Why You Shouldn’t Just Use Magnesium Supplements with Hypothyroidism (Do This Instead)

By |2020-01-02T14:54:55-08:00November 21st, 2019|Hypothyroidism, Supplements|51 Comments

This is the truth about hypothyroidism and magnesium supplements that nobody is talking about.

It’s the reason why magnesium supplements by themselves just don’t work.

Now, if you’re currently using a magnesium supplement, I’m not saying that you should stop.

Especially considering it’s estimated that 60 to 80 percent of adults are actually deficient in this essential mineral.

And if you suffer from hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, then you can almost guarantee that you fall into that group.

However, sometimes we have to stop for a minute to look at the bigger picture and ask ourselves…

“Is this really the right way to do this?”

The short answer is, NO.

Simply supplementing magnesium is only really addressing a smaller part of a bigger problem.

Imagine for a second…

You’re sitting in a small boat.

Suddenly you realize that the boat has sprung a leak and is starting to sink.

So, you do what makes sense. You grab the nearest bucket and begin bailing water as fast as you can.


But unfortunately, the boat is taking on water too fast.

So, what do you do?

Option 1: You can continue bailing more and more water while you’ll likely end up sinking.

Option 2: You find the leak and you stop it first, and then bail the water out.

Now… since you read our articles, that means that you’re already far smarter than most.

So, I’m sure you picked Option 2.

Always fix the underlying problem first. (Well, at least that’s how we do things.)

It’s really the only option that makes sense, right?

Well, if you’re deficient in magnesium and all you’re doing about it is taking a magnesium supplement then you’re just bailing water.

You’re struggling to keep your boat afloat.

But more importantly you’re missing the bigger underlying problem.

Hypothyroidism and Magnesium Deficiency: The Bigger Underlying Problem

Many studies have shown that hypothyroidism leads to the rapid loss of magnesium, also known as magnesium wasting.

In fact, that’s why many of the symptoms of magnesium deficiency are the same as those of hypothyroidism.

Common Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency (Also Associated with Hypothyroidism)

And when it comes to hypothyroidism and magnesium wasting, there are many factors involved.

For example…

You compensate for your hypothyroidism by over-activating your body’s stress response. And stress itself causes magnesium wasting.

We also talk a lot about estrogen dominance that occurs due to hypothyroidism’s effects on your liver.

And most people don’t know this, but estrogen dominance also leads to magnesium wasting as well.

Serum ionized magnesium and calcium in women after menopause: inverse relation of estrogen with ionized magnesium.


“CONCLUSION(S): Serum levels of Mg2+ and total Mg were inversely correlated with the estrogen concentration in menopausal women.”

This is the real problem.

With hypothyroidism, you’re wasting magnesium very rapidly.

And this is that hole in your boat that we need to stop to prevent you from sinking.

So, instead of focusing on supplementing magnesium, it should make sense to focus your attention on preventing this wasting process and instead retain more magnesium.

In other words, the less magnesium you waste and the more you retain the less you become dependent on magnesium supplements.

(Note: Want to learn a simple way to help reduce magnesium wasting while helping to boost your thyroid at the same time?  Download this super-simple, quick, and easy 60 Second Thyroid-Boosting Carrot Recipe we use with all our clients.)

60 Second Thyroid-Boosting Carrot Recipe

You can download this 60-Second Thyroid-Boosting Carrot Recipe here.

3 Ways to Help Retain Your Magnesium Instead of Wasting It

As mentioned previously, hypothyroidism, stress, and estrogen dominance all play a large role in the magnesium wasting process.

So, here are three ways you can very effectively improve your magnesium levels without supplementing it.

1. Thyroid Hormone (T3)

Thyroid hormone (or T3 specifically) is very effective at improving your ability to retain magnesium by increasing your cells’ ability to absorb magnesium.

The more magnesium we can keep in your cells, the less you’ll be wasting.

2. Progesterone

By directly opposing many of the actions of estrogen at the cell level, progesterone is also very effective at keeping magnesium in your cells where it belongs.

3. Salt

Magnesium isn’t the only mineral you waste rapidly in hypothyroidism.

Sodium is wasted rapidly as well.

Getting adequate salt in your diet helps to increase magnesium retention from the magnesium rich foods you eat, while also decreasing its loss or wasting through your urine.

Problems with Oral Magnesium Supplements

We’ve already covered why supplementing magnesium isn’t the solution to your problem.

However, that doesn’t mean that you wouldn’t benefit from getting some extra magnesium.

