Magnesium for Muscle Pain

A registered dietitian nutritionist explains what the research says.

Medically reviewed by Melissa Nieves, LND

Muscle pain is common and occurs when muscles or the surrounding tissues become sore, achy, or painful. It's also known as myalgia and can result from injury, overuse, stress, illness, or infection.

Magnesium is an essential mineral and nutrient. It is crucial to maintaining proper nerve and muscle function. Some research shows that magnesium may help with certain types of muscle pain. Magnesium may help reduce pain, relax stressed and injured muscles, and aid recovery.

This article will cover magnesium and its role in muscle pain, why you need it, where to find it, and other important things to know before taking it for muscle pain.

What Is Magnesium?

Magnesium is one of the most abundant minerals in the human body.

More than half of the magnesium in your body is stored in your bones. Otherwise, magnesium is found in your soft tissues and, to a lesser extent, your blood.

Magnesium plays many roles. In addition to participating in over 300 enzyme reactions, magnesium is necessary for the following:

  • Protein synthesis

  • Muscle function

  • Blood sugar control

  • Blood pressure regulation

  • Nervous system function

  • Energy production

  • Bone development

  • DNA and RNA synthesis

You can find magnesium in various foods and dietary supplements. As an essential nutrient, you should consume magnesium daily in amounts based on your age and other factors.

A lack of regular magnesium intake may result in a deficiency, which can be severe in some cases.

There is scientific interest in using magnesium in supplement form for specific health conditions and issues, including muscle pain.

Magnesium for Muscle Pain

Magnesium has known roles in the function of muscles and the nervous system, which mediate pain. Because of these roles, researchers have looked at magnesium as a possible treatment for certain types of muscle pain.

A small study published in 2022 found that magnesium supplementation helped muscle soreness and functioning in college-aged athletes. In the randomized trial, participants took a placebo of 350 milligrams (mg) of magnesium daily for ten days. Compared to baseline, those taking magnesium had reduced muscle soreness and improved perceived exertion after post-treatment bench presses.

Other research shows that magnesium may also help alleviate pain from fibromyalgia, a chronic pain disorder that affects muscles and other tissues.

According to one literature review, magnesium deficiency may increase pain intensity in people with fibromyalgia. Various studies have found that magnesium plays a beneficial role in alleviating fibromyalgia pain. However, other studies of fibromyalgia pain have found no benefits of magnesium.

Magnesium has also long been taken for muscle cramps. However, there is no compelling evidence that magnesium affects muscle cramps. Though magnesium may provide benefits for people who are experiencing muscle cramps while pregnant, researchers feel it is unlikely that magnesium is beneficial for older adults with muscle cramps.

Magnesium may be helpful for certain types of muscle pain, but more research is necessary in some areas.

Why Do I Need Magnesium?

Magnesium is essential to your health. Your body needs magnesium for several different roles, such as the following:

  • Muscle functioning

  • Nervous system health

  • Blood sugar management

  • Making DNA and proteins

Without magnesium, your body couldn't perform these vital tasks. Chronic low intake of magnesium may even increase the risk of certain health conditions, including the following:

The amount of magnesium you need varies throughout your life and generally increases as you age. For example, people in certain life stages, such as pregnancy or lactation, need higher amounts of magnesium.

Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA)

Vital nutrients like magnesium have a Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA). The RDA reflects an average daily nutrient intake considered sufficient for most people in a certain age bracket.

Typically, magnesium supplements contain 100% or more of your RDA.

Your RDAs for magnesium are:

  • 51+ years: 320 mg for females, 420 mg for males

  • 31–50 years: 320 mg for females, 420 mg for males

  • 19–30 years: 310 mg for females, 400 mg for males

  • 14–18 years: 360 mg for females, 410 mg for males

  • 9–13 years: 240 mg

  • 4–8 years: 130 mg

  • 1–3 years: 80 mg

The RDA for magnesium ranges from 350–400 mg during pregnancy, depending on your age. While breastfeeding, you need between 310 mg and 360 mg of magnesium.

Health experts recommend that infants get 30 mg of magnesium from birth to 6 months of age and 75 mg from 7 months to 1 year.

RDAs can help when it comes to choosing foods or dietary supplements that contain magnesium. Knowing how much magnesium your body needs can help you make informed decisions to ensure you're getting enough (but not too much).

Can I Get Magnesium From My Diet?

Magnesium is widespread in foods, which makes getting plenty of it through your diet relatively easy.

