4 Easy Ways to Increase Your Magnesium Levels

Are you deficient in Magnesium?

Magnesium is an essential mineral used by the body for over 300 cell functions and is one of the most common mineral deficiencies. Shockingly, 68% of Americans do not consume enough and about 20% are not getting even half the amount that's recommended (1). Low magnesium levels over time can increase the risk of illnesses like high blood pressure, heart disease, osteoporosis and diabetes.

Signs you may be low in magnesium include restless legs, fatigue, heart rhythm disorders, trouble sleeping, constipation, and many more. If you're concerned that you may have a Magnesium deficiency ask your doctor to perform a blood test to confirm.  

How to increase your Magnesium levels

Let’s go over some simple ways to increase magnesium levels:


1.     Supplements

Supplementing with magnesium can be an easy way for some people to reach their daily quota for magnesium, as well as to increase magnesium levels in someone who is deficient. The choices of the different types of magnesium to take can be dizzying!

Not all of the choices are created equally and choosing the wrong type can leave to making multiple trips to the toilet. If you are looking to increase your magnesium levels steer clear of magnesium citrate since it will cause loose stools. Instead, try taking other forms such as orotate, taurate, or glycinate. All of these are much gentler on your tummy and will not cause loose stools.

If you are going to take a magnesium supplement with the hopes of increasing your blood magnesium levels, then it is important to make sure that you are not taking any citrate forms of any vitamins. Citrate forms of vitamins can inhibit the body’s ability to absorb magnesium.

Here are some great supplement brands to try:

-        Pure Encapsulations Magnesium (glycinate)

-        CardioMag by AOR (orotate)

-        Cardiovascular Research (taurate)

2.     Epsom Salt Baths

epsom salt for magnesium

If you need to hit your daily target of magnesium, or increase your magnesium, why not take a relaxing bath while you do it? Epsom salts are a form of magnesium that you can put into your bath water. Your skin is your largest organ and can absorb lots of magnesium quickly, and without the stomach churning effects of some oral supplements available.

For maximum absorption of Epsom salts use 1 cup of salts in your bath water and soak for 45 minutes. Repeat three to four times per week. Do not rinse off in the shower after your bath or you can rinse off some of the magnesium that could be absorbed in the hours following your bath. It’s a better idea to towel dry yourself lightly instead before getting dressed, to keep the magnesium on your skin.

3.     Magnesium Oil Spray

Magnesium oil spray is made from magnesium chloride. Magnesium chloride comes in large flakes and can be dissolved in water forming an oily substance. You can either do this yourself, or purchase one of the many ready-made magnesium oils available on the market. Some people also like to add magnesium flakes to their bath water or foot soak using similar guidelines as they would if they were using Epsom salts.

Most people use magnesium oil in spray form. To use it as a spray, simply spray it on an area of your body (avoiding your nose, mouth or genital area). Then either leave it on, or wash it off after 20 minutes. Some people find that it tingles too much to leave it on their skin. If this happens to you don’t be alarmed! Just rinse it off with cool water and the tingles will stop. Alternatively you can rub the oil on the bottoms of your feet before bed. The tough skin on the bottom of your feet is less likely to be as bothered by the oil and the tingling sensation should be more manageable or non-existent.

4.     Food

Everyone needs to eat food to survive, which is why it makes so much sense to get the nutrients we need by eating nutrient dense foods. Sometimes it can be hard to eat really well everyday and our diets can lack the essential nutrients we need to thrive. 

Wholesome is a great app to help. You can look up any nutrient, like Magnesium, and it will show you the most Magnesium rich foods based on scientific studies.

The app also customizes to you. All you have to do is input your age, gender, and whether you are pregnant and it will set the right daily nutrition targets for you. For a small upgrade fee, you can track toward your daily goals for over 90 macro and micronutrients and even see how much antioxidants you're getting in your diet!

Wholesome can help you avoid deficiencies and point you in the direction of nutrient dense foods.

Magnesium rich foods in the Wholesome app

Magnesium rich foods in the Wholesome app

Foods that are highest in Magnesium

-        Spinach

-        Buckwheat

-        Pepitas

-        Almond meal

-        Swiss chard

-        Hemp seeds

-        Wheat Germ

-        Tempeh

-        Hulled Barley

-        Sunflower seedx

-        Brazil nuts

Eating is meant to be an enjoyable thing, and using the Wholesome app takes the stress out of finding foods that will help you thrive.


Anemia diet - top 25 vegetarian iron sources

According to the NIH, adult men need 8 mg of iron per day, women need 18 mg per day, and pregnant women need 27 mg per day.  Adding 50 mg of vitamin C to an iron-rich meal may make it possible to double or triple the absorption of iron.

Warning: Iron supplements represent one of the most common poisoning risks in children.

Top plant-based natural sources of iron

100% pER DAY = 18 mg 

Foods rich in iron app

Foods rich in iron app

1. Tofu - 1 cup raw 74%

2. Spinach - 1 bunch raw 51%

3. Guava nectar - 1 cup 44%

4. Baking chocolate - 1oz 28%

5. Soybeans - 1/2 cup cooked 25%

5. Hemp seeds - 1/4 cup 23%

6. Sesame seeds - 1oz roasted 23%

7. Swiss chard - 1 cup cooked 22%

8. Coconut milk - 1/2 cup 21%

9. Parsley - 1 cup raw 21%

10. Wheat germ - 1/2 cup 20%

11. Tempeh - 1 cup cooked 20%

12. Dark Chocolate - 1oz 80% Cacao 19%

13. Canellini beans - 1/2 cup cooked 18%

14. Hulled barley - 1/2 cup raw 18%

15. Lentils - 1/2 cup cooked

16. Beet greens - 1 cup boiled 15%

17. Lemon grass - 1/2 cup raw 15%

18. White mushrooms - 1 cup boiled 15%

19. Seaweed - 6 tbsp irishmoss, raw 15%

20. Black turtle beans - 1/1 cup cooked 15%

21. Mulberries - 1 cup raw 14%

22. Teff - 1/2 cup cooked 14%

23. Amaranth - 1.2 cup cooked 14%

24. Pepitas - 1/4 cup roasted 13%

25. Chickpeas - 1/2 cup cooked 13%

Source: Wholesome sources it's data from the USDA

Nutrition goal calculator for pregnancy

How to set Wholesome app to pregnant setting

Click on the menu icon on the top left, then click on "My Profile". Change the setting to Pregnant as shown on the right and then recalculate your goals. The app will auto-adjust your nutrients goals for the recommend amounts for pregnancy, such as 600 mcg of folate per day and 27 mg of iron per day. To customize your goals further, click on the 'daily goals' tab and click 'edit goals'.

An easy way to calculate the iron in your recipe

Wholesome analyzes 80 nutrients in foods and recipes including micronutrients, phytonutrients, omega 3s (like DHA), and antioxidants. You can track what you eat and monitor your progress against your nutrient goals. The app also has healthy recipes and scores them out of a possible 10 points for how healthy it is. You can add your own recipes or pin them from the web to get nutrition information. 

Food diary and nutrition tracker for pregnancy

About the author

Jessica Glago is the CoFounder of the Wholesome App. After having two different cancers in  her childhood she developed the app with the help of her husband to get more healthfulness out of her diet. To date, Wholesome for iOS has had over 250,000 downloads and over 1.5 million whole foods tracked. The app has been featured on BuzzFeed, LikeHacker, CultofMac, and The Seattle Times.