Magnesium For Weight Loss: Does It Work?

If you’re looking to lose weight, there are some key ways to optimize your results. Is magnesium one of them? Here’s a breakdown of its impact on weight loss, health risks, and the best types of magnesium you can take.

Table of Contents
  • Can Magnesium Help With Weight Loss?
  • Signs of Magnesium Deficiency
  • Are You at Risk for Magnesium Deficiency When Losing Weight?
  • How Much Magnesium To Take For Weight Loss
  • How To Choose the Right Magnesium Supplement for Weight Loss
  • How To Increase Magnesium In Your Diet
  • Can Magnesium Be Taken With Weight Loss Medications?
  • Key Takeaways On Taking Magnesium For Weight Loss

Magnesium has recently been in the spotlight for its sleep-improving and stress-reducing effects. The buzz has raised questions about whether magnesium also plays a role in weight loss.

Magnesium is an essential mineral that plays a role in many health-promoting functions – producing energy within our cells, maintaining our heart rhythm, promoting proper nerve function, regulating blood sugar, and even making up the building blocks of our bones and DNA  (1).

So, how does this relate to weight loss? While studies have not conclusively linked magnesium to fat loss, magnesium does provide many health benefits that can support weight loss.

Here’s what the research says about taking magnesium for weight loss, how to incorporate it into your regimen safely, and the best magnesium supplement forms available.

Can Magnesium Help With Weight Loss?

There’s not enough evidence to show that magnesium directly causes fat loss. However, getting sufficient magnesium will support your efforts to achieve a healthy weight.

Magnesium has many health benefits that may help boost your ability to lose weight, including:

  • Regulating insulin: When insulin is poorly regulated, something called insulin resistance may develop which can lead to more serious diseases such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and even cancer (2). Some studies show that magnesium may help with weight loss by aiding insulin regulation. (3, 4).
  • Preventing glucose spikes: When glucose levels in the blood are too high, this can lead to excess body fat storage. Magnesium may help with weight loss by aiding blood sugar regulation. (5)
  • Improved sleep quality: Studies show that magnesium plays a role in reducing the stress hormone “cortisol” and increasing the sleep hormone “melatonin” to ensure a good night's sleep (6,7). Getting 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night is critical for health and reaching weight loss goals (8).
  • Boosting metabolism: Magnesium plays a key role in regulating metabolism which is the process of converting calories into energy on a cellular level. Research suggests that getting enough magnesium can help boost metabolism (9). 
  • Reducing inflammation: Long-term inflammatory stress within the body may lead to more serious issues such as heart disease or type 2 diabetes (10, 11). Ensuring adequate magnesium in your diet may help reduce inflammation and improve long-term health.
  • Supporting healthy blood pressure: Studies have shown that magnesium supplementation can improve blood pressure, especially in people with high cholesterol, diabetes, or prediabetes (12, 13). Healthy blood pressure is important for reducing future heart disease and stroke.
  • Preventing obesity: People struggling with obesity are more likely to be deficient in magnesium. Long-term studies have suggested that getting enough magnesium through a well-balanced diet is inversely associated with developing obesity (14, 15).  

Signs of Magnesium Deficiency

While serious magnesium deficiencies are rare, many Americans consume less than the recommended daily amount (1). What’s more, symptoms of magnesium deficiency are not typically obvious, so this can go under the radar unless it is very severe.

It is important to monitor conditions that can cause magnesium levels to drop, including heavy alcohol use, severe malnourishment (eating very little to no food every day), long-term diarrhea (for months to years), celiac disease, and some common medicines (such as proton pump inhibitors, diuretics, and certain antibiotics).

Here are some symptoms to look out for:

  • Signs of low magnesium: muscle cramps, fatigue or low energy, difficulty sleeping, frequent headaches or migraines, irritability or moodiness. 
  •  Signs of a severe magnesium deficiency: abnormal eye movements (nystagmus), seizures, irregular heartbeat, muscle weakness and/or spasms, numbness or tingling in the hands, feet, and/or face.

Are You at Risk for Magnesium Deficiency When Losing Weight?

Unless you severely restrict calories during your weight loss journey, the likelihood of developing a serious magnesium deficiency is low. Most Americans who eat a well-balanced diet will get adequate magnesium, although people with obesity may be at higher risk (16, 17). Strategies to ensure you get enough magnesium in your daily diet naturally are included below.

Nutrient deficiency risk can be particularly heightened for patients on medications that suppress appetite, such as GLP-1 receptor agonists like semaglutide and tirzepatide. Even when reducing caloric intake, it is still important to meet your nutrient requirements, especially protein, to maintain muscle mass, energy levels, and basic functions. Registered dietitians specializing in weight management, like the ones at Mochi Health can help you ensure you’re getting enough protein, magnesium, and other nutrients on your weight loss journey.

Consult your provider if you are concerned about magnesium deficiency.  While a true deficiency is rare, your doctor can help you decide if you’ll benefit from ordering a blood test to check your magnesium levels.

