Is it Safe to Take Iron and Magnesium Together?

In this article, we will take a close look at the safety of taking iron and magnesium together. We will analyze the research on their combined effects on absorption, potential health risks, and interactions with other medications. We will also discuss considerations for specific populations, such as individuals with kidney disorders and pregnant women.
Natasha Puttick

Natasha Puttick

Graduate medical student at Barts and London.

A blue image with text saying "Iron and Magnesium Together?"

Is it Safe to Take Iron and Magnesium Together?

The safety of taking iron and magnesium together can depend on several factors, including the specific forms of these supplements and the individual's health status.

Research has shown that combining iron supplements with magnesium peroxide can lead to increased formation of reactive oxygen species, which can be harmful to the body [1]. This suggests that certain combinations of iron and magnesium can be hazardous, particularly when magnesium peroxide is involved.

However, other studies have shown that magnesium does not interfere with the absorption of iron when both are taken orally. For instance, a study found that the combination of ferrous gluconate (a form of iron) and magnesium-L-aspartate hydrochloride did not impair iron absorption [2].

In another study, magnesium hydroxide did not affect iron absorption in humans after a supratherapeutic dose of iron (greater than the recommended therapeutic dose) [3].

Risks of Taking Iron and Magnesium Together

Taking iron and magnesium together can potentially lead to several health risks. One of the primary concerns is the potential for decreased iron absorption. In vitro studies have shown that iron absorption can be inhibited by magnesium laxatives, such as magnesium oxide [4]. This could potentially lead to iron deficiency anemia, especially in individuals who overuse magnesium laxatives [4].

...
Natasha Puttick

Natasha Puttick

Natasha is a medical student at Barts and the London school of Medicine and Dentistry, with an interest in the social determinants of health. She graduated from the University of Oxford with a BA in Human Sciences and has obtained two publications. Her most recent work investigating clinical vaccine trials has been published in BMJ Public Health.