Magnesium For Osteoarthritis


Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis affecting millions of people around the world. Symptoms include painful and swollen joints. Many patients without specific treatments for osteoarthritis  depend on pain relief to reduce their symptoms. Each person’s osteoarthritis experience  is different, but overall osteoarthritis is debilitating and can cause a profound reduction in quality of life.

Despite the availability of magnesium, deficiencies often occur and there has been a lot of research indicating that adequate magnesium intake could benefit people suffering from  osteoarthritis. The majority of available research has studied knee osteoarthritis and so that will be the focus of this article.

Can we assume that consuming adequate levels of magnesium will reduce the symptoms and/or risk of developing osteoarthritis? Unfortunately, there is no  simple answer to this question!

Role of magnesium for osteoarthritis

Most people know that magnesium is an essential part of our diet, it  is a mineral that plays several important roles in the human body. Some of these roles include: 

  •    Contribution to joint health
  •    Regulation of  blood pressure
  •    Being a  component of bone, protein and DNA
  •    Assisting with blood sugar levels 
  •    Regulation of the function of nerves and muscles

Ways in which magnesium may help osteoarthritis

A higher dietary intake of magnesium is linked to the reduction of symptoms and may decrease the severity of osteoarthritis. Some of the benefits of taking magnesium can include:

  • NTI-Inflammatory properties
    The current understanding is that as a result of magnesium deficiency, inflammation increases.1 Chronic inflammation can lead to chronic disease and is closely linked to the pathology of osteoarthritis.2 Magnesium is also linked to lower levels of C-reactive protein, which is higher in the presence of inflammation.3
  • Reduced risk of fractures
    According to The Arthritis Foundation, people with  osteoarthritis are at higher risk of falling due to a combination of factors such as impact on balance, mobility and the side effects from strong painkillers. Whilst it’s not conclusive that magnesium intake can prevent osteoarthritis, a small study revealed that daily supplementation with magnesium can reduce the risk of fractures, because it increases the density of bones.
  • Decreased  pain
    Knee pain caused by knee osteoarthritis is extremely common, with 1 in 5 adults in the UK experiencing this chronic condition. Those with lower magnesium intake reported higher levels of pain and lower knee function than those that were supplemented adequately.5 Magnesium does not have a direct pain-killing effect but it has the ability to block NMDA receptors. The effect of this is to prevent calcium ions from entering cells which results in a pain-relieving  outcome.6
  • Prevention of  osteoarthritis
    Most research that has been carried out focuses on radiographic knee osteoarthritis (has clinical signs observed by radiography). The research findings are mixed when considering whether magnesium supplementation could be a preventative measure for radiographic knee osteoarthritis . A study reported that increased magnesium intake did not reduce the risk of developing the condition but did reduce the risk of fractures.7

On the other hand, a different study reported that having low magnesium levels increases the risk of developing osteoarthritis and also enhances its progression. Therefore, there does seem to be a link between the development of the condition and magnesium, but there needs to be further research to investigate the relationship between the two. 

Which magnesium is best for osteoarthritis

Many people have a low magnesium intake, but it can be easily obtained.

Sources of dietary magnesium include:

  •  Green vegetables
  •  Nuts and seeds
  •  Fortified breakfast cereals such as Weetabix and bran flakes
  •  Peanut butter
  •  Wholegrain foods
  •  Dark chocolate

There are also many magnesium supplements readily available in the form of tablets, Epsom salts and topical creams to boost magnesium levels. The forms of magnesium that are absorbed easily are magnesium orotate, oxide or citrate.

Magnesium orotate is magnesium combined with orotic acid; it is considered a superior way to consume magnesium because it is more readily absorbed than other forms. It is often sold as a sports product. 

Magnesium oxide is absorbed more slowly but contains more magnesium per mg than other forms. 

Magnesium citrate is the most commonly used form of magnesium supplement and is often found in a topical form.

An animal study has suggested that combining magnesium with vitamin C could enhance its properties, but further research is needed to confirm this finding. 

How much magnesium should I take for osteoarthritis

The Arthritis Foundation states that the recommended daily intake of dietary magnesium is 420mg daily for men aged 31+ and 320mg for women. 

Having too much magnesium can cause issues. It’s unlikely to consume too much dietary magnesium, but when using supplements, too much can lead to hypermagnesemia

Signs of hypermagnesemia:

  • Nausea and sickness
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhoea
  • Muscle weakness
  • Lethargy
  • Respiratory distress
  • Cardiac arrest

Magnesium can also interact with other medications such as antibiotics and some other dietary supplements.

A doctor should always be consulted before starting a new supplement if you are unsure if it will be safe for you to consume.  


Despite being able to easily source magnesium, many people are magnesium deficient. Magnesium is essential for the maintenance of joint health, therefore magnesium supplementation might help people suffering from osteoarthritis, especially in those that have a low dietary magnesium intake. 

Although most evidence is anecdotal, and future research clearly needs to examine the overall effects of magnesium on osteoarthritis, ensuring that you get enough magnesium in your diet can optimise your health in general. 


  1. Nielsen FH. Magnesium deficiency and increased inflammation: current perspectives. J Inflamm Res [Internet]. 2018 Jan 18 [cited 2023 Jan 13];11:25–34. Available from:
  2. Marchev AS, Dimitrova PA, Burns AJ, Kostov R, Dinkova-Kostova A, Georgiev MI. Oxidative stress and chronic inflammation in osteoarthritis: can Nrf2 counteract these partners in crime? Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 2017 Sep 11;1401:114–35.
  3. Nielsen FH. Magnesium deficiency and increased inflammation: current perspectives. J Inflamm Res [Internet]. 2018 Jan 18 [cited 2023 Jan 13];11:25–34. Available from:
  4. Wu Z, Yang J, Liu J, Lian K. The relationship between magnesium and osteoarthritis of knee: A MOOSE guided systematic review and meta-analysis. Medicine [Internet]. 2019 Nov [cited 2023 Jan 13];98(45):e17774. Available from:
  5. Shmagel A, Onizuka N, Langsetmo L, Vo T, Foley R, Ensrud K, et al. Low magnesium intake is associated with increased knee pain in subjects with radiographic knee osteoarthritis: data from the Osteoarthritis Initiative. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2018 May;26(5):651–8.
  6. Na HS, Ryu JH, Do SH. The role of magnesium in pain. In: Vink R, Nechifor M, editors. Magnesium in the Central Nervous System [Internet]. Adelaide (AU): University of Adelaide Press; 2011 [cited 2023 Jan 13]. Available from:
  7. Wu Z, Yang J, Liu J, Lian K. The relationship between magnesium and osteoarthritis of knee: A MOOSE guided systematic review and meta-analysis. Medicine [Internet]. 2019 Nov [cited 2023 Jan 13];98(45):e17774. 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.

Get our health newsletter

Get daily health and wellness advice from our medical team.
Your privacy is important to us. Any information you provide to this website may be placed by us on our servers. If you do not agree do not provide the information.

Jessica Gibson

Bachelor of Science- BSc(Hons)- Health Sciences- The Open University

Jessica is a Health Sciences graduate with a passion for both Science and English and is delighted to have found a way to combine the two. She is a motivated and enthusiastic writer determined to make scientific information more widely accessible.
Jessica is especially interested in infectious diseases, neurodegenerative diseases, the impact of trauma on physical health, health equity and the health of children residing in developing nations.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * 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. 
Klarity / Managed Self Ltd
Alum House
5 Alum Chine Road
Westbourne Bournemouth BH4 8DT
VAT Number: 362 5758 74
Company Number: 10696687

Phone Number:

 +44 20 3239 9818