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7 Ways Magnesium Can Prevent Hair Loss (Expert Review)
Dr Ahmad Moussa (FRCS)
Medically reviewed by
Dr Ahmad Moussa (FRCS)
Updated on May 9, 2024

While there is no evidence of a direct relationship between magnesium and hair loss, when a magnesium inadequacy occurs, it can have a significant impact on your hair health. When we think of hair thinning, we mainly consider different types of alopecia, such as male pattern baldness or alopecia areata. However, mineral or vitamin deficiencies can cause hair loss as well. Though it shouldn’t be enough to make your hair so thin you can see your scalp, it can add to hair shedding from other causes, giving your strands a sparse look. 

Since magnesium is one of the most abundant minerals in our body [1], it plays a role in regulating many physical and psychological functions. Some of these ensure that your hair cells replicate properly, that your follicles get sufficient blood supply and that they don’t get damaged or prevented from producing new strands. Not getting the daily recommended dose of magnesium can have a negative impact on these processes, which may lead to slower hair growth or worsening of pre-existing hair loss.

While clinical magnesium deficiency is rare, inadequacy is rather common in Western societies. It is estimated that 10-30% of their population has inadequate magnesium levels [2]. This alone will not normally make your hair fall out, but it can contribute to increased hair shedding, especially if you are already experiencing a form of alopecia.

Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about: 

  • The nature and health properties of magnesium
  • The relationship between magnesium, hair loss and hair growth
  • Other vitamins and minerals that can influence hair growth and hair loss
  • The risks of magnesium supplementation
Table of Contents

What is magnesium and why do we need it?

Compared to other vitamins and minerals, Magnesium is abundantly present in our bodies. This mineral can be obtained from a wide range of foods (e.g. seeds, nuts, leafy greens, beans, cereals or dairy), as well as from over-the-counter dietary supplements. It is crucial to the proper functioning of our body because it plays a role in numerous processes, such as [3][4]:

  • maintaining the good functioning of  over 300 enzymes 
  • stimulating protein synthesis
  • synthesising DNA and RNA and stimulating cell replication
  • regulating blood pressure and heart rhythm
  • developing bone structure
  • producing energy
  • improving nerve and muscle function
  • keeping blood sugar under control
  • producing antioxidants
  • balancing moods and preventing anxiety and depression

The recommended daily allowance of magnesium is relatively high (approximately 320 mg for women and 420 mg for men). While there are many dietary sources for this mineral, Western diets are often rich in refined or processed foods, which can diminish their magnesium content, leading to inadequacy [4] Certain medications or health conditions can also impede proper magnesium absorption, making supplementation necessary.  

man examining his hairline

Does excess magnesium cause hair loss?

While excessive intake may produce symptoms such as nausea or stomach aches, there is currently no evidence that too much magnesium can make your hair fall out. Moreover, while magnesium toxicity can be serious, it is very rare. That is because your kidneys normally excrete excessive magnesium that your body cannot use [3].  

How can magnesium prevent unnecessary hair loss?

There is currently no evidence of a direct relationship between magnesium inadequacy and alopecia. However, this element plays an important role in the production, nurture and growth of your strands.

Moreover, magnesium inadequacy can indirectly lead to unnecessary hair shedding, by generating imbalances in your body which negatively affect your hair follicles. Here are the main ways magnesium (or lack thereof) can impact your hair:

1. It plays a role in hair growth

Magnesium plays a role in the functioning of enzymes involved in DNA and RNA synthesis, as well as in cell replication [4]. That means that it helps support normal hair strand growth [5]. Moreover, it is also involved in the production of proteins, which your hair needs to remain healthy and strong. Although more research is needed, this indicates that magnesium inadequacy may lead to slower hair growth or to more brittle strands, which may increase the likelihood of hair breakage

2. It can reduce oxidative stress

Oxidative stress can damage your hair and lead to premature balding [6]. However, magnesium contributes to the synthesis of an antioxidant called glutathione, a major antioxidant found in the body. [4]. Implicitly, magnesium inadequacy has been correlated with increased levels of oxidative stress, but also with a decreased capacity to counteract the damage caused by oxidants (free radicals) [7].

magnesium pills coming out of a bottle

3. It can help control inflammation in the body

Several types of alopecia (e.g. alopecia areata) and common scalp problems (e.g. seborrheic dermatitis) manifest with inflammation, which is linked to an elevated level of oxidative stress, resulting in hair loss. Having low levels of magnesium in your system has been demonstrated to cause low-grade inflammation throughout your body [7][2]. This can damage your hair follicles and trigger flares of various scalp conditions that can cause hair loss.  

4. It may help prevent or reduce androgenetic alopecia hair loss

While more research is needed to confirm this, there are theories that high blood sugar can promote the excessive conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT) [8]. DHT binds to androgen receptors in your hair follicles, preventing them from producing hair, which causes androgenetic alopecia (male or female pattern baldness). As magnesium plays a role in blood sugar regulation, not having enough of this mineral can contribute to insulin resistance [8], leading to higher blood sugar levels and potentially, more pattern hair loss. 

5. It can help protect your scalp from calcification

Magnesium plays a significant role in transporting and regulating calcium in your system [7]. When you experience a magnesium inadequacy, your scalp may absorb excessive calcium from hard water and this can form build-up in its tissues and in the capillaries [9]. If the small blood vessels in your scalp develop calcium deposits, it can restrict blood flow to your hair follicles. Moreover, the buildup can clog your hair follicles, inhibiting hair growth.

