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Can Magnesium Help My Arthritis?

Managing PsA

May 30, 2024

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Photography by Viktoriya Skorikova/Getty Images

Photography by Viktoriya Skorikova/Getty Images

by Jenna Fletcher


Medically Reviewed by:

Nancy Carteron, M.D., FACR


by Jenna Fletcher


Medically Reviewed by:

Nancy Carteron, M.D., FACR


Magnesium may help strengthen bones and reduce inflammation. Lots of us might not be getting enough, and it’s an easy nutrient to source from various foods and supplements.

Magnesium is a necessary nutrient found in many foods and supplements. It may have benefits for arthritis, including strengthening bones, reducing inflammation, and maintaining overall health. But it’s thought that many of us might not be getting enough.

Consuming magnesium will not cure arthritis or provide an adequate substitute for medical treatment, but it may help you feel a little better.

There are many foods that can supply enough magnesium from your diet, but if you’re considering a supplement, you will want to discuss this with your doctor before starting.

Is magnesium important when living with arthritis?

Magnesium is an important nutrient for the body. It aids in over 300 different enzyme reactions, including blood sugar regulation.

This may explain why a 2022 study found evidence suggesting that taking magnesium when living with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) helps to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

It also helps to keep your heart healthy, which is important when living with certain types of arthritis as they can increase your chance of heart disease.

Magnesium is also very important for bone health, and muscle and nerve functioning. Heard of the importance of vitamin D for your bones? Well, turns out magnesium helps to activate the vitamin D. In fact, about 50 to 60% of the magnesium in your body is in your bones, with the rest mainly in muscles, and soft tissues.

This 2018 study found that low magnesium intake was associated with worse knee pain and function in those living with osteoarthritis.

Low magnesium levels have also been linked to increased levels of inflammation in the body.

A cross sectional study from 2020 found strong evidence suggesting a moderate intake of 181 to 446 milligrams (mg) a day of magnesium provides some benefits to women living with RA. For women at risk of developing RA, magnesium may help delay or prevent the development of the condition.

Magnesium may also have many other benefits, including the potential to boost exercise performance or combat depression.

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How much magnesium do you need?

Several things can affect how much magnesium you should consume each day, either through diet or supplements. Recommended dietary allowances for different ages and genders (assigned at birth):

  • ages 14 to 18: 410 mg males; 360 mg females
  • ages 19 to 30: 400 mg males; 310 mg females
  • ages 31 and over: 420 mg males; 320 mg females

Pregnancy and lactation can also affect how much you should get each day.

How can you reach your recommended magnesium?

You can reach your recommended magnesium through foods and supplements.


Some foods with a high amount of magnesium include:

  • nuts, including almonds, cashews, peanuts
  • legumes, including lentils, chickpeas, soybeans
  • leafy greens, such as spinach and kale
  • whole grains, including quinoa and oats
  • seeds, including flax, pumpkin, chia
  • dark chocolate
  • potatoes
  • mushrooms


Magnesium is available as a supplement and multivitamin. There are several types of magnesium supplements and each has different benefits. For best absorption and benefits for arthritis, choose magnesium orotate, oxide, or citrate.

When selecting a supplement, you should keep a few things in mind.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate supplements like it does for medications. They do not test for content and will only take action if evidence suggests alteration or mislabeling after the product reaches the consumer (aka you).

You can check supplement providers for information on third-party testing. Third-party testing helps to ensure the exact amount of magnesium is actually in the product.

When using magnesium supplements, do not expect a cure for arthritis. It may help, but it’s not a substitute for medical treatment.

Magnesium supplements can interact with some diuretics, antibiotics, antacids, and laxatives. So, before taking a new supplement, you should discuss its use with a doctor who can help advise on intereactions with other medications you’re taking.

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What benefits will you notice?

How increased magnesium intake will affect you may vary. You may not notice any major changes.

However, aiming to consume your recommended dietary allowance, either from foods or supplements, should help your overall health. If you’re living with certain types of arthritis, it could help with bone and joint health, and any related inflammation.

What are the possible signs your intake of magnesium is low?

A blood test can indicate your serum magnesium levels, meaning how much magnesium is in the liquid portion of your blood. But because almost 99% of magnesium in your body is located in your bones, muscles and soft tissue, a blood test doesn’t necessarily help to determine low magnesium levels.

In general, it’s thought that about 60% of adults don’t consume enough magnesium. However, deficits are generally rare.

Signs of low magnesium may include nausea and vomiting, fatigue and weakness, lower appetite, and muscle cramps.

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Can you consume too much magnesium?

Consuming higher amounts of magnesium from food should be OK in healthy individuals because the kidneys eliminate excess amounts in the urine.

But, it’s possible to consume too much magnesium from supplements, often resulting in diarrhea. Make sure to speak with your doctor before taking any supplements.

Some frequently asked questions

The following sections provide answers to some frequently asked questions about magnesium for arthritis.

What type of magnesium is best for arthritis?

Getting it from natural sources, such as peanuts or whole grains, is a good option, but supplements can also work well if you feel you do not get enough through diet alone. To help with absorption, you should look for magnesium orotate, citrate, or oxide.

How much magnesium should you take daily for arthritis?

Aim for about 320 to 420 mg per day if you’re an adult over the age of 30. Most age groups are within about 10 mg plus or minus. If you’re not sure what to take, you should ask a healthcare professional.

Which vitamin is best for arthritis?

No single vitamin is necessarily the best for arthritis. You should aim to consume a diet that provides you with the recommended values of all vitamins and minerals or consider taking a multivitamin to make up for any deficits.

Is it OK to take magnesium supplements while taking other medications for arthritis?

In general, magnesium will not likely interact with arthritis medications. It can interact with antibiotics, diuretics, and some other medications, so you should discuss taking magnesium supplements with a doctor before starting. You may also find you get enough through diet alone.

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The takeaway

Magnesium is an important nutrient found naturally in several common foods, including peanut butter and whole grains. In addition to aiding in many enzyme processes, it may help with inflammation associated with arthritis and may also help to maintain overall health.

Supplements may be a good option to help increase your magnesium intake. But before you start, discuss your current medications and concerns with a healthcare professional knowledgeable about magnesium.

Medically reviewed on May 30, 2024

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About the author

Jenna Fletcher

Jenna Fletcher is a freelance writer and content creator. She writes extensively about health and wellness. As a mother of one stillborn twin, she has a personal interest in writing about overcoming grief and postpartum depression and anxiety, and reducing the stigma surrounding child loss and mental healthcare. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Muhlenberg College.

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