementation.

Talk to your healthcare provider if you suspect you have low magnesium levels. The most common symptoms of deficiency are muscle cramping, fatigue, depression, and irritability.

National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Magnesium fact sheet for health professionals.

Mori H, Tack J, Suzuki H. Magnesium oxide in constipation. Nutrients. 2021;13(2):421. doi:10.3390/nu13020421

Mori S, Tomita T, Fujimura K, et al. A randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial on the effect of magnesium oxide in patients with chronic constipation. J Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2019;25(4):563-575. doi: 10.5056/jnm18194.

Larsson SC, Orsini N, Wolk A. Dietary magnesium intake and risk of stroke: a meta-analysis of prospective studies. Am J Clin Nutr. 2012; 95(2):362-366. doi:10.3945/ajcn.111.022376

Rosanoff A, Costello RB, Johnson GH. Effectively prescribing oral magnesium therapy for hypertension: a categorized systematic review of 49 clinical trials. Nutrients. 2021;13(1):195. doi:10.3390/nu13010195

Larsson SC, Wolk A. Magnesium intake and risk of type 2 diabetes: a meta-analysis. J Intern Med. 2007;262(2):208-214. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2796.2007.01840.x

Dong JY, Xun P, He K, Qin LQ. Magnesium intake and risk of type 2 diabetes: meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. Diabetes Care. 2011;34(9):2116-2122. doi:10.2337/dc11-0518

Evert AB, Boucher JL, Cypress M, et al. Nutrition therapy recommendations for the management of adults with diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2013;36:3821-3842. doi:10.2337/dc13-2042

Karimi N, Razian A, Heidari M. The efficacy of magnesium oxide and sodium valproate in prevention of migraine headache: a randomized, controlled, double-blind, crossover study. Acta Neurologica Belgica. 2019;121:167-173. doi:10.1007/s13760-019-01101-x

Kashihara Y, Terao Y, Yoda K, et al. Effects of magnesium oxide on pharmacokinetics of L-dopa/carbidopa and assessment of pharmacodynamic changes by a model-based simulation. Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 2019;75(3):351-361. doi:10.1007/s00228-018-2568-4

Firoz M, Graber M. Bioavailability of US commercial magnesium preparations. Magnes Res. 2001;14(4):257-62.

Lee S, Park HK, Son SP, Lee CW, Kim IJ, Kim HJ. Effects of oral magnesium supplementation on insulin sensitivity and blood pressure in normo-magnesemic nondiabetic overweight Korean adults. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2009;19(11):781-8. doi:10.1016/j.numecd.2009.01.002

U.S. National Library of Medicine: National Center for Biotechnology Information. PubChem Compound Database. Magnesium Oxide.

By Alena Clark, PhD Alena Clark, PhD, is a registered dietitian and experienced nutrition and health educator

Cathy Wong is a nutritionist and wellness expert. Her work is regularly featured in media such as First For Women, Woman's World, and Natural Health.

Thank you, {{}}, for signing up.

Magnesium Oxide: Benefits, Dosage, and Side Effects

Active Mgo There was an error. Please try again.