However, oral magnesium supplements are not always the best choice.

There are many different forms of magnesium supplements and not all are created equal.

In general, oral magnesium supplements don’t have great absorption.

Generally speaking you might absorb 20% to 50% of the magnesium in the supplement you use.

However, with poor digestion which is directly associated with hypothyroidism, that absorption rate is likely much less.

Hypothyroidism leads to decreased enzyme production, low stomach acid production, and intestinal inflammation which can impair your ability to break down and absorb these forms of magnesium supplements.

The good news is that there is a better way.

3 Safer and More Absorbable Forms of Magnesium

With hypothyroidism and magnesium deficiency, there are oftentimes better options available that most people don’t know about or don’t get enough of.

1. Magnesium Rich Foods That Are Easy to Digest

I’d like to say that first and foremost, we believe in getting nutrition from foods.


However, some of the best foods for hypothyroidism sufferers to get magnesium are oftentimes unnecessarily avoided because the public has become quite misinformed regarding the safety and therapeutic effects of these foods.

So, keep in mind that we use almost all of these foods with our clients because they are all extremely therapeutic with hypothyroidism.

  • Orange Juice
  • Meats
  • Chocolate
  • Coffee
  • Bone Broth
  • Vegetable Broth

If you’re not using these foods to your advantage, then you’re truly missing out on something that can really help with your thyroid condition.

2. Magnesium Oil

Magnesium Chloride Oil

Magnesium Oil (magnesium chloride) is a great way to get more magnesium that is generally better retained.

Instead of taking it orally, it comes in a spray bottle and it’s massaged directly into the skin where absorption rates are better than most oral magnesium.

It’s colorless and odorless.

And because it’s applied and absorbed through the skin, it bypasses your digestive tract, which is best for those with digestive issues.

You can find what I use/recommend with my clients by clicking here.

3. Epsom Salt

Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) is another good and safe source of magnesium that is absorbed through your skin to bypass your digestive tract.

All you have to do is add the Epsom salt to bath water, and let it dissolve while you soak in the tub and absorb it through your skin.

I oftentimes recommend warm baths for many clients to help increase their body temperature and help them feel better early on.

So, why not add some Epsom salt to your bath for even better results?

Now you know the truth.

Supplementing magnesium alone isn’t the solution.

At least not until you plug the leak and fix the real underlying problem.

And the only way to do that is to stop wasting so much magnesium and instead follow the guidelines I’ve just given you to make your magnesium work for you.

While you’re at it, make sure you’re using this super-simple, quick, and easy 60 Second Thyroid-Boosting Carrot Recipe we use with all our clients.

60 Second Thyroid-Boosting Carrot Recipe

You can download this 60-Second Thyroid-Boosting Carrot Recipe here.

About the Author:

Tom Brimeyer is the founder of Forefront Health and the creator of the popular Hypothyroidism Revolution program series. Specializing in thyroid and metabolism disorders, Tom's work has impacted over 50,000 people spanning more than 60 countries. Tom is also a highly sought after practitioner who runs a successful health consulting practice where he continues to help clients across the globe to take back control of their lives from their devastating health conditions.


  1. Gale March 31, 2016 at 8:10 am - Reply

    Thank you Tom! I started to take magnesium to stop restless leg syndrome that stopped me from getting any sleep. The dose of 250mg twice daily got rid of the problem.

    I am going to look for the magnesium oil and until then, add more salt to my diet (I have never been much of a salt eater, much preferring spices. Maybe this is what caused my hypothoidism?

    I also use Vit C to control the inflammation of my arthritis.

  2. Margue March 31, 2016 at 2:57 pm - Reply

    much of the magnesium spray do you use

    • Tom Brimeyer March 31, 2016 at 4:15 pm - Reply

      Hi Margue, there can be different concentrations depending on the brand you use. It’s best to follow the directions provided by the manufacturer for this.

  3. Wilfred Runde March 31, 2016 at 3:12 pm - Reply

    I need a password.

    • Tom Brimeyer March 31, 2016 at 4:13 pm - Reply

      Hi Wilfred, can you please send us an email to support@forefronthealth.com. We’ve tried to send you an email regarding this but our emails keep coming back saying that your email address doesn’t exist. Once we get your email we’ll be able to help. Thanks!

  4. Sue March 31, 2016 at 4:15 pm - Reply

    Love your articles! Thanks, Tom!


