Does Coffee Deplete Magnesium?


Consuming coffee might alter magnesium levels in the body. When consuming coffee, the intestinal magnesium absorption drops. Although coffee does not directly remove magnesium from the body, the reduced absorption of magnesium may result in a progressive magnesium deficit. The more coffee a person consumes, the less magnesium is absorbed by the intestines. This problem becomes more significant with age since magnesium absorption typically declines.

Health benefits of magnesium

Most of your body's magnesium is located in the skeleton, which contains around 25g. The bulk of the excess magnesium is located inside your muscles and other cells. A sufficient intake of this mineral may aid in the prevention or treatment of chronic disorders such as Alzheimer's disease, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and migraines. [1] Magnesium is essential for several biological processes. Firstly, it is essential to convert carbohydrates and lipids into energy that cells can utilise, as well as for the synthesis of DNA and proteins. Magnesium is also necessary for the structural health of bones and tissues. It influences the function of muscles and nerves by altering the concentrations of other minerals inside the cells. 

Magnesium may promote bone health directly and indirectly since it helps regulate calcium and vitamin D levels -  two essential minerals for bone health. 

Diets high in magnesium are linked to a reduced incidence of type 2 diabetes. Magnesium may significantly affect glucose regulation and insulin metabolism. [2] Most, but not all, diabetic patients have low magnesium levels. Magnesium insufficiency might exacerbate insulin resistance, hence magnesium may have a role in treating diabetes. [3]  Conversely, insulin resistance may result in low magnesium levels. 

According to a 2019 meta-analysis, increasing magnesium intake may decrease the risk of stroke, with a 2% reduction in risk for every 100 mg daily increase in magnesium. [4] Additionally, some studies indicate that magnesium has a function in hypertension. However, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements, current research suggests that magnesium supplements reduce blood pressure “only to a minor degree”. [5]

Magnesium treatment may help prevent or alleviate headaches because magnesium shortage may influence neurotransmitters and limit blood vessel constriction, both of which are associated with migraines. [5] Migraine sufferers may have lower amounts of magnesium in their blood and body tissues than the general population. 

Small-scale research shows that magnesium may contribute to premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Magnesium and vitamin B-6 supplementation help alleviate PMS symptoms. [6]

Additionally, magnesium levels may have a role in mood disorders, such as anxiety and depression. According to a comprehensive study, low magnesium levels may be associated with greater levels of anxiety [7], which may be partially related to activity in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis which controls a person's stress response.

Does coffee interfere with magnesium absorption?

Caffeine may inhibit the absorption of minerals such as magnesium, calcium, and iron; however, its effect is negligible.

How does coffee affect levels of magnesium?

Black coffee is abundant in antioxidants, which help prevent cell damage and lessen the chance of developing diseases such as cancer and heart disease. In most diets, coffee is the principal source of antioxidants. Additionally, black coffee is rich in Vitamin B2, Caffeine, and Magnesium. The caffeine in coffee may produce a minor increase in the amount of magnesium expelled in the urine, but coffee delivers more magnesium than is lost; therefore, it is not predicted that consuming coffee leads to magnesium depletion. Conversely, according to another research Escott-Stump, 2008, caffeine may inhibit the absorption of manganese, zinc, and copper. Additionally, it increases the excretion of magnesium, potassium, sodium, and phosphate. There are also indications that coffee inhibits vitamin A activity. Therefore, more research is needed for more conclusive answers. 

Can coffee deplete other vitamins and minerals?

As a plant-based beverage, coffee includes several vitamins and key minerals such as magnesium. In fact, one cup of coffee has around 7 milligrammes, which is a drop in the daily-requirement bucket (420 mg for men, 320 mg for women).  Caffeine may deplete key nutrients, such as vitamin B6, and inhibits the absorption of critical minerals, such as calcium, iron, magnesium, and B vitamins, based on the 2008 paper by Escott-Stump. Interestingly, Escott-Stump (2008) showed that coffee promotes stomach acid production, which helps the body absorb B12. Caffeine decreased the expression of vitamin D receptors on osteoblasts, the cells that produce bone matrix, in the body. This study also found a link between the level of interference with vitamin D absorption and the quantity of caffeine in the body.

