Can Magnesium Really Help You Lose Weight?

The mineral magnesium is essential for energy production, bone health, heart rhythm, muscle contraction, nerve impulse conduction, and potassium and calcium transportation across cell membranes. Your kidneys, heart, muscles, and bones all need magnesium to stay healthy (via The National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements).

But can magnesium help you lose weight? The answer is yes. Though magnesium hasn't been found to burn fat or directly cause weight loss, it can be of help to anyone trying to drop some pounds or improve their health overall. For example, a 2012 study published in the Journal of Caring Sciences found that magnesium aids in reducing water retention and bloating due to menstruation. 

A small 2013 study published in the Journal of Sports Science & Medicine included 16 healthy males who did less than four cardio hours a week. Researchers had them take 300 milligrams (mg) of vegetarian magnesium oxide capsules daily, and found that the supplement significantly reduced resting and post-exercise blood pressure. 

In addition, magnesium could also help regulate insulin levels and blood sugar in people who are overweight or obese. A 2015 study published in the World Journal of Diabetes found that people with type 2 diabetes often have a magnesium deficiency. Magnesium supplements helped with systemic inflammation, oxidative stress, and improved insulin resistance. A 2013 meta-analysis published in the Journal of Nutrition found that a higher magnesium intake is associated with lower fasting glucose and insulin. 

Though magnesium clearly has many positive effects on health, your best way to lose and maintain a healthy weight is through calorie restriction, eating healthy, and exercising regularly, Dr. Sherry Ross, OB-GYN, tells Healthline.

How to get more magnesium

In addition to the many health benefits we've gone over, magnesium can also help boost exercise performance, fight depression, and prevent migraines, according to Healthline.

Women 19 to 30 years old need 310 mg of magnesium daily, while men of the same age range need 400 mg. Women 31 and older need 320 mg of magnesium every day, while men need 400 mg. Anyone with type 2 diabetes, gastrointestinal disorders, or alcohol dependency is at risk for a magnesium deficiency (via The National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements).

You can find magnesium in green leafy vegetables, whole grains, seeds, legumes, nuts, beans, and fortified foods like milk and cereal. Other magnesium-rich foods are some fruits and vegetables like potatoes with skin, avocados, bananas, apples, raisins, broccoli, and carrots. According to the Cleveland Clinic, you can get 74 mg of magnesium in one ounce of cashews, 168 mg in one ounce of pumpkin seeds, 80 mg in one ounce of dry roasted almonds, and 78 mg in a half cup of boiled spinach.