Magnesium for Arthritis: Pros and Cons

Benefits, dosage, risks, and side effects

Magnesium is an important nutrient that the body needs to properly function. Overall, magnesium is known to repair the cells and stabilize cell function. It also helps the nerves and muscles to function properly.

This mineral stabilizes both the blood pressure and blood sugar levels. In addition, magnesium is important for bone stabilization—60% of magnesium is present in the bones and teeth. Studies have shown that a magnesium deficiency has the ability to create low-grade inflammation
which can increase the risk of chronic diseases.

Foods Rich in Magnesium

Verywell / Laura Porter

What Is Magnesium?

Magnesium plays an important role in our overall health. It is known as the fourth most abundant mineral in the body. Primarily located in bones, teeth, and the intracellular space, this mineral is essential to the body because it regulates nerve function, antioxidant levels, blood pressure, and it also makes proteins.

Magnesium can be obtained through foods like:

  • Leafy green vegetables
  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Sesame seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Flax
  • Bananas
  • Black beans
  • Brown rice
  • Flaxseed
  • Sweet corn
  • Oatmeal
  • Milk
  • Yogurt

Fortified foods like breakfast cereals, juices, and other foods that have vitamins and nutrients added to them.

Other ways to get magnesium in the body is through supplements. These supplements can be used on the skin or taken orally. The different types of magnesium supplements that are available include:

  • Magnesium glycinate
  • Magnesium threonate
  • Magnesium citrate
  • Magnesium malate

The type of supplement that is needed is dependent on the intestinal ability to absorb the supplement. A conversation with your healthcare provider can help you choose the best options. A common side effect of too much
magnesium is diarrhea. Studies have shown that using Epsom salt and magnesium oil topically may help reduce the side effects of taking magnesium orally.


Magnesium is known as the fourth most abundant mineral in the body. This important mineral offers a lot of benefits such as the reduction of inflammation. It is also known to help with type 2 diabetes, migraines, reduce the risk of stroke, and improve muscle function. Individuals who have arthritis can possibly benefit from magnesium. Having a proper amount of magnesium in the body helps with bone density and bone development. It can also help reduce the risk of arthritis and bone fractures.

What Type of Magnesium Is Best for Joint Pain?

Magnesium glycinate is known to help chronic pain, muscle flexibility, and bones.

Consequences of Low Magnesium Intake and Deficiency

Magnesium is an important mineral for the overall function of the body. Along with not getting enough magnesium in the diet, there are a number of factors that can lead to magnesium deficiency. This includes:

  • Too much alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • A diet high in fat and sugar

Other factors include kidney failure and intestinal issues. Since magnesium is absorbed in the small intestine, people who have Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and irritable bowel syndrome could have a magnesium deficiency. Medications such as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) and diuretics can also cause magnesium deficiency.

Signs of magnesium deficiency include:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Inflammation
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Hypertension
  • Stroke
  • Numbness
  • Nerve damage
  • Fatigue

Statistics About Magnesium Deficiency

Studies show that a large percentage of Americans may not get an adequate amount of magnesium. In addition, 75% of women consumed less than the recommended dietary allowance (300 mg/day).

Magnesium and Arthritis

Arthritis causes inflammation in the body. Magnesium is known to reduce inflammation and studies have suggested that the mineral may help inflammatory diseases such as different types of arthritis.


Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common type of arthritis. It most commonly affects the knees, hips,
and spine. When a patient has OA, the tissues in the joints start to break down over time. The severity depends on the level of pain and how it affects their daily activities.

Studies have shown that magnesium deficiency is considered to be a major risk factor for OA development and progression. There were studies that concluded that a higher daily intake of magnesium showed a decreased risk of fracture in patients that had OA in the knees. The study also showed that the suggested intake of magnesium didn’t show an association with a reduced risk of OA. With this study, there was limited data so more studies need to be conducted.

Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an inflammatory and autoimmune disease that affects the joints in the knees, wrists, and hands. It can create chronic pain in the body. When RA affects the joints, they become inflamed and cause damage to the joint tissue.

Other areas impacted by RA are the lungs, heart, and eyes. Research concluded that dietary magnesium was associated with a reduced outcome of RA. This could be due to the fact that magnesium has anti-inflammatory properties.


Since magnesium is important for the overall function of the body, the recommended dietary allowance includes the following.

Birth to 6 Months 30 mg 
7-12 months 75 mg
4-8 years 130 mg
9-13 years  240 mg
14-18 years 410 mg (male)
360 mg (female)
19-30 years 400 mg (male)
310 mg (female)
31-50 + years 420 mg (male)
320 mg (female)

Magnesium-Rich Foods

Magnesium is in foods such as leafy green vegetables, almonds, cashews, seeds like sesame, pumpkin, sunflowers, and flax. Other foods include bananas, black beans, brown rice, flaxseed, sweet corn, and oatmeal. Magnesium is also in milk, yogurt, and fortified foods like breakfast cereals, juices, and other foods that have vitamins and nutrients added to them.

Risks and Side Effects

If an induvial has too much magnesium in the blood, this is called hypermagnesemia. Too much magnesium in the body can cause side effects.  Some of the side effects of too much magnesium include vomiting, muscle weakness, flaccid paralysis, stroke, kidney disease, numbness, stroke, loss of appetite, numbness, and seizures.

A Word From Verywell

Magnesium is an important part of your overall health. If you are looking to add any vitamins
or minerals to your regime contact your healthcare professional. They can give you the proper recommendations regarding magnesium and your health.

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13 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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