Nutrition Market

Magnesium Supplements in Australia

Magnesium is a crucial mineral that is involved in over 300 enzyme reactions in the body. It's vital for maintaining proper muscle and nerve function, keeping bones strong, regulating blood pressure, and ensuring a steady heart rhythm. While magnesium can be obtained from various foods such as green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains, studies indicate that a significant portion of Australians may not be getting enough magnesium in their diets. This could be due to an inadequate intake of magnesium-rich foods or depletion caused by stress, medications, chronic diseases, and lifestyle factors. Magnesium supplements can help bridge this nutritional gap and offer numerous potential health benefits.

Who May Benefit From Taking Magnesium Supplements?

  • Older adults as magnesium absorption may decrease with age
  • Individuals with gastrointestinal disorders like Crohn's disease affecting nutrient absorption
  • People on medications that deplete magnesium such as diuretics, proton pump inhibitors, and certain diabetes drugs
  • Those with diabetes or prediabetes
  • Individuals with high blood pressure
  • Athletes and those with very active lifestyles increasing magnesium needs
  • Pregnant women as requirements increase during pregnancy
  • People suffering from migraines or chronic pain
  • Those with anxiety, depression, insomnia, or other mental health conditions
  • Anyone with a magnesium deficiency or trouble meeting RDI through diet alone

The recommended dietary intake (RDI) for magnesium varies based on age and gender, with different dosages suggested for infants, children, adolescents, adults, pregnant women, and breastfeeding mothers according to the nutrient reference values for Australia and New Zealand.


0-6 months 30 mg/day
7-12 months 75 mg/day

Children & Adolescents

1-3 years 80 mg/day
4-8 years 130 mg/day
Boys 9-13 years 240 mg/day
Boys 14-18 years 410 mg/day
Girls 9-13 years 240 mg/day
Girls 14-18 years 360 mg/day


Age Men Women
19-30 years 400 mg/day 310 mg/day
31+ years 420 mg/day 320 mg/day


14-18 years 400 mg/day
19-50 years 350 mg/day


14-18 years 360 mg/day
19-50 years 320 mg/day

Reference: nutrient reference values for Australia and New Zealand.

Choosing a Magnesium Supplement

Magnesium supplements come in various forms including:

  • Magnesium oxide - Most common, lower absorption but higher elemental magnesium content per dose
  • Magnesium citrate - Highly bioavailable and readily absorbed, can have a laxative effect in higher doses
  • Magnesium glycinate - Highly bioavailable, gentle on the stomach
  • Magnesium chloride - Easily absorbed and can be used topically but has a strong taste

These supplements are available as capsules, tablets, powders, and in topical forms like magnesium oils and lotions. The choice of form would depend on individual needs and tolerance. It's advisable to start with a lower dosage and gradually work up to the recommended daily amounts.

When and How to Take Magnesium

When supplementing with magnesium, timing and dosage are crucial:

  • Take daily with food to reduce potential side effects like diarrhea
  • Evening doses may promote sleep and relaxation
  • Maximum recommended doses vary for adults and children based on age, with doses spread throughout the day for optimal absorption
  • Magnesium can be paired with calcium, B vitamins, and vitamin D for enhanced benefits

Benefits of Magnesium Supplementation

Magnesium supplements may offer a wide range of benefits including:

  • Improved heart health
  • Better blood sugar control
  • Enhanced mental health
  • Stronger bones
  • Relief from migraines
  • Improved muscle function
  • Proper nerve transmission
  • Boosted immune function
  • Supported protein synthesis
  • Enhanced energy production

Safety and Side Effects

Magnesium supplements are generally well-tolerated when taken as directed, but high doses may cause diarrhea, cramping, nausea, abdominal discomfort, and low blood pressure. Individuals with kidney disorders should avoid magnesium supplements unless advised by their doctor, as magnesium can interact with certain medications like antibiotics and blood pressure drugs.

Signs of Magnesium Deficiency

Symptoms of magnesium deficiency may include muscle twitches, cramps, spasms, fatigue, weakness, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, tingling or numbness, seizures, personality changes, and abnormal heart rhythms.


What forms of magnesium have the highest absorption?

Magnesium glycinate, magnesium citrate, and magnesium chloride are known for high bioavailability and absorption compared to magnesium oxide.

How much elemental magnesium is in different supplements?

The amount of elemental magnesium varies between different forms of supplements.

Can I take magnesium with other supplements?

Magnesium can be taken alongside calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B6, and potassium but should be avoided with iron, zinc, or antibiotics as they can interfere with absorption.

Are magnesium supplements regulated in Australia?

Yes, magnesium supplements are classified as complementary medicines in Australia and must meet the standards set by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).

How do I know if I'm magnesium deficient?

Symptoms like muscle cramps, anxiety, fatigue may indicate a deficiency, and a blood test can confirm low magnesium levels.

Can I take magnesium if I have kidney problems?

Consult with your doctor before taking magnesium supplements if you have kidney issues.

Magnesium Supplements: The Takeaway

Magnesium supplements can be a beneficial addition to your dietary regimen, especially if you have trouble meeting the required daily intake from food alone. Choosing a bioavailable form like magnesium glycinate or citrate, starting with low doses, and working up to the recommended daily amounts while monitoring for any side effects is advisable. It's important to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any supplementation regimen, especially if you have pre-existing health conditions or are on medications that may interact with magnesium.

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