Magnesium For Fatigue


Every now and again you are hit by the feeling of tiredness. This can be caused by having too much on your plate, stress, lack of sleep, and other reasons. If you have found yourself feeling constantly tired recently, and have tried fixing your sleep schedule or reducing your workload and have still had no luck, then this article may be for you. 

What you may not be aware of, and what this article is going to discuss, is how your magnesium levels may be contributing to the constant feeling of tiredness that you have been experiencing. Low magnesium levels, also known as a magnesium deficiency, can cause fatigue. 

Magnesium is a mineral that is mainly found in your bones and muscles. Normal bones store about 60% of your body’s magnesium.1

What is magnesium used for in the body?

Magnesium is often an overlooked mineral, which is surprising as it is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body.1 Many of the functions that take place in our bodies make use of magnesium.2 These functions include: 

  • Production of ATP (energy)
  • Regulating blood pressure 
  • Regulating insulin metabolism
  • Ensuring normal muscle function 
  • Converting vitamin D into a form your body can use

How does magnesium affect fatigue?

To understand more about how magnesium may affect fatigue, let’s start with understanding the definition of fatigue. Fatigue, according to the Mayo Clinic, is a feeling of tiredness that continues even after rest, resulting in reduced energy and potentially affecting you mentally. Just from the definition, we can see why it is important to address fatigue. We definitely want you to be feeling as though you have enough energy to tackle everything you want to achieve during your day. The fatigue discussed in this article is not chronic fatigue syndrome, which is when you experience fatigue that lasts at least six months.

So, how does magnesium deficiency result in you experiencing fatigue? Let’s take a look at some effects of low magnesium levels. 

Reduced energy production

Magnesium is used for the production of ATP,3 which is essentially our energy molecule. This process results in energy being available for many of the processes carried out by your body daily. Therefore, a lack of magnesium or low quantities of it means that these functions are not running as efficiently as they should, which can lead to exhaustion.


Magnesium is also an essential mineral for sleep. It is used in a process that has a relaxing effect on our body and allows us to sleep.2 According to a study,4 increased magnesium intake has been linked with significant improvements in sleep duration, sleep efficiency, and levels of the “sleep hormone” melatonin. Therefore, the reason why you can’t seem to shake the feeling of tiredness may be that you lack an essential mineral that ensures that you get a good night’s rest. 

Muscle cramps

Magnesium is used in the normal functioning of muscles as established earlier. It is known to act as a muscle relaxant.2 If serum magnesium levels get low, your body uses the magnesium stored in your bones and muscles.5 This process may lead to muscle cramps and twitches that may cause discomfort and keep you up at night, preventing you from getting enough sleep that leaves you well-rested.6 

Other signs of magnesium deficiency

It is important to keep in mind that most people get tired occasionally without having an underlying issue. Fatigue on its own is difficult to trace back to a specific cause such as magnesium deficiency. However, to be more confident that it is, in fact, your body’s magnesium levels impacting your energy levels, other early symptoms that may accompany fatigue include muscle weakness, nausea, and loss of appetite. 

Cleveland Clinic suggests that symptoms of seriously low magnesium include:

  • Irregular heartbeats 
  • Numbness
  • Pins and needles
  • Seizures

Severely low magnesium levels may worsen some chronic conditions2 such as:

  • High blood pressure
  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus
  • Migraines or headaches
  • ADHD

How much magnesium should I take for fatigue?

According to the NHS website, the recommended intake of magnesium in people aged 17 or older is:

  • 270mg for women 
  • 300mg for men  

Which form of magnesium should I take for fatigue?

Now that we have covered how low magnesium could potentially be causing your constant state of weariness, let’s look at what we can do to bring these levels back to the recommended levels. As well as advice on what foods or supplements you can take to improve low magnesium levels, there is also some advice on habits or things you should avoid to ensure that your magnesium levels are not negatively affected.


One of the biggest keys to leading a healthy lifestyle is a good, nutritious diet. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that a lot of what you can do to achieve the recommended magnesium intake is adding magnesium-rich foods to your meals.  