Does decaf coffee deplete magnesium?

The decaffeination method often includes using solvents to strip the coffee of caffeine while preserving many other components and compounds that give coffee its beautiful, wholesome, soothing, and irreplaceable scent and flavour. Decaf coffee is often brewed from beans with more excellent fat than standard arabica beans, which may adversely affect cholesterol levels and the heart's long-term health. Decaffeinated coffee does not have a diuretic effect, so you will not lose B vitamins, vitamin C, or minerals. The exception is iron, which is inhibited by antioxidants and not caffeine. It is said that drinking decaf coffee raises metabolic acidity and interferes with good bone density. Additionally, calcium stores are depleted with each cup of energising beverage consumed. This is vital for avoiding osteoporosis and maintaining proper bone density. Decaf also inhibits iron absorption. It has been shown that just one cup of black stuff reduces iron absorption in a hamburger meal by a staggering 39%—the stronger the coffee, the lower the iron absorption. Magnesium is perhaps the essential element that coffee depletes.

Deficiency of magnesium

Magnesium deficiency symptoms are often minor and readily mistaken with other common ailments. Included are nausea, vomiting, appetite loss, weariness, and weakness. As the deficit worsens, it may result in low calcium and potassium levels, as well as other more recognisable symptoms:

  • Frequent symptoms of magnesium insufficiency include muscular twitching and cramping. In situations of greater severity, this may escalate to seizures or convulsions. 
  • Low potassium (a side consequence of low magnesium) is believed to contribute to muscular weakness. 
  • Low magnesium levels may cause abnormal cardiac rhythms and coronary spasms. These include chest discomfort, tightness, pressure, and irregular or accelerated heart rate. 

Persistent magnesium insufficiency may increase the risk of several severe illnesses, including: 

  • Cardiac disease 
  • Elevated blood pressure 
  • Osteoporosis 
  • Type 2 diabetes 

If you suspect you have a magnesium deficit, you must see a doctor, mainly if you belong to a high-risk category.

Other common substances depleting magnesium levels

Magnesium depletion in healthy adults may be induced by: 

  • Diets low in magnesium, processed foods, and carbonated beverages
  • Soft water calcium additives 
  • Prescription and nonprescription pharmaceuticals 
  • And some situations may enhance susceptibility to deficiency, such as:
    • Alcoholism and other dependencies 
    • Ageing, disease, and anxiety 
    • Digestive and genetic diseases

How to boost magnesium levels?

Increase your intake of magnesium-rich foods

Choose unrefined and whole foods. This essential mineral is abundant in leafy green vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes. 

Add an additional magnesium supplement

If your magnesium levels have dropped too low, you may need to supplement with magnesium tablets or powder. Choose magnesium glycinate because not only is it the most absorbable form, but it is also well tolerated when taken in larger doses. Consider selecting a magnesium supplement tailored to your specific requirements, such as anxiety, muscular health, sleep, or vitality, so that the synergistic combination of nutrients and botanicals has the most significant possible effect. 

Consume a daily multivitamin to provide magnesium absorption and utilisation co-factors

Choose a high-quality once-daily supplement that includes nutrients that the body can effectively recognise and utilise. Obtaining vitamins and minerals from food alone might be complex due to depleted soils and our bodies' ever-changing state of stress and ill health; this can need supplementation with a multivitamin. 

Minimise your use of alcoholic beverages, carbonated beverages, and caffeine

Alcohol may inhibit the body's absorption of vitamin D and other vital minerals, affecting magnesium absorption. Low magnesium levels are also connected with carbonated beverages and caffeine use. Instead, consume coconut water, which is naturally abundant in magnesium and other electrolytes, to maintain hydration. 

Incorporate sea veggies into a healthy diet

Sea water is rich in minerals, especially magnesium; thus, sea vegetables, such as kelp, contain abundant levels of this potent mineral. 

Limit consumption of processed sugar

Consumption of sugar, particularly from processed meals, may result in increased magnesium outflow from the body, thus rapidly depleting our reserves required for good health. 

Feed your intestinal bacteria

Promoting gut health to maximise digestion and nutrient absorption is essential. Maintaining adequate quantities of beneficial bacteria helps facilitate magnesium absorption and use inside the body. 