You can find magnesium in many plant-based foods, such as the following:

You can also find magnesium in dairy products (like milk and yogurt) and breakfast cereals or other foods that have been fortified with the mineral.

<p>Kinga Krzeminska / Getty Images</p> Person holding handful of pistachios

Kinga Krzeminska / Getty Images

Person holding handful of pistachios

What Are the Different Types of Magnesium?

Dietary supplements may contain various forms of magnesium. These include the following:

Some supplements may also contain magnesium glycinate or magnesium taurate.

Research suggests that water-soluble forms of magnesium, like magnesium aspartate, citrate, lactate, and chloride, are more easily absorbed than other forms of magnesium.

What Are the Signs of Magnesium Deficiency?

Magnesium deficiency (hypomagnesemia) occurs when your body doesn't get enough magnesium. This can happen for many reasons, including the following:

  • Diet choices and access issues

  • Alcohol use disorder

  • Chronic diarrhea

  • Specific health conditions

Some people with mild magnesium deficiency may not experience any physical signs. However, symptoms are more likely if magnesium deficiency is chronic or severe.

Magnesium deficiency may initially present with signs like the following:

If the deficiency becomes severe, symptoms may progress to:

Seek help from your healthcare provider if you experience any of these signs of magnesium deficiency.

Special Considerations and Safety

There are some things to consider when deciding whether to take magnesium for muscle pain.

Magnesium may interact negatively with certain medications and other supplements:

  • Magnesium supplements may decrease the effectiveness of certain antibiotics (like Declomycin, Vibramycin, Cipro, and Levaquin). Bisphosphonates may also be less effective when taken with magnesium supplements. Taking magnesium at least 2 hours before or after these medications is best.

  • Other drugs, like diuretics and proton pump inhibitors, may lead to hypomagnesemia, especially when taken long-term.

  • High doses of zinc, another important mineral, may also decrease magnesium absorption.

Although rare, it is possible to get too much magnesium:

  • This is most likely to occur if you improperly take magnesium supplements or laxatives that contain magnesium.

  • Otherwise, your kidneys generally do an excellent job removing excess magnesium as needed.

  • Excess doses of magnesium may result in diarrhea and other gastrointestinal side effects.

  • There is also some concern that too much magnesium can sometimes be toxic. For this reason, a tolerable upper limit of 350 mg per day has been set for adults, including pregnant or breastfeeding.

In general, magnesium supplements are thought to be safe. However, it's best to talk with a healthcare provider before starting magnesium to learn of any additional precautions, especially if you have a medical condition or take prescription medications.

Other Considerations for Muscle Pain

Muscle pain happens to most people from time to time.

Fortunately, you may be able to treat muscle pain at home with a few simple measures. These include:

  • Applying heat and ice

  • Massage

  • Gentle stretches

Rest and over-the-counter pain medications are also often recommended.

In addition to magnesium, various other supplements may help ease muscle pain.

Herbal supplements like tart cherry juice, bromelain, and curcumin, among others, have been shown to reduce various types of muscle pain in small studies.


Magnesium is a mineral that is important to a long list of bodily processes.

You need magnesium throughout your life for energy production, protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, and more.

There is some evidence that magnesium may help reduce muscle pain caused by exercise, injury, or certain health conditions.

Magnesium is found in many plant-based foods as well as dietary supplements. It is generally thought to be safe, but some people may need to take extra precautions.

If you're interested in trying magnesium for muscle pain, talk with a healthcare provider to learn more.

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of magnesium is best for muscle pain?

There is no solid evidence that one type of magnesium is better than others for muscle pain.

However, we know that some magnesium types are more easily absorbed, which may mean better effectiveness.

The magnesium forms that are absorbed the best are aspartate, citrate, lactate, and chloride.

How long does magnesium take to work for muscle pain?

As with most supplements, seeing results can take some time.

In one small study, male runners who took high-dose magnesium supplements (while on a low-magnesium diet) experienced improvements in muscle soreness after just one week.

Of course, this is just one example. There isn't a proven timeline for how long magnesium supplements take to work. The effectiveness of magnesium supplements may vary from person to person.

What causes muscle pain?

There are many potential causes of muscle pain, including:

  • Injury

  • Trauma

  • Overuse

  • Tension

  • Certain medications

  • Certain health conditions

Other causes may be possible. Talk with your healthcare provider if you experience muscle pain that doesn't get better with rest and other measures.

Read the original article on Verywell Health.