Magnesium is an important mineral that’s involved in many aspects of your health.
In fact, studies show that it may help improve blood sugar control, prevent migraine attacks, reduce blood pressure levels, and protect against depression.
The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) — the intake that’s sufficient for nearly all healthy individuals — for magnesium is 310–420 mg daily for adults. While most people can meet their needs through food sources alone, supplements may be necessary in some cases.
This article helps determine the best time to take magnesium to maximize its effectiveness.
Does timing matter?
Regardless of whether you’re taking magnesium to improve your mood, decrease anxiety, or enhance sleep quality, the benefits of magnesium supplements are all associated with their long-term use.
For example, one study in 130 people with migraine found that taking a supplement containing magnesium decreased migraine frequency, with participants reporting fewer migraine days over the course of the 3-month study
Another study noted that supplementing with magnesium improved symptoms of depression in 112 adults, with noticeable benefits occurring after 2 weeks.
What’s more, a study in 46 older adults also showed that taking 500 mg of magnesium daily for 8 weeks improved several measures of insomnia, including total sleep time and sleep latency, which is the amount of time it takes to fall asleep.
Therefore, magnesium supplements can be taken at any time of the day, as long as you’re able to take them consistently.
For some, taking supplements first thing in the morning may be easiest, while others may find that taking them with dinner or just before bed works well for them.
The most important thing is to set a schedule and stick to it to ensure that you’re getting your daily dose.
Should be taken with food
Although magnesium supplements are generally well tolerated, they may be linked to several adverse effects.
Some of the most common side effects associated with magnesium supplements include digestive issues like diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.
If you experience any of these side effects, taking magnesium supplements with food could help prevent them.
However, if symptoms persist, consider consulting a trusted healthcare practitioner to determine the best course of treatment for you.
Magnesium supplements can interfere with the absorption of several other types of medications, potentially reducing their effectiveness.
Other medications may also increase the excretion of magnesium through urine, which can increase your risk of deficiency.
For example, antibiotics should be taken at least 2 hours before or 4–6 hours after magnesium supplements to help maximize effectiveness.
Meanwhile, those taking bisphosphonates to prevent bone loss should be sure to take magnesium supplements at least 2 hours before or after other medications.
Additionally, if you’re taking diuretics or proton pump inhibitors, you should consult a healthcare professional to determine the best schedule for your supplements.
The bottom line
Taking magnesium supplements with food may help prevent some of their adverse effects.
The timing may also be important if you’re taking certain types of medications, such as antibiotics or bisphosphonates.
However, because the benefits of magnesium supplements are associated with long-term use, taking your supplement consistently each day is more important than the timing.