When to Take Magnesium: Time of Day, Mealtimes, and More

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    Magnesium can be taken at any time of the day, however many people prefer the magnesium supplement with a meal to help prevent any stomach discomfort.

    When is the best time to take magnesium?

    Magnesium can be taken at any time of the day. Many people prefer to take supplements earlier in the day, such as with breakfast or lunch. Taking your magnesium supplement with a meal can also help prevent any stomach upset. Regardless of the time of day you take it, many studies demonstrate the benefits of long-term magnesium supplementation. In other words, consistency is what’s most important. If you are taking magnesium for its restful sleep benefits, taking it with dinner or the last meal of the day may be your best bet.

    Magnesium in the morning vs. the evening

    When it comes to magnesium supplementation, the timing is actually not so important. The most important factor is ensuring a consistent intake rather than focusing on whether it’s consumed in the morning or evening. Studies on magnesium typically report that the benefits are based on the length of time (i.e. weeks, months), and not the time of day the nutrient was consumed. The key is to select a time of day that aligns with your routine. This will ensure that you take it on a regular basis.

    Does magnesium make you sleepy if you take it in the morning?

    Although many people use magnesium for sleep support, it isn’t known to cause fatigue during the day. However, if you want to maximize the benefits for better sleep, it’s best to take your magnesium supplement an hour or two before bedtime.

    Does the time you take magnesium really matter?

    Although the time of day doesn’t factor into the results, consistency may be a factor. For instance, one study tracked individuals over three weeks of magnesium supplementation, showing that the supplement improved exercise performance by decreasing the accumulation of lactate. It may be easier to remember if you get into a routine of taking it at the same time each day.

    Should magnesium be taken with a meal?

    It may be helpful to take your magnesium supplement with a meal, like breakfast or lunch. Magnesium is a mild supplement that doesn’t require it to be taken with food for it to be absorbed properly. However, a small portion of people who take magnesium may experience digestive discomfort, like nausea or diarrhea. Taking magnesium with a meal can help prevent any stomach upset.

    Does magnesium have an immediate effect?

    The effects of magnesium supplementation will not always be immediate. It can take days to several weeks for you to experience the benefits. For instance, one study on older adults noted that it took 8 weeks of supplementation for them to notice sleep support benefits. In another study, participants showed an improvement in healthy outlook and perception after 2 weeks of supplementation.

    So, rather than upping your dose of magnesium, be patient. Indeed, taking more magnesium will not provide faster or more pronounced effects. Instead, taking too much magnesium can cause an upset stomach or other negative side effects. It’s also important to take a magnesium supplement that is easy to absorb.

    Should I take magnesium or melatonin for sleep?

    Magnesium can help some people get to sleep more quickly and promote more restful sleep. In fact, magnesium may support the body’s natural production of melatonin. That being said, you may wonder if it’s safe to take magnesium and melatonin together. Although you should always consult your healthcare provider before adjusting or combining your supplements, magnesium and melatonin supplements are generally safe to take at the same time.

    Precautions and considerations when taking magnesium

    Magnesium is generally considered safe for most people and tends to work fairly quickly. Magnesium can be taken with most types of food. However, you may want to avoid taking it with grains and other foods that contain oxalic acid, which can interrupt absorption.

    It is important to know, however, that there are some medications that should not be combined with magnesium. Some antibiotics, blood pressure medicine, and hormone therapies block the absorption of the mineral. If you’re on a prescription medication, it’s important to discuss it with your healthcare provider. The solution may be as simple as waiting a few hours after taking your medication before you take your supplement.

    The Bottom Line

    Magnesium can be taken any time of day. So, the optimal time to take magnesium supplements is largely dependent on your personal preferences and routine. Rather, the most important factor when supplementing with this mineral is consistent intake.

    While magnesium can be taken at any time of day, many people find it beneficial to take it with meals to enhance absorption and prevent stomach discomfort. Whether you are taking magnesium for better sleep, exercise performance enhancement, or other health benefits, aligning the intake with your daily schedule and meal times will optimize its benefits. Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure that magnesium supplementation does not interfere with any medications you are currently taking.

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    Dr. Pragati Gusmano, ND
    Formulator and Medical Researcher
    Dr. Gusmano is a licensed naturopathic physician. She received her doctoral degree from Bastyr University and has over a decade of experience in nutrition and the natural products industry. Her clinical interests include lifestyle medicine, optimizing nutrition at all stages of life, pediatrics, and mind-body medicine. In her free time, you’ll find her outside connecting with nature, spending time with her two children, and cooking plant-based meals.
    Jordana Tobelem, RD
    Freelance Contributor
    Jordana Tobelem is a Registered Dietitian who enjoys helping others become the best versions of themselves through proper nutrition education. Jordana is passionate about promoting lifestyle changes through nutrition, physical activity, and behavior to create a superior quality of life. She uses her experience in the clinical field of dietetics to provide consulting services to an array of healthcare brands and companies. Jordana loves finding the most current research in nutrition to create meaningful content to share with her clients. Jordana has been a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics since 2018 and also holds certifications in both Personal Training and Health Coaching.