Last updated: August 10, 2021

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Magnesium is an important factor in children's health. Especially children consume more minerals due to increased physical activity. Of course, a diet of fresh food is the best basis for healthy development for children. But sometimes children need magnesium supplements to get enough magnesium every day. In our magnesium for children test 2021 we have summarised all the necessary information. Questions such as why and how much children need magnesium are answered in detail here. You will also learn what purchasing criteria are particularly important.




The most important facts

  • Magnesium is a vital mineral. It protects our nervous system, regulates blood pressure and ensures relaxation. It also plays an important role in muscle development. With enough magnesium, children can concentrate better and sleep better.
  • Magnesium requirements for children differ according to age and gender. A sporty child may need more magnesium. You should always pay attention to the recommended intake of magnesium to avoid under- and overdosing.
  • Our bodies cannot produce magnesium by themselves. But we take magnesium from various foods, especially a lot from nuts and seeds. With the balanced diet, children do not necessarily need to take supplements.

The Best Magnesium for Children: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should deal with before buying magnesium for children

Why do children need magnesium?

Magnesium is one of the most important minerals for our bodies. It plays a crucial role in enzymatic processes in the body. Not only adults, but also children need certain amounts of magnesium to stay healthy (1). In particular, magnesium promotes relaxation, concentration and the immune system. Children can sleep better and have healthy teeth and bones. Magnesium also reduces restlessness, fatigue and muscle cramps. Unfortunately, we cannot produce magnesium ourselves in the body. We get magnesium from various foods, but in case of increased need and deficiency, we can also take medication.

Magnesium für Kinder-2

Magnesium helps children to concentrate better.
(Image source: unsplash.com/Andrew Ebrahim)

How much magnesium do children need?

The daily recommended daily requirement of magnesium depends on various factors such as age, gender, general condition and physical activity. The German Nutrition Society (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ernährung e.V. (DGE) has published a table with reference values for the recommended intake of magnesium (2).

Age Magnesium requirement (mg/day)
Infants
0 to under 4 months (estimate) 24
4 to under 12 months 60
Children
1 to under 4 years 80
4 to under 7 years 120
7 to under 10 years 170
10 to under 13 years m: 230, w:250
13 to under 15 years m: 310, w: 310
young people
15 to under 19 years m: 400, w: 350

These recommended amounts are always average values, and they may vary from individual to individual. For example, a sporty child needs more magnesium than a child of the same age who is very quiet.

What are the risks of under- or over-supply of magnesium?

Magnesium deficiency can be caused by an insufficient intake of magnesium or by an increased loss. Too much exercise or stress can be a cause of magnesium deficiency, and it can lead to adverse health effects. There are no clear symptoms of magnesium deficiency, but the following are the main complaints (3):

  • increased nervousness and lack of concentration
  • Stomach and intestinal problems or diarrhoea
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Dizziness
  • Tiredness
  • Heart pain

But these symptoms of magnesium underdose are partly similar to the signs of overdose. If you continue to take magnesium to compensate, it can be particularly problematic.

Did you know that large amounts of magnesium in the body are found in skeletal muscles and bones? Calcium and magnesium work together for healthy bones.

What are the alternatives to magnesium?

There is no alternative to magnesium because it is an essential substance for our body. You can, of course, take magnesium from various foods. Nuts and sesame seeds are particularly high in magnesium, and there are certain amounts of magnesium in many food groups such as vegetables, fruit, fish and meat(4). You do not need an additional supplement if your children do not suffer from magnesium deficiency and have a balanced diet.

Magnesium für Kinder-3

It is best if your child takes magnesium from a variety of foods. But if there are clear symptoms, you can give your child magnesium supplements as part of a healthy diet.
(Image source: pixabay.com/congerdesign)

Buying criteria: You can use these factors to compare and evaluate magnesium for children

Magnesium deficiency in older children and adolescents, especially during excessive sporting activity and periods of growth, is not uncommon. Many eat fast food, snacks and sweets, and not enough minerals like magnesium. In these cases, magnesium supplementation in addition to a healthy diet makes sense. We have summarised important purchase criteria here that you should consider when buying:

Taste

You should also consider taste, because children will not want to take magnesium if it is simply too bitter. Taste is especially important when you buy magnesium chewable tablets. Most magnesium preparations for children have orange flavour or wild berry flavour. Or, of course, you can buy magnesium without flavouring.

