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Magnesium Supplementation Improves Asthma Symptoms?

magnesium asthma

Magnesium Supplementation Improves Asthma Symptoms?

Does magnesium (oral magnesium citrate) improve quality of life and asthma control in patients with mild to moderate asthma?

Asthma is a very common condition which affects approximately 7-10% of adults and 10-15% of children.  For many patients, symptoms can often be troublesome as well as difficult to control.

A very recent study published in the Journal of Asthma (Kazaks et al, 2010) , studied the effect of six months of supplementation with oral magnesium citrate (170 mg taken twice daily with food) on pulmonary function tests, asthma control, and quality of life in patients with mild to moderate asthma.

Magnesium Deficiency?

Epidemiological studies have shown that patients with asthma often have lower levels of magnesium than healthy controls.  Further, according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) for 1999-2000, less than half of Americans consumed the recommended doses of magnesium.

If you have asthma and are concerned about have low magnesium levels, you should talk to your doctor about checking your serum magnesium, phosphorous, calcium, and potassium levels.  Though the serum levels of magnesium are not a reliable method to determine total body magnesium stores, a case of magnesium deficiency is clearly present if serum levels are low.  More specific tests also include measuring your ionized magnesium levels.

Important! Magnesium levels are more frequently deficient in hospitalized patients, diabetics, and alcoholics. Both symptoms and causes of hypomagnesemia can be quite varied.

Magnesium for Asthma?

Back to the recent study, the authors found that 6-month supplementation with oral magnesium citrate improved objective measures of asthma (PFT) along with subjective measures of quality of life and asthma control.  No significant side effects were noted in the group that received magnesium citrate.

*** 6-month supplementation with magnesium citrate improved peak expired flow rates by 5.8%

Management of Asthma with Magnesium:

  1. Magnesium deficiency is common among those who have asthma.
  2. Research suggests that adults with mild to moderate asthma may benefit from taking magnesium supplements.
  3. Supplementation with magnesium citrate at a dose of 340 mg/d for over  6 months resulted in improvements in the ability to move air in and out of lungs, asthma control, and quality of life.


  1. Kazaks AG, Uriu-Adams JY, Albertson TE, Shenoy SF, Stern JS.  Effect of oral magnesium supplementation on measures of airway resistance and subjective assessment of asthma control and quality of life in men and women with mild to moderate asthma: a randomized placebo-controlled trial.  J Asthma. 2010 Feb;47(1):83-92.


  • Jarret Morrow

    Hey Rolf, thanks for the feedback. With this new site launch, there will be more frequent updates than there was over the past year. cheers, Jarret

  • Ryan D.

    A good supplement can really give you that addedbumpyou've been looking for. I know for me personally, a protein supplement has helped me dramatically. Interesting research about magnesium though too.

  • Tacfit Commando

    Thanks, that was helpful for people like me who are about to take the plunge into getting fit and healthy!

  • Clint Blumer

    Dr. Morrow, I have been taking OTC Magnesium, which I now see is Magnesium Oxide with zinc gluconate, three tablets a day (400mg/15mg.). with meals. Is this O.K. or should I switch to Magnesium Citrate? Thanks

    • Jarret Morrow, M.D.

      Clint, I don't provide medical advice with this blog, of course, so I can only speak generally. First, you didn't mention why you're taking the magnesium supplement. I'm assuming that you're taking this under the advice of your doctor. Three tablets per day is a little higher than a typical dose for magnesium oxide. If your reasons pertain to this article about magnesium and asthma, I've never came across studies using Magnesium oxide for asthma. Magnesium oxide when taken orally is typically used as an antacid or laxative. The study in this particular article referred to using oral magnesium citrate. I've also seen a few other studies that used either nebulized or inhaled magnesium sulfate in Emergency Rooms. Magnesium citrate is also used for constipation, so it can also cause bowel movements. If you have asthma, you should discuss treatment options with your physician.