How Much Magnesium To Take For Weight Loss

While there is no dose recommended for weight loss specifically, there are some general guidelines for how much magnesium the average healthy adult should aim to have in their diet. 

The average daily recommended amount for adult women who are not pregnant or breastfeeding is at least 310-320 mg. The average daily recommended amount for adult men is 400-420 mg. For supplements, the upper recommended limit is 350 mg, but doses range from 200-400 mg(1)

This value can increase or decrease based on age as well as pregnancy and/or breastfeeding status so as always it’s best to discuss this with your doctor before starting a new supplement.

How To Choose the Right Magnesium Supplement for Weight Loss

Several different forms of magnesium supplements are available over the counter. Read on to learn more about some of the top contenders. 

Magnesium Glycinate

Magnesium glycinate is easily absorbed by the body and less likely to cause loose stools than other forms of magnesium. This formulation tends to be well-tolerated as it’s gentler on the digestive tract than other magnesium supplements. Furthermore, magnesium glycinate may have some calming properties to reduce anxiety (18), though further research is needed to be sure.

Magnesium Citrate

A magnesium citrate form is one of the more common magnesium supplements. This formulation is one of the most easily absorbable forms of magnesium making it highly effective. However, it’s commonly used as a laxative for those struggling with constipation, so be warned this supplement may lead to diarrhea.

Magnesium Chloride

A magnesium chloride form (such as MagDelay or SlowMag) is a better choice for those who experience digestive side effects on other forms of magnesium, as it is more slowly absorbed by the body. This slow release may minimize unpleasant side effects such as stomach upset, diarrhea, and heartburn. Be aware that supplements such as SlowMag combine calcium with magnesium chloride to support muscle relaxation and heart health.

How To Increase Magnesium In Your Diet

If you are looking for ways to boost the amount of natural magnesium in your diet, aim to eat a well-balanced and colorful diet. Nuts, legumes, seeds, and whole grains are the richest dietary sources of magnesium, offering up to 20% of the recommended daily value per serving. In addition, leafy green vegetables, milk, yogurt, and lean meats serve as a good source of daily magnesium (1). For more specific examples, see the following lists for inspiration.

High magnesium options that provide more than 10% of the recommended daily value (DV) per serving:

  • Pumpkin seeds, roasted, 1 ounce (37% DV)
  • Chia seeds, 1 ounce (26% DV)
  • Almonds, dry roasted, 1 ounce (19% DV)
  • Spinach, boiled, ½ cup (19% DV)
  • Cashews, dry roasted, 1 ounce (18% DV)
  • Peanuts, oil roasted, ¼ cup (15% DV)
  • Cereal, shredded wheat, 2 large biscuits (15% DV)
  • Soymilk, plain or vanilla, 1 cup (15% DV)
  • Black beans, cooked, ½ cup (14% DV)
  • Edamame, shelled, cooked, ½ cup (12% DV)
  • Peanut butter, smooth, 2 tablespoons (12% DV)
  • Potato, baked with skin, 3.5 ounces (10% DV)
  • Rice, brown, cooked, ½ cupYogurt, plain, low fat, 8 ounces (10% DV)
  • Breakfast cereals, fortified with 10% of the DV for magnesium, 1 serving (10% DV)

Can Magnesium Be Taken With Weight Loss Medications?

Magnesium can bind with certain medicines to prevent their full effect, so check with your provider before starting a new supplement. In general, magnesium supplements can be safely taken with weight-loss medications. 

In general, the main risks of magnesium supplementation are related to potential digestive side effects. Especially in large amounts or with fast-absorbing forms, some patients experience stomach pain, cramping, diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting. Your provider can offer guidance on whether magnesium supplements are right for you and which to take.

Key Takeaways On Taking Magnesium For Weight Loss

While magnesium doesn’t burn fat directly, its numerous health benefits are key to a healthy lifestyle. Aim to eat a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins to maximize your range of natural vitamins and minerals. If you need the extra boost and are curious about magnesium supplements, consult your provider to see if magnesium supplements are right for you.

Ultimately, the best approach for long-term weight loss includes limiting calories, eating a balanced, nutrient-rich diet, and regular exercise. When you’ve done everything and the weight still hasn’t come off, pharmaceutical approaches like GLP-1 medications can be safe and effective tools.

Mochi Health is here to support you on your weight loss journey. See if you’re eligible for our holistic care plan that includes 1-on-1 provider visits, nutrition consultations, 24/7 customer support, and affordable medications delivered to your home.


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  2. Morais, J. B. S., Severo, J. S., de Alencar, G. R. R., de Oliveira, A. R. S., Cruz, K. J. C., Marreiro, D. D. N., Freitas, B. J. E. S. A., de Carvalho, C. M. R., Martins, M. D. C. C. E., & Frota, K. M. G. (2017). Effect of magnesium supplementation on insulin resistance in humans: A systematic review. Nutrition (Burbank, Los Angeles County, Calif.), 38, 54–60.
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