Supplements You Should Avoid Taking With Magnesium At All Costs

Magnesium is a mineral that serves many purposes in the human body. It helps us have healthy muscles, nerves, bones, and blood sugar levels, and a shortage of this vital nutrient can lead to heart attack, stroke, diabetes, or osteoporosis.

While leafy greens, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains are rich sources of magnesium, many people will opt to take it in supplemental form. Magnesium deficiency is rare; however, people often take it for its purported health benefits, including better sleep, more energy, improved mood, lowered blood pressure, and reduced risk of heart disease.

If you do use magnesium, however, you'll want to be aware that it can interact with certain other minerals like iron, zinc, and calcium. If you don't get your timing right, you could end up wasting your money and not getting the benefits from your supplements that you expect.

Magnesium competes for absorption with other minerals

According to @henrythepharmacist, a compounding and nutrition pharmacist expert on TikTok, certain supplements should not be taken at the same time as magnesium since they can interfere with each other.

One of these is iron. Magnesium and iron compete with each other for absorption, he says, so you want to leave at least four hours in between them. Zinc also competes with magnesium for absorption in the same way.

Finally, he says calcium and magnesium don't do well taken together. Ironically, they are often included together in the same pill, but he explains that these two minerals also compete with each other for absorption. He advises taking them separately and avoiding the combined formulas.

Finally, he mentions multivitamins as being problematic since they generally contain at least some of these four minerals. He suggests spacing out when you take your magnesium and multivitamins.

Strategies for taking magnesium with other supplements

As previously mentioned, the best time to take magnesium is about four hours away from taking other minerals. One strategy for doing this, according to WebMD, is to take them with meals or snacks, making sure you don't take them at the same time as each other. They suggest that this is also helpful because minerals can be hard on your stomach. Iron and zinc especially may cause nausea or cramping. Taking them with food can help.

Although it doesn't affect magnesium's absorption, it's also a good idea to avoid taking carotenoids like beta-carotene, lycopene, and astaxanthin at the same time as magnesium. A 2018 study published in Food Chemistry found that magnesium could reduce carotenoid bioavailability by forming insoluble complexes with bile salts and fatty acids and inhibiting micelle formation. notes that high doses of minerals like magnesium, calcium, zinc, and some forms of iron could all be problematic when taken at the same time as carotenoids.