  5. Sue March 31, 2016 at 9:14 pm - Reply

    Tom, You suggest Epsom salt baths, but what if you do not have a whole house filter? Should a person be concerned about soaking in chlorine, copper, etc. in the bath water? Thanks

    • Tom Brimeyer April 1, 2016 at 7:20 am - Reply

      Hi Sue, if you’re really concerned then it might be worth getting your water tested.

    • Sarie May 27, 2016 at 12:49 am - Reply

      Hi Sue, I can’t help you with Copper because there are too many factors but I can tell you that free chlorine (i.e. chlorine that’s available to have a chemical reaction) is unlikely to be an issue for a few reasons. First one is that as the water goes through your hot water system a certain amount of it will react and become unavailable. Have you ever noticed that you can smell chlorine in the shower? You can smell it because it’s reacting with air, volatalising and again becoming unavailable. Lastly chlorine will react with pretty much anything else in your water. All of these things mean that there is usually very little chlorine left to interact with your body and unless you’re particularly sensitive or allergic.

    • brother's keeper August 30, 2016 at 2:18 pm - Reply

      I’ve read that 1c baking soda added to the bathwater will deal with the chlorine…

  6. Patti March 31, 2016 at 10:10 pm - Reply

    I take 2 different forms of magnesium. One for migraine prevention (along with b2) which is in capsule form. Then I take 1/4 tsp of Naturally Calm right before bed. Is this safe/okay to take? Thank you in advance.

  7. Joleen Berneau-Kiniston April 1, 2016 at 9:26 am - Reply

    Thank you for the articles and the information you provide on how to effectively deal with and treat hypothyroidism.
    Your use of foods rather than meds makes it possible for each person to effectively help heal the body without the high cost of medications that may not work work well with other medications a person takes for other health problems. Most of the normal Primary Care doctors a person sees for hypothyroidism have no clue about the nutrition factors and why you are struggleing with this thryoid disease not to mention how much this effects your cardiac system, nervous system, and of liver all at the same time. Foods that we can eat and digest are better for us than most of the prescribed thyroid medications are and the foods will help us heal more effectively and faster.
    appreciate your articles and common sense apporoach as well. jo

  8. Joleen Berneau-Kiniston April 1, 2016 at 9:26 am - Reply

    Thanks so much

  9. Kathy egger April 2, 2016 at 10:05 pm - Reply

    This is out of contex but can I eat avocado and bananas on your protocol. If not why? Thanks

  10. Susan April 17, 2016 at 9:24 am - Reply

    The magnesium chloride oil spray (LIfe-flo) I bought really stings, so much so that I am reluctant to use it. Is there any way to avoid this?

    • Tom Brimeyer April 18, 2016 at 8:30 am - Reply

      Hi Susan, you can try diluting the oil with water which can help. Otherwise focusing more on bath salts would be a better option.

    • Kimberly Repscha November 15, 2016 at 5:22 pm - Reply

      Life-flo has a magnesium cream that doesn’t sting but you smell like vanilla cake!!! It works very well for myself and my clients.

  11. Jacqui May 10, 2016 at 6:59 pm - Reply

    Coffee is no good for Hypothyroidism.
    And how does one increase progesterone?

    • Tom Brimeyer May 11, 2016 at 9:14 am - Reply

      Hi Jacqui, coffee is actually very supportive of thyroid function and mimics many actions of thyroid hormone. It also helps increase progesterone production which is one of it’s very protective effects.

  12. Chantal May 26, 2016 at 5:10 pm - Reply

    How is it that coffee increases progesterone,because when I drink coffee,I get breast cysts which are usually associated with estrogen?

    • Tom Brimeyer May 31, 2016 at 7:07 am - Reply

      Hi Chantal, there have been numerous studies showing that coffee consumption is not associated with fibrocystic breasts or breast cancer. And research has also shown that caffeine itself is protective against estrogen/breast cancer, with results being dose dependent (more is better): http://clincancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/21/8/1877

  13. Christi May 26, 2016 at 7:10 pm - Reply

    How do you get T3? Is there a certain medication?

    • Tom Brimeyer May 31, 2016 at 6:54 am - Reply

      Hi Christi, isolated T3 is prescribed as cytomel.

  14. Marion June 9, 2016 at 10:46 pm - Reply

    Dear Tom,
    Thank you so much for your wonderful free information it is very much appreciated. In regard to coffee I just wanted to say that is a stimulant and would therefore tend to increase the stress response and activate the adrenals something that we would want to minimise? Also coffee is highly acidic and this can cause a whole array of problems. What are your thoughts on this?

