Magnesium plays a vital part in a huge number of the body’s enzymatic processes, making it one of the most essential minerals for your body.
Ensuring a child has the correct level of magnesium is particularly beneficial in helping with sleep, mood, concentration, energy levels, bone and teeth health, blood sugar levels, bowel regulation, immune system, digestion and absorption of other essential nutrients such as calcium and vitamin D. Deficiency in any of these can cause low energy levels and poor concentration at school.
While magnesium is usually provided by our diets, many people, including children, struggle to get the recommended amount and may need to add a magnesium supplement to their daily routine.
Here are some of the most common questions regarding magnesium supplements for kids. These will help you decide whether your child needs a higher intake of magnesium, set your mind at rest around the safety of magnesium supplements for children and how to identify magnesium deficiency in children.
1. Can children take magnesium supplements?
Yes, children can take magnesium supplements. If you suspect your child is not getting enough magnesium through their diet, there are many supplements in a number of different forms which will ensure they’re getting what they need.
Most children get the magnesium they need from their diet; however, you might struggle to get your kids to eat certain foods and you are likely to see magnesium deficiency in their diet. This is where a supplement is needed.
If your child eats a substantial quantity of legumes, dark leafy vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds, you may only need to supplement a portion of their daily requirement.
It’s very rare for children to overdose on magnesium through their diet; however, like most things, there is a small chance they can overdose if they take too much magnesium.
How much magnesium is safe for a child?
Here is the recommended magnesium dosage for kids at different ages:
|Age||Recommended magnesium intake|
|1-3 years||80 mg/day|
|4-8 years||130 mg/day|
|9-13 years||240 mg/day|
|14-18 years||360 mg/day|
|14-18 years||410 mg/day|
Everyone is different so, while these are good guidelines, the magnesium dosage for kids can vary. Your child’s weight, activity levels, perspiration and age can all play important factors in the amount of magnesium a child needs, so take these into account when calculating how much additional magnesium your child might require.
2. What are the symptoms of magnesium deficiency in children?
Children need a variety of essential nutrients for healthy growth. Magnesium is needed for building bones as well as maintaining healthy muscle and nerve function.
Magnesium deficiency in kids can be caused by a number of factors but insufficient levels obtained through diet is the most common reason. Poor sleep and constipation may also signal that your child isn’t getting the levels of magnesium they need.
Other common concerns can also be linked to a lack of magnesium in children, including the following symptoms:
- Muscle weakness and cramps
- Poor sleep
- Apathy and low mood
- Memory problems
- Decreased attention span and poor concentration
Under stress, children may exhibit more of the symptoms of a magnesium deficiency because the body uses up magnesium to deal with the stress response. It’s not uncommon to see a peak or sudden onset of magnesium deficiency in a child whose diet has not changed but who is experiencing a new form of stress.
Poor diet is a key cause of magnesium deficiency in kids and, in particular, diets high in processed, packaged and sugary foods and low in fruit and vegetables. Many foods that were once considered to be high in magnesium are no longer rich in those minerals as modern farming methods have depleted the soil. We can’t rely on these foods to provide us with as much magnesium as they used to so we need to supplement them with other forms of magnesium.
3. How can you include magnesium in children’s diets?
It’s common to see magnesium deficiency in children because foods that are commonly high in magnesium do not tend to be the top of a child’s favourite meals. This, added to the fact that magnesium foods are not as high in magnesium anymore, makes magnesium rich foods for children even harder to come by.
In addition, magnesium helps to maintain the proper levels of other minerals and vitamins such as calcium, potassium, zinc and vitamin D.
Children’s bodies can quickly experience a magnesium deficiency if they also consume a lot of sugary, processed foods or animal protein. Magnesium in children’s diet plays a huge number of roles so it’s important to try and include them and get as many magnesium rich foods in as you can.
What are the best magnesium rich foods for children?
- Whole wheat
- Dark chocolate
- Black beans
As you can see, magnesium is found in a range of natural sources that children might not eat much of on a day-to-day basis. For example, kids would have to eat a full cup of cooked spinach to meet their daily magnesium needs. To supplement your child’s daily intake, you will need to look into other methods.
4. What are the benefits of magnesium supplements for kids?
Hundreds of biological processes in our bodies need magnesium; therefore, a deficit in the mineral can have a huge impact. The amount of magnesium in our bodies affects every aspects of our lives, making it particularly important for babies, toddlers, children and teenagers who need these processes to help them to grow and function properly during the day and while they sleep.
Magnesium provides a huge range of benefits including:
- Better sleep
- Improved mood
- Better concentration
- Increased energy levels
- Strong bones and teeth
- Healthy muscles and nerves
- Absorption of other minerals and vitamins
Benefits of magnesium for babies and toddlers
Younger children have immature immune systems, which makes them much more susceptible to infection. Magnesium plays a huge part in forming the antibodies which fight off invading pathogens and protect children from infections and illness.