Amount

Magnesium for children is available in different amounts. For children who do not suffer from any particular illness, you can take small packets. But if your child is very sporty and needs a lot of magnesium, you can get more magnesium supplements.

Magnesium für Kinder-1

(Image source: pixabay.com/ddimitrova)

Magnesium concentration

Usually, children with the healthy eating pattern get enough magnesium. But children who exercise a lot sometimes need more magnesium. And as described above, children's magnesium needs vary depending on how old they are. To avoid overdosing, you need to pay attention to the magnesium concentration. This also varies greatly by brand and product. Some have 45-50 mg of magnesium per tablet or 100 mg per capsule.

Organic / Inorganic Magnesium

Magnesium can be divided into two types: organic and inorganic. The bioavailability (= the extent and speed of an active ingredient being available in the systemic circulation) of organic and inorganic is also very different. Here is a table with the classification of different magnesium compounds.

organic inorganic
magnesium citrate magnesium carbonate
Magnesium glycinate magnesium oxide
magnesium malate magnesium sulphate
magnesium orotate  

Magnesium citrate is one of the most abundant organic magnesium. The bioavailability of magnesium citrate is 70-90%, higher than other types (5). Digestion is faster because it is highly soluble in water. Therefore, low doses are sufficient. Magnesium oxide is an inorganic magnesium. This substance is not water soluble, but it is also often used in magnesium preparations. It is good for neutralising stomach acid. As a rule, the bioavailability of inorganic and non-water-soluble magnesium is lower than organic and water-soluble magnesium (5).

Dosage form

The dosage forms of magnesium for children vary. There are magnesium tablets, effervescent tablets, chewable tablets, coated tablets, capsules, granules and powder. Depending on the additive, the time needed to absorb the mineral can be shorter or longer. But basically, magnesium preparations do not differ in their effect. But the dosage form is still an important factor in finding a suitable magnesium for your child. Some children have difficulty swallowing tablets or capsules. In this case, a magnesium effervescent powder or granules might be a better option.

Facts worth knowing about magnesium for children

What foods contain magnesium?

It is definitely recommended to take magnesium through a healthy diet. As a rule, magnesium is found in all foods, but nuts and seeds in particular contain a lot more (4). This table shows foods that are particularly rich in magnesium.

Food magnesium per 100 g
Cocoa powder approx. 420 mg/ 100 g
Pumpkin seeds approx. 400 mg/ 100 g
Sesame seeds approx. 350 mg/ 100 g
Dark chocolate approx. 292mg/100 g
Cashew nuts approx. 267 mg/ 100 g
Legumes up to 190 mg/ 100 g
Peanuts approx. 167 mg/ 100 g
Wholemeal bread approx. 150 mg/ 100 g
Oat flakes approx. 139 mg/ 100 g

Magnesium and ADHD

ADHD is the abbreviation of 'attention deficit hyperactivity disorder'. Many Indians and adolescents are affected by ADHD. In recent years, it has received much attention from the public and many scientists. The main symptoms of ADHD are (6, 7):

  • Attention deficit
  • Hyperactivity
  • Impulsivity

Although the symptoms of ADHD and magnesium deficiency are similar, they should not be confused. ADHD is a mental illness and the transitions between "normal" behaviour and ADHD are often fluid. It is important that no hasty measures are taken, but that a correct diagnosis is made. According to numerous studies from the 1990s, magnesium deficiency and ADHD are correlated. For example, Pomeranian Medica Academy conducted a research with 116 children who are 9 - 12 years old. The result of the research shows that more children with ADHD have magnesium deficiency than healthy children without ADHD (6, 7). But you should still supplement with magnesium after you have discussed it with your doctor.

