Magnesium—it’s the mineral that’s a key component in hundreds of bodily functions yet according to a 2018 study cited by the National Institutes of Health, half of us have too little of it to ward off illness such as osteoporosis, diabetes and heart disease. It turns out that you can shore up your wellbeing with a general magnesium supplement taken with a meal any time of day, and that most benefits occur after long-term use, according to naturopath Dr. Georgi Stoychev of San Diego’s Center for Health & Wellbeing. However, for specific outcomes including constipation relief, sleep support, hydration and brain function, it’s recommended to ingest specific magnesium compounds at certain times of day.
A Guide to the Best Time to Take Magnesium for Energy, Focus and the Best Night’s Sleep
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1. Magnesium L-Threonate: Morning, Night
Want something to help you focus? According to naturopathic doctor Jonathan Goodman, magnesium threonate, which is often listed under the trade name Magtein, is an MIT-developed form of magnesium that’s highly effective in crossing the blood-brain barrier so that it can activate enzymes, break down plaque and otherwise keep the brain functioning. A 2018 study even found that magnesium l-threonate, along with environmental enrichment, rescued some cognition and memory function in mice with Alzheimer’s Disease. Dr. Goodman recommends taking 144 milligrams total daily, divided among three pills—two in the morning and one at night.
3. Magnesium Citrate and Aspartate: Afternoon Post-Workout
Specific activities—especially sports, when magnesium is lost in perspiration—might call for magnesium replenishment. Dr. Blanca Lizaola-Mayo, an Arizona-based gastroenterologist and transplant doctor, developed SOS Hydration which incorporates magnesium into its high-mineral, low-sugar sports hydration powder and beverages. “SOS rehydrates you three times faster than drinking water alone, and one part of our formula is magnesium citrate, which helps improve osmolarity and speeds absorption of water into the cells faster. We chose magnesium citrate because we found it has a better taste than other forms of magnesium,” she says. It’s recommended to use pre- and post-workout, after a day at the beach or post airline travel (all that dehydrated air!) to replenish bodily fluids.
Drew Ryan, Head Body Coach at TB12, Tom Brady and Alex Guerrero’s wellness brand, likewise emphasizes magnesium-assisted hydration for personal performance, while enhancing recovery and longevity. “To keep a steady level of hydration throughout the day, try drinking evenly,” Ryan says. “It depends on your body weight, but one glass of water every hour or two is generally a good course of action.” The brand’s TB12 Electrolytes magnesium-enriched powder even has a little flavor to enjoy.
4. Magnesium Glycinate: Bedtime
Magnesium supplementation has been shown in a 2012 study to curb insomnia and improve sleep quality. In lieu of pharmaceutical remedies (Xanax) or hormonal sleep support (melatonin), many sleep-resistant people prefer taking magnesium glycinate tablets before bed to relax and drift off to sleep without suffering from feeling groggy in the morning. It comes in tablets or as a powder to mix with water or juice before bed.