Magnesium Malate: Benefits & Side Effects

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

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Magnesium malate is a supplement made from two distinct compounds that offer a range of potential health benefits.

What is Magnesium Malate?

Magnesium malate is a food supplement containing both magnesium and malic acid. It is sometimes referred to as ‘magnesium salt’. Magnesium is a mineral that is considered essential for the production of energy. It helps to maintain the health of the skeletal system, kidney function, the nervous system, and your muscles. For many people, malic acid is less well known, but this naturally occurring compound is also considered important for physical and mental health, improving concentration and aiding muscle performance.

Both magnesium and malic acid are involved in the production of energy, which is critical for our daily functions. In the supplement form of magnesium malate, a single ion of magnesium is attached to a malic acid molecule. It is thought that the body is better able to absorb magnesium in this combined form. Malic acid also contributes to cellular energy production and may help the body more effectively eliminate unwanted heavy metals.

Signs of Magnesium Deficiency

A 2012 assessment of medical data demonstrated that just under 50% of American people were not getting adequate magnesium through their daily diet. Without the recommended daily intake of 320-420mg of magnesium, a range of conditions may occur. Possible symptoms of magnesium deficiency include:

  • Mood disorders, such as anxiety and depression
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Stomach sickness
  • Unusually low blood pressure
  • Sleep disorders, such as insomnia
  • Muscle spasms
  • Fatigue
  • Migraines
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Seizures
  • Confusion

Magnesium Malate in Food

Magnesium is not produced in the body, so it is important to ensure a good supply of it through your food or supplements. Magnesium can be found in nuts, such as almonds and peanuts, as well as whole grains, milk, yogurt, fruits, and vegetables, such as broccoli, carrots, avocados, bananas, and apples, as well as some meats and fish. Although malic acid is naturally produced by the body, some people do not produce enough of it. It can be found in a wide range of fruits, such as apples, grapes, oranges, berries, nectarines, and pears. It is also found in many vegetables, like carrots, potatoes, peas, and broccoli.

Potential Health Benefits of Magnesium Malate

There are many potential benefits of magnesium malate, let’s take a look at them below.

  • Removes toxic metals from the body: The process of removing toxic metal compounds from the body is called chelation. Aluminum is a particularly dangerous metal that has been associated with a range of neurological disorders, such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Magnesium binds with other toxic metals, which minimizes the damage they can cause and means that the body is more easily able to expel them.
  • Fights against fibromyalgia: This neurological condition causes a wide range of negative symptoms, such as randomly occurring muscular pains, depression, and fatigue. Some studies have shown that magnesium malate has a beneficial effect in treating pain and fatigue levels. In a study by Dr. Guy E. Abraham, it was found that notable improvement in pain was experienced within 48 hours of supplementation with magnesium malate.
  • Fights chronic fatigue syndrome: Chronic fatigue syndrome has similar symptoms to those caused by fibromyalgia. It is thought that the malic acid in magnesium malate can help combat tiredness and boost energy levels.
  • Aids skin health: Malic acid is derived from fruit and is therefore classed as an alpha hydroxy acid. These fruit acids can act as natural exfoliants, helping the skin maintain a  youthful appearance. Taken internally, magnesium malate is thought to keep the skin healthy by supporting enzyme production. A study published by Dr. W.P. Smith in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science cites malic acid as being a useful supplement to one’s skin care regiment to prevent oxidative stress and inflammation.
  • Helps maintain oral health: Magnesium malate encourages the production of saliva in the mouth, which regulates the bacteria levels, ridding the mouth of bad bacteria and therefore making it essential for good oral health.
  • Supports energy production: Malic acid is a key factor in the body’s production of energy. Supplementation with magnesium malate is therefore considered a holistic way to increase energy levels, particularly if you regularly feel sluggish or tired.
  • Assists in muscle performance: Both the magnesium and the malic acid in a magnesium malate supplement will play a part in supporting muscle performance and health. If you regularly exercise and want to get a bit more out of your workouts, consider adding this supplement to your pre-gym regimen. A study conducted by Dr. Nazan Uysal, on the retention time of certain supplements within tissues, showed that magnesium malate remained in high levels within muscle tissues, further aiding to contraction power and performance. 

How to Take Magnesium Malate Supplements?

It is advised to intake the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of magnesium. For women aged 19-30, this is 310 mg, and for women aged 31 and above it is 320 mg. For men aged 19-31 years, the RDA is 400 mg, and for men aged 40 and above it is 420 mg. The RDA of malic acid depends on the individual, but dosage generally falls between 1,200 mg and 2,800 mg.

If you have symptoms of magnesium deficiency and are not getting magnesium and malic acid in adequate amounts from your food intake, you can consider supplementing with magnesium malate pills. You’re most likely to notice their effects if taken consistently over an extended period of time. To minimize the potential side effects of these supplements, such as slight nausea, it is best to take the pills with food. In extreme cases of deficiency, your medical practitioner may recommend an intramuscular injection.

Side Effects

If you have any kidney issues, it is best to consult with a doctor before taking magnesium malate. The Office of Dietary Supplements lists the following as the main symptoms of magnesium overdose:

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy or tiredness
  • Low blood pressure
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Urine retention
  • Weakness
  • Irregular heartbeat

If you’re supplementing with magnesium malate and experience any of these side effects, contact a medical professional. However, if supplemented in accordance with recommendations, a magnesium overdose from magnesium malate is highly unlikely. The most common side effect of taking the regular dosage is an unsettled stomach. For this reason, it’s best to take the tablets during or after a meal.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, and publisher who earned his English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign, Urbana (USA). He is the co-founder of a literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and calls the most beautiful places in the world his office. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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