You have the symptoms. You’ve started taking magnesium.
Now the question is: how long does it take for magnesium to work?
I’ve been asked about this a lot recently and it's a very important question.
Below you will find a summary of my own experience recovering from magnesium deficiency, including what I did that helped me recover faster.
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be used in place of the advice of a healthcare professional. While my wife and I have been taking magnesium supplements every day for years, I can't say how they might affect you. Always consult a doctor if you have health concerns: don't try to self-diagnose!
It Takes Time to Develop Low Magnesium
Chances are it took your body a long time to lose its magnesium.
No matter what caused it, losing your magnesium is similar to losing weight. Just like taking in less calories over a long period of time will result in gradual weight loss, taking in less magnesium than you need (or losing more than you should) will eventually deplete you.
How long it takes to become deficient can vary though. It depends on the cause and just how big the problem is. Various medications and health complications can also make matters worse.
In general though you need to remember that it was probably a gradual change that made you low in magnesium in the first place.
It Takes Time for a Magnesium Supplement to Work its Magic
Taking any supplement is not a quick fix.
Your body needs to rebuild its magnesium levels, but it can only absorb so much of any vitamin at one time.
So depending on your level of deficiency it can take a while to build your levels back up to a point where your symptoms start to fade.
In short: healing takes time.
I’ve been there. I know it sucks. You’re dizzy, or nauseous, or anxious, or scared, or your muscles hurt, or your head throbs. Or even worse all of this is happening at once.
And you just want it to end so you can get back to your life.
But I can tell you from experience that recovery is possible.
It just takes a while.
I will say however that I recovered faster when I started taking a better quality magnesium supplement.
- Click here to see what I've found to be the best magnesium supplement
Your One Job: Fix The Cause of Your Low Magnesium
There’s one thing you can do while you wait though: figure out what caused your magnesium deficiency and do your best to fix it.
- Examine your diet: Are you eating foods high in magnesium or have you been eating junk?
- Examine your stress level: Prolonged levels of high stress can deplete your body of many minerals.
- Examine the medications you take: Some medications such as acid-reducers can decrease your magnesium absorption.
- See a doctor if you haven't already!
- Keep on doing the same old thing and hope things will change.
- Ignore it and hope it will go away.
- Let the healthy changes you do make lapse after only a short while.
And remember to be your own advocate whenever you are seeking help from the health care system. Nobody cares more about your health than you do so you must take an active role in your care.
Do your own research and be informed. When dealing with doctors, be polite and respectful but also be pushy and demanding. Be the squeaky wheel that gets the oil. Be prepared to ask good questions and make sure they get answered to your satisfaction.
If your doctor isn’t answering your questions or you aren’t getting the care you need, open the phone book and find another one.
A bad doctor can waste your time and even make things worse. Yet a good, knowledgeable doctor that you can rely on is worth more than all the advice you find on the Internet (including mine!).
Above all, do not be afraid of doctors: they are experts (and have worked hard to be) but they are not authority figures. Just remember that you are their customer, so treat the doctor-patient relationship as such. They are working on your dime for you. Just like taking your car in to be repaired, you can always take it to another mechanic if things aren’t getting fixed.
My Recovery Experience (And How I Recovered Faster)
You’ve made it this far and I still haven’t answered your question. So here it is:
The answer is that it depends on so many things that it is impossible to know just how long it will take for you.
In short: I don’t know … and neither does anybody else.
All I can tell you is how long it took for me. Below is the answer that I’ve been giving to the readers who have written in:
The whole recovery process for me took around six months. However most of the improvement came shortly after I started taking a magnesium supplement.
A rough timeline would be:
- Started magnesium on Saturday
- No change on Sunday
- Monday afternoon the headache started
- The headache lasted until Tuesday evening
- Tuesday evening when the headache stopped the overwhelming dizziness was gone
There were definitely symptoms that lingered though (and actually still do now if I'm not careful):
- The dizziness was replaced by a vague fuzziness that I can't quite describe. It's as if things didn't seem quite real. It was a definite improvement over the dizziness, and the 'fuzziness' faded over the course of a month or two.
- For years before my incident I had occasional muscle cramps in my upper abdomen. They mostly made breathing uncomfortable for a short time. These continued for about a month after starting the magnesium. Then they stopped completely, along with some other minor issues I’d been living with for a long time.
- The anxiety followed a similar pattern to the 'fuzziness' although it lasted longer. It faded a lot initially but then lingered until around the six month mark.
- The racing heart stopped a day or two after the dizziness ended.
- I used to struggle to get to sleep at night but as long as I take my magnesium I can usually fall asleep in minutes now.
Symptoms that still 'linger':
- Migraines: My neurologist was right to diagnose me with them. I do still get them on occasion, though if I mess with my magnesium regimen for an extended period of time then they become far more frequent.
- Restless Legs: Same as the migraines this happens to me on and off. The only pattern I've noticed is that it seems to show up if I start skipping my magnesium supplements ... or if I drink too much soda.
So in short I was ‘mostly’ cured within days, with some lesser symptoms lasting a much longer period of time. The day the dizziness ended was definitely a turning point though. It was such a marked improvement that the symptoms that lingered became easily manageable.
It’s harder for me to say for sure just how long some of the symptoms lasted though. This is especially true for the ones that faded slowly over time such as the ‘vague fuzziness’. Eventually they faded to the point I hardly noticed them. Finally I ended up forgetting to ‘check’ for them until after they had already disappeared.
This is just my experience though, and I don't really have anything to compare it to.
As I mentioned though, I did find that I recovered faster when I started taking a better quality magnesium supplement.
- Click here to see what I've found to be the best magnesium supplement
What Is Your Experience?
So this is where I need your help: If you are going through this now or have previously, please leave a comment below with the details.
Please include the symptoms you've experienced as well as their duration.
I'm hoping that we can collect enough examples that anyone who comes across this post with the same question can get a rough idea of what to expect.
As always, you are strongly encouraged to consult with your physician or other qualified medical professional to help determine your own optimal level of magnesium, and to see whether magnesium supplementation is right for you.
And for anyone going through this right now, remember that you are not alone!