Magnesium Chloride Benefits, Uses and Side Effects - Dr. Axe

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Magnesium Chloride Benefits for Sleep & Depression


Magnesium chloride - Dr. Axe

Did you know that there are actually many different kinds of magnesium supplements? One of several options is magnesium chloride, which is sometimes referred to as the “master magnesium compound.”

Magnesium is absolutely vital to good health. We need it to have proper muscle and nerve function. It also helps regulate blood pressure and blood sugar levels.

According to the National Institutes of Health, not every magnesium supplement is created equal, and some forms are more bioavailable than others. If you compare magnesium chloride vs. magnesium citrate or magnesium sulfate or magnesium oxide, chloride and citrate forms are believed to be better absorbed by the body than the magnesium sulfate or oxide forms.

Not many supplements give you a topical option, but in addition to taking a magnesium chloride supplement internally, there’s also the option of using topical magnesium chloride.

What Is Magnesium Chloride?

Magnesium chloride is a type of salt that is a combination of magnesium and chloride.The magnesium chloride formula is MgCl2. This means it consists of one magnesium atom and two chloride atoms.


It can naturally be obtained via the solar evaporation of seawater.

Is magnesium chloride soluble? Magnesium chloride solubility in water or another liquid is high, which means it is more completely absorbed in the gut compared to less soluble forms of magnesium.

Magnesium chloride can be found in supplements that can be taken orally or used topically to increase levels of magnesium in the body.


Used both internally and topically, magnesium chloride benefits and uses are known to include:

1. Treat or Prevent a Magnesium Deficiency

As we age, absorption of magnesium by the gut decreases and magnesium excretion by the kidneys increases. Older adults are also more likely to have chronic diseases that affect magnesium levels and increase the risk for a magnesium deficiency.

You can obtain magnesium in your diet through eating healthy magnesium-rich foods like dark leafy greens, but if you’re still struggling to get enough then you may consider supplementing with magnesium.

It’s not uncommon to experience diarrhea as a result of taking magnesium supplements internally, which is why many people turn to magnesium chloride in topical form (such as an oil or lotion) to boost their magnesium levels.

2. Increase Low Stomach Acid

MgCl2 is sometimes used to offset a decline of gastric acid secretion in the stomach.

Gastric acid is produced by the stomach, and it’s absolutely essential to proper digestion because it helps break down foods into smaller absorbable units. Without enough gastric acid, we not only can have suboptimal digestion, but we can also experience a malabsorption of essential nutrients.

Gastric acid also helps prevent infectious bacteria from entering and populating the intestinal tract.

3. Energy Booster and Muscle Relaxer

Many people, such as athletes, use topical magnesium oil to boost energy and endurance. Topical magnesium can also help relax muscles and reduce muscle soreness, pain or cramping. Studies show that magnesium may improve physiological markers of athletic performance but more research is needed.

4. Relaxation and Better Sleep

Sleep problems can sometimes be linked to a magnesium deficiency. Meanwhile, studied indicate that magnesium can help relieve insomnia, such as sleep efficiency, sleep time and sleep onset latency.

By increasing levels of magnesium with the use of a magnesium supplement like MgCl2, you just may be able to get a better night’s sleep.

5. Helps Alleviate Depression

Research into the connection between magnesium and depression continues today, but a few years ago a study examined whether supplementing with magnesium chloride can help improve the symptoms of depression.

With 126 adults, the study ran for six weeks of daily magnesium supplementation (248 milligrams of magnesium chloride) compared to a control group without any treatment. Participants in the magnesium group experienced “clinically significant net improvement” in their depression symptoms as well as their generalized anxiety disorder scores. Meanwhile, the supplements were well tolerated and most participants reported that they would use magnesium supplements in the future.


Supplement and Dosage Info

If you’re in the market for a magnesium chloride supplement, you have several options, including:

  • Magnesium chloride tablets: Taken orally with a liquid (typically water).
  • Magnesium chloride liquid: If you prefer supplements in liquid form, this another internal option. Read packaging carefully because it often needs to be diluted in eight ounces of a beverage of your choice.
  • Magnesium chloride powder: Taken orally once it’s diluted in a beverage.
  • Magnesium chloride oil: An oil form of magnesium that can be applied to the skin.
  • Magnesium chloride lotion: A topical option for external use.
  • Magnesium chloride flakes: Another external way to use magnesium chloride salt in fully body baths or foot baths.

Daily magnesium needs vary by age, gender and health status so an appropriate magnesium chloride dosage depends upon several factors.

Read product recommendations carefully, and always check with your health care provider on best dosage.

Risks, Side Effects and Interactions

As with all magnesium supplements, magnesium chloride side effects may include stomach upset and diarrhea. These potential side effects can be reduced or avoided by not taking more than what is recommended and also by taking with a meal.

Topical forms of magnesium are less likely to cause digestive side effects, but it’s not uncommon for skin to feel itchy after application of a magnesium oil. If this occurs, the itching should go away once you wash the product off.

You can try a magnesium lotion, which is often combined with other skin soothing ingredients like aloe. Another option is to use magnesium flakes in a bath or foot bath.

The following drugs are known to interact with magnesium chloride:

  • demeclocycline
  • doxycycline
  • eltrombopag
  • lymecycline
  • minocycline
  • oxytetracycline
  • tetracycline
  • ciprofloxacin
  • fleroxacin
  • gemifloxacin
  • levofloxacin
  • moxifloxacin
  • norfloxacin
  • ofloxacin
  • penicillamine
  • rilpivirine

This is not an exhaustive list so check with your health care provider before combining magnesium chloride with any other medications or supplements.

Health care provider sometimes give magnesium chloride as an injection, but this is not recommended for anyone who is allergic to it or has severe heart or kidney disease. There are more potentially serious side effects of receiving an injection of magnesium chloride, such as respiratory depression or substantial decreases in blood pressure.

Can you overdose on magnesium?

As with any supplement, it is possible to overdose, which is why it’s important you read product labels carefully and seek your health care provider’s advice on an ideal magnesium chloride dosage for your needs and health goals.

In general, check with your health care provider before taking MgCl2 in any form if you have are pregnant, nursing, have a medical condition or currently take medication.

Seek emergency medical attention if you experience signs of an allergic reaction, such as hives, severe dizziness, trouble breathing, or swelling of your face, lips, tongue, and/or throat.

Final Thoughts

  • Magnesium can be obtained through the diet by consuming healthy foods like dark leafy green vegetables, but in certain situations (such as a magnesium deficiency), magnesium chloride is a supplemental form that can be taken to boost levels of this key mineral.
  • What is magnesium chloride used for? A top use is to overcome a magnesium deficiency.
  • Other common magnesium chloride uses including its use to improve sleep, digestion, endurance and muscle complaints. It can also help to generally promote relaxation.
  • If you put it in water, it dissolves easily. This is why it’s said to be more easily absorbed than some other forms of magnesium that do not dissolve as well in liquids.
  • Magnesium chloride benefits can be obtained from using it internally as a tablet, liquid or powder supplement, or externally as a magnesium spray oil or lotion.

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