There are numerous foods you can incorporate into your meals to increase dietary magnesium intake. Green leafy vegetables such as spinach are your friend. Other good sources of magnesium include nuts, fish, whole grains, and legumes.7 Staying hydrated works in your favour as water makes up 10% of your daily magnesium intake.8 


Magnesium supplementation is also a good way to increase your magnesium intake. When choosing which supplement to take, think of the absorption levels. Try and aim for those that are more easily absorbed as compared to others.

While tablets may be a good source of magnesium, consider a supplement that is either in liquid or powder form as these tend to be easier for the body to absorb.8 Severely low levels of magnesium, referred to medically as hypomagnesemia, may be treated by receiving magnesium sulphate through a drip or an injection.7 This can also be an option for those who struggle with taking supplements orally.

Supplements containing pure compounds called magnesium citrate and magnesium gluconate are a better option compared to magnesium oxide, due to them being easier for the body to absorb.8 You should be able to locate the information detailing which magnesium compound is found in your supplements by reading the label.

What to avoid

Several things may actually cause your magnesium to drop.2 To avoid this decline in magnesium levels, it is recommended that you: 

  • Reduce your intake of processed foods 
  • Cut down your caffeine intake 
  • Manage your stress levels
  • Avoid excess alcohol consumption

Side effects and other concerns

We have spoken about how to bring your magnesium levels back up to a level where you can go about your day without that feeling of tiredness dragging you down. However, you may be wondering what the side effects of including too much magnesium in your diet are. 

For starters, it is always a good idea to speak to your doctor or pharmacist before taking supplements, especially if you have underlying health concerns. This is because magnesium may interfere with some medications that you may be taking. 2,3 It is also wise to check the label of the supplements you want to take to become aware of all the possible side effects. 

In terms of daily magnesium intake, anything higher than 400mg may result in magnesium toxicity, which is having too much magnesium in your body.2 Signs and symptoms of magnesium toxicity include:

  • Diarrhoea
  • Low blood pressure
  • Confusion
  • Arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat) 


Magnesium is an essential mineral that is used in many bodily processes. It acts as a muscle relaxant and an essential sleep mineral, among other things. Magnesium deficiency may cause fatigue. To work out whether there are low magnesium levels in your body, look out for other symptoms including muscle weakness, nausea, and loss of appetite. In order to raise your magnesium levels, increase your dietary magnesium intake or consider magnesium supplements for fatigue. Be sure to stay within the recommended daily intake to avoid magnesium toxicity. 


  1. Gröber U, Schmidt J, Kisters K. Magnesium in Prevention and Therapy. Nutrients [Internet]. 2015 Sep 23;7(9):8199–226. Available from:
  2. Schwalfenberg GK, Genuis SJ. The Importance of Magnesium in Clinical Healthcare. Scientifica [Internet]. 2017;2017:1–14. Available from:
  3. Yamanaka R, Tabata S, Shindo Y, Hotta K, Suzuki K, Soga T, et al. Mitochondrial Mg2+ homeostasis decides cellular energy metabolism and vulnerability to stress. Scientific Reports [Internet]. 2016 Jul 26 [cited 2020 Oct 14];6. Available from:
  4. Abbasi B, Kimiagar M, Sadeghniiat K, Shirazi MM, Hedayati M, Rashidkhani B. The effect of magnesium supplementation on primary insomnia in elderly: A double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Journal of research in medical sciences [Internet]. 2012;17(12):1161–9. Available from:
  5. DiNicolantonio JJ, O’Keefe JH, Wilson W. Subclinical magnesium deficiency: a principal driver of cardiovascular disease and a public health crisis. Open Heart [Internet]. 2018 Jan;5(1):e000668. Available from:
  6. Hornyak M, Voderholzer U, Hohagen F, Berger M, Riemann D. Magnesium Therapy for Periodic Leg Movements-related Insomnia and Restless Legs Syndrome: An Open Pilot Study. Sleep. 1998 Aug;21(5):501–5.
  7. Allen MJ, Sandeep Sharma. Magnesium [Internet]. NIH. StatPearls Publishing; 2019. Available from:
  8. de Baaij JHF, Hoenderop JGJ, Bindels RJM. Magnesium in man: implications for health and disease. Physiological reviews [Internet]. 2015;95(1):1–46. Available from:
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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