6. It can help transport energy and nutrients to your hair follicles

Magnesium helps transport vitamins and minerals to cells, including to your hair follicles. It also plays a role in the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which supplies cells with energy [4]. Furthermore, by maintaining good scalp muscle function, magnesium promotes adequate blood circulation to your hair follicles [8].

If you are experiencing an inadequacy of this mineral, the flow of energy, oxygen and nutrients to your hair roots may be stifled. This may, in turn, disrupt your natural hair growth cycle, cutting the growth phase shorter and making a greater proportion of follicles enter the shedding stage. 

7. It can help prevent anxiety-induced hair loss

Magnesium does not only regulate a variety of physical functions, it also influences psychological ones. Inadequacy has been associated with low moods, depression and anxiety [4]. It is a well-known fact that high levels of anxiety and stress can cause hair loss. That is because they can trigger a temporary condition known as telogen effluvium, which manifests with diffuse hair thinning and sometimes, a burning sensation on your scalp.

Fortunately, this condition resolves itself in a few months after the anxiety has subsided. But should your stress become chronic, so can your telogen effluvium – in some cases, it can persist for as long as a decade [10]. 

7 Ways Magnesium Can Prevent Hair Loss (Expert Review)

What other vitamins and minerals can influence hair loss?

There are a number of other minerals and vitamins that can promote hair growth with  adequate intake, while deficiencies can lead to hair shedding:

  • Vitamin D for hair –  This vitamin is crucial to many physical processes and although more evidence is needed, hair growth may be one of them. There are some associations between Vitamin D deficiency and alopecia areata, telogen effluvium and androgenetic alopecia [11].
  • Vitamin E for hair – Since this vitamin has significant antioxidant properties, it can help counter the effects of oxidative stress. However, while Vitamin E deficiency may have played a role in alopecia areata, excessive levels can also cause hair loss [11]. 
  • Iron – Since iron is needed to form haemoglobin, a sufficient amount is needed to keep your body healthy and your hair nourished. Iron deficiency is common and there is some evidence that it can cause telogen effluvium [12].
  • Zinc – Inadequate zinc levels have been associated with telogen effluvium and female pattern baldness [13]. However, on the bright side, supplementation can lead to hair regrowth.  

What type of magnesium is best for preventing hair loss?

The best kind of magnesium supplements are those which dissolve well in liquids, such as magnesium aspartate, citrate, lactate or chloride [3]. That is because they are more easily absorbed by your intestines and transferred to your bloodstream.

There is no specific type of magnesium that helps your hair more than others. As long as you are absorbing a sufficient quantity of this mineral, it should have a systemic effect that has benefits for your entire body, hair follicles included. 

Magnesium and Hair Loss

What are the side effects of magnesium supplementation? 

Normally, magnesium is very safe and well tolerated by your body, since your kidneys do a good job of excreting excessive quantities which cannot be used. Regularly taking somewhat larger doses than recommended should not cause more than transient digestive issues (nausea, abdominal cramps, diarrhoea). 

Magnesium toxicity is a very rare occurrence and would require ingesting more than 5000mg of magnesium per day for a prolonged amount of time. This can sometimes happen when taking laxative or anti-acid medications which contain large amounts of this mineral [3] or when a kidney condition prevents you from filtering out the excess [14]. However, if it does occur, it constitutes a medical emergency, since fatal cases have been recorded. Some of the severe symptoms you may experience include [14][3]:  

  • Dangerously low blood pressure
  • Abnormal heart rhythm
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Retention of urine
  • Lethargy
  • Muscle weakness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Cardiac arrest

If you suspect you may be experiencing magnesium toxicity, call emergency services immediately.

Will magnesium supplementation make my hair grow back?

While getting the recommended daily allowance of magnesium can help keep your hair in good shape, there is little research to show the effect of supplementation on regrowing your hair effectively. The few existing studies reveal that magnesium supplementation had no significant impact on certain kinds of hair loss, such as alopecia areata [15][16]. It should, however, prevent further unnecessary hair shedding associated with magnesium inadequacy. 

7 Ways Magnesium Can Prevent Hair Loss

Are you concerned about hair loss?

If you are experiencing significant hair shedding, the best thing to do is to book a consultation with a trichologist. That is because getting diagnosed and treated from the first signs of hair thinning and balding can prevent certain common types of alopecia from progressing.

If you are in the early stages of hair loss, there are many treatment options available. For example, Minoxidil and Finasteride are very effective in treating androgenetic alopecia, while milder forms of alopecia areata may respond well to steroid creams or steroid injections for hair loss. However, if you are experiencing advanced pattern balding, the only way to obtain excellent results in regrowing your hair may be to get a hair transplant.

In the past, only celebrities got hair transplants, but thanks to modern advancements in surgical tools and techniques, this procedure has become widely available. While hair transplant costs may remain high in comparison with other hair growth treatments, it should be kept in mind that hair transplants are permanent, while medications only work for as long as you are taking them.

So if you choose to get hair restoration surgery at the Wimpole Clinic, you are likely to still enjoy the results of your hair transplant after 10 years or longer. Contact us today to learn more about this simple, painless and very effective surgery.

7 Ways Magnesium Can Prevent Hair Loss (Expert Review), Wimpole Clinic

Dr Ahmad Moussa (FRCS)
Medically reviewed by Dr Ahmad Moussa (FRCS)Updated on May 9, 2024
The Wimpole Clinic offers FUE Hair, Beard & Eyebrow Transplants & Trichology.
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