Magnesium For Fluid Retention

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Hydration has numerous health benefits because of water’s role in different metabolic processes. However, if water is not absorbed effectively during digestion, you may experience water retention

Edema (also spelled: Oedema), commonly referred to as water retention, is characterized by fluid accumulation in body tissues, especially in the limbs. This water imbalance is common as it is caused by a range of factors, including excessive consumption of salt, standing for prolonged periods, pregnancy, and the use of certain medications . Furthermore, water retention could indicate an underlying health condition like liver or kidney damage, congestive heart failure, hypothyroidism and protein-associated malnutrition. Therefore, if you experience water retention, you should seek medical attention to determine the cause of your imbalance. In addition, consider increasing your magnesium intake because this mineral is crucial in regulating the body’s fluid balance.

This article will give insight into the balancing effect of magnesium on water retention, explore the best magnesium derivative for this cause,and explain how to take it while explaining the possible concerns that could arise.

How does magnesium affect fluid retention?

Edema is the clinical name for the swelling experienced due to a fluid buildup in the tissues. The common symptoms of water retention are body part swelling which may feel tight and tender, difficulty in walking, and chest congestion in some cases. Water retention can be a mild condition that causes discomfort and bloating. Unfortunately, it is also a common symptom of an underlying problem in critical organs like the heart, lungs, kidney, liver,or thyroid gland. Magnesium helps in decreasing fluid retention by maintaining the electrolyte balance in the body as well as because of its certain properties like increasing the urine output (diuresis), reducing swelling (anti-inflammatory) and relaxing muscles thereby improving the blood flow at times.1

Causes of water retention

The condition has many causes, so the associated fluid imbalance can be induced in numerous ways. For instance, if edema results from kidney damage, the water accumulation in the body results from the organ’s inability to excrete excess fluid. Gravity-induced water retention is a typical result of prolonged standing.2 Other causes of water retention include:

  • Consuming an unbalanced, sodium (salt) heavy diet
  • Prolonged standing 
  • Physical inactivity
  • Pregnancy
  • Certain medications, including antidepressants, blood pressure, and diabetes medicines, steroids, contraceptives and hormone therapy
  • Hormone-related conditions  like menstruation, menopause, Cushing’s syndrome, and thyroid issues3
  • Obesity
  • Irregularities with the lymphatic system
  • Capillary damage
  • Infections

Increasing your magnesium intake is an effective way of reducing water retention. This is due to the mineral’s chemical properties. Like potassium and sodium, magnesium is an electrolyte, meaning it exists in a charged state. Because it is charged, magnesium facilitates the release of excess fluids from tissues via osmosis. The mineral reacts with stomach acid along with pancreatic and intestinal secretions to increase osmotic pressure that reduces water retention.

Which magnesium is best for fluid retention?

There are several derivatives of magnesium which have different health benefits. For instance, Magnesium sulfate is the best option for neuroprotection, magnesium hydroxide for supporting digestion , magnesium chloride for muscular relaxation, magnesium malate for glucose regulation , andmagnesium oxide for improved optical health.

Research studies show that magnesium citrate isthe best form of this mineral for reducing fluid retention. This is because this derivative is highly bioavailable meaning it will be well-absorbed by the body. Alternatively, magnesium glycinate is effective in lowering fluid retention, especially resulting from menstruation.

How much magnesium should I take for fluid retention?

Generally, a daily dose of 400 to 420 mg of magnesium is recommended for adult males. In comparison, women should take 310 to 320 mg of the mineral daily . You can purchase magnesium supplements to meet this recommended daily allowance or eat magnesium-rich food. This includes dark leafy vegetables like spinach, whole grains, and legumes.

If you have taken all the necessary lifestyle-related steps to address water retention but you do not observe an improvement, you should seek medical attention.

Side effects and other concerns

If taken correctly, magnesium supplements are safe with no reported side effects. However, excess magnesium can induce abdominal pain, nausea and diarrhoea. The mineral can also inhibit the effectiveness of certain medications, so you should seek advice from a GP before taking new drugs.

There are more concerns pertaining to water retention itself given that it occasionally indicates serious health conditions which have been outlined above. You should therefore seek medical attention if you suddenly experience swelling or if it occurs on only one side.


Overall, increasing your magnesium intake to the appropriate recommended daily allowance can significantly lower your water retention.4 This is because magnesium has chemical properties that induce fluid balance by drawing excess water into the gut for excretion. There are many forms of magnesium on the market which have different advantages, but magnesium citrate and magnesium glycinate are the most effective for reducing water retention.


What supplements help to reduce water retention?

Along with magnesium, nutrients like potassium, vitamin B6 and vitamin C are beneficial for reducing water retention. You can incorporate these minerals into your diet with foods like bananas, leafy greens, and citrus fruit. Alternatively, supplements of these minerals are commercially available.

How do you get rid of water retention fast?

In addition to magnesium supplementation, you can reduce your water retention by lowering your sodium intake, drinking water to promote homeostasis, occasionally elevating your legs above your chest in a lying position, wearing compression garments, and seeking medical attention to determine the underlying cause.


  1. Fathizadeh N, Ebrahimi E, Valiani M, Tavakoli N, Yar MH. Evaluating the effect of magnesium and magnesium plus vitamin B6 supplement on the severity of premenstrual syndrome. Iran J Nurs Midwifery Res [Internet]. 2010 Dec [cited 2023 Aug 3];15(Suppl1):401–5. Available from:
  2. Baish JW, Padera TP, Munn LL. The effects of gravity and compression on interstitial fluid transport in the lower limb. Sci Rep [Internet]. 2022 Mar 22 [cited 2023 Feb 1];12(1):4890. Available from:
  3. Stachenfeld NS. Sex hormone effects on body fluid regulation. Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews [Internet]. 2008 Jul [cited 2023 Feb 1];36(3):152–9. Available from:
  4. Schwalfenberg GK, Genuis SJ. The importance of magnesium in clinical healthcare. Scientifica [Internet]. 2017 Sep 28 [cited 2023 Aug 4];2017:e4179326. Available from:

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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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Brenda Ayebare

Master of Science- MSc, Global Public Health and Policy, Queen Mary University of London

My name is Brenda, and I am an aspiring healthcare communications professional from Uganda. I have a life-science background with a Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical science, along with experience as a medical laboratory technologist and a molecular biology research assistant. I pursued my Master’s in Global public health and policy because I am passionate about applying the knowledge generated through life-science research. As a medical writing intern with Klarity health, I aim to apply my life science and public health expertise to enrich your understanding of different diseases, therapeutic areas and lifestyle decisions. I hope you enjoy reading this article and learning from it! presents all health information in line with our terms and conditions. It is essential to understand that the medical information available on our platform is not intended to substitute the relationship between a patient and their physician or doctor, as well as any medical guidance they offer. Always consult with a healthcare professional before making any decisions based on the information found on our website.
Klarity is a citizen-centric health data management platform that enables citizens to securely access, control and share their own health data. Klarity Health Library aims to provide clear and evidence-based health and wellness related informative articles. 
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