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User-friendly dosage forms help improve intake of magnesium supplements

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Studies show that magnesium deficiency is a growing problem. User-friendly dosage forms offer rewarding ways for consumers and patients to supplement magnesium

Magnesium deficiency is on the rise. Recent studies estimate that between 10-30% of people in developed countries have subclinical magnesium deficiencies. This problem largely arises from modern convenience diets which are low in magnesium-rich foods like green vegetables, legumes and seeds. Moreover, magnesium content in fruits and vegetables has dropped in recent decades, with estimations that 80% of magnesium is lost during food processing.

Magnesium is essential for vital cellular functions in the body like normal energy metabolism, nervous system function, and muscle function. Magnesium deficiency can cause a range of problems, such as fatigue, nausea, muscle cramps, and in more serious cases, can lead to heart disease and diabetes.

Because of rising deficiencies, there is a growing need for magnesium supplementation. This is especially important for risk groups like older people and patients with gastrointestinal diseases, as well as for other recommended consumers like women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, and people who do a lot of sports and suffer from muscle cramps. Magnesium supplementation can also aid headache and back pain, and is essential for processing other supplements like vitamin D.

Overcoming supplement barriers

A modern lifestyle demands ever-greater levels of convenience, not least when it comes to diet and supplementation habits. Research from HERMES PHARMA has shown that even small barriers can deter consumers and patients from consistent intake of supplements. Over 50% of people report having difficulties swallowing traditional tablets or capsules, and 41% of people find flavour an important factor when choosing supplements. Factors like tablet size and taste can therefore make consumers unlikely to persevere with supplements when they find the dosage forms to be off-putting.

To overcome these barriers, supplement brands can offer a variety of high-quality, user-friendly dosage forms that meet the needs and desires of consumers. With a range of dosage options on offer, individuals can find magnesium supplements that best suit their tastes, and which integrate into their daily routines, as well as being quick, effective, and easy to prepare.  

Dosage form variety makes supplements user-friendly

When it comes to magnesium supplements, a wide variety of possible dosage forms exist beyond traditional tablets and capsules. Newer user-friendly delivery formats being developed and manufactured by innovators like HERMES PHARMA include:

  • Orally disintegrating granules (ODGs), which can be poured directly into the mouth
  • Effervescent tablets, dissolvable in water creating a pleasant-tasting drink.
  • Instant drink powders that dissolve in water for an enjoyable drink.

These dosage forms offer different consumer and patient groups a variety of ways to consume magnesium supplements in their preferred way. For example, people doing sports may prefer an option they can add to their water bottles, or elderly people having difficulties in swallowing may also prefer drinking magnesium instead of taking a tablet or capsule.

A question of taste

Developing user-friendly dosage forms can be challenging. It requires significant formulation expertise (being able to consider and optimise dosage forms and manufacturing costs, for example), technical know-how, and a thorough understanding of customer and patient needs in the market environment. A specialist CDMO will have decades of experience and a number of technical solutions to these challenges.

For example, one important aspect to consider is the physiology of nutrition absorption. The body is better at absorbing magnesium when it is supplied as a steady stream rather than in one big spike. As such, taking several low dose tablets per day is one solution, but it isn’t ideal to fit into a busy lifestyle. However, newly developed dosage forms like ODGs enable sustained delivery of magnesium when taken only once per day, offering greater convenience for consumers.

It is also important to consider which magnesium salt compound is the optimal starting material for your dosage form. For example, magnesium oxide, with its small molecule size, is a cost-effective way to fit large doses of magnesium content in dosage forms like ODGs. Meanwhile, organic salts are more rapidly absorbed into the blood stream than magnesium oxide, but require large volumes to reach dosage requirements. This means that they are more suited for effervescent tablets than oral capsules, where the size of the tablet does not impact ingestion.

Magnesium salt varieties also affect the flavour of supplements. Certain magnesium salts like magnesium aspartate taste bad, so need to be masked more than others. Indeed, as taste is a key factor to get right when manufacturing supplements, taste masking through flavoring excipients and sweeteners help create a positive association with the supplement.

User-friendly magnesium supplements

Because of the high levels of magnesium deficiency in modern societies, there is a growing need to develop user-friendly dosage forms that facilitate consumers and patients in taking magnesium supplements regularly. Motivated by this need, HERMES PHARMA utilises different technologies to help pharmaceutical and nutraceutical companies create high-quality and rewarding variations of magnesium supplement dosage forms. From a commercial perspective, these companies can design and market their dosage forms with different consumer and patient groups in mind. This offers consumers user-friendly ways to take magnesium supplements, potentially attracting new customer groups, building brand loyalty and encouraging long term use. Ultimately, this provides an effective way to cut magnesium deficiency levels.

Authors: 

  • Martin Koeberle, Head of Analytical Development & Stability Testing, HERMES PHARMA
  • Verena Garsuch, Manager Analytical and Clinical Development & Stability Testing, HERMES PHARMA
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