    • Tom Brimeyer June 10, 2016 at 2:55 pm - Reply

      Hi Marion, that’s not true at all. It’s only a problem for those who restrict carbohydrates and deplete liver glycogen. The idea that it raises stress hormones is pushed by low-carb advocates whose diet purposefully depletes liver glycogen and suppresses thyroid function (https://www.forefronthealth.com/low-carb-thyroid-dangers/). Coffee has a number of extremely therapeutic benefits for thyroid sufferers. Too many to list here.

      • Emily McLeran January 12, 2017 at 6:36 am - Reply

        I’ve always thought exactly like Marion, and have never touched coffee. However I am super intrigued with your protocols but terrified of getting “addicted” to coffee. You say coffee has too many extremely therapeutic benefits to list here. Do you have a blog post or article somewhere you could direct us to, where the benefits are listed or touched on? Thanks so much for all the free info you put out here.

        • Tom Brimeyer January 12, 2017 at 10:13 am - Reply

          Hi Emily, coffee actually acts very similarly to thyroid hormone in many ways. It’s not actually addictive like many claim. I plan on writing a definitive article on the benefits of coffee, but I list some of them here: https://www.forefronthealth.com/foods-for-hypothyroidism/

  15. Anne Ravizza July 11, 2016 at 11:52 pm - Reply

    Hi Tom.

    Are you familiar with LDN – Low Dose Naltrexone restoring the autoimmune system and since hypothyroidism is an autoimmune disease, what is the likelihood that the thyroid is restored? What are your thoughts on this?

    • Tom Brimeyer July 13, 2016 at 2:18 pm - Reply

      Hi Anne, LDN helps to normalize the immune system, but by itself it doesn’t improve thyroid health. It can be used helpful in the process though while using what we teach.

  16. Patrick Loughran July 22, 2016 at 8:31 pm - Reply

    Hi Tom,
    I also appreciate your articles on Thyroid disease. I’ve been dealing with hypothyroid for about 6 years. I was given synthroid for about 4 years, now I see a specialist in hormone therapy. I now take a t3-t4 compound and has really changed things for me for the better. I just wish there was the right dosage of the medicine to take. My dosage goes up every 4 months and when I get my next labs, I’m sure I’ll get a higher dose. I take a magnesium/potassium supplement that works well. I’m just confused about this article. Are you suggesting to NOT take magnesium supplements or just giving other/better options? All the thanks in the world!

    Patrick Loughran

    • Tom Brimeyer July 25, 2016 at 12:35 pm - Reply

      Hi Patrick, I’m suggesting that supplementing magnesium isn’t solving the underlying problem, which is magnesium wasting. I am also providing safer options for those who do need to supplement.

  17. Jane August 12, 2016 at 4:54 am - Reply

    Hi Tom
    I have an enlarged liver and a cyst in the liver.
    I very rarely drink alcohol and so how can I help restore liver function.
    Many thanks

    • Tom Brimeyer August 15, 2016 at 7:31 am - Reply

      Hi Jane, there are many things that we do and teach to improve liver function. We can use liver supporting foods like orange juice and coffee, which are both very protective of the liver. However, we also have to address the burdens from other hormones and endotoxin that, if left uncorrected, will continue to suppress liver function and detoxification.

  18. Tandi Caldwell August 30, 2016 at 4:51 pm - Reply

    Hi Tom,
    This article has been very informative. Now I know why I feel better after drinking coffee twice daily, regardless of what I have always been told! I am 41 and have been hypo for 23 years, and on the same dosage of levothyroxine the entire time. I am considering beginning NDT and an iodine protocol due to my fatigue, brain fog, insomnia, and inability to lose weight, despite a healthy diet. I am beginning to have leg cramps every night. My PCP claims my recent TSH and CMP was “normal”.My question is: I also have a condition called P.O.T.S (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome) and I am on 12 grams of salt every morning. What do you recommend for POTS patients to keep magnesium at an optimal level with having to consume that much sodium?

    • Tom Brimeyer September 2, 2016 at 12:46 pm - Reply

      Hi Tandi, salt is important for helping to spare magnesium. However, as discussed in the article, the key is to regulate the thyroid to prevent the underlying problem of magnesium wasting.

    • Terry October 31, 2016 at 9:36 pm - Reply

      Buy those little bottles of tonic water and take just two drinks. This stops muscle spasms. The fix for my muscle spasms was a small does of T3. There was t enough magnesium in the world to actually stop them! Good luck!

