Is it safe to take magnesium while breastfeeding? - Evidence Based Babie
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can i take magnesium while breastfeeding

Is it safe to take magnesium while breastfeeding?

If you’re a new mom who’s also a breastfeeding mother, you may want to take a magnesium supplement for whatever reason and you may be wondering whether it’s safe for you to take it while breastfeeding and if it can negatively affect your milk supply or your baby’s health.

What Is Magnesium?

Magnesium, also known as a wonder mineral, is a natural and essential mineral present in the food and the body. It’s a cofactor in more than 300 enzyme systems.

Magnesium plays a key role in regulating diverse biochemical reactions in the body, including protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control, and blood pressure regulation.

Magnesium plays an important role in energy production, oxidative phosphorylation, and glycolysis.

Magnesium is naturally occurring in food sources such as leafy green vegetables, whole grain, nuts and seeds, legumes and water.

Is Magnesium Safe for Breastfeeding Mothers?

Magnesium is considered safe and essential for breastfeeding mothers.

Magnesium citrate supplements during pregnancy may delay the onset of lactation after birth, but it can be taken during breastfeeding and no special precautions are required as the oral absorption of magnesium in infants is very low.

According to Hales medication, the oral absorption of magnesium in infants is very low, averaging only 4%. It’s very unlikely that the amount of magnesium in breast milk would even be clinically relevant.

Is magnesium present in breastmilk?

Magnesium is naturally present in breastmilk. The healthier the mother’s magnesium levels, the healthier the levels in her breastmilk.

It is estimated that fully breastfed infants receive approximately 6.5 mg/kg/day of magnesium in early lactation, and that the average concentration of magnesium in breast milk is approximately 31 mg/L.

The benefits of Magnesium

It supports postpartum recovery

The postpartum period is a time of healing and recovery for your body. Magnesium is essential for muscle function, including the uterus, helping it return to its pre-pregnancy state.

Improved mental health

Studies have shown a link between low magnesium levels and depression. There were 2 small studies done on supplementing people diagnosed with depression with magnesium, and both studies found a reduction in anxiety and depression symptoms. Better quality research is needed to further prove these claims.

Bone health

The bones are the greatest magnesium store in the body. Magnesium is crucial for bone health. Studies have shown that magnesium increases the bone mineral density.

Reduced blood pressure

Studies have found that magnesium supplements significantly reduce high blood pressure.

Improved sleep

Studies have found that people supplementing with magnesium fell asleep faster and stayed asleep for longer.

Improved migraines

Research shows that magnesium is an effective treatment for migraines. It’s been found to greatly reduce migraine attacks in sufferers.

Reduced risk of heart disease

Low levels of magnesium have been linked to an increased risk of heart disease.

Some studies have found that magnesium supplements positively affect some types of heart disease risk factors.

Improved blood sugar management

In one review of different studies, people with or at risk for type 2 diabetes who took magnesium supplements every day for up to 24 weeks, experienced great reductions in fasting and post meal blood sugar levels.

Another review found that taking magnesium supplements for more than 4 months had a beneficial effect on insulin sensitivity and blood sugar management.

Premenstrual symptoms

Magnesium has long been known and recommended to mothers experiencing severe premenstrual symptoms.

Magnesium has been shown to reduce mood swings, bloating, menstrual cramps, migraine attacks and it’s even believed to reduce nipple sensitivity or soreness.

Reduced breastfeeding aversion

Breastfeeding aversion is when a breastfeeding mother has negative feelings directly associated with breastfeeding. These feeling can include irritability, agitation, anger or anxiety. This often happens when breastfeeding while pregnant.

Some breastfeeding mothers have reported that magnesium supplements can reduce the negative feelings related to breastfeeding aversion. This might be due to the role magnesium plays in the function of the nervous system.

A magnesium deficiency

Even though magnesium is found in many food sources, it’s estimated that nearly a third of the population is deficient.

Some groups are at higher risk of magnesium deficiency than others, including those with gastrointestinal diseases, type 2 diabetes, alcohol dependence, and older adults.

Signs of magnesium deficiency

  • Low appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Muscle cramps, spasms and tremors
  • Numbness and tingling
  • Abnormal heart rhythms
  • Poor memory
  • Mood swings

The recommended daily allowance for magnesium

The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for magnesium in pregnancy is 400mg.

The Food and Nutrition Board recommends that breastfeeding mothers between the ages of 19 and 30 years should consume 310 mg of magnesium every day and those 31 years and older are recommended to consume 320 mg daily.

It’s also recommended that all people stay below 350 mg of magnesium per day to avoid negative side effects like diarrhea, cramping, and magnesium toxicity.

It’s important to remember that some magnesium is already consumed through your diet, so supplementation dosage will likely need to be lower than the recommended daily intake.

Magnesium overdose

There is no concern on magnesium overdose with foods, but oral supplementation may cause an overdose.

Signs of a magnesium overdose

  • Abdominal cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Urine retention

If you suspect that you may have overdosed on magnesium, contact your healthcare provider for the best support.

Sources of magnesium


Magnesium is found in many different foods such as leafy green vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds, legumes, avocados, proteins, bananas, beans and water.

It’s safe to say that most dietary fiber foods provide magnesium as well.

Magnesium can also be found in some cereals fortified with additional nutrients.


If you struggle with food intake, or are known to have a magnesium deficiency, you can always take a magnesium supplement, available in the form of pills, powders and liquids.


Studies have shown that we are able to absorb magnesium better trans dermally, or through the skin. There are many magnesium lotions on the market.

Prenatal vitamins

Your prenatal vitamin will also provide you with some magnesium intake.

Prenatal vitamins are often recommended for both pregnant and breastfeeding mothers due to the additional nutrients they provide.

Important notes on magnesium intake

The good news is that magnesium is not only safe to take while breastfeeding, but it holds many benefits to postpartum and breastfeeding mothers and their health.

If you’re worried that you may have a deficiency of magnesium, consult with your healthcare professional for further medical advice, testing and treatment.

It’s always a good idea to follow a healthy and balanced diet that meets all of your nutritional needs. If you ever want more advice and support on foods and diets, or if you’d like a nutritious diet plan for you and/or your family, you can always consult with a registered dietician.

If you ever need any evidence-based information or any support related to breastfeeding, consult with an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC).

Additional information and resources:

Magnesium citrate and breastfeeding

Magnesium sulfate and breastfeeding

Magnesium oxide and breastfeeding

Effect of magnesium supplementation on women’s health and well-being

Nutritional supplements and mother’s milk composition: a systematic review of interventional studies



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