Magnesium for Kids – Importance, Food Sources and Supplements


Children need all kinds of vitamins and minerals for their proper growth and development, and one such important micro-mineral is magnesium. In dearth of this mineral, your kid may experience sleeplessness, lethargy and muscle cramps including various other health complications. If you are concerned about how to include magnesium in your kid’s diet, its dosage, sources, supplements and more, then we recommend that you read the following article.


Why Do Children Need Magnesium in Their Diet?

Magnesium is responsible for approximately 800 enzymatic functions in a human body and one of the most important minerals for total health in children as well as adults. Here are some reasons for which you should include magnesium in your child’s diet:

  • It helps children to get better sleep.
  • It provides energy to your kid.
  • It aids blood sugar and insulin management in the body.
  • It helps in DNA formation.
  • It is beneficial for the hormonal health of the kids.
  • It helps in maintaining the blood pressure and ensures good heart health.
  • It aids the digestion process, helps in the absorption of various vital nutrients by the body and regulates the bowel movements too.
  • It is effective in building stronger bones and teeth.
  • It is good for healthy muscles and nerves.
  • It is beneficial in transporting calcium and potassium to the membranes of the body.
  • It is helpful in protein synthesis.
  • It aids the respiration process.

What is The Daily Magnesium Requirement for a Child?

In the above section, we discussed why magnesium is important for children and thus the next question in line may be how much magnesium for kids is recommended on a daily basis. The magnesium dosage for kids may vary as per the age of the child. Here’s the daily magnesium requirement by various age-group kids:

  • Babies to the age of 6 months may require 30mg
  • Babies from 7 to 12 months of age may require 75 mg.
  • Toddlers from 1 to 3 years of age may require 80mg.
  • Kids from 4 to 8 years of age may require 130 mg.
  • Children from 9 to 13 years of age may require 240mg.
  • Boys from 14-18 years of age may require 410mg and girls from 14-18 years may require 360mg.

The above-mentioned values are approximate values.

What is Magnesium Deficiency?

The dearth of magnesium in the body may result in magnesium deficiency. Magnesium deficiency is also known as hypomagnesia that may lead to:

  • Hypertension
  • Panic attacks
  • Anxiety
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Heart ailments
  • Osteoporosis
  • Depression
  • Epilepsy
  • Nerve problems
  • Bowel problems
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue

These are some of the problems that may occur in case your kid has a magnesium deficiency.

Signs of Magnesium Deficiency in a Child

Parents may wonder how they can establish whether or not their child is suffering from any kind of magnesium deficiency. Here we have some symptoms that may help you in establishing magnesium deficiency in your kid:

  • Your kid may complain of blurred vision.
  • Your kid may experience twitches, or he may experience fluttering under the eyes.
  • Your child may have low energy levels and may feel too tired and exhausted to do any tasks.
  • Your kid may complain of headaches.
  • Your child may experience confusion, anxiety, restlessness and nervousness.
  • Your kid may experience trouble in sleeping or suffer from insomnia.
  • Your kid may have problems in his bones or teeth.
  • Your child may have digestion problems and may also have constipation.
  • Your child may experience pains and aches in the various parts of the body.
  • Your kid may have an abnormal heart rate.

How to Overcome Magnesium Deficiency in Kids

Once you learn about the magnesium deficiency in your kid, it is imperative that you take various measures to overcome this deficiency. The deficiency can be managed in two ways, firstly by adding foods rich in magnesium in your kid’s diet and secondly removing the magnesium-leeching foods. Here are some ways that you may do so:

Including more magnesium-rich foods:

  • You may add more legumes, seeds and nuts to your child’s diet.
  • You may add more whole grains to your child’s daily diet.
  • You may add cocoa powder in your kid’s diet too. It is best when used in its raw form.

Removing magnesium-leeching foods:

  • Replace plant protein in place of animal protein.
  • Remove simple carbohydrates and foods with high sugar content.
  • Put a check on your kid’s dairy intake and limit it.
  • Remove caffeine from your kid’s diet.
  • Refrain from high doses of vitamin D or avoid excessive sun exposure.

Magnesium Rich Foods

Following are some magnesium-rich foods that may help in taking care of your child’s magnesium requirements:

  • 1 cup plain soy milk- 60mg
  • 1 ounce of roasted cashew- 73mg
  • ½ cup all bran cereal – 90mg
  • 1 tablespoon of almond butter – 43mg
  • ¼ cup (oil) roasted peanuts – 60mg
  • ¼ cooked spinach – 37mg
  • ¼ cup cooked black beans – 30 mg
  • 1 slice whole wheat bread – 22mg
  • ¼ cup avocado chunks- 10 mg
  • ¼ cup raisins – 10mg
  • ½ cup low fat cow’s milk – 15mg
  • ½ medium banana – 16mg
  • ¼ cup black-eyed peas – 15mg
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter- 24mg
  • ¼ cup brown rice- 20mg
  • 1-ounce halibut – 7mg
  • ½ cup shelled and cooked edamame – 47mg
  • 1 packet of instant Oatmeal

These are approximate values of magnesium present in each of the above-mentioned food items.

Is It Safe to Give Magnesium Supplements to Kids?

Sometimes your kid may require magnesium supplements to compensate for his magnesium requirements. However, it is strictly advised that you do not give any supplements without consulting your physician. Magnesium supplements may have potential side-effects and thus should only be given after being prescribed by your child’s doctor.


How to give your Child Magnesium Supplements?

Your doctor may advise you how to give magnesium supplements to your child. Here are some ways your child may be given supplements:

  • In the form of magnesium oxide tablets: If your child is able to swallow tablets, your doctor may give supplements in the form of tablets.
  • In the form of magnesium hydroxide tablets: Your child may chew or swallow these tablets. You may crush or cut the tablets for the convenience of your kid.
  • In the form magnesium hydroxide liquid: You can give recommended dosage after measuring. Refrain from mixing the liquid supplement in your child’s food as it may lose its efficacy.

Safety Measures to take while giving Magnesium Supplements to Children

It is recommended that you consult your child’s physician in case you feel your kid may be having a magnesium deficiency. Always give the prescribed dosage and refrain from giving an overdose of magnesium to your kid as an overdose may lead to various health complications too. If you are administering magnesium supplements to your child, it may hamper with the absorption of other medicines that your child may be taking such as phosphorus, iron or calcium supplements. Therefore, it will be a good idea to administer magnesium supplements two hours before or after administering other medicines.

Side Effects of Magnesium Supplements

Magnesium is a vital requirement of your child’s body but sometimes taking magnesium supplements may cause various side effects in your child. Here are some side effects that may occur:

  • Your child may experience watery diarrhea.
  • Your kid may experience extreme tiredness or weakness.
  • Your child may develop swelling on his throat, lips, tongue or face.
  • Your kid may have trouble in breathing, shortness of breath or wheezing sound while breathing.
  • Your child may develop hives or skin rash.
  • Your child may experience gas, cramping or stomach ache.

In case your kid reports any of the above-mentioned symptoms, it is suggested that you call your doctor right away. These may not lead to serious complications but whenever it concerns your kid’s health you should not take any chances and seek medical advice.

Magnesium is important for your child’s health, and thus you should include magnesium-rich foods in your child’s diet. Talk to your doctor on how to effectively include magnesium in your kid’s diet.