  19. Lena September 19, 2016 at 2:05 am - Reply

    Hi. I dont drink coffe, what can I use instead?

    • Tom Brimeyer September 19, 2016 at 8:39 am - Reply

      Yerba Mate tea could be used.

  20. Giselle October 31, 2016 at 9:17 pm - Reply

    I have Changed my eating habits Accordingly …believing that All you recommend is wrong…
    SALT (causing BP)…orange Juice ( acidic and sugar laden)…and Coffee.. (overstimulating).

    IMAGINE my Surprise when I find myself Energised, Cramp free and PAIN free for the FIRST time. In my life!!
    I am now 60 and will be forever Grateful!!
    Yesterday I bought a slab ofChocolate with Sea Salt. ..words are inadequate.
    Thank you!

    • Tom Brimeyer November 1, 2016 at 7:22 am - Reply

      Hi Giselle, happy to hear it!

  21. Anne December 20, 2016 at 7:47 am - Reply

    My insurance will not cover T3 trying to address my thyroid NDT. My TSH is 3.4 and ft3 and ft4 not in range. Not sure what to do!

  22. Barb January 6, 2017 at 4:23 pm - Reply

    Please find a Doctor whom will give you T3and T4. Not simple I know. I cannot even find a Doctor here since my Doctor retired. Maybe look into going to a Natrapathic Doctor I hear they are very understand about Thyroid issues and meds. Sadly we have none here either.

  23. Mindy January 7, 2017 at 12:44 am - Reply

    Hi Tom,
    Great article!
    Is drinking distilled water not recommended for people with hypothyroidIan?
    (I read that it is impossible for minerals to be leached from the cells once they are absorbed. I know that it is super clean, hydrating and detoxifying, but it occurred to me that it might excelerate sodium loss.)

  24. Robert MARIN January 31, 2017 at 11:51 pm - Reply

    Hi Tom,
    I have been taking a mg citrate, zinc and potassium citrate in a powder.Recognising that most minerals in isolation are not a good way to absorb , and better with food…understood. but when hypothyroidism and low gastric acid and low pancr enzymes with sluggish liver combined it needs all the help it can get.
    My question though is that having tried the collagen protein supplement, it does not agree with me and my body responds with poor disgestion, therefore I use a pea protein instead with better digestion
    any opinion?

  25. Leslie March 8, 2017 at 4:46 pm - Reply

    Hi Tom,
    This is my first time to read any of your articles & I find this one very interesting!
    My question is, do you have to take a drug for your hypothyroidism? I would rather NOT take a drug & just use natural things.
    Thank you!

  26. kate May 7, 2017 at 5:54 pm - Reply

    It’s been 12 months since I started the program and gradually drifted to a wider style of Ray Peat eating. I did manage to get insomnia under control until it crept back. My lab reports for magnesium always looked normal until I realised lab reports are not always indicative of true levels. I smothered myself in mag oil and it worked to overcome insomnia again. Trouble was, it made my skin sting and was itchy. In the end I resorted to supps – mag glycinate. Atm I take 600mg early evening to get myself to sleep.

  27. ReRe July 22, 2017 at 5:40 pm - Reply

    The pharmacist says Epson salts is the same as magnesium supplements – can I sip a little Epson Salts mixed with water for additional supplementation?

  28. Julie August 17, 2017 at 6:04 am - Reply

    You can call your insurance company and ask them to cover your medicine if it is not currently covered. I found that little clause in my insurance policy manual. It’s worth a try. Also, you can get great discounts on non-covered meds using blinkhealth.com and similar sites that buy in bulk and sell at low prices to the public. You pay online at blinkhealth.com and then pick it up at WalMart.
    Take care,

  29. Julie August 17, 2017 at 6:10 am - Reply

    Tom, you say that coffee is non-addicting, but if I drink coffee two mornings in a row, I will have a headache on the third morning, and will likely go to bed with a headache that night. What’s up with that? I can drink one cup of caffeinated tea in the morning and not get headaches (unless I don’t drink it.) I will get headaches with coffee even if I continue drinking it every morning. I begin to get insomnia and every time I wake up I have a headache. Why is this happening? I stopped drinking coffee (went back to tea) but I was only drinking a half cup in the mornings when this was happening. I’ve tried various times to drink coffee, but this always happens. I would appreciate your insight. Can this be overcome?

  30. Stacy Gursky November 11, 2017 at 8:34 am - Reply

    Do you have research/links or can you help me connect the dots regarding hypothyroid–hypotension–potassium–licorice root–salt?

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