Mineral elements are essential nutrients to ensure proper functions of human organisms. However, in the event of inadequate intake or some certain circumstances, we may suffer from mineral deficiency. It later leads to some health issues, from mild to severe.
The invention of dietary supplements provided a solution to this problem. However, unlike nutrient sources from daily food, dietary supplements may bring along some side effects. This article will focus on magnesium supplement side effects.
What Is Magnesium and How Does It Affect Human Health?
Magnesium is a substantial macro-element in the human body. It contributes to hundreds of metabolic reactions that help boost daily human functions, including energy creation, bone formation, DNA & RNA synthesis, and nervous system regulation. It also relieves the glucose level in the blood and controls the blood pressure level.
Food such as salmon, chicken breast, and beef are rich sources of magnesium. Besides, magnesium can be found in many fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds such as banana, apple, avocado, spinach, broccoli, and so on. Our basic menu for breakfast, such as cereals, soy-milk, milk, and oatmeal, also contains high amounts of magnesium.
The shortage of magnesium may lead to some adverse health conditions. Early signs of magnesium deficiency are twitches, tremors, and muscle cramps. You may lose your appetite and find your sleep quality decreased. Upper symptoms are mental exhaustion and muscle weakness. Severe cases can result in heart diseases.
Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) and Tolerable Upper Intake Levels (ULs) for Magnesium
The required average level of magnesium intake for an adult is varies based on gender and stage of life. Typically, the amount falls between 320mg to 420mg per day.
Recommended Intake for magnesium is demonstrated through Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs), which is published by the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. See the below table for reference.
Birth to 6 months
7 - 12 months
1 - 3 years
4 - 8 years
9 - 13 years
14 - 18 years
19 - 30 years
31 - 50 years
However, there is a significant difference in the acceptable magnesium level that comes from dietary supplements. This is demonstrated by Tolerable Upper Intake Levels (ULs), which is exclusively applied to supplemental magnesium.
Birth to 12 months
1 - 3 years
4 - 8 years
9 - 18 years
It is proved that the amount of magnesium absorbed from food does not count toward the total amount of magnesium you benefit from these supplements. As long as you keep your daily level of magnesium supplements under or equal to 350mg, you are not likely to experience any unpleasant symptoms caused by overdose.
Side effects of magnesium supplements
As stated above, magnesium mineral is contained in food and beverages we consume daily. If you ingest too much magnesium-rich food in a day, it is all right. The absorption of magnesium from food does not affect individuals’ health, as the excessive amounts will be disposed of your body gradually through urine.
However, if you take too much magnesium supplements in a day, it is a whole different story. Your body will react to it shortly or immediately depending on your normal health conditions. Commonly, the symptoms are nausea and abdominal pains. In many cases, these often lead to a more serious health problem – diarrhea.
#1. Magnesium and gastrointestinal disorder
Diarrhea is the most common side effect you may encounter. If the magnesium ULs are stayed, but this irritating symptom still comes knocking at your door, you need to lower your dose a little. If the situation remains unchanged, then you need to consult a doctor. Don’t you worry much! Only a few groups of consumers are reported under this circumstance.
If you take advantage of magnesium supplements to treat constipation, this side effect seems to be inevitable. Magnesium hydroxide and magnesium citrate are familiar forms of magnesium under these cases.
#2. Exceeded absorption of magnesium supplements
Excessive magnesium can push you to the verge of death if the amounts exceed 5,000 mg per day for capsule/ powder-formed magnesium, or 1.74 – 2.61 mmol/L of serum-formed magnesium. The symptoms under this case are lifted to a higher level. Besides constant nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, you may show signs of extreme hypotension, facial blushing and flushing, and urinary retention.
Furthermore, you may feel sleepy or fatigued and sluggish. Breathing becomes harder and harder. The worst scenario is that it may lead to potentially fatality.
You may find similar feedbacks from many customers regarding these side effects from some classic forms of magnesium. The top supplements on the list are magnesium carbonate, magnesium chloride, magnesium gluconate, and magnesium oxide.
Depending on your state of health, you may suffer from one out of the symptoms mentioned above of magnesium overdose. If you are, well, unlucky, you may experience more than one symptom at a time. For those who are taking an adequate amount of magnesium supplements, those symptoms can happen to you too.
#3. Magnesium supplements inhibit other medications
Researchers have indicated that magnesium supplements may reduce or discourage the absorption of some other medications. Then, if you are under certain medical treatments or taking other medications alongside, you should take this side effect into account.
Prescription medicine such as bisphosphonates, diuretics, antibiotics, and a few supplements like iron and Vitamin D is under this affection. However, you can still consume magnesium supplements at all. A 1-2 hour interval before taking your meds should be sufficient. Anyway, it is necessary for you to closely discuss your magnesium dosage with a doctor or a healthcare provider.
How to avoid the side effects of magnesium supplements
You are now clear on unwanted effects of magnesium supplements. Then another question is that if we can prevent it from happening. Yes, we certainly can.
The first and most important thing to remember is to keep the amount of magnesium intake within ULs, which is under 350mg/day. Second, you must never take magnesium with an empty stomach. An interval of 30 minutes after meals is just fine.
Third, it is never too much to get high-quality magnesium supplements from reliable suppliers. Investing in your health is always worth paying for. Last, doctors and healthcare professionals are always there for you, especially if you are under specific medication treatment. An appointment with them will give you a peace of mind if you ever plan to take magnesium supplements.
Now, have you known magnesium supplement side effects?
Well, a magnesium supplement is good for our health; however, it still has a few side effects. If you know how it works, , you will minimize the risks of suffering from those effects. Or you can at least act cool once you experience them.