      • Clint Blumer

        Dr. Morrow, thanks for your response. Actually, I started taking Magnesium because of an article that I read that stated that Magnesium was good for a strong regular heart beat. I really don't know the difference between Magnesium oxide and Magnesium citrate. Is it because the citrate makes it easier to digest? The dosage of 3 tabs a day is the directions on the Spring Valley label. I do have slight to moderate asthma. I do not use any inhalents because I do not want to get addicted to them and besides, I do not like them. Do you think that I should switch to the Magnesium Oxide? I do see a Pulmonologist every 6 months, but I have found that most of the Physicians that I see do not know much about dietary supplements, nor do they believe in them. Thanks for your kind concern, Clint

      • Jarret Morrow, M.D.

        Clint, I do appreciate intelligent questions and comments at my blog. I don't seem to get very many lately, so I'm more than happy to help try to answer your questions. First, it is important to let your physicians know about any dietary supplements that you are taking. Dietary supplements can interact with medication. If you're also taking medication, it's important to let your doctor know which supplements you're using. For magnesium oxide, a typical dose is usually 400mg taken twice per day instead of three times per day which you mentioned. For asthma, I haven't came across any studies using magnesium oxide. Both magnesium oxide and magnesium citrate are salts of magnesium, so it's possible that magnesium oxide might have some efficacy. However, magnesium oxide is less soluble and not nearly as well absorbed compared to magnesium citrate.

  • Jarret Morrow, M.D.

    It depends on the reasons. In many cases, supplements can be beneficial for health promotion. For people with serious medical conditions, I think that they should always discuss treatment options with their health care providers.

  • Jenrose

    I've been taking magnesium to control my asthma since 2004. It works like a charm, I was able to go off all asthma meds. I use 500 mg once per day, but did okay at 200 mg once per day as well. I take the higher dose now for other health issues.

    • Jarret Morrow, M.D.

      Hi Jenrose, thanks so much for sharing your experience with magnesium. It's very helpful to get feedback from people who've tried using a supplement for particular conditions.

      • HV

        Hi all Personally I take Magnesium Oxide everyday 500mg with last meal. It will help you with your migraine, regulate your high pressure,regulate your blood pH, improve to burn fat (mainly if you have Insuline Resistance) The reason Im here is because I had being now studying about its benefits on Asthma ..mainly for childrens. Somebody has try it with children? What is the dose? Thanks

  • Ho

    Do magnesium work for severe asthma ? what is the mechanisms? Is it safe for elder patient with DM and hypertension?

  • ron j

    Here is a great asthma tip. All salt must be removed from the diet. This, along with an increase in potassium intake and strong stomach muscles will cure your asthma within a month. But you have to be strict. No salt at all and lots of potassium. Trust me, I do this every spring and after about 3-4 weeks once my system gets rid of the remaining salt in my body (through sweating or whatever), you will be cured of asthma. That is until you eat something salty again and I guarantee you will have an attack, Cut out the salt and the asthma goes away.

  • Thomas

    Magnesium (the liquid kind) I find is the absolute BEST kind for asthma, muscle pain, and sleep difficulties. There is extremely important research written by a doctor about this (google Magnesium chloride hexahydrate therapy). Magnesium Oxide is basically useless in terms of building up magnesium levels. Very minute amounts are actually absorbed. My doctor only recommends it for constipation problems, since it leaves the body so quickly.

  • Thomas

    Sorry - I meant to say that MAGNESIUM CHLORIDE specifically is the most effective in my previous post!

  • Paula from Just Loving Life

    In her book The Magnesium Miracle, Carolyn Dean MD speaks extensively about the benefits of magnesium for asthma. In particular she states that many patients with asthma and other bronchial diseases have low magnesium and that many drugs used in the treatment of asthma actually cause a loss of magnesium. I have just started realizing the importance of magnesium and have been taking it internally and via magnesium oil direct to the skin.

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