Magnesium für Kinder-6

The symptoms of ADHD and magnesium deficiency are very similar in that children cannot concentrate and are very hyperactive
(Image source: pixabay.com/barskefranck)

Can children take magnesium with other vitamins and minerals at the same time?

It is important that children take various minerals such as iron, calcium, zinc, iodine, vitamin A, vitamin D and magnesium for healthy bones and brain development. Many of these minerals work together with magnesium. Calcium is key for strong and healthy bones. And magnesium also plays an important role in the absorption of calcium. Calcium can become toxic without enough magnesium in your children's bodies (8).

Magnesium also plays a key role in determining how much vitamin D our bodies can produce. In addition, magnesium can also help regulate zinc levels in the body. Zinc helps our body absorb magnesium more efficiently. Many magnesium supplements for children are a combination of different minerals. But it is recommended that you always check whether your children need these supplements at all before buying them.

Photo source: Domashenko/ 123rf.com

References (8)

1. Flink, B. Edmund (1980) Nutritional Aspects of Magnesium Metabolism. s. 304 - 312
Source

2. Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ernährung e.V., Refernzwerte von Magnesium nach dem Alter und Geschlecht.
Source

3. Rude, R.K., Singer, F.R. (1981) Magnesium Deficiency and Excess. Ann Rev. Med. s. 245-259.
Source

4. Bundesinstitut für Risikobewertung (2004) Verwendung von Mineralstoffen in Lebensmitteln. Toxikologische und ernährungsphysiologische Aspekte s. 127
Source

5. Eder, Klaus (2009) Magnesium‐Verbindungen. Aufnahme, Funktionen und therapeutische Aspekte.
Source

6. Kozielec, T., Starobrat-Hermelin, B (1997) Assessment of magnesium levels in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). s. 143-148.
Source

7. Liebscher, D.-H., Baerlocher, K., Classen, H.-G., Liebscher, U.C., Ratzmann, G.-W., Vierling, W., Weigert, A., Kisters, K. (2011). Magnesiummagel und -therapie beei ADHS, Empfehlungen der Gesellschaft für Magnesium-Forschung e.V. s. 123-128.
Source

8. Spencer, H., Fuller, H., Norris, C., Williams, D. (1994) Effect of magnesium on the intestinal absorption of calcium in man.
Source

Why you can trust me?

Ernährungsaspekte des Magnesiumstoffwechsels
Flink, B. Edmund (1980) Nutritional Aspects of Magnesium Metabolism. s. 304 - 312
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Empfohlene Zufuhr von Magnesium
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ernährung e.V., Refernzwerte von Magnesium nach dem Alter und Geschlecht.
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Magnesiummangel und -überschuss
Rude, R.K., Singer, F.R. (1981) Magnesium Deficiency and Excess. Ann Rev. Med. s. 245-259.
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Magnesium in Lebensmitteln
Bundesinstitut für Risikobewertung (2004) Verwendung von Mineralstoffen in Lebensmitteln. Toxikologische und ernährungsphysiologische Aspekte s. 127
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Magnesium-Verbindungen
Eder, Klaus (2009) Magnesium‐Verbindungen. Aufnahme, Funktionen und therapeutische Aspekte.
Go to source
Studie über die Verbindung zwischen ADHS und Magnesiumgehalt
Kozielec, T., Starobrat-Hermelin, B (1997) Assessment of magnesium levels in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). s. 143-148.
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Magnesiummangel und -therapie bei ADHS
Liebscher, D.-H., Baerlocher, K., Classen, H.-G., Liebscher, U.C., Ratzmann, G.-W., Vierling, W., Weigert, A., Kisters, K. (2011). Magnesiummagel und -therapie beei ADHS, Empfehlungen der Gesellschaft für Magnesium-Forschung e.V. s. 123-128.
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Magnesium bei Absorption von Kalzium
Spencer, H., Fuller, H., Norris, C., Williams, D. (1994) Effect of magnesium on the intestinal absorption of calcium in man.
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