- What Does Magnesium Do for Your Body?
- Doctor Dean Warns Too Little Magnesium Can Affect Heart Health
- Magnesium – How it affects your sleep
- Do magnesium supplements work?
- Are magnesium supplements safe?
- When Magnesium Makes Me Worse
- Can Magnesium supplements make you itch?
- Brteathing Issues After Magnesium Supplementation
- Symptoms of Low Magnesium
- What are the symptoms of magnesium deficiency?
- Signs of Magnesium Deficiency
- Conditions Related to Problems of Magnesium
- What’s the difference between mild and severe magnesium deficiency?
- Addressing Symptoms of Low Magnesium
What Does Magnesium Do for Your Body?
A diet rich in magnesium has been linked to many other impressive health benefits.
May Lower Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a health concern that affects one in three Americans (12).
Interestingly, studies have shown that taking magnesium may lower your blood pressure (13, 14).
In one study, people who took 450 mg of magnesium daily experienced a fall in the systolic (upper) and diastolic (lower) blood pressure values by 20.4 and 8.7, respectively (15).
An analysis of 34 studies found that a median dose of 368 mg of magnesium significantly reduced both systolic and diastolic blood pressure values in both healthy adults and those with high blood pressure (16).
However, the impact was significantly higher in people with existing high blood pressure (16).
May Reduce the Risk of Heart Disease
Several studies have linked low magnesium levels to a higher risk of heart disease.
For instance, one study found that those with the lowest magnesium levels had the highest risk of death, especially due to heart disease (17).
Conversely, increasing your intake may lower this risk. That’s because magnesium has strong anti-inflammatory properties, may prevent blood clotting and can help your blood vessels relax to lower your blood pressure (1).
An analysis of 40 studies with more than one million participants found that consuming 100 mg more of magnesium each day reduced the risk of stroke and heart failure by 7% and 22%, respectively. These are two major risk factors for heart disease (18).
May Improve Blood Sugar Control in Type 2 Diabetes
People with type 2 diabetes often have low magnesium levels, which may worsen the condition, as magnesium helps regulate insulin and moves sugar out of the blood and into the cells for storage (19).
For instance, your cells have receptors for insulin, which need magnesium to function properly. If magnesium levels are low, your cells can’t use insulin effectively, leaving blood sugar levels high (20, 21, 22).
Increasing magnesium intake may reduce blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes.
An analysis of eight studies showed that taking a magnesium supplement significantly reduced fasting blood sugar levels in participants with type 2 diabetes (23).
However, the beneficial effects of magnesium on blood sugar control have only been found in short-term studies. Long-term studies are needed before a clear recommendation can be made.
Can Improve Sleep Quality
Poor sleep is a major health problem around the world.
Taking magnesium may improve sleep quality by helping your mind and body relax. This relaxation helps you fall asleep faster and may improve your sleep quality (24).
In a study in 46 older adults, those taking a magnesium supplement daily fell asleep faster. They also noticed improved sleep quality and decreased insomnia symptoms (25).
What’s more, animal studies have found that magnesium can regulate melatonin production, which is a hormone that guides your body’s sleep-wake cycle (26, 27).
Magnesium has also been shown to bind to gamma-aminobutyric (GABA) receptors. The hormone GABA helps calm down nerve activity, which may otherwise affect sleep (28, 29).
May Help Combat Migraines
Several studies have shown that low magnesium levels may cause migraines.
One study found that participants with migraines had significantly lower magnesium levels than healthy adults (30).
Increasing your magnesium intake could be a simple way to combat migraines (31, 32).
In one 12-week study, people with migraines who took a 600-mg magnesium supplement experienced 42% fewer migraines than before taking the mineral (33).
That said, most of these studies only notice a short-term benefit of taking magnesium for migraines. More long-term studies are needed before making health recommendations.
May Help Reduce Symptoms of Depression
Low levels of magnesium have also been linked to symptoms of depression.
In fact, one study in over 8,800 people found that among adults aged 65 and under, those with the lowest intake of magnesium had a 22% greater risk of this condition (34).
One reason for this is that magnesium helps regulate your brain function and mood.
Several studies have shown that supplementing with magnesium may reduce symptoms of depression. Some studies even found it to be as effective as antidepressant drugs (35, 36).
Although the link between magnesium and depression is promising, many experts still believe that more research in this area is needed before giving recommendations (37).
Summary Higher magnesium intakes have been linked to health benefits such as a lower risk of heart disease, fewer migraines, reduced symptoms of depression and improved blood pressure, blood sugar levels and sleep.
Doctor Dean Warns Too Little Magnesium Can Affect Heart Health
LOS ANGELES, Dec. 20, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Magnesium expert and author Carolyn Dean, MD, ND, warns that magnesium deficiency in the earth’s soil and, by extension, magnesium deficiency in an individual’s diet plays a significant role in heart disease, arrhythmia and atrial fibrillation.
As a validation of the vital role of magnesium as an intervention in heart arrhythmia, the UK-based Arrhythmia Alliance has given its 2012 Award for Outstanding Medical Contribution to Cardiac Rhythm Management Services to Dr. Dean.
Coronary heart disease (CHD) causes approximately one out of every five deaths in the United States. About every 25 seconds an American will have a coronary event, and about every minute someone will die from one.
“Despite the fact that magnesium is vital to having a healthy heart, between the depletion of minerals in our soils and our mineral-depleted diet, most Americans do not get the RDA for magnesium. This leaves 70–80 percent of Americans with a magnesium deficiency at a cellular level,” says Dr. Dean.
Clinical studies have shown that cellular magnesium deficiency has direct consequences for both the heart and the blood vessels. These include
- heart rate variability, which could be one of the mechanisms involved in cardiovascular diseases;1
- arteriosclerosis (stiffening and inflexibility of the blood vessels);2
- constriction of the arteries and spasms in blood vessels;3
- high blood pressure;4,5
- angina (chest pain due to heart disease);6
- myocardial infarction (damage to heart cells—better known as a heart attack) due to ischemic heart disease (an insufficient flow of oxygenated blood to the heart), which is associated with too much calcium and not enough magnesium in heart cells;7
- sudden-death ischemic heart disease;8
- the formation of blood clots within blood vessels, which can lead to heart attack or stroke;9
- heart valve disorders such as mitral valve prolapse.10
Dr. Dean, Medical Advisory Board Member of the nonprofit Nutritional Magnesium Association, says most people, including the majority of MDs, do not understand how vital magnesium is for the prevention of heart attack and heart disease. According to Dean, “In spite of, or perhaps because of, the over 300 metabolic processes that rely on magnesium, less than 1 percent of our body’s total magnesium can be measured in our blood; the rest is busily occupied in the cells and tissues or holding our bones together. Therefore, it is virtually impossible to make an accurate assessment of the level of magnesium in various body tissue cells using a routine serum magnesium test. This test is often called a total serum magnesium test, which you might imagine relates to all the magnesium in your body—but it does not.
Magnesium in the blood does not correlate with the amount of magnesium in other parts of your body. In fact, if you are under the stress of various ailments, your body pumps magnesium out of the cells and into the blood, giving the mistaken appearance of normality on testing in spite of body-wide depletion. Unfortunately, most magnesium evaluations done in hospitals and in laboratories use the antiquated serum magnesium test.”
Dr. Dean, author of The Magnesium Miracle, cites nine key points to know about magnesium and heart health:
- “The heart is a very large muscle. Calcium causes muscles to contract and magnesium causes them to relax. If the body is deficient in magnesium, the heart can go into spasm causing a fatal heart attack; beat erratically causing arrhythmia; or beat too slowly (bradycardia) or too quickly (tachycardia).”
- “Magnesium helps prevent blood clot formation and muscle spasms of the heart blood vessels, which can lead to heart attack. One major cause of angina is spasms of the heart’s coronary arteries, which are lined with smooth muscles that react to a deficiency of magnesium.”
- “Magnesium helps prevent muscle spasms of the peripheral blood vessels, which can lead to high blood pressure, another risk factor of heart disease.”
- “Magnesium helps prevent calcium buildup in cholesterol plaque in arteries, which leads to calcification, or hardening of arteries (atherosclerosis—the number one cause of death in the US).”
- “Your body requires magnesium to maintain healthy elastin, which provides essential elasticity in your arteries. Loss of elasticity is a risk factor for heart disease. Loss of elasticity causes inflammation of heart blood vessels, which interferes with blood flow and leads to heart disease.”
- “Magnesium deficiency symptoms include leg cramps, eye twitching, fatigue, constipation, insomnia, anxiety, racing heart, and chest pain.”
- “High blood pressure can cause stroke and heart attack. Tension in the smooth muscle of blood vessels throughout the body due to magnesium deficiency is a major cause of high blood pressure.”
- “Magnesium is a natural calcium channel blocker, allowing the proper amounts of calcium in balance with magnesium for a healthy heart.”
- “Magnesium is a natural statin (anticholesterol medication). It is necessary for the activity of an enzyme that lowers bad cholesterol (LDL) and triglycerides and raises good cholesterol (HDL).”
Andrea Rosanoff, PhD and co-author of The Magnesium Factor, concurs with Dr. Dean, stating, “Clinical studies show that treatment with magnesium, taken at the right time and in the right amount, can lessen heart disease risk factors and even save lives.”
Dr. Dean recommends monitoring calcium intake and supplementing with magnesium, “and going for an even calcium-magnesium balance.”
A 32-page guide to the benefits of magnesium and how to support a healthy heart is available as a free download at www.nutritionalmagnesium.org.
For media inquiries, contact Boris Levitsky at (714) 605-1100.
About the Nutritional Magnesium Association
The nonprofit Nutritional Magnesium Association (NMA) is a trusted authority on the subject of magnesium deficiency and provides timely and useful information so as to improve the lives of all people affected by the widespread magnesium deficiency in their diets and the related health issues associated with this deficiency. Radio, TV, magazines and professional journals interview its members regularly. For more information, go to www.nutritionalmagnesium.org.
1. Kim YH, KI Jung, CH Song. 2012, Oct 11. “Effects of serum calcium and magnesium on heart rate variability in adult women.” Biol Trace Elem Res.
2. Maier JA. 2012, May. “Endothelial cells and magnesium: implications in atherosclerosis.” Clin Sci (Lond) 122 (9): 397–407.
3. Altura BM. 1979, Aug. “Sudden-death ischemic heart disease and dietary magnesium intake: is the target site coronary vascular smooth muscle?” Med Hypotheses 5 (8): 843–48.
4. Kisters K et al. 1999. “Hypomagnesaemia, borderline hypertension and hyperlipidaemia.” Magnesium Bull 21:31–34.
5. Altura BM, BT Altura et al. 1984. “Magnesium deficiency and hypertension: correlation between magnesium-deficient diets and microcirculatory changes in situ.” Science 223 (4642): 1315–17.
6. Pierce JB. 1994. Heart Healthy Magnesium: Your Nutritional Key to Cardiovascular Wellness. New York: Avery Publishing Group.
7. Liao F, AR Folsom. 1998. “Is low magnesium concentration a risk factor for coronary heart disease? The atherosclerosis risk in communities (ARIC) study.” Am Heart J 136 (3): 480–90.
8. See note 3 above.
9. Shechter M et al. 2000. “Beneficial antithrombotic effects of the association of pharmacological oral magnesium therapy with aspirin in coronary heart disease patients.” Magnes Research 13 (4): 275–84.
10. Seelig MS, 1998. “Review and hypothesis: might patients with the chronic fatigue syndrome have latent tetany of magnesium deficiency.” J Chron Fatigue Syndr 4:77–108.
The content of this press release and any associated website has not been evaluated by the FDA, is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease and is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health program.
Company Email [email protected] Telephone Website http://www.nutritionalmagnesium.org/ Contact Boris Levitsky Facebook http://www.facebook.com/nutritionalmagnesium Twitter https://twitter.com/nutritionalmag
SOURCE Nutritional Magnesium Association
Magnesium – How it affects your sleep
The sleep-promoting, stress-reducing, disease-protecting power of this essential mineral
Often times I have patients who have questions surrounding nutritional supplements, vitamins and minerals. Recently I had someone ask me about magnesium for sleep, since she had heard me on a podcast talking about the magnesium in banana tea. I thought I would share parts of our conversation with you:
I’m glad you asked, I talk often with my patients about the importance of magnesium, and it’s critical—and sometimes under-recognized—role in sleep and overall health. I’ve seen many patients benefit from increasing their magnesium intake, through diet and supplements. It’s not uncommon for people, especially women, to have less-than-optimal magnesium levels.
Because magnesium plays such a widespread, critical role in the body—it’s one of the 24 essential vitamins and minerals—low magnesium levels can throw many of the body’s functions off course, and raise risks for chronic health problems.
Healthy magnesium levels protect metabolic health, stabilize mood, keep stress in check, promote better sleep, and contribute to heart and bone health.
Few dietary elements have more influence over the body than magnesium. Let’s take a closer look at how maintaining magnesium levels can benefit your sleep, as well as your mental and physical well being.
What is magnesium?
Magnesium is an essential mineral, one of seven essential macro-minerals that the human body needs in large quantities. The body does not produce magnesium. The magnesium your body needs must come from outside sources. You receive magnesium through your diet. Magnesium-rich foods include:
• Dark leafy greens
• Seeds and nuts, including sunflower and sesame seeds, cashews and almonds
• Squash, broccoli, and other vegetables
• Dairy products
• Unprocessed whole grains
Magnesium supplements can also be a very quick, easy and effective source of magnesium,
I prefer Magsoothe and recommend it regularly.
Magnesium deficiency is common among adults. Estimates suggest nearly half of adult men and women in the United States aren’t getting enough magnesium. Older adults are more vulnerable to magnesium deficiency. Women are also at higher risk for low magnesium, especially with age.
How does magnesium work?
Magnesium plays a widespread role in the human body, helping regulate and facilitate many essential functions. One of magnesium’s most important roles is as an enabler of healthy enzyme function. Magnesium is involved in more than 300 different enzyme-related reactions in the body’s cells.
In addition, magnesium:
• Plays a key role in energy production, activating ATP, the energy molecule that fuels your body’s cells
• Regulates transport of calcium, potassium, and other essential minerals, helping muscles and nerves function properly, and maintaining heart rhythm
• Regulates blood pressure, cholesterol production, and blood glucose levels
• Aids bone development and guards against bone loss
• Functions as an electrolyte, maintaining fluid balance in your body
• Helps control your body’s stress-response system, and hormones that elevate or diminish stress
Benefits of magnesium
With such a broad, comprehensive role in the body’s functioning, it’s no surprise that the benefits of magnesium are widespread.
Here are some of the ways science indicates magnesium can protect your health:
Better sleep. Insomnia is a common symptom of magnesium deficiency. People with low magnesium often experience restless sleep, waking frequently during the night. Maintaining healthy magnesium levels often leads to deeper, more sound sleep. Magnesium plays a role in supporting deep, restorative sleep by maintaining healthy levels of GABA, a neurotransmitter that promotes sleep. Research indicates supplemental magnesium can improve sleep quality, especially in people with poor sleep. Magnesium can also help insomnia that’s linked to the sleep disorder restless-leg syndrome.
Stress reduction and mood stabilization. Magnesium increases GABA, which encourages relaxation as well as sleep. Low GABA levels in the body can make it difficult to relax. Magnesium also plays a key role in regulating the body’s stress-response system. Magnesium deficiency is associated with heightened stress and anxiety. Recent research indicates that magnesium deficiency can negatively affect gut health and is linked to anxiety behaviors.
Supplemental magnesium has been shown to have a stabilizing effect on mood. This essential mineral has been demonstrated effective in relieving symptoms of both mild-to-moderate anxiety and mild-to-moderate depression.
Bone health. Magnesium plays a critical role in bone formation, and in maintaining bone density. It helps the body effectively use the building blocks of strong bones, including the nutrients calcium and Vitamin D. The role of magnesium to bone health becomes increasingly clear with age. Higher magnesium intake is linked to greater bone density in older men and women. In postmenopausal women, magnesium has been shown to improve bone mass.
Cardiovascular health. One of magnesium’s most important jobs is to regulate muscle function throughout the body—and that includes the heart muscle. In the body, magnesium helps the heart maintain a healthy rhythm. It also helps regulate blood pressure and the production of cholesterol. High dietary magnesium intake is linked to significantly reduced mortality in people who are at high risk for cardiovascular disease.
Magnesium deficiency is linked to unhealthful inflammation, and elevated inflammatory markers, including C-reactive protein, or CRP. Studies show adults who don’t get sufficient magnesium are more likely to have higher levels of CRP, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
In people with hypertension, supplemental magnesium can lower blood pressure, according to research. Magnesium is an effective blood-pressure reducer in healthy adults with high blood pressure, and in adults who have hypertension and diabetes.
In addition to blood pressure regulation, magnesium is used to treat other cardiovascular conditions, including:
• Coronary artery disease
• Mital valve prolapse
Metabolic health. Magnesium has an important function in regulating blood sugar, and in metabolizing glucose in the body. Higher magnesium levels are associated with lower risk for type 2 diabetes. Low magnesium levels in the body are linked to insulin resistance. Among people with type 2 diabetes, 25-38 percent are also deficient in magnesium, according to research.
Research shows supplemental magnesium can improve insulin sensitivity in people with diabetes who have a magnesium deficiency. One study showed that in pre-diabetics without a magnesium deficiency, supplemental magnesium reduces blood glucose levels.
People whose magnesium intake is high have a lower risk for metabolic syndrome, a group of conditions that increase risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Relief from pain. Research indicates magnesium may help with pain problems in a number of health conditions:
• Supplemental magnesium may help reduce pain intensity and improve mobility for people with chronic lower back pain
• Supplemental magnesium may improve pain and tender points (as well as depression) in people with fibromyalgia. Low magnesium appears to make fibromyalgia symptoms worse.
• Magnesium deficiency is linked to headaches. Research suggests that supplemental magnesium may help improve headache pain, including for migraines.
Help with PMS. Research indicates magnesium can reduce premenstrual symptoms, including mood swings, irritability, anxiety and tension, and bloating.
ADHD symptoms. Research indicates children with ADHD often have low magnesium levels, at significantly higher rates than children in the general population. Low magnesium in children has been linked to impulsivity, inattention, and hyperactive behavior. Studies suggest supplemental magnesium may reduce hyperactivity and improve cognitive function in children with ADHD.
Athletic performance. Magnesium plays a major role in muscle health and energy production. What can it do for physical performance? Some research indicates supplemental magnesium can reduce the stress response to exertion and increase red blood cells and hemoglobin in athletes. In one study of triathletes, taking magnesium supplements was associated with faster start times in swimming, cycling, and running. In people who are sleep deprived, magnesium improves exercise tolerance, according to research.
Magnesium: what to know
Always consult your doctor before you begin taking a supplement or make any changes to your existing medication and supplement routine. This is not medical advice, but it is information you can use as a conversation-starter with your physician at your next appointment.
The following doses are based on amounts that have been investigated in scientific studies. In general, it is recommended that users begin with the lowest suggested dose, and gradually increase as needed.
For general health, sleep, stress: 100-350 mg daily. Individual dosing will vary, and can vary widely depending on an individual’s magnesium levels.
Possible side effects of magnesium
Magnesium is generally well tolerated by healthy adults. Possible side effects include bloating, diarrhea, upset stomach, nausea, vomiting.
Very large doses of magnesium can cause serious side effects, including: low blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, mental confusion, changes to breathing, coma, and death.
The following people should consult with a physician before using a magnesium supplement:
• Women who are pregnant or breast feeding
• People with bleeding disorders
• People with heart block
• People with kidney problems
There are conditions that are associated with higher risks for magnesium deficiency, including alcoholism and diabetes. There are also conditions that may reduce the amount of magnesium the body absorbs, including:
• Inflammatory bowel disease
• Diabetes that is not well controlled
• Stomach infections
• Immune conditions
These are commonly used medications and supplements that have scientifically-identified interactions with magnesium. People who take these or any other medications and supplements should consult with a physician before beginning to use magnesium as a supplement.
Interactions with medications
• Anticoagulant medications
• Biphosphonates (medications that treat bone density)
• Digoxin, a medication that treats heart failure and atrial fibrillation
• Gabapentin, an anti-convulsant and anti-seizure medication
• Medications for diabetes
• Medications for high blood pressure
• Muscle relaxants
• Water pills
Interactions with other supplements
Boron. Boron supplements may slow the processing of magnesium in the body and may elevate blood magnesium levels.
Calcium. It’s often recommended that people take magnesium and calcium together.
Very high doses of calcium may reduce how much magnesium the body absorbs. People with significant risks for magnesium deficiency should talk with their doctor about doses for both supplements, and about the timing of taking these supplements.
Vitamin D. Vitamin D may increase the amount of magnesium the body absorbs. This is more likely when taking high doses of Vitamin D.
Zinc. In high doses, zinc may reduce the amount of magnesium the body absorbs. There is some evidence indicated that high levels of dietary zinc may elevate the loss of magnesium in postmenopausal women.
Herbs and supplements that work to reduce blood clotting, including:
• Panax ginseng
Magnesium is an essential, whole-health mineral, key to helping the body run well, both sleeping and waking. Paying attention to magnesium in your diet—and considering magnesium supplement to support healthy levels—are ways to ensure you get all this protective and therapeutic benefits magnesium offers.
Michael J. Breus, PhD, DABSM
The Sleep Doctor™
P.S. I regularly use Jigsaw MagSoothe as my source of magnesium. My whole family loves the flavors and it is a nice way to end the night and kick off a good night of sleep.
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Most of the time, we’re unaware of our heartbeat. Palpitations make you briefly aware – you feel your heart pounding, racing or fluttering, sensations that you may also feel in your chest, throat or neck. While some may find these irregular beats disturbing, they’re usually harmless. In most cases, they’re triggered by stress, anxiety, or fatigue, as well as by some medications and stimulants.
I referred your question to preventive cardiologist Stephen Devries, M.D., executive director of the Gaples Institute for Integrative Cardiology in Deerfield, IL. He agrees with me that omega 3 supplements are unlikely to cause you any problems and are safe to take.
If you’ve experienced palpitations, you know they can occur at any time, whether you’re resting, exercising, standing, sitting or lying down. When they occur occasionally and last only a few seconds, they don’t suggest any underlying heart problem. However, be sure to consult your physician if they come on frequently or worsen. You may need simple heart-monitoring to make sure that you do not have a cardiac arrhythmia that needs attention.
The most frequent causes of palpitations beyond stress, anxiety, alcohol, and strenuous exercise are stimulants such as caffeine, nicotine, amphetamines and cocaine. Hormonal changes such as those that accompany menstruation, pregnancy or menopause, can also trigger palpitations. The medications most often responsible include diet pills, and cough and cold medications containing pseudoephedrine. (There are a lot of these on drugstore shelves; read labels before buying or check online for the ingredients in specific products.) Some asthma inhalers also contain stimulant drugs.
Fortunately, you can address palpitations easily. The best method I know is my relaxing breath. Try it:
• Sit up, with your back straight (eventually you’ll be able to do this exercise in any position).
• Place your tongue against the ridge of tissue just behind your upper front teeth and keep it there throughout the exercise.
• Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.
• Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
• Hold your breath for a count of seven.
• Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.
• Repeat this cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.
Try to perform this breathing exercise at least twice a day. Repeat the whole sequence as often as you wish, but for the first month of practice, don’t do more than four breaths at one time. Once you have it down, do it as soon as you become aware of an irregular heartbeat. I also recommend that you consider taking supplemental magnesium, which helps stabilize the electrical activity of the heart. The dose is 500 mg twice a day of magnesium citrate, glycinate, or chelate. If this causes a laxative effect, add some calcium citrate to maintain normal bowel function.
Andrew Weil, M.D.
Email to author from Stephen Devries, M.D., received May 18, 2016
Magnesium is the eighth most abundant element on the earth’s crust, and is found in every organ in the human body. The physician Joseph Black first recognized magnesium as an element in 1755, but even before Black’s time, physicians were recommending the magnesium carbonate “magnesia alba” for people with an upset stomach.
Today, researchers know magnesium plays a part in more than 300 reactions in the body. Magnesium is necessary to synthesize proteins, DNA and RNA. It plays a role in our metabolism, and cells use magnesium to transport calcium and potassium ions across the cell walls. Healthy magnesium levels are key to nerve function, muscle contraction, heartbeat, and healthy bones. Yet all of the magnesium in the average person weighs only 0.8 ounces (25 grams).
Magnesium is still used as an antacid and a laxative today. As a supplement, magnesium is touted to prevent hearing loss, kidney stones and migraine headaches. Magnesium supplements are also claimed to improve athletic performance, and treat sleep troubles including restless leg syndrome and insomnia. Low magnesium levels have been linked to osteoporosis, anxiety, irritability, depression and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Doctors sometimes recommend magnesium supplements to treat people with high blood pressure, preeclampsia, eclampsia, heart attacks, premenstrual syndrome (PMS) irregular heartbeat, or an unhealthy ratio of HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol to LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol.
Some people with certain chronic conditions — including diabetes, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue syndrome — use magnesium supplements to control symptoms. Magnesium is occasionally recommended to ease altitude sickness, hay fever, Lyme disease, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Magnesium applied directly to the skin is said to treat skin infections and speed up wound healing. Magnesium has also been touted to ease muscle cramps, sensitivity to loud noises and kidney stones.
Many Americans do not get enough magnesium, according to the National Institutes of Health. But some groups of people, who have certain diseases or conditions are even more likely to have low magnesium levels. Heavy drinking and alcoholism can result in chronically low magnesium levels, and gastrointestinal conditions such as Crohn’s disease and celiac disease can also deplete magnesium levels.
Older adults tend to have lower magnesium levels than young adults. This happens, in part, because the gut becomes less efficient at absorbing magnesium and the kidneys become less efficient at retaining magnesium with age. Type 2 diabetes can cause the kidneys to excrete too much magnesium, and in turn lead to a magnesium deficit. And some medications, such as diuretics, the heart drug digoxin and penicillamine (used for rheumatoid arthritis) can all interfere with magnesium in the body.
Do magnesium supplements work?
Supplements can increase magnesium levels, especially those in the forms of magnesium aspartate, citrate, lactate and chloride. A 2011 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed people who take magnesium supplements typically get more than the recommended daily amount.
The recommended daily intake of magnesium ranges from 320 milligrams to 420 milligrams, depending on age or gender.
In fact, a healthy diet can easily provide enough magnesium. Whole grains, nuts, fish, meat, dark green vegetables, legumes and many fruits contain significant amounts of magnesium.
Inadequate magnesium levels are not likely to cause symptoms, but a full-blown magnesium deficiency can cause nausea, fatigue and weakness. Severe magnesium deficiency may cause numbness, tingling, muscle contractions, seizures, abnormal heart rhythm and personality changes. People with very low magnesium levels, or hypomagnesemia, may suffer from involuntary eye movements.
Magnesium deficiency can sometimes cause coronary spasm, a phenomenon in which the arteries that supply blood to the heart spasm and block blood flow. Dangerously low levels of magnesium can also result in low calcium (hypocalcemia), and low potassium (hypokalemia) — which can be fatal in extreme cases. Severely low magnesium can also result in a heart attack, respiratory arrest and death.
While magnesium supplements can certainly treat a magnesium deficiency, studies also show getting more magnesium than the bare minimum may help certain conditions. Several long-term studies have found a correlation between high magnesium levels and a lower risk of heart disease, sudden cardiac death and ischemic heart disease, according to the National Institutes of Health’s Office of Dietary Supplements. Magnesium may also help prevent stroke. An analysis of seven studies including more than 200,000 people found that an extra 100 milligrams of magnesium a day reduced a person’s risk of stroke by 8 percent, according to a February 2012 review in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Studies show magnesium supplements may lower blood pressure, but only by a little bit. One analysis of more than 22 studies on magnesium and blood pressure found that magnesium supplements reduced blood pressure by 2 to 4 mmHg, according to an April 2012 paper published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. However, high blood pressure can fall within a range of 20 mmHg: from 140/90 mmHg to 160/100 mmHg. In the study, people’s drop in blood pressure was greater when they increased their magnesium by eating more fruits and vegetables, or taking more than 370 milligrams of magnesium a day. Recommended daily intake of magnesium range from 320 milligrams to 420 milligrams, depending on age or gender. But because a diet with more fruits and vegetable will also increase levels of other nutrients, it is difficult to measure the independent effect magnesium has on blood pressure.
There is also a relationship between low magnesium levels and type 2 diabetes, studies have found, but exactly how the two are linked is still unclear. Low magnesium levels may worsen insulin resistance, which leads to uncontrolled blood sugar. But insulin resistance may also lead to low magnesium. Both situations may also be true where diabetes leads to low magnesium, and in turn low magnesium worsens diabetes, according to the NIH. A small number of studies show getting more magnesium may increase bone mineral density in elderly women, but more research is needed to clarify magnesium’s potential in preventing or treating osteoporosis.
Guidelines from the American Headache Society and the American Academy of Neurology say magnesium is “probably effective” for migraine prevention. (However the guidelines recommend the nutritional supplement butterbur over magnesium to prevent migraines.)
The National Library of Medicine and the NIH determined that magnesium may help people with chronic fatigue syndrome and pain from fibromyalgia. Scientific evidence also indicates that magnesium may help PMS, high cholesterol, kidney stones, hearing loss, asthma attacks and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). There are not enough studies to determine whether magnesium supplements could help anxiety, ADHD, hay fever, Lyme disease or multiple sclerosis, according to the NIH. Studies are less promising on magnesium’s ability to boost athletic performance.
Are magnesium supplements safe?
Magnesium is one of the seven major minerals that the body needs in relatively large amounts (Calcium, potassium, sodium, chloride, potassium and phosphorus are the others). But too much of one major mineral can lead to a deficiency in another, and excessive magnesium can in turn cause a deficiency in calcium. Few people overdose on minerals from food. However, it is possible to get too much magnesium from supplements or laxatives.
People with kidney problems are more likely to experience an overdose of magnesium. Symptoms of toxic magnesium levels can range from upset stomach and diarrhea, to more serious symptoms of vomiting, confusion, slowed heart rate and dangerously low blood pressure. Severe magnesium overdoses can lead to problems breathing, coma, irregular heartbeat and even death.
Magnesium supplements can interact with several drugs. Taking magnesium too close to a dose of some antibiotics, including ciprofloxacin and moxifloxacin, may interfere with how the body absorbs the medicine. Similarly, magnesium can interfere with some osteoporosis drugs if the doses are taken too close together. Magnesium can also interfere with some thyroid medications. Magnesium can worsen side effects of some blood pressure medications, and increase the potency of some diabetes medicines.
When Magnesium Makes Me Worse
October 11, 2012
When people take a drug or a supplement they take it with the expectation that it will make them feel better. We know that’s not always the case with drugs but what about supplements?
I wrote the original post Oct 11, 2011. Since then it’s had almost one million views. By 2017, many people were reading the second edition of The Magnesium Miracle (2017) and hearing about magnesium. As a result, more people are taking magnesium than ever before and a few people are wondering why it sometimes makes them feel worse.
In about 1 out of 100 people there can be a shift in symptoms that you don’t understand. Here’s how one reader put it. “My obvious magnesium deficiency symptoms, cramping, muscle aches, headaches, etc., are worsening slightly rather than getting better. Anxiety is the only thing that has gotten better. Is this normal? I’m using magnesium oil and magnesium citrate but not yet able to tolerate more than 200-300mg without getting diarrhea.”
For the side effect of diarrhea, I recommend switching to my magnesium product, ReMag because it’s fully absorbed at the cellular level and has no laxative effect. I also recommend its companion product, ReMyte (multiple mineral), a 12-mineral formula that is also absorbed fully into the cells and supports the thyroid and adrenals.
However in “sensitive” people, even ReMag can rev people up too much, or trigger an irritable bowel. If you are chronically fatigued and in, what I call, Total Body Meltdown, feeling revved up may make you feel weaker in the beginning. If that’s the case, just cut back and take less ReMag and then work up slowly! Take 1/4 tsp of ReMag in a liter of sea salted water and sip it through the day and slowly build up. Some customers may have to take only a few drops of ReMag in sea salted water and slowly increase.
Below are 15 of the most common reasons why you might feel worse, or think you feel worse, after taking magnesium. (I’ve added to this list several times since it was first published.)
Actually it’s not magnesium that’s making you worse but just the way you are taking it or other things you are or aren’t taking along with it or the amount of toxicity in your body. None of this means that magnesium is bad for you. You can think of magnesium – and ReMag – as a food that your body has been deprived of and desperately needs.
1. You’re not taking enough: When people feel worse with magnesium, I believe that the 700-800 enzyme systems that require magnesium just get jump-started and They Want More! Like everyone else, I used to write that magnesium was necessary in 325 enzyme systems but now, according to many researchers that number is more than twice what we previously thought.
In the above statement, my blog reader said she couldn’t take more that 200-300 mg. But all 800 enzyme systems want a piece of the action once they’re been woken up! And with each enzyme system pumping away they are using up the little magnesium you gave them and, like I said, They Want More!
This doesn’t mean that you’ll increase your magnesium ad infinitum! You will reach a saturation point of your magnesium stores and actually be able to decrease your magnesium intake. However, my blog reader isn’t going to get anywhere near the amount she needs if she keeps getting the laxative effect on 200-300mg. And getting the laxative effect so early will prevent her from getting the magnesium she needs to treat her magnesium deficiency symptoms. Some people think they have enough magnesium when they get the laxative effect and try to find other remedies for their symptoms.
That’s one of the main reasons I decided to create and promote Pico-Ionic Magnesium, ReMag. It’s absorbed 100% at the cellular level and has no laxative effect. So you can take as much as you require to eliminate all your magnesium deficiency symptoms. BUT, even with ReMag, if your bowels are “sensitive” just go slowly. Instead of the maintenance dose of 1/2 tsp twice a day or the therapeutic dose of 1-2 tsp twice a day, you can begin with 5-10 drops a day and take it with food. Then you increase by 10 drops every 2-3 days. To determine your magnesium saturation point, you can get a Magnesium RBC test through Request A Test. The range is usually given as 4.2-6.9 mg/dL; the optimum level is between 6.0-6.5mg/dL. It’s not the definitive magnesium test but it’s something that you can use to follow your magnesium saturation.
2. You’re taking too much: You can also feel worse on magnesium if you take too much, too soon. This usually happens if you have adrenal fatigue and weakness from magnesium deficiency. Anyone in this category should start very slowly on any new supplement or drug. If you take a high dose of magnesium right from the start it’s like using muscles that powered a bicycle and expect them to power a jet. Your body might just be so weak that revving up 800 enzyme systems all at once makes you feel jangled and even anxious or depressed because you don’t know what’s going on. Please try to understand that this may actually mean that you really do need more magnesium. Start with one quarter of the recommended dose of magnesium and work up as your body adapts.
3. You have low blood pressure from long-standing magnesium deficiency and adrenal fatigue. You may have heard that magnesium can lower your BP so you worry about that happening when your BP is already low. Here’s what is likely happening: Magnesium deficiency can cause an under-active autonomic nervous system leading to low blood pressure and poor circulatory system performance. This is another instance where you must begin by supplementing at about one quarter the recommended dose of magnesium and slowly build up. The other minerals offered in ReMyte are important in this case as well to support adrenals and thyroid and improve potassium levels.
4. You’re on heart medications and as your health conditions improve, your meds are becoming “toxic.” That’s because you may not require them anymore! Check with your doctor when you are using magnesium to treat health conditions and want to wean off your meds. For example, magnesium helps lower blood pressure. If you continue to take the same amounts of BP meds, your BP might get too low. This is not a “side effect” of magnesium. It’s a side effect of taking drugs when you don’t need them. Magnesium balances blood pressure. If you have low BP to begin with and are not on meds, start magnesium very slowly because, as I describe in #2, you want your body to slowly adapt to a mineral you may have been deficient in for a long time.
5. You’re on fluoridated medications that bind up your magnesium and make you deficient even when you’re taking magnesium. See a list of fluoridated medications at the Fluoride Toxicity Research Collaborative. Many common drugs are fluoridated: Prozac, Paxil, Lipitor, Cipro, Diflucan to name a few.
6. You’ve started taking iodine (in doses above the RDA) that speeds up your metabolism giving you heart palpitations that has nothing to do with magnesium deficiency. Even people who take low dose iodine without taking enough magnesium and selenium can run into iodine toxicity problems. ReMyte has the proper amounts of iodine and selenium, as well as zinc, manganese and copper to support the thyroid.
7. You’re taking too much Vitamin D: Here’s what happens. You feel great on your magnesium and then you begin to have more magnesium deficiency symptoms after adding a high-dose Vitamin D supplement. Magnesium is required to transform Vitamin D from its storage form to its active form and for many other aspects of Vitamin D metabolism. That means if you take the extremely high doses that allopathic doctors are now recommending you can plummet into magnesium deficiency and not know what the heck is happening. In general, I don’t recommend more than 1,000-2,000 IU of Vitamin D daily for this reason. And never take Vitamin D without magnesium. I’ve written several blogs on this topic trying to sort out what’s going on. Read Too Much Vitamin D? and The Vitamin D Debate.
8. You are taking too much calcium and it’s pushing out your magnesium: Read Why I Hate Calcium to understand why the most prescribed mineral is actually dangerous because it’s causing heart disease in women.
9. You’re taking magnesium and becoming dehydrated because you don’t take any other trace minerals and you don’t drink enough water. Read The Solution for Dehydration and take 1/4 tsp of sea salt in every liter of water you drink. How much water per day? Half your body weight (in lbs.) in ounces of water. ReMyte, mineral and electrolyte formula is the next step in proper mineral balance and an improvement on just using sea salt for mineral balance.
10. Magnesium is getting into your cells and detoxifying chemicals and heavy metals. Sometimes this can feel like a healing reaction. The symptoms can be an increase in muscle pain, joint pain and even skin rashes. That’s why I recommend that you build up your dosage of magnesium slowly as the cells detoxify and are finally able to work efficiently.
11. You have IBS, which is a sensitivity of the lining of the gut or you are very toxic ((with heavy metals, medications, bad diet, yeast overgrowth (see #15)) and even ReMag gives you symptoms because it’s trying to help you detox. ReMag goes directly into the cells and will cause the muscles to relax and that can cause diarrhea. That’s why I try to “warn” people with “health conditions” to go slowly on ReMag for all the many reasons I’ve cited.
12. You’re taking a magnesium glutamate or aspartate. I warn against taking these forms of magnesium in my blog Glutamates in Magnesium Chelates. According to neurosurgeon, Dr. Russell Blaylock, glutamate and aspartate can break down into individual amino acids and act as renegade neurotransmitters.
13. You are taking high doses of magnesium and not getting enough calcium in your diet. I talk about the need to balance magnesium and calcium by supplementing with about 600mg of magnesium and getting 600mg of calcium in your diet. However many people are on a dairy-free diet and just don’t get enough calcium. If it’s just lactose intolerance, try yogurt or kefir, make bone broth and eat non-lactose raw cheese. If they don’t total 600mg of calcium, take my ReCalcia. Click on my book ReMyte and ReCalcia for more information.
14. You are taking thyroid medication and you suddenly feel you are taking too much (increased pulse, feeling hot, hyperactive). The magnesium in ReMag and the 9 thyroid minerals in ReMyte can “wake up” your thyroid so that it begins to make its own thyroid hormone and you don’t require as much (or any) thyroid hormone anymore. (Be sure to check with your doctor and wean off slowly.)
15. Your Immune System kicks in and tried to kick out yeast. If you have yeast overgrowth and your newly activated immune system is trying to get it under control, you can experience some yeast die off. You may develop a rash, itchy skin, itchy ears, a coated tongue, changes in your bowel movements, or vaginitis. Please read my book ReSet The Yeast Connection to learn about how to implement my Yeast Detox Protocol.
Carolyn Dean MD ND
The Doctor of the Future®
RESOURCES: Along the borders and in the links of my web site you can find my books, writings, and my call-in radio show. Email your questions to: [email protected]
Can Magnesium supplements make you itch?
Brteathing Issues After Magnesium Supplementation
I wonder if you could help with this issue.
I am a big fan of Magnesium, and I have read many books on Magnesium and done a lot of Internet research and its benefits.
I also believe that I am low on Magnesium, having many of the symptoms of Magnesium deficiency.
However, when I supplement with Magnesium I experience breathing difficulties – the symptoms I have is that I become much more aware of my breathing this is actual not in my mind, my chest becomes tight and I cannot take a deep breath, I struggle to get that deep breath maybe every 3 or 4 breath. It is an odd experience.
Within a day or so of stopping the Magnesium supplements this goes away, so it is clearly linked and I have tried it several times and each time the same thing happens.
I have tried several different types of Magnesium supplement – Magnesium Oil, Magnesium Supreme Citric acid and magnesium carbonate, slow release magnesium, etc – all seem to have the same effect on me.
I do think I am low in Magnesium, due to symptoms, but obviously the breathing problem prevents me supplementing. I get benefits when supplementing, I become calmer, more relaxed, but obviously the breathing issue is a big problem.
Have you come across this before, I have noticed that it states on a number of Internet sites that one of the deficiency symptoms of Magnesium is a similar “can’t take a deep breath” feeling, but I don’t get this when not supplementing Magnesium, only when taking a supplement. I was not taking high doses by the way, typically supplementing between 300mg to 600mg per day plus Mg I would get from my food.
Could this be a sign of something else, maybe a mineral imbalance, have you any suggestions, any help or advice would be most welcome. I know Magnesium can build up if your kidneys can not expel it, but I am not aware of having kidney problems – again, how can you tell this?
What Is It?
Essential for hundreds of chemical reactions that occur in the body every second, the mineral magnesium has received surprisingly little attention over the years. Recent findings, however, suggest that it also has important health-promoting benefits, from an ability to prevent heart disease to a role in treating such chronic conditions as fibromyalgia and diabetes.
Unfortunately, most people don’t get enough magnesium in their daily diets, mainly because they eat great quantities of processed foods, which provide scant amounts of this important mineral. The effects of stress, intense physical activity, or the use of certain medications can also cause magnesium deficiency. Some diseases, such as diabetes and alcoholism, can cause low magnesium levels too.
Supplements are one way to ensure that you get enough magnesium. You’ll find several forms available: magnesium citrate, magnesium aspartate, magnesium carbonate, magnesium gluconate, magnesium oxide, and magnesium sulfate.
Magnesium plays a variety of roles in the body. Not only is it critical for energy production and proper nerve function, it also promotes muscle relaxation and helps the body produce and use insulin. Like calcium, another mineral it’s commonly paired with in supplement products, magnesium is involved in the formation of bones and teeth, the clotting of blood, and the regulation of heart rhythm. Magnesium, sometimes taken in combination with calcium, is often used to treat such ailments as back pain, high blood pressure, depression, anxiety and panic, muscle cramps, and migraine headache.
Specifically, magnesium may help to:
Prevent and treat heart disease, including angina and irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia). Without adequate levels of magnesium, your heart will suffer: The mineral helps coordinate the activity of the heart muscle as well as the functioning of the nerves that initiate the heartbeat. It also helps keep coronary arteries from spasming, an action that can cause the intense chest pain known as angina. If you have a deficiency of magnesium–often true of those with angina and abnormal heart rhythms–supplements may help. In a recent study of more than 230 people with frequent arrhythmias, the likelihood of these abnormal rhythms dropped significantly within three weeks after the participants increased the amount of magnesium and potassium in their diets. In addition, when given by injection in a hospital setting, magnesium has been found to aid recovery from a heart attack by stabilizing heart rhythm, inhibiting blood clots, and expanding coronary arteries. Some studies even indicate that drinking “hard” water, which is high in magnesium, lowers the risk of death from heart attack.
Control high blood pressure. Even a slight decline in blood pressure can reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. Magnesium plays a part in reducing elevated blood pressure by relaxing the muscles that control blood vessels, allowing blood to flow more freely. Its beneficial effect on blood pressure is further enhanced because of its ability to help equalize the levels of potassium and sodium in the blood. A recent study of 60 men and women with high blood pressure found that magnesium supplements lowered both the systolic (the top number) and diastolic (the bottom number) pressures. Magnesium is typically taken along with calcium to treat high blood pressure.
Limit complications of congestive heart failure. Because magnesium can help lower blood pressure and inhibit dangerous arrhythmias, two common complications in those with congestive heart failure, a weakened heart may benefit from extra doses of this mineral.
Prevent diabetes complications. Preliminary findings indicate that having sufficient amounts of magnesium may protect against non-insulin-dependent (type 2) diabetes and its complications, such as eye disease. More research on this potentially important role for magnesium in diabetes prevention is needed, however.
Reduce the symptoms of fibromyalgia. Magnesium’s role in relaxing contracted or stiff muscles makes it helpful for relieving the aching associated with fibromyalgia, a chronic rheumatic disorder. Taking the mineral with malic acid is often recommended for this purpose because the acid is believed to enhance the absorption and fatigue-fighting actions of magnesium. Fibromyalgia sufferers involved in a study on the effectiveness of high doses of magnesium and malic acid reported reduced pain and muscle tenderness after two months on the treatment regimen. Interestingly, people suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome–another disorder that can cause muscle aches and fatigue–may similarly benefit from magnesium, according to a placebo controlled study in which they reported an improvement in well-being after being injected with the mineral. (Whether the same benefits are available to those who take the mineral by mouth has yet to be determined.)
Ease muscle cramps, aches and pains. It has been shown that for proper muscle contraction and relaxation, magnesium and calcium need to be present in balanced amounts. A supplement containing these minerals, taken regularly, may lessen the pain from sports injuries or excessive physical activity Supplements with a ratio of two parts calcium to one part magnesium are recommended for otherwise healthy individuals treating muscle cramps and aches. Increasing magnesium levels can even improve a workout: A study of women over age 50 found that when magnesium levels were low, the participants had higher heart rates and needed more oxygen during their workouts.
Protect against migraines. Many migraine sufferers are found to have low magnesium levels in their systems. To maintain healthy blood flow to brain vessels–and thus possibly protect against debilitating migraine headaches–it’s smart to correct any magnesium deficiency.
Relieve PMS (premenstrual syndrome) discomforts. Because deficiencies in magnesium have been found in many women suffering from PMS, taking magnesium supplements may help this problem. Menstrual cramping, which is caused by hormonelike substances called prostaglandins made by the endometrial cells, may subside with supplemental doses of magnesium and calcium. Both minerals help to lower the production of prostaglandins. Magnesium’s muscle-relaxing properties probably have a beneficial effect on cramping of the uterine muscle as well.
Minimize the severity of asthma attacks. By helping the bronchial muscles to relax and encouraging the lung’s airways to expand, magnesium may ease an asthmatic’s breathing problems. Anyone suffering from severe or recurrent asthma attacks should consider using magnesium supplements along with their usual anti-inflammatory medications. When taken for preventive purposes in oral form, the mineral’s effects are gradual; it may take up to six weeks for any benefit to become apparent. (Studies have shown that intravenous injections of magnesium–but not necessarily oral doses–can stop some severe asthma attacks.)
Prevent osteoporosis. Magnesium helps the body convert vitamin D–which the body needs to take advantage of bone-strengthening calcium–into a form that it can use efficiently. By contributing to increased bone density, the mineral may help stall the onset of the debilitating, bone-thinning disease known as osteoporosis.
Reduce emotional irritability in chronic depression, anxiety, and panic disorder. Magnesium and vitamin B6 are needed for the body to produce serotonin, an important mood-enhancing brain chemical. When depression or a panic disorder is persistent–and especially when the usual drugs have limited effect–supplementing with magnesium and vitamin B 6 may provide significant relief. It may take six weeks or more of treatment for effects to be felt. Taking calcium along with magnesium may also lessen an overreaction to stress that some research has linked to anxiety and panic attacks.
Note: Magnesium has also been found to be useful for a number of other disorders. For information on these additional ailments, see our Dosage Recommendations Chart for Magnesium.
The government recently established new goals for the Recommended Daily Intake of magnesium for men and women. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) is now just one component of the new calculations, but is still the figure most important in trying to establish how much you need. The new RDAs are as follows for magnesium:
–For men ages 19 to 30: 400 mg a day.
–For women ages 19 to 30: 310 mg a day.
–For men ages 31 to 50: 420 mg a day.
–For women ages 31 to 50: 320 mg a day.
–For men ages 51 to 70: 420 mg a day.
–For women ages 51 to 70: 320 mg a day.
For more information on RDAs and other dietary guidelines, see Government Dietary Guidelines.
If You Get Too Little
Low levels of magnesium can increase your risk for complications of heart disease and diabetes. You may also be more susceptible to muscle cramps, various chronic pain conditions, and muscle fatigue.
Symptoms of a severe deficiency include irregular heartbeat, general fatigue, muscle spasms, irritability, nervousness, and confusion.
If You Get Too Much
Diarrhea and nausea are the most common side effects of ingesting too much magnesium.
If the body is unable to process particularly high doses of magnesium, muscle weakness, lethargy, confusion, and difficulty breathing may develop.
Serious overdose of this mineral is rare.
General Dosage Information
Special tip: When selecting a magnesium product, try magnesium citrate first; it’s the form that the body absorbs best. Magnesium oxide is often the cheapest form available, but it’s also the most poorly absorbed.
For heart disease prevention: Take 400 mg of magnesium a day.
For angina prevention: Take 200 mg twice a day.
For arrhythmias, congestive heart failure, and asthma: Take 400 mg twice a day.
Be sure to check out our Dosage Recommendations Chart for Magnesium, which lists therapeutic dosages for specific ailments at a glance.
Guidelines for Use
To enhance absorption, take magnesium supplements with food. If you happen to consume a high-fiber diet and also don’t get much magnesium, however, take the supplements between meals–and not with soda or wheat bran. These contain substances (phosphoric acid and phytates, respectively) that can interfere with the absorption of the magnesium.
If diarrhea develops with magnesium supplements, either reduce the dose or take magnesium in the form of magnesium gluconate or magnesium sulfate. Both of these forms are easy to digest.
When calculating your daily dose, keep in mind that some prescription and over-the-counter medicines–certain antacid products, for example–contain magnesium as well.
When taking magnesium to control asthma, fibromyalgia, heart disease, or other chronic conditions in particular, be patient. It may take six weeks or more to absorb adequate amounts of magnesium to benefit stressed body parts and notice a difference in your condition.
Muscle cramps, aches, and pains related to sports injuries are best treated with a regimen that supplies two parts calcium to one part magnesium.
When taking magnesium to protect against migraines, first correct any magnesium deficiency and then take a 2-to-1 calcium-magnesium combination to maintain a healthy balance of these two minerals and protect against future headaches.
To most effectively relieve PMS pain, it’s usually a good idea to take magnesium along with vitamin B6.
Magnesium and calcium have competing effects on many of the body’s chemical pathways. For this reason, combination magnesium and calcium products–or multimineral supplements–are often recommended for maintaining a proper balance of these minerals.
Magnesium can reduce the effectiveness of tetracycline antibiotics. Take magnesium supplements one to three hours before or after using this type of medication.
Note: For information on interactions with specific generic drugs, see our WholeHealth Chicago Drug/Nutrient Interactions Chart.
If you have any type of kidney or heart disease, consult your doctor before taking magnesium.
Angina 400 mg twice a day
Arrhythmia 400 mg twice a day
Asthma 400 mg twice a day. May be partially covered by your daily multivitamin/antioxidant.
Bronchitis (acute: 400 mg twice a day until recovered; chronic: 400 mg twice a day ).
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome 400 mg twice a day
Congestive Heart Failure 400 mg twice a day
Constipation 400-800 mg a day as needed
Crohn’s Disease 400 mg twice a day
Diabetes 400 mg a day. May be partially covered by your daily multivitamin/antioxidant.
Fatigue 400-800 mg a day
Fibrocystic Breast Changes 400 mg a day
Fibromyalgia 150-250 mg magnesium and 400-800 mg malic acid 3 times a day
Heart Disease Prevention 400-800 mg a day
Kidney Stones 400 mg magnesium citrate twice a day
Multiple Sclerosis 400 mg a day
Muscle Aches and Pains 400 mg magnesium twice a day
Osteoporosis 250-400 mg twice a day
Raynaud’s disease 400 mg twice a day
Strains and Sprains 400 mg twice a day
Stress 400-800 mg a day
Stroke 400 mg a day
Tinnitus 400 mg twice a day
Although 50% of the magnesium in your body is found in your bones, the versatile magnesium ion is also involved in more than 300 cellular reactions throughout your body. Making sure your magnesium levels are optimal has been shown to improve energy and relax tense muscles. In fact, nutritionally oriented physicians routinely use magnesium in any situation where there is a need to reduce a spasm of a muscle or an artery, as in the case of asthma, migraine headaches, muscle cramps, chest pain, and the like.
HOW IT HELPS ASTHMA
There has long been laboratory evidence that magnesium can relax the smooth muscle in lung tissue. Then, in the Forties, clinical studies showed that intravenously administered magnesium helped to stop an acute asthma attack. The regular use of oral magnesium supplements to treat asthma, however, has been slow to gain acceptance among conventional doctors. This is probably because it takes several weeks for magnesium supplements to raise tissue levels of the mineral to the point where muscle relaxation may take place. And you’d certainly want a quicker reaction when your airway is beginning to spasm! It’s also not clear whether swallowing magnesium pills will only help those asthmatics who happen to be deficient in the mineral. Nevertheless, considering the overall safety of this mineral, and the fact that you’ll probably never get your magnesium levels up with diet alone, supplementing with magnesium is an excellent idea for anyone who has asthma.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
All the forms of magnesium get absorbed fairly well into the gastrointestinal tract. There’s some evidence, however, that organic forms–citrate, glycinate, aspartate, malate, succinate, or fumarate–are better absorbed, utilized, and tolerated than inorganic or relatively insoluble mineral salts–magnesium oxide, chloride, gluconate, or carbonate. The simple inorganic salts often cause loose stools and/or diarrhea at higher dosages, while organic forms generally do not.
Capsules, tablets, and powders containing magnesium in a variety of forms are easy to find. But which one of the dizzying display should you choose? Here are some thoughts. Magnesium citrate and magnesium glycinate are the forms that most of us absorb and tolerate best. Magnesium oxide is often the cheapest form available, but it’s also the most poorly absorbed.
Because it’s so versatile, magnesium is frequently combined with other nutritional supplements depending on the condition being treated. However, when treating asthma, you’re simply interested in getting your body’s levels of magnesium higher so that a combination product is not an appropriate choice.
Here are some other pointers to help you use magnesium effectively. To enhance absorption, take magnesium with food. If you develop diarrhea, either reduce the dose or take magnesium in the form of magnesium gluconate or magnesium sulfate. Both of these forms are easy to digest.
If you have any type of kidney disease, do not use magnesium unless you’ve cleared it with your physician. Also, magnesium can help both heart disease and high blood pressure, but if you have either of these conditions, you might want to discuss magnesium use with your physician first.
For product recommendations and orders from the Natural Apothecary click here or call 773-296-6700, ext. 2001.
Symptoms of Low Magnesium
Low magnesium is known in research circles as the silent epidemic of our times.
Many of the symptoms of low magnesium are not unique to magnesium deficiency, making it difficult to diagnose with 100% accuracy. Thus quite often low magnesium levels go completely unrecognized… and untreated.
Yet chronic low intake of magnesium is not only extremely common but linked to several disease states, indicating the importance of considering both overt physical symptoms and the presence of other diseases and conditions when considering magnesium status.
Get answers below:
- What are the signs and symptoms of magnesium deficiency?
- What’s the difference between mild and severe magnesium deficiency?
- When should you address signs of low magnesium?
What are the symptoms of magnesium deficiency?
Magnesium is an important ingredient to so many of the body’s regulatory and biochemical systems that the impact of low levels spans all areas of health and medical practice. Therefore the symptoms of a magnesium deficit fall into two broad categories – the physical symptoms of overt deficiency and the spectrum of disease states linked to low magnesium levels.
Symptoms include both:
- Classic “Clinical” Symptoms. These physical signs of magnesium deficiency are clearly related to both its physiological role and its significant impact on the healthy balance of minerals such as calcium and potassium. Tics, muscle spasms and cramps, seizures, anxiety, and irregular heart rhythms are among the classic signs and symptoms of low magnesium. (A complete list of the symptoms of magnesium deficiency follows.)
- “Sub-clinical” or “Latent” Symptoms. These symptoms are present but concealed by an inability to distinguish their signs from other disease states. Caused by low magnesium intake prevalent in nearly all industrialized nations, they can include migraine headaches, insomnia, depression, and chronic fatigue, among others. (A complete list of the symptoms of low magnesium follows.)
The subject of subclinical or chronic latent magnesium deficiency has been one of alarm and increased emphasis in research communities. This growing attention is largely due to epidemiological (population study) links found between ongoing chronic low magnesium and some of the more troubling chronic diseases of our time, including hypertension, asthma and osteoporosis.
Compounding the problem is the knowledge that the body actually strips magnesium and calcium from the bones during periods of “functioning” low magnesium. This effect can cause a doubly difficult scenario: seemingly adequate magnesium levels that mask a true deficiency coupled by ongoing damage to bone structures. Thus experts advise the suspicion of magnesium deficiency whenever risk factors for related conditions are present, rather than relying upon tests or overt symptoms alone.
Signs of Magnesium Deficiency
The classic physical signs of low magnesium are: 1 2 3
Increased intracellular calcium
Irregular or rapid heartbeat
Growth retardation or “failure to thrive”
Conditions Related to Problems of Magnesium
In addition to symptoms of overt hypomagnesemia (clinically low serum magnesium), the following conditions represent possible indicators of chronic latent magnesium deficiency: 4 5 6 7
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Parkinson’s disease
- Sleep problems
- Cluster headaches
- Premenstrual syndrome
- Chest pain (angina)
- Cardiac arrhythmias
- Coronary artery disease and atherosclerosis
- Type II diabetes
What’s the difference between mild and severe magnesium deficiency?
It is well known that low magnesium is difficult to detect in a clinical setting, so much so that magnesium deficiency itself is sometimes referred to as “asymptomatic” or “showing no outward signs”. 8
Magnesium deficiency itself is sometimes referred to as “asymptomatic” or “showing no outward signs”.
In using these terms, researchers emphasize that conditions will often become severe before overt clinical signs are available – essentially issuing a warning to health practitioners to be on the alert to signs of magnesium deficiency.
Thus the question becomes not “How can we distinguish mild vs. severe deficiency?”, but “Given the difficulty in recognizing chronic low magnesium, how can we prevent it from developing into severe symptoms and chronic disease?”
The monitoring of magnesium levels among at risk populations would seem to be a solution, yet the most commonly used magnesium test, blood serum magnesium, is considered inaccurate in clearly identifying marginal magnesium deficiency.
Dr. Ronald Elin of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Louisville makes this point clear:
The definition of magnesium deficiency seems simple, but it is complicated by the lack of available clinical tests for the assessment of magnesium status. Ideally we would define magnesium deficiency as a reduction in the total body magnesium content. Tests should be available to identify which tissues are deficient and the state of magnesium in these tissues. Unfortunately, this definition is incompatible with current technology.” 9
In light of evidence that sub-clinical magnesium deficiencies can increase calcium imbalance, worsen blood vessel calcification, and potentially lead to type 2 diabetes, the World Health Organization in 2009 issued a call for improved and more scientific methods of setting daily magnesium requirements and more accurate and accessible methods of assessing magnesium deficiency. 10
Addressing Symptoms of Low Magnesium
In their paper published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, Drs. DH and DE Liebscher examine the difficulties in diagnosing magnesium deficiency through symptoms and testing, and offer a proposed solution.
Based on their clinical experience with mineral imbalance, the authors suggest: 11
- Performing magnesium testing whenever conditions or symptoms associated with magnesium deficiency are present.
- Increasing the threshold at which low blood magnesium is considered problematic, to successfully capture those with marginal deficiencies (from the commonly used 0.7
mmol/l Mg to 0.9 mmol/l Mg.)
- Beginning magnesium therapy and magnesium supplements as soon as possible, for a minimum of one month’s duration or until levels are clearly improved.
These recommendations echo the general sentiment that magnesium supplementation is safe and recommended, especially for the estimated 75% of the population with below the recommended daily magnesium intake.
The hope is that through measures to prevent magnesium deficiency, risk factors created by long-standing chronic low magnesium could be addressed in more people before severe symptoms and chronic disease develop.
Given the extreme prevalence of low magnesium intake in the U.S. and most developed countries, wider use of magnesium supplements may be the only solution to this silent epidemic.
|1.||Fox C, Ramsoomair D, Carter C. Magnesium: its proven and potential clinical significance. Southern Medical Journal. 2003;94(12):1195-201. Available at: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/423568_1. Accessed March 8, 2010.|
|2.||DiSilvestro R. Handbook of Minerals as Nutritional Supplements. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press; 2004.|
|3.||Kimura M. Overview of Magnesium Nutrition. In: International Magnesium Symposium. New Perspectives in Magnesium Research. London: Springer-Verlag; 2007:239-260.|
|4.||Kimura M. Overview of Magnesium Nutrition. In: International Magnesium Symposium. New Perspectives in Magnesium Research. London: Springer-Verlag; 2007:239-260.|
|5.||McCarthy J, Kumar R. Divalent Cation Metabolism: Magnesium. In: Schrier R, series editor. Atlas of Diseases of the Kidney. Volume 1. Wiley-Blackwell; 1999: 4.1-4.12.|
|6.||Elin RJ, Rude RK. Oral magnesium and wellness. The Magnesium Report: Clinical, Research and Laboratory News for Cardiologists. 2000.|
|7.||Liebscher DH, Liebscher DE. About the misdiagnostics of magnesium deficiency. In: Xth International Magnesium Symposium. Cairns (Australia): 2003.|
|8.||Fox C, Ramsoomair D, Carter C. Magnesium: its proven and potential clinical significance. Southern Medical Journal. 2003;94(12):1195-201. Available at: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/423568_1. Accessed March 8, 2010.|
|9.||World Health Organization. Calcium and Magnesium in Drinking Water: Public health significance. Geneva: World Health Organization Press; 2009.|
|10.||World Health Organization. Calcium and Magnesium in Drinking Water: Public health significance. Geneva: World Health Organization Press; 2009.|
|11.||Liebscher DH, Liebscher DE. About the misdiagnostics of magnesium deficiency. In: Xth International Magnesium Symposium. Cairns (Australia): 2003.|