Having a magnesium supplement for toddlers will ensure they get the minerals they need to grow and develop properly, especially if they don’t eat enough vegetables, nuts or legumes in their diet.
Does magnesium help babies sleep?
Magnesium is a great way to help relax your baby’s muscles and calm their nervous system in preparation for sleep, helping to improve sleep quality. Transdermal magnesium is a safe and effective way to increase their magnesium levels. Magnesium Sleep Lotion for children aged 1 or above is the perfect way to help your baby get a restful sleep and can be applied anywhere on the body before they go to bed. For babies below 1 years a cup of Magnesium Flakes in their bedtime bath can be used instead.
A transdermal magnesium supplement can help to sooth your baby’s central nervous system and acts as a sedative.
Benefits of magnesium for children
After getting a good night’s sleep, magnesium also helps children maintain their energy levels during the day. This is particularly important while they’re at school when they need to function and learn properly. As with babies and toddlers, once children get to school and mix with other children, their immune system’s become more important than ever, so an additional magnesium supplement will also help them to ward off illness.
Does magnesium help children sleep?
Sleep is a vital part of a child’s development, both physically and mentally. Getting a good night’s sleep will help a child with their performance at school while keeping their immune system healthy.
The magnesium levels in our bodies play a large part in the amount and quality of sleep we get. Magnesium for kids helps to make their bodies feel rested—low magnesium in children can lead to restless muscles, which can contribute to keeping them awake at night.
Magnesium has a great reputation for improving sleep because it helps to relax nerves and muscles and triggers the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone.
For children who struggle to get to sleep or who wake in the night, or simply ones with low magnesium, bathing with magnesium flakes before bedtime can help to relax their muscles and unwind. Alternatively, a magnesium lotion can be applied before bed.
Magnesium Sleep Lotion combines magnesium chloride to help relax children’s bodies, while lavender and chamomile scents slow down sensory activity and quieten their minds before bed.
What are the benefits of magnesium for teenagers?
Teenagers are still growing so they need magnesium for the same reason as younger children. However, around half of their skeletons are created during their teen years so making sure they get enough calcium and magnesium is essential.
Magnesium plays a vital part in the development of healthy bones because it aids the conversion of vitamin D into its active form.
Magnesium is essential to the development of teenager’s bodies because it helps with muscle and nerve function, keeps bones strong and helps with the production of energy and proteins.
5. How can you give children the magnesium they need?
Getting enough magnesium into your child’s diet or getting them to take tablets, capsules or drink supplements can be difficult. Sprays, oils, lotions and flakes provide an easier way to increase your child’s magnesium intake.
Absorbing magnesium through the skin allows it to enter the body and bloodstream quickly, bypassing the digestive system where many nutrients, including magnesium, are poorly absorbed.
Is magnesium oil safe for babies?
Magnesium oil is just as safe for babies as it is for adults. In fact, it provides a safe, gentle and easy way to help your baby get the magnesium they need. Though it is not recommended to use magnesium oils combined with essential oils on those under 12 months.
Topical application tends to work better for this age group than oral supplements because it bypasses the digestive system, which doesn’t absorb magnesium as effectively.
6. Can magnesium be paired with other vitamins and minerals?
As children grow, it’s important for them to be provided with adequate amounts of the nutrients that help to build strong bones. Iron, calcium, zinc, iodine, vitamin A and vitamin D, as well as magnesium, are all essential for brain development during children’s early years.
Many of these vitamins work together to support numerous functions so it’s important to know how they work together and the functions they perform.
Calcium and magnesium
When it comes to building strong healthy bones, it’s well-known that calcium is key. However, the role magnesium plays in the absorption of calcium is often overlooked. For calcium to be absorbed into your bones properly, you need the right levels of magnesium.
Without enough magnesium in your body, calcium can become toxic and deposit itself in soft tissues, kidneys and arteries instead of your bones where it is most beneficial. However, balancing it with the right levels of magnesium can stop these issues from occurring.
Find out more about the role of magnesium and calcium.
Vitamin D and magnesium
Magnesium plays a key role in determining how much vitamin D our bodies are able to produce. There is evidence to suggest that people who have a high magnesium intake are less likely to be deficient in vitamin D than people who are low in magnesium. However, too much vitamin D can increase calcium levels and lead to a range of health complications, so it’s important to get the balance right.
Find out more about the role of magnesium and vitamin D.
Zinc and magnesium
If taken together and in the right dosages, the consumption of magnesium and zinc can work to each other’s advantage: magnesium can help the body regulate zinc levels, while zinc helps your body to absorb magnesium more efficiently.