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Can Magnesium Supplements Help Manage Asthma Symptoms?

Asthma is a chronic disease that affects millions of people worldwide, and its symptoms can significantly affect the quality of life. Many patients and healthcare professionals continually search for effective and natural ways to manage this condition. One possible solution that has received significant attention is the role of magnesium supplements in controlling asthma symptoms.

Magnesium and Its Impact on Asthma: An Overview

Magnesium is a crucial mineral for our bodies, participating in over 300 enzymatic reactions. It is involved in processes like protein synthesis, muscle, and nerve function, and maintaining healthy heart rhythm, to name a few. Interestingly, recent research has pointed to the potential role of magnesium in managing asthma symptoms.

Asthma is characterised by bronchial hyperreactivity, chronic inflammation, and periodic exacerbations, which can lead to decreased lung function over time. It is proposed that magnesium, acting as a natural calcium antagonist, could aid bronchial smooth muscle relaxation and reduce inflammation.

It is also suggested that magnesium deficiency could be linked to increased asthma severity. While the mechanisms behind this relationship are not yet fully understood, some researchers suggest that a lack of magnesium could cause higher calcium levels in bronchial smooth muscle cells, leading to bronchial constriction and, hence, more severe asthma symptoms.

The Influence of Magnesium Deficiency on Asthma Severity

Several studies have noted a correlation between magnesium deficiency and increased severity of asthma symptoms. These symptoms include shortness of breath, wheezing, chest tightness, and coughing. The lower the magnesium levels, the more severe the asthma symptoms.

In a study published in the Journal of Asthma, researchers found that children with moderate to severe asthma had significantly lower magnesium levels in their blood compared to children with mild asthma. While this study was observational and did not establish a causal relationship, it provides evidence supporting the theory that magnesium levels may play a role in the severity of asthma symptoms.

However, as with any scientific research, more comprehensive studies are required to confirm these findings and understand their precise mechanisms. It is also important to note that maintaining optimal magnesium levels through diet or supplementation could benefit overall health, regardless of its impact on asthma symptoms.

Magnesium Supplements and Their Effects on Bronchial Hyperreactivity

Bronchial hyperreactivity, a hallmark of asthma, involves the bronchial tubes in the lungs becoming overly responsive to various triggers, such as allergens, leading to constriction and inflammation. This constriction and inflammation make it difficult for air to move freely in and out of the lungs, causing asthma symptoms.

Magnesium's role as a natural calcium antagonist means that it could potentially help to relax the bronchial muscles, reducing their reactivity and thus alleviating asthma symptoms. There is some promising evidence to support this theory. For instance, a study published in the European Journal of Clinical Investigation found that magnesium supplementation reduced bronchial reactivity in asthmatic patients.

Despite these encouraging results, it's important to mention that more extensive and controlled studies are necessary to confirm these findings and determine optimal magnesium dosages for asthma patients. Moreover, while magnesium supplements may aid in reducing bronchial hyperreactivity, they should not replace conventional asthma treatments but be considered a potential adjunct therapy.

The Role of Magnesium in Reducing Asthma Exacerbations

An exacerbation, or asthma attack, is a sudden worsening of asthma symptoms. These can be life-threatening events and often require emergency medical treatment. The potential of magnesium to reduce the frequency of these exacerbations could significantly improve the quality of life for asthma sufferers.

The idea that magnesium could reduce asthma exacerbations stems from its proposed anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation plays a significant role in asthma attacks, and it's theorised that magnesium might help to dampen this inflammation, thus reducing the likelihood of an exacerbation.

Research on this topic, though promising, remains limited. Therefore, while magnesium could potentially reduce asthma exacerbations, it's essential to remember that it is not a replacement for standard asthma medications. Patients should always discuss new treatment strategies with their healthcare provider.

Magnesium and Its Potential to Improve Lung Function in Asthma Patients

The long-term goal in managing asthma is maintaining normal lung function and reducing the risk of exacerbations. Preliminary research suggests that magnesium supplementation could help achieve these goals by improving lung function in asthma patients.

A study in the American Journal of Epidemiology found a positive correlation between dietary magnesium intake and lung function in a population-based cohort. Similarly, a study published in the Journal of Asthma observed improved lung function in asthmatic children following a period of magnesium supplementation.

Despite these encouraging findings, further research is needed to establish the efficacy of magnesium supplementation in improving lung function in asthma patients. Moreover, it's important to remember that each patient is unique, and what works for one may not work for all. Therefore, individualised treatment plans should always be pursued.

Magnesium Supplementation for Asthma Control: A Systematic Review

A systematic review is a high-level study that combines results from multiple studies to provide a more definitive answer. A review published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews assessed the efficacy of magnesium supplements for asthma control.

This review found that magnesium supplementation might benefit asthma patients, including reduced bronchial reactivity, fewer asthma exacerbations, and possibly improved lung function. However, the review also noted limited current evidence and more high-quality studies are needed.

It's important to note that the review highlighted magnesium's potential as an adjunct treatment for asthma, not a standalone treatment. This means that magnesium supplements should be considered as a complementary addition to existing asthma treatment plans.

The Effect of Magnesium on Airway Inflammation in Asthmatic Individuals

Inflammation is a key component of asthma, causing swelling and narrowing of the airways, contributing to symptoms such as shortness of breath, wheezing, and chest tightness. Magnesium's potential anti-inflammatory properties could help mitigate this.

A study published in the European Respiratory Journal found that magnesium could reduce airway inflammation in asthmatic mice. While animal studies do not directly translate to humans, these findings suggest a potential mechanism through which magnesium might affect asthma.

More human studies are needed to confirm these findings and elucidate the exact mechanisms through which magnesium might affect airway inflammation. Also, while reducing inflammation is important in managing asthma, it's only one aspect of a comprehensive asthma management plan.

