When children are grumpy, sleeping poorly, and constipated, it’s easy to misinterpret these symptoms as being normal bouts of moodiness or a simple lack of fiber. But that's how magnesium deficiencies are often overlooked.
Are you concerned that your child may have a magnesium deficiency?
If so, you may be wondering, is magnesium safe for kids? The short answer is yes—magnesium is safe for kids and is one of the best vitamins for kids’ immune systems. In fact, they need it for a healthy body and brain function. If you suspect your child has low levels, magnesium supplementation may be worth considering. However, too much oral magnesium can be harmful, so it’s important to understand the daily recommended intake for your child based on their age and gender.
In this guide, we’ll explain how much magnesium supplementation for kids is safe, as well as the importance of sufficient magnesium and the signs of magnesium deficiency to look out for. Keep reading to learn more.
How Safe are Magnesium Supplements for Kids?
More than 50% of people fail to meet the recommended daily intake of magnesium.1 Since magnesium has an impact on everything from your child’s bone health to their immune system function, they may need some support from supplemental magnesium.
But if you’re considering giving your child a magnesium supplement to improve their overall health and wellbeing, you may have some concerns about their safety. After all, while magnesium is an essential mineral for both children and adults, too much magnesium can cause digestive issues and can reduce the magnesium benefits for kids .
The good news is that magnesium supplements are a safe option when looking to boost your child’s magnesium levels. This is because the body clears magnesium from its system fairly quickly. In fact, the body only absorbs 30% to 40% of your magnesium intake and expels the rest.2
Let’s breakdown how the body processes magnesium:
- Magnesium is absorbed in the gut and stored inside tissues and bones.
- Excess magnesium is discarded in one of two ways: through the kidneys or the bowels.
Too much oral magnesium will therefore result in digestive issues and diarrhea, but otherwise, toxicity is rare.
Because your child’s body has a built-in method for handling any excess magnesium, you don’t have to worry about supplements causing any harm—especially if you follow the proper dosage recommendations.
The Recommended Dosage of Magnesium for Children
While excess magnesium naturally clears from the body, if your child is getting more than they need, it may be too much too fast for their kidneys to process. This begs the question: How much supplemental magnesium should children have, and how often should they take it?
When exploring the recommended amounts, age, and sex influence how much they may need. According to the Office of Dietary Supplements, here’s what you need to know:
- Children 1 to 3 years old need 80 mg daily
- Children 4 to 8 years old need 130 mg daily
- Children 9 to 13 years old need 240 mg daily
- Females 14 to 18 years old need 360 mg daily
- Males 14 to 18 years old need 10 mg daily
How to Give Children Magnesium Supplements
Before giving kids magnesium, it’s important to take the following steps to ensure their safety:
- Consult with a trusted professional to see if your child has kidney or heart problems.
- Check to see how current medications may interact with supplements.
If everything checks out, magnesium supplements can provide a natural, vegan-friendly way to support your child’s development, while matching your family’s healthy lifestyle.
However, giving your child a magnesium supplement may be easier said than done. Your child may be unconvinced to take a magnesium supplement just because it’s good for them. This can make the whole process a bit of a hassle. Fortunately, magnesium supplements come in a variety of forms. Ensuring optimal magnesium levels all comes down to finding the form that works best for you and your child.
You can choose from the following forms:
Because tablet supplements may have a bitter taste, it can be helpful to crush up the tablets and mix them into your child’s favorite drink or food.
You may find it easier to apply supplements that come as oils, sprays, or lotions. These topical solutions allow the mineral to enter the bloodstream quickly and can also help your child sleep better at night.
Products like Cymbiotika’s Magnesium Oil can be rubbed directly onto the body before bed to promote a restful sleep and boost magnesium levels naturally. Plus, the lavender smell promises a soothing experience that a child may prefer to the bitter taste.
Signs of Magnesium Deficiency in Kids
Being able to spot a magnesium deficiency in kids can save you time and energy looking at other possibilities. Luckily, magnesium deficiency is a treatable issue that doesn’t require any heavy medication.
If you’re wondering what signs to look out for, the top two are:
- Poor sleep – In order for melatonin to ease your child to sleep, their muscles and nerves need to be relaxed. By impacting muscle contractions, magnesium is responsible for this.
- Constipation – Magnesium works closely with your child’s gut and digestive system. It helps activate enzymes, break down food, and turn all that food into energy. It also acts as a laxative, meaning it helps your child pass regular bowel movements.
Other signs of low magnesium levels include irritable moods, frequent headaches or migraines, and fatigue.
Magnesium is involved in almost every function of your child’s body. So when it’s not there, signs will show up in every aspect of their life. This makes adequate magnesium levels crucial for your child’s health and happiness.
The Cause of Low Magnesium Levels
So, what exactly causes low magnesium levels in children?
Adults and children both get their magnesium primarily from their diet, but in today’s modern world, your child may not be getting all of their nutrients from diet alone. Nowadays, processed foods lack the essential nutrients our bodies need for optimal function, which can lead to low magnesium levels. Along with that, other causes may also be interfering with your child’s ability to absorb magnesium.
Curious to know what else may be affecting your child’s magnesium levels? Here’s a list of potential causes:
- Poor or restrictive diets that are high in sugar and processed foods
- Health issues such as IBS, diabetes, or celiac disease
- Intense periods of stress and anxiety
- Excessive sweating or urination
- Certain medications
Depending on the potential cause of your child’s deficiency, it may be beneficial to use supplements along with stress-management techniques and make adjustments to their diet that better suit a healthy, happy lifestyle.
Ways to Help Children Manage Stress
While children don't have the same stressors as adults (for instance, they don’t have to worry about paying bills or taxes), they can still suffer from anxiety and feel stressed about certain things, such as school or interactions with friends. This stress and anxiety hurts their magnesium levels.
So, what are some ways you can help your child manage their stress and anxiety?
The American Psychological Association recommends these tips:3
- Ensure they get the recommended amount of sleep (about 9 to 12 hours for school-aged children).
- Talk to your child about the situations that are stressing them out.
- Spend more time outside in nature together.
- Exercise regularly for at least an hour every day.
Stress is a normal aspect of life, but it’s good for your child to have useful tools to help them manage it.
How to Promote a Healthier Diet
While some causes of magnesium deficiency are unrelated to diet, it’s always a smart idea to consume as many nutrients as possible from a variety of whole foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables.
To encourage your child to eat their fruits and veggies, it’s recommended that you:4
- Make it a habit to eat meals together as a family
- Involve children in the cooking process
- Model healthy eating habits
- Stock up on healthier snacks and alternatives to sugary foods
- Nurture a calm environment around mealtimes
Magnesium Rich Foods
Aside from supplements, if you’re looking for additional ways to up your child’s magnesium intake, consider adjusting their diet to include more magnesium rich foods.
The following foods can help your child reach their recommended daily intake:
- Brown rice
- Dark chocolate
- Peanut butter
Once you understand how magnesium works in your child’s body, it becomes easier to find ways to incorporate more of it into their diet. Whether through food or supplements, there are a variety of forms to choose from. When you’re exploring your options, you need a company that has the same values as you—a company like Cymbiotika.
Cymbiotika: Your Eco-Friendly and Organic Solution
When you and your family live a healthy, sustainable lifestyle, the products you choose to buy must promote those same values, especially when they’re for your child.
At Cymbiotika, we understand that you want your child to live the happiest and healthiest life possible. That’s why our magnesium products are made with zero GMOs, chemicals, or harmful preservatives. Instead, we use organic and eco-friendly ingredients to formulate our supplements so that what your child puts into their body is guaranteed to positively impact their overall wellness.
Interested in what we have to offer? Our Magnesium Oil offers a topical solution to magnesium deficiency, while our Magnesium L-Threonate offers an oral solution. No matter which you choose, you can improve your child’s day-to-day health with Cymbiotika. Looking for other ways to help supplement your child’s overall wellness? Check out our collection of liquid vitamins for kids.
- Oregon State University. Micronutrient Inadequacies in the US Population: an Overview. https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/micronutrient-inadequacies/overview
- National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Magnesium Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/
- American Psychological Association. How to help children and teens manage their stress. https://www.apa.org/topics/child-development/stress
- KidsHealth. Healthy Eating. https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/habits.html
- Medline Plus. Magnesium in diet. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002423.htm