Can you take magnesium for fibromyalgia, and does it help?
If you have fibromyalgia, you may have heard that magnesium is helpful in treating some of the symptoms. Magnesium is, in fact, one of the supplements most recommended for those with fibromyalgia, according to a recent study (Arranz, Canela, & Rafecas, 2012).
Many users of Natural Calm magnesium write in to tell us that they use it for their fibromyalgia and Linda Bolton, the founder of Natural Calm Canada, first began using this type of magnesium citrate in part for her fibromyalgia and in part for low bone density.
Dr. Carolyn Dean, M.D., N.D. argues that supplementing with magnesium for fibromyalgia is effective because this key mineral helps to activate ATP energy bundles in the cells, reduce muscle pain, and combat fatigue by promoting deeper REM sleep.
Here, we’ll explain the link between magnesium and fibromyalgia, plus how you can choose a supplement that helps.
What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a condition of unknown origin that causes widespread, long-term pain, stiffness, and tenderness in muscles and ligaments. The vast majority of those with fibromyalgia are women in their mid-20s to late-50s.
Unlike many other chronic pain conditions, fibromyalgia is not an inflammatory condition. Instead, it is caused by abnormal sensory processing in the central nervous system. People with fibromyalgia may be extremely sensitive to pain and other unpleasant sensations.
There is no known cause for fibromyalgia, which makes a definitive diagnosis difficult. Healthcare professionals instead look at the symptoms.
In addition to muscle stiffness and pain, fibromyalgia can also cause wider-ranging symptoms, such as sleep problems, general fatigue, depression, headaches, numbness or tingling, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and an inability to think clearly.
Fibromyalgia is sometimes confused with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and the two conditions often occur together.
Magnesium and Fibromyalgia: What the Research Says
Dating back to the 1990s, a number of studies have examined the effects of magnesium supplementation on fatigue and pain associated with fibromyalgia.
One of the earliest studies postulated that fibromyalgia symptoms are caused by a “deficiency of oxygen and other substances needed for ATP synthesis (Abraham & Flechas, 1992).”
In the study, fibromyalgia patients were administered magnesium daily for eight weeks, and the outcomes were compared with placebo tablets. The results supported a role for magnesium in ATP synthesis in fibromyalgia (Abraham & Flechas, 1992).
Romano and Stiller (1994), evaluated red blood cell (RBC) and plasma levels to determine whether individuals with fibromyalgia also present with low magnesium. The study reported that fibromyalgia patients do, in fact, have significantly lower RBC magnesium levels, though the researchers didn’t find lower plasma magnesium levels (Romano & Stiller, 1994).
In 2013, a study published in Rheumatology International demonstrated that magnesium citrate supplementation of 300 mg/day over 8 weeks resulted in significant improvements in several fibromyalgia markers (Bagis et al., 2013).
The researchers asked subjects to self-evaluate their physical functioning, work status (missed days of work and job difficulty), depression, anxiety, morning tiredness, pain, stiffness, fatigue, and well-being over the past week (American College of Rheumatology, n.d.).
Many of the positive outcomes reported were related to pain reduction. Patients in the magnesium citrate treatment group also saw marked improvements in depression and in their overall experience of fibromyalgia. The authors hypothesized that low magnesium levels may be a factor in the symptoms of fibromyalgia (Bagis et al., 2013).
Magnesium for Fibromyalgia-Related Sleep Issues
Some researchers subscribe to the theory that fibromyalgia may be caused by a lack of deep sleep.
Our muscles recover from the day’s activities during stage 4 sleep, during which the body truly can refresh itself. People with fibromyalgia never truly enter stage 4 sleep. Instead of sinking into the deep sleep enjoyed by most people, they remain in a lighter form of sleep.
Magnesium helps to promote healthy sleep. Magnesium relaxes muscles, and nerves, and facilitates the release of the sleep hormone melatonin at night.
However, some individuals don’t produce enough melatonin for the magnesium to activate. For consistent sleep issues, try using Heavenly Sleep liquid melatonin together with Natural Calm’s magnesium citrate at bedtime. Or, try Calm Sleep, which contains magnesium, melatonin, and other natural ingredients for sleep.
Magnesium for Fibromyalgia-Related Depression
Magnesium is sometimes called “the original chill pill” because of its effect on feelings of stress and anxiety. Through its action in the brain and effect on hormones associated with well-being, magnesium may also help to lift the mood.
As noted, at least one study shows that magnesium citrate supplementation can reduce symptoms of depression associated with fibromyalgia.
A handful of studies have examined the relationship between magnesium and depression:
“A 2015 study found a significant link between low magnesium intake and depression in adults.
A 2017 randomized clinical trial published in the journal PLoS One found that supplementation with magnesium chloride resulted in significant improvements in depressive symptoms. The study also found that the participants who were taking an antidepressant experienced stronger benefits when taking magnesium, which suggests that it might be useful when used in conjunction with antidepressant medications.
A 2019 study found that low serum magnesium levels were associated with depressive symptoms. Such findings suggest that measuring magnesium levels may be useful as a way to identify people who might respond best to magnesium supplementation.” – Will Taking Magnesium Help Your Depression?
Anecdotally, many users of Natural Calm magnesium citrate attest to the benefits for mood as well. Consider taking magnesium for fibromyalgia if you experience depression as a symptom.
Natural Calm Magnesium for Fibromyalgia
Few people get enough magnesium through diet, and given the benefits of magnesium for fibromyalgia, it makes sense to consider increasing your intake.
Natural Calm is a highly-absorbable magnesium citrate supplement that’s backed by more five-star reviews and awards than any other comparable product. It comes in a powder form that dissolves in hot water and tastes delicious.
You can buy Natural Calm in our online store or find it at major retailers across Canada.
- Abraham, G. E., & Flechas, J. D. (1992). Management of Fibromyalgia: Rationale for the use of Magnesium and Malic Acid. Journal of Nutritional Medicine, 3(1). [Study]
- Arranz, L. I., Canela, M. Á., & Rafecas, M. (2012). Dietary aspects in fibromyalgia patients: results of a survey on food awareness, allergies, and nutritional supplementation. Rheumatology International, 32(9), 2615–2621. [Study]
- Bagis, S., Karabiber, M., As, I., Tamer, L., Erdogan, C., & Atalay, A. (2013). Is magnesium citrate treatment effective on pain, clinical parameters and functional status in patients with fibromyalgia? Rheumatology International, 33(1), 167–172. [Study]
- Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ). (n.d.). In American College of Rheumatology online. Retrieved August 15, 2017, from https://www.rheumatology.org/I-Am-A/Rheumatologist/Research/Clinician-Researchers/Fibromyalgia-Impact-Questionnaire-FIQ