Magnesium and Its Role in Enhancing Asthma Medication Efficacy

Some research suggests that magnesium might enhance the efficacy of certain asthma medications. This could be particularly beneficial for patients who do not respond optimally to standard asthma treatments.

A study in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology found that magnesium supplementation improved beta-agonist effectiveness, a common type of asthma medication. The proposed mechanism for this effect is magnesium's ability to relax bronchial smooth muscles, thus enhancing the medication's effect.

However, as with all other aspects of this topic, more research is needed to confirm these findings and determine the most effective combination of magnesium and asthma medications.

Magnesium Supplements and Their Potential in Reducing Asthma Symptoms

Given the potential of magnesium to reduce bronchial reactivity, decrease inflammation, enhance medication efficacy, and potentially improve lung function, it seems plausible that magnesium supplements could help reduce asthma symptoms.

Indeed reported that asthmatic patients who took magnesium supplements experienced fewer asthma symptoms, such as wheezing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath. Moreover, some patients reported improved quality of life, an essential aspect of asthma management.

However, while these studies are promising, it is important to remember that they are relatively small, and larger, controlled trials are needed to validate these findings. In addition, although magnesium supplementation may help reduce symptoms, it is not intended to replace existing asthma treatments but should be considered a potential adjunct therapy.

The Influence of Magnesium on Asthma Management and Quality of Life

Living with asthma can be challenging. Asthma symptoms can interfere with daily activities and reduce the quality of life. If magnesium supplementation can indeed reduce the severity of asthma symptoms and the frequency of exacerbations, it might significantly impact patients' lives.

Fewer symptoms and exacerbations can mean fewer hospital visits, fewer missed work or school, and the ability to participate in activities that might have previously triggered asthma symptoms. The psychological benefits could also be substantial, as patients might feel more in control of their condition.

While the potential benefits of magnesium are promising, it's essential to consider possible side effects. Magnesium supplements are generally considered safe but can cause gastrointestinal side effects, such as diarrhea and abdominal cramping. Rarely, excessive intake can lead to hypermagnesemia, a condition characterised by high magnesium levels in the blood.


Magnesium's Role in Asthma
  • Magnesium is key in over 300 body reactions, including muscle function. It may help with asthma by relaxing bronchial muscles and reducing inflammation.
  • Asthma involves bronchial constriction and inflammation. Low magnesium might worsen this, increasing asthma severity.
Magnesium Deficiency and Asthma Severity
  • Low magnesium levels link to worse asthma symptoms like breathlessness and wheezing.
  • Studies, like in the Journal of Asthma, show children with severe asthma often have lower magnesium levels. This suggests a possible link needing more research.
Magnesium Supplements and Bronchial Reactivity
  • Magnesium could relax bronchial muscles, easing asthma symptoms. Studies show it reduces bronchial reactivity.
  • These results are early; more research is needed. Magnesium should complement, not replace, standard treatments.
Magnesium in Reducing Asthma Exacerbations
  • Magnesium might lower asthma attack frequency due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Research is limited but promising. Magnesium isn't a standalone treatment but could support standard care.
Magnesium and Lung Function in Asthma
  • Early studies suggest magnesium improves lung function in asthma patients.
  • Findings are preliminary. Treatment should be tailored to individual needs.
Review of Magnesium for Asthma Control
  • A systematic review in the Cochrane Database suggests magnesium might help control asthma.
  • The review calls for more studies and sees magnesium as an adjunct, not a primary treatment.
Magnesium's Anti-Inflammatory Effects in Asthma
  • Magnesium may reduce asthma-related inflammation. Animal studies show potential benefits.
  • More human studies are needed. Inflammation reduction is vital but just one part of asthma management.
Magnesium Enhancing Asthma Medication
  • Magnesium might boost asthma medication effectiveness, especially in patients not fully responding to standard treatments.
  • Research, like in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, supports this. More studies are needed for confirmation.
Magnesium Supplements Reducing Asthma Symptoms
  • Magnesium could lessen asthma symptoms, improving patient quality of life.
  • Initial studies are positive, but larger trials are needed. Magnesium is an adjunct, not a primary treatment.
Magnesium's Impact on Asthma Management
  • Effective magnesium use could mean fewer asthma symptoms and hospital visits, improving daily life.
  • Side effects, like gastrointestinal issues, should be considered. Consult healthcare providers before starting new treatments.

Magnesium Information

For everything you need to know about magnesium and magnesium supplements, check out our comprehensive information page here.

Magnesium Information


We’ve created a magnesium supplement with a combination of three types of highly absorbable magnesium at a therapeutic dose. Our magnesium comes as an easy to mix, great tasting powder to ensure optimal absorption. To learn more about our magnesium, check out the product page here.

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Ron Goedeke MD, BSc Hons MBChB, FNZCAM

Dr. Ron Goedeke, an expert in the domain of functional medicine, dedicates his practice to uncovering the root causes of health issues by focusing on nutrition and supplement-based healing and health optimisation strategies. An esteemed founding member of the New Zealand College of Appearance Medicine, Dr. Goedeke's professional journey has always been aligned with cutting-edge health concepts.

Having been actively involved with the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine since 1999, he brings over two decades of knowledge and experience in the field of anti-aging medicine, making him an eminent figure in this evolving realm of healthcare. Throughout his career, Dr. Goedeke has been steadfast in his commitment to leverage appropriate nutritional guidance and supplementation to encourage optimal health.

This has allowed him to ascend as one of the most trusted authorities in the arena of nutritional medicine in New Zealand. His expertise in the intricate relationship between diet, nutritional supplements, and overall health forms the backbone of his treatment approach, allowing patients to benefit from a balanced and sustainable pathway to improved wellbeing.


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