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What Are the Benefits of Magnesium for Arthritis?

By Jo Dunaway
Updated May 17, 2024
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Magnesium and calcium are minerals that, in the right combinations within a diet, work together to perform chemical processes that promote good muscle and bone health in the human body. When the recommended levels of these minerals get out of balance, however, magnesium cannot draw calcium from the diet into bones to strengthen them. Instead, the calcium collects in soft tissues, which is a cause of one type of arthritis. The right balance of both nutrients can enable these minerals to function correctly within the body to reduce or eliminate arthritis symptoms.

Patients with arthritis and osteoporosis are both usually advised to elevate the amounts of calcium in their diet. When calcium is not absorbed properly, however, it it cannot help strengthen bones and joints. Calcium is stored in the body in soft tissues if not redirected to bones by magnesium. Magnesium, however, unlike calcium, is not stored in the body and must be replenished daily. Studies have even shown that even when calcium is given intravenously, it still goes to tissues unless magnesium is administered as well.

Many doctors and nutritionists believe that both arthritis and osteoporosis may be caused in part by magnesium deficiencies, not only because of calcium malabsorption, but also because of magnesium's relation to parathyroid hormone (PTH). Taking magnesium for arthritis suppresses the actions of PTH; the hormone produced by calcium, known as calcitonin, assists magnesium in this suppression. PTH draws calcium from the bones and deposits it instead in the soft tissues, so suppressing this activity is of paramount importance in proper calcium enrichment of bones and teeth. As magnesium and potassium in high doses create higher bone density, according to studies, and magnesium is lost daily, it may be beneficial to take magnesium for arthritis as part of the diet or in supplement form.

Magnesium for arthritis can be taken as an oral supplement and often comes in combination form with calcium and potassium. It can also be taken in prescription form with choline as a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug for treatment of pain, fever, and inflammation. A doctor can prescribe this form if found necessary as treatment.

A diet rich in magnesium can include nuts; whole grains like buckwheat, rye, and brown rice; and legumes such as lentils, split peas, and most varieties of beans. Whole grain cereals, bean soups, snacks of almonds and cashews, and green vegetables can add magnesium for arthritis throughout the day. Tofu and seafood are both high in magnesium as well.

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Discussion Comments
By SteamLouis — On Sep 21, 2013

When I was diagnosed with arthritis, my doctor also checked my magnesium and it was far below normal. My arthritis pain disappeared after my magnesium deficiency was treated.

By SarahGen — On Sep 20, 2013

@ddljohn-- The daily recommended dose of magnesium for adults is between 300-400mg/day. So you are taking a good dose.

Magnesium is water soluble, so the excess is excreted through urine. But it's still not a good idea to take a very large dose, at least not without asking your doctor first.

I have mild arthritis and have been taking a magnesium tablet every day. Magnesium reduces inflammation and pain for me, but I don't think that it would be very helpful for people with severe arthritis.

By ddljohn — On Sep 20, 2013

How much magnesium should be taken daily for arthritis?

I'm already taking magnesium supplements, 365mg/day to be exact. It was recommended to me by my doctor for diabetes and anxiety. I didn't know until now that it's also beneficial for joint arthritis. It's great that magnesium has so many benefits. I just want to make sure that I'm taking enough. So what's the right dose?

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