Include magnesium flakes in the bath

Magnesium is readily absorbed via the skin; thus, regular Epsom salt baths or foot baths effectively increase magnesium levels. In addition, a hot bath before bedtime is believed to induce a state of relaxation conducive to sleep by simulating the rise and fall of body temperature during sleep. 

Consume bone broth regularly

Bone broth is an abundant source of magnesium and several other vital minerals. Always use organic, pasture-raised beef or wild seafood when preparing the broth. 

Use caution around tannins (tea), oxalates (raw spinach), and phytic acid (wholegrains)

All of these may bond with magnesium, rendering it inaccessible to the body, unless particular care is taken during food preparation to neutralise some of these compounds. Consume herbal teas, prepare spinach with care, and seek organic, stone-ground, sprouted, and sourdough whole-grain bread.

Ways to reduce the intake of coffee

Coffee withdrawal syndrome

Is characterised by throbbing headaches, fatigue, yawning, and lethargy that lasts for a few days and is severe enough to drive you to run back to caffeine. The key is to reduce gradually so that your body can adjust. 


Eliminate one cup of coffee or energy drink. Start during the weekend or on a holiday when you're not under pressure. Start by removing midday and evening coffee. Consume your last caffeinated beverage by 4 p.m. so the caffeine can leave your system before night. Perform the following for a week to acclimate your body to more minor, for example: 

  • Week 1: Stop drinking coffee in the afternoon, i.e. no caffeine after 4 pm 
  • Week 2: No coffee with or after lunch; no caffeine after 12 pm


Aim to reduce total consumption by half or until you reach a level at which you are comfortable and no longer have sleeplessness or shaky hands. Depending on your sensitivity, you don't have to give up coffee totally (thank goodness), only enough to minimise adverse effects. 

A frequent objective is to consume no more than three cups of instant coffee or one or two café espressos daily. Switch to caffeine-free or low-caffeine alternatives wherever possible, such as: 

  • Caffeine-free substitutes 
  • Decaf espresso 
  • Decaf tea Herbal infusion, particularly after supper when you're seeking a restful night's sleep. 
  • Rooibus (red tea), which resembles tea in flavour but has no caffeine 
  • Alternatives for coffee (made from roasted barley, chicory, or dandelion root), such as Caro, Ecco, and Dandelion tea. 
  • Lemon squash, ginger beer, lemonade, and other soft drinks besides the cola 

Reduced caffeine options: 

  • Regular and green tea contains one-half and one-third as much caffeine as coffee. 
  • Hot chocolate is a simple and socially acceptable substitute. 
  • A can of cola has about half as much caffeine as an energy drink (not a healthy choice but it keeps your caffeine intake down)


Magnesium is required for several biological functions. Coffee consumption reduces intestinal magnesium absorption. Magnesium-rich diets are associated with a decreased risk of type 2 diabetes. Magnesium levels in the blood and tissues of migraine patients may be lower than those of the general population. Magnesium levels may have a role in mood disorders, including sadness and anxiety. 

Caffeine in coffee may cause a little increase in magnesium excretion via urine. Magnesium-containing water may improve the flavour of coffee, but this does not suggest magnesium should be added. Decaffeinated coffee is often made from beans with a higher fat content than regular arabica beans. Caffeine-free coffee is not a diuretic, so you will not lose any B vitamins, vitamin C, or minerals. Iron is the exception since antioxidants block it. 

Magnesium-rich foods, such as leafy green vegetables and whole grains, should be consumed significantly. If your magnesium levels are too low, take an extra magnesium supplement. For enhanced magnesium absorption, alcohol, fizzy drinks, and caffeine consumption should be limited. Having good gut flora facilitates magnesium absorption throughout the body. The symptoms of coffee withdrawal syndrome include throbbing headaches, weariness, yawning, and lethargy. 

This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Sara Maria Majernikova

Bachelor of Science - BSc, Biomedical Sciences: Drug Mechanisms, UCL (University College London)
Experienced as a Research Intern at Department of Health Psychology and Methodology Research, Faculty of Medicine, Laboratory Intern at Department of Medical Biology, Faculty Medicine Biomedical Sciences Research Intern and Pharmacology Research Intern.

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