Man stepping onto a scale

Should You Take Magnesium for Weight Loss?

What experts want you to know.

If you’ve been trying—and struggling—to shed unwanted pounds, you might not be getting enough magnesium. The vital mineral is linked to a bunch of processes in your body that are connected to weight—from regulating nerve and muscle function to balancing blood sugar levels, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) (1). But can supplementing with magnesium help you lose weight?

Magnesium isn’t the next Ozempic—you can’t pop a magnesium supplement and expect pounds to drop off. But in some cases it may encourage the number on the scale to go down. Here’s what you need to know.

About the Experts:

Sarah Koszyk, MA, RD, NBC-HWC,, is a registered dietitian who specializes in sports nutrition, weight management and digestive and skin issues.

Mandy Enright, MS, RDN, RYT, is a Food + Movement® registered dietitian nutritionist. She is the author of 30-Minute Weight Loss Cookbook: 100+ Quick and Easy Recipes for Sustainable Weight Loss.

How Magnesium Might Help You Lose Weight

Let us be clear: Magnesium doesn’t directly lead to weight loss, says registered dietitian nutritionist Mandy Enright, MS, RDN, RYT. “Yet [magnesium] is a remarkable mineral that is responsible for almost 300 processes in the body, which means being deficient in magnesium can certainly have an impact on weight.”

Here are a few proven ways magnesium can influence weight loss:

Balances blood sugar levels

“Magnesium positively affects insulin and blood glucose regulation. Even though this doesn’t directly equate to weight loss, having more balanced blood sugar levels can assist with better weight regulation over time,” says registered dietitian Sarah Koszyk, MA, RDN, NBC-HWC.

When insulin is working effectively, the body is more efficient at using glucose for energy, explains Enright. “This is the opposite of insulin resistance, where the body is unable to utilize glucose for energy and in turn will store glucose in the form of fat, leading to weight gain,” she says.

Obese and magnesium-deficient individuals are likely to reap the most benefits from supplements. Koszyk points to a systematic review that found people with obesity who supplemented with magnesium had better insulin regulation, and as a result, were able to reduce BMI (2). Participants that were previously deficient in magnesium also lost weight.

Another study that involved more than 6,100 adults found that adequate dietary magnesium intake was associated with a 42 percent decrease in the incidence of elevated blood glucose levels (3).

Boosts metabolism

Magnesium plays a critical role in metabolism, says Enright. “Not only does a higher metabolic rate help with weight management, but having more energy means you’ll have more oomph for physical activity, which supports a healthy weight and weight loss goals.” 

 According to one review, magnesium supplementation may improve performance parameters (like VO2 max) during cardio and strength training, while animal studies suggest magnesium supplementation may boost metabolism (4). Still, experts underscore the need for more research. 

Decreases inflammation

Weight gain (or loss) is a symptom of chronic inflammation (5). “Inflammation can interfere with normal body processes—such as energy production, muscle building, and blood sugar control—that can make weight loss more challenging,” says Enright. Magnesium may help to reduce inflammation by lowering the body’s inflammatory response. 

“Magnesium deficiency has been linked to higher levels of C-reactive protein, a common inflammatory marker in the blood,” Enright explains. One review concluded that taking a magnesium supplement may significantly reduce C-reactive protein levels (6).

Improves sleep

“Magnesium activates neurotransmitters, including serotonin and melatonin, that help the body to relax and enter a deep state of sleep,” says Enright. According to one systematic review involving more than 7,500 participants, there’s a clear link between magnesium supplementation and sleep quality (including daytime falling asleep, sleepiness, snoring, and sleep duration) (7). 

How does sleep help the body shed excess pounds? Studies have shown Insufficient sleep may cause metabolic changes associated with obesity (8). “Poor sleep has been linked to insulin resistance, increased risk of inflammation, and an increase in appetite—all of which can lead to weight gain,” says Enright.


Signs of Magnesium Deficiency

A magnesium deficiency isn’t always obvious but some signs include appetite changes, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, trouble sleeping, muscle cramping, and weakness. Older adults and people with gastrointestinal diseases (like Crohn’s and celiac), type 2 diabetes, and alcoholism are at a higher risk of deficiency (1).

How to Get More Magnesium

Your diet should be square one for improving magnesium levels, according to Koszyc: “It’s easy to get adequate amounts of magnesium through food when consuming a diet rich in nuts, seeds, greens, legumes, tofu, grains, seafood, and dairy products.”

That said, if you’re deficient in magnesium, a supplement might be your best option since you’ll be able to load the best-absorbed forms of magnesium in an effective, targeted dose.

Best Magnesium-Rich Foods

A few examples of magnesium-rich foods include:

Which Type of Magnesium is Best for Weight Loss?

There are many different types of magnesium—including magnesium glycinate, magnesium L-threonate, magnesium citrate. Some are better absorbed by the digestive tract (like magnesium glycinate and magnesium citrate), while others are good for targeting certain health concerns (for example, magnesium L-threonate may boost cognitive function (9)). 

It’s important to mention that no form of magnesium is designed to specifically boost weight loss, says Koszyk. Still, both Koszyk and Enright recommend magnesium glycinate and magnesium citrate for their optimal absorption. 

That said, consider yourself warned: Magnesium citrate may help relieve constipation due to its laxative effect (10). Enright sees the gut-clearing effects as a positive: “A well-functioning gut also plays an important role in weight management,” she says. 

 Other forms of magnesium that tend to be easily absorbed and tolerated by the gut include magnesium chloride, magnesium lactate, and magnesium malate, adds Enright. “However, magnesium oxide is not recommended due to poor absorption.”

How Much Magnesium Should I Take Daily for Weight Loss?

Men should aim to get 400 to 420 milligrams of magnesium a day, according to the NIH (1). Over-supplementation isn’t necessary and taking “more” doesn’t result in getting “extra” benefits, stresses Koszyk. “Too much magnesium can cause diarrhea, cramping, nausea, low blood pressure, and fatigue,” she says. For this reason, she recommends starting with smaller doses of magnesium and notching up to your daily needs in smaller increments as tolerated. 

 Consult with your healthcare provider before taking a magnesium supplement. It’s particularly important to check if you have diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, or gastrointestinal diseases like celiac or Crohn’s disease since magnesium may interact with medications, blood pressure, and blood sugars, adds Koszyk. 


Best Magnesium Supplements for Weight Loss

If you’re considering a magnesium supplement, here are the specific brands Koszyk and Enright swear by.

Thorne Magnesium Bisglycinate Powder

Koszyk opts for this soy-, dairy- and gluten-free powder, which packs 200 milligrams of magnesium per serving. “It’s a chelated form of magnesium glycinate—which supports greater absorption,” she explains. We also like that it’s NSF Certified for Sport, meaning it’s tested for quality and purity. This powder’s tasty berry flavor makes it a good option for pre-sleep mocktails. Plus, since it’s sweetened with monk fruit it contains zero grams of added sugar.

Pure Encapsulations Magnesium Glycinate

Both Koszyk and Enright are fans of Pure Encapsulation’s Magnesium Glycinate capsules since the brand tests all raw materials for potency and contaminants like heavy metals, and are made in a NSF-registered facility. The capsules are also certified gluten-free, non-GMO, and vegan. “One serving provides just 120 milligrams in order to reduce the risk of negative side effects,” adds Koszyk.