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What’s The Best Type Of Magnesium For Hypothyroidism?

Different types of magnesium supplements are available, but which ones are most helpful for hypothyroid patients?
What’s The Best Type Of Magnesium For Hypothyroidism?
Last updated:
10/28/2022
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When it comes to essential minerals, magnesium is a front-runner! Magnesium is crucial to more than 300 physical functions in the body and can help relieve some common symptoms of hypothyroidism. With multiple forms of magnesium available, choosing the right type for you can be complicated. Ahead is a review of the critical factors for people with thyroid dysfunctions to consider when choosing a magnesium supplement.

Why is magnesium important for hypothyroid patients?

Even with a functioning thyroid, magnesium is necessary for the body’s muscle and nerve function, blood pressure regulation, blood sugar management, and maintenance of energy levels. Since hypothyroidism slows down most processes in the body and may increase the risk of low magnesium and other nutrient deficiencies, people with an underactive thyroid need to consider supplementing.

 

Many thyroid patients – especially those with an autoimmune thyroid disease like Hashimoto’s – have excess inflammation in the body. One study found that just ten weeks of supplementation with magnesium oxide increased thyroid hormone production -- specifically T4 levels -- and reduced inflammation. 

Research has also shown that magnesium supplementation may help reduce thyroid antibodies and help prevent metabolic disorders and weight gain in patients with Hashimoto’s.

For people with hypothyroidism, magnesium also helps you:

  • Manufacture more T4
  • Better convert T4 into T3, the active thyroid hormone.
  • Improve constipation and digestion
  • Improve the quality of sleep
  • Reduce muscle aches
  • Reduce blood pressure

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How do I know if I need to take magnesium?

The Recommended Dietary Allowance RDA for magnesium can vary based on factors such as age, gender, and medical history; however, a daily intake of approximately 320 to 420 mg per day is recommended for the average person. Additional supplementation is usually suggested as most people cannot reach this magnesium intake level due to a poor diet.

Some experts recommend that everyone with hypothyroidism supplement with magnesium because a slowdown with your thyroid gland changes how your body metabolizes and eliminates this vital mineral. Research has found that when you’re hypothyroid, you’re more likely to have a magnesium deficiency, as you excrete more magnesium and may have difficulty transporting magnesium across cells. As a result, many hypothyroid patients need a higher magnesium intake to account for this excess excretion.

Also, thyroid patients often have low levels of stomach acids and digestive enzymes that make it harder to absorb nutrients from foods and supplements, which may mean you need to supplement with magnesium.

Many nutritional experts recommend that hypothyroid patients supplement with magnesium to a point slightly less than “bowel tolerance” – the dosage at which your stools become too soft.

An important note for thyroid patients: Taking magnesium too close to your daily thyroid hormone replacement drugs can affect the absorption of your medication and thyroid hormone levels. It’s best to take thyroid drugs and magnesium at least 3 to 4 hours apart or take thyroid medication in the morning and magnesium at night.

Forms of magnesium

Pharmacy aisles and online vitamin stores are filled with various magnesium supplements. Which one should you choose?

There aren’t specific studies on which forms of magnesium are best for people with hypothyroidism. However, the magnesium most often recommended for hypothyroid patients is magnesium glycinate because it’s the most easily absorbed. It’s also far less likely to cause adverse effects -- primarily loose stools -- when compared to other forms of magnesium. Combining magnesium with glycine may help sleep, mood changes, and blood sugar.

If you have constipation – a common symptom of hypothyroidism, you may want to choose magnesium citrate, a common ingredient in stool-softening and laxative products.

There are many other forms of magnesium to consider, including:

  • Magnesium chloride, found in antacids and heartburn remedies, and often used in magnesium oils and bath soaks
  • Magnesium gluconate, which is a less well-absorbed form of magnesium
  • Magnesium malate, which helps with energy and is less likely to cause diarrhea
  • Magnesium orotate, which may benefit heart health and energy, but is not as commonly used as a supplement as it is more expensive and not as well-researched as other forms
  • Magnesium oxide, a commonly used form for constipation and heartburn, has high levels of elemental magnesium but is not absorbed as well as other forms. (Magnesium oxide is the form found in Milk of Magnesia.)
  • Magnesium taurate, a form that may benefit heart issues, cardiovascular disease, blood sugar, and blood pressure
  • Magnesium aspartate, a well-absorbed form of magnesium
  • Magnesium lactate, a well-absorbed form that may help with muscle cramps and pain
  • Magnesium sulfate, which can relieve constipation but often causes loose stools and nausea
  • Magnesium L-threonate, which may help increase magnesium levels in brain cells, but is not as well-researched as other forms

Which type of magnesium should you choose?

To determine the best form of magnesium for you, consider having a consultation with a Paloma Thyroid Nutritionist. They can help evaluate your diet and nutritional status and develop a customized plan.

If you’re unsure which form to choose, consider taking an approach that includes multiple forms of magnesium. BioOptimizers Magnesium Breakthrough has seven types of magnesium in one supplement, including magnesium glycinate, magnesium citrate, magnesium chelate, magnesium oxide, magnesium malate, magnesium orotate, and magnesium taurate. Source Natural’s UltraMag has five types of magnesium, including magnesium glycinate, magnesium citrate, magnesium oxide, magnesium malate, and magnesium taurate.

A Note from Paloma

Maintaining appropriate magnesium levels is essential for overall health and may help improve hypothyroidism symptoms. Connect with a Paloma Health doctor or nutritionist to discuss which type of magnesium supplementation may be right for you.

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References:

Al Alawi AM, Majoni SW, Falhammar H. Magnesium and Human Health: Perspectives and Research Directions. International Journal of Endocrinology. 2018;2018:1-17. doi:10.1155/2018/9041694

‌Rabbani E, Golgiri F, Janani L, et al. Randomized Study of the Effects of Zinc, Vitamin A, and Magnesium Co-supplementation on Thyroid Function, Oxidative Stress, and hs-CRP in Patients with Hypothyroidism. Biological Trace Element Research. Published online January 7, 2021. doi:10.1007/s12011-020-02548-3

‌Mikulska AA, Karaźniewicz-Łada M, Filipowicz D, Ruchała M, Główka FK. Metabolic Characteristics of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis Patients and the Role of Microelements and Diet in the Disease Management—An Overview. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2022;23(12):6580. doi:10.3390/ijms23126580‌

Jones JE, Desper PC, Shane SR, Flink EB. Magnesium metabolism in hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. Journal of Clinical Investigation. 1966;45(6):891-900. doi:10.1172/jci105404

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Mary Shomon

Patient Advocate

Mary Shomon is an internationally-recognized writer, award-winning patient advocate, health coach, and activist, and the New York Times bestselling author of 15 books on health and wellness, including the Thyroid Diet Revolution and Living Well With Hypothyroidism. On social media, Mary empowers and informs a community of more than a quarter million patients who have thyroid and hormonal health challenges.

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