A Guide To Magnesium Supplements: Benefits, Side Effects, More

The body requires a consistent supply of essential nutrients to remain functional. 

We need to consume many types of nutrients daily, including vitamins and minerals. 

While most people get enough of these nutrients from their daily diet, this is not always the case. 

When there are deficiencies, turning to a supplement can provide a helpful option. 

This increases the number of nutrients in the blood to ensure the body functions properly. 

There are many types of supplements, including options that contain magnesium. 

In this post, we take a closer look at magnesium’s important roles. We also consider how helpful the use of magnesium supplements is and the benefits they offer. 

What Is Magnesium?

Magnesium is one of the many minerals that cells in the human body use to perform certain functions. There are hundreds of different cellular reactions that largely depend on the presence of magnesium. 

The mineral works closely with calcium to perform certain functions as well. This particular mineral also plays a significant role in the creation of DNA, which further warrants its necessity (1). 

Apart from the role that magnesium plays in helping to create DNA, it is also involved in many other bodily functions, such as the following:

  • Magnesium counters the effects of calcium in the heart (2). As calcium enters the heart, it causes contractions. Magnesium helps to counter this effect, allowing the heart muscles to relax. This combination of effects ensures you have a healthy heartbeat. 
  • In addition to the heart muscles, magnesium also has a role to play in regulating muscle contracts throughout other parts of the body. This helps to reduce the risk of spasms, cramps, and similar symptoms, as magnesium causes muscles to relax after calcium binds to myosin and troponin C proteins (3). 

These are only two examples of how magnesium helps the human body. Many additional health benefits are generated when there is an appropriate magnesium level in the blood circulatory system. 

What Does A Magnesium Supplement Do?

A magnesