Top Magnesium Side Effects to Look Out For

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Magnesium is one of the most essential elements for human health. It is found in every organ of the body, where it plays a role in more than 300 distinct chemical reactions. Most of the magnesium is found in the bones, where it helps to transport calcium and potassium. It also regulates blood pressure in the heart and the vessels, helps to synthesize DNA, and plays an important role in our metabolism.

According to the Linus Pauling Institute, the typical adult male needs about 420mg of magnesium per day, whereas the typical female only needs 320mg.

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What Are the Side Effects of Magnesium?

The side effects of consuming magnesium supplements are relatively minor and should not be a concern for the majority of people. However, unabsorbed salts from certain magnesium supplements can have a laxative-like effect. That is why you may experience diarrhea, nausea, cramping, and an upset stomach after ingesting supplements.

The risk of these side effects increases at higher dosages and usually occurs when you take the supplement on an empty stomach. These symptoms are most likely to occur as your body adjusts to the supplements, but may go away after some time. If symptoms persist, your doctor may be able to recommend specific treatments to reduce the side effects.

Very rarely, worse side effects can occur. If you experience a serious allergic reaction to the supplements, including rash, itching, difficulty breathing, tightness in the chest, and swelling around the face, then stop taking them and call your doctor immediately.

Magnesium supplements are available in a variety of forms, including magnesium oxide, citrate, and chloride. Each one may have a slightly different effect on the human body.

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Don’t Take Magnesium Supplements Under These Circumstances

Magnesium supplements are not recommended if you are suffering from a kidney disease or are on dialysis. This significantly reduces the kidney’s ability to remove excess magnesium from the body, which, according to the National Kidney Foundation, can cause the accumulation of magnesium in the blood.

Several types of medications may also potentially interact with magnesium supplements in a negative way. For example, magnesium supplements can interfere with the absorption of Bisphosphonates (medication for osteoporosis) and certain antibiotics. Carefully read and follow the precautions on the label before using any product.

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These Are the Signs of a Magnesium Overdose

A magnesium overdose may cause the following symptoms:

  • Low blood pressure
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Vomiting
  • Facial flushing
  • Lethargy
  • Drowsiness
  • Changes in the frequency of urination

As magnesium toxicity worsens, you may then experience these symptoms:

  • Muscle paralysis
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Blurred vision
  • A slower heartbeat
  • Cardiac arrest

If the magnesium is injected, then you may also experience some skin irritation near the injection site.

As mentioned before, a magnesium overdose is most common in people with abnormal kidney functions. The risk of an overdose increases with the severity of the kidney disease. So if your kidney disease is in a later stage, you may notice more side effects. Seek medical attention immediately if you experience any serious symptoms.

What Are the Benefits of Magnesium?

Are you feeling a little stressed or anxious? A lot of people use magnesium supplements to ease psychological strain and help them deal with stressful situations. Doctors may also sometimes prescribe magnesium to treat people who are suffering from or are at risk of the following problems:

  • High blood pressure
  • Migraine headaches
  • Muscle cramps
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Insomnia
  • Osteoporosis
  • Diabetes

The main reason to take a magnesium supplement is if you’re suffering from a magnesium deficiency. So unless you have been diagnosed with or suspect you may have a magnesium deficiency, supplements might provide only limited or uneven utility. Magnesium supplements are mainly prescribed for people who have trouble absorbing or using magnesium properly.

Older adults are most at risk of a magnesium deficiency, either because of reduced gut absorption at old age or because certain medication can increase the chance of magnesium depletion. Diseases that may cause a magnesium deficiency include chronic alcoholism, type 2 diabetes, or a gastrointestinal disease (Crohn’s disease, gluten-sensitive celiac disease, regional enteritis, etc).

Magnesium supplements should not replace other medication, and you should always listen to the recommendations of your doctor. Check out the video below to learn more about the symptoms of magnesium deficiency.

How Do You Avoid the Side Effects of Magnesium?

According to the Mayo Clinic, the best time to take your magnesium supplements is immediately after a meal. That should help you avoid the diarrhea and upset stomach. If you are consuming the tablet orally, then do not try to chew or suck on it. Try to swallow it whole.

Do you have problems absorbing magnesium or don’t want to use a tablet? Then try transdermal magnesium instead. This Activation EASE Magnesium skin spray can ease your aches and pains, help you achieve better sleep, and aid your relaxation without the need to consume a tablet at all. It accomplishes this without causing any stinging, burning, or itching on your skin.

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Another important thing to remember is that you should always follow the instructions on the label to ensure that you are receiving the proper dose. How much magnesium you should take will depend on many different factors, including age, gender, and medical status. You would need to consume exceptionally high dose of magnesium before it becomes toxic.

According to the National Institute of Health, toxicity has been associated with doses of more than 5,000 mg per day, especially in products such as magnesium-containing laxatives and antacids. The Food and Nutrition Board recommends consuming no more than 350mg of magnesium supplements per day in healthy adults. Make sure the supplement is high quality before you buy it.


Magnesium supplements are some of the safest products on the health market right now. The average person with healthy kidneys should experience only minimal side effects, if any at all. As long as you are taking an FDA-approved and tested supplement, there is almost no danger of somehow overdosing on magnesium by accident.

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About the author

I'm an avid reader and love anything to do with mindfulness and mental health!

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