Medically Reviewed By Elizabeth A. Swick, MS, RDN
Magnesium Benefits for Leg Cramps, Migraines, and Constipation
Magnesium is an essential mineral that your body needs to function at its best. Maintaining normal magnesium levels by eating nutritious foods is necessary for your balanced diet, and there is evidence to suggest that magnesium benefits may go beyond supporting overall health.
Research has revealed that magnesium supplement benefits may include relief for constipation, leg cramps, and migraines. Read on to get the facts about taking magnesium for constipation, leg cramps, and migraines.
Magnesium Deficiency Symptoms
Severe magnesium deficiency is rare and most common among people with certain digestive disorders, alcohol use disorders, and individuals who take certain medications. Low magnesium symptoms include:
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
If left untreated, magnesium deficiency can cause:
- Muscle cramps
- Changes in mood
- Irregular heartbeat
- Low levels of calcium and potassium that cause additional symptoms
Most people take magnesium supplements not to avoid deficiency but to reap the potential health benefits. Supplemental forms, such as Body Kitchen’s Unwind Magnesium Powder, are excellent choices to boost magnesium levels in the body. These supplements can directly influence the PSNS, allowing the body to release tension and manage stress which may help address some of the issues mentioned above. Although more research into the effectiveness of magnesium supplements for addressing all types of symptoms is needed to prove the benefits definitively, the results of early studies into using magnesium for migraines, leg cramps, and constipation have yielded some promising results.
Magnesium and Leg Cramps
Many people experience leg cramps at night that interfere with their rest, and there is strong anecdotal evidence to suggest that taking a magnesium supplement may help. Understanding what causes leg cramps makes it easier to understand why. Leg cramps occur when the muscles in your legs suddenly and severely tense up.
One of magnesium's many jobs is to trigger the release of muscle contractions. That's why severe deficiencies can result in severe muscle cramps. Those who support taking magnesium for leg cramps believe that increasing the body's mineral supply can lead to improvements in muscle contraction control.
Most related studies deal with athletes taking magnesium to enhance athletic performance. A small study found that taking a magnesium supplement reduced symptoms of restless leg syndrome, a condition marked by leg spasms triggered by sudden contractions. In addition, there is evidence to suggest that magnesium may ease cramping and discomfort associated with fibromyalgia.
Magnesium and Migraines
Migraines are throbbing, pulsing headaches that are often accompanied by sensitivity to light and nausea. Scientists don't fully understand what causes migraines, but numerous studies have confirmed that many sufferers have low magnesium levels. This has led to people taking magnesium supplements in the hopes of reducing the frequency of headaches. These individuals may take magnesium in addition to prescription medication or on its own.
One study found that a magnesium oxide supplement was as effective as the medication valproate sodium at fighting migraines and that the supplement caused fewer side effects than the drug. Other research has shown that magnesium may make women less likely to develop migraines during menstruation.
Magnesium and Constipation
Constipation is a widespread digestive issue. It's so common that most people will find themselves wondering what helps constipation at least once in their lives. On its own, constipation isn't a medical condition. Instead, the infrequent or difficult-to-pass stool is usually a sign of something else. Occasional constipation may be caused by diet, dehydration, or a lack of physical activity. Chronic constipation may be the symptom of something more serious. For persistent unexplained constipation, you should see your doctor.
For occasional symptoms, magnesium has long been used for constipation relief. So how does it help with constipation? Essentially, your bowel is a large muscle. When you take magnesium, the mineral causes it to relax and attracts water into feces, making stool easier to pass. Because of its effectiveness, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved magnesium citrate for sale as an over-the-counter osmotic laxative for treating occasional constipation.
What Types of Magnesium Should You Take for Leg Cramps, Migraines, and Constipation?
There are many types of magnesium supplements available, including:
- Magnesium sulfate
- Magnesium oxide
- Magnesium citrate
- Magnesium chloride
- Magnesium aspartate
- Magnesium malate
- Magnesium lactate
- Magnesium glycinate
You may wish to choose supplements, including Body Kitchen’s Unwind Magnesium Powder, that feature more than one type of magnesium, which may enhance overall effectiveness.
Dosage of Magnesium for Leg Cramps, Migraines and Constipation
There is no definitive answer to the question, "how much magnesium for leg cramps, migraines or constipation?" How much you will need depends on your age, weight, sex, and how much magnesium you get from your foods. Your medical provider can help you determine what dosage of magnesium is correct for you.