Magnesium for Kids: Should Your Child Take a Magnesium Supplement?

magnesium supplements and kids

Article adapted courtesy of Natural Vitality’s CALMFUL LIVING magazine.

To help counteract the stress of daily life, we need healthy magnesium levels to balance out the calcium in our bodies. While calcium makes muscles contract, magnesium lets them relax. This interplay is what allows us to combat not only stress but also muscle cramping, fatigue, constipation, insomnia, anxiety and depression.

Unfortunately, about 80 percent of people don’t get enough magnesium through diet alone. That’s why many adults use magnesium supplementation to restore balance.

But what about kids? Between academic, social and other pressures, kids are no strangers to stress—and many of them struggle with stress-induced sleep as well as digestive and emotional disorders. Make sure to keep an eye out for signs of deficiency in your kids.

“Magnesium promotes muscle relaxation; so it can help kids relax so that they calm down and fall asleep more easily,” says Tamara Evans, ND, a naturopathic physician in Maui, Hawaii. “It can also help with constipation and muscle cramps.”

Magnesium Dosage for Kids

The Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) establishes dosage recommendations for supplements. Here are its upper intake levels—the maximum recommended dosage—for supplemental magnesium in kids:

  • 1–3 years: 65 mg
  • 4–8 years: 110 mg
  • 9–18 years: 350 mg

The FNB has no established dosage recommendations for magnesium supplements in children under 12 months; so you’ll want to work extra closely with a doctor before giving magnesium to an infant. And remember: if you decide to give your child supplemental magnesium, it needs to be balanced with calcium.

“Magnesium can be safely supplemented in kids at a 1:2 ratio with calcium—for example, 125 mg of magnesium and 250 mg of calcium,” says Evans.

Diet is another important factor to consider when deciding how much magnesium to give your kids.

“When thinking about magnesium dosage, you’ll want to consider your child’s diet first,” Evans points out. “If they have a lot of dairy in their diet, they’re probably getting quite a bit of calcium; so the 1:2 ratio should be adjusted accordingly.

“As is true of any supplement, we certainly don’t want to give kids too much magnesium,” says Evans. “If you’re unsure about the proper dosage, talk with your child’s doctor. They can consider the child’s weight and dietary needs before making a recommendation.”

What Form?

Oxide. Citrate. Malate. Glycinate. Chelate. The list goes on. Magnesium supplements come in a variety of forms. They also come in different formats—pills, drinkable powders and creams.

“Many forms of magnesium are appropriate for kids, but I typically recommend magnesium citrate,” Evans says. “It is cost-effective and more easily absorbed than many other forms.”

Natural Calm Kids is made with magnesium citrate.

“Any type of delivery system is fine, whether it’s capsules or powders or creams,” says Evans, “as long as parents are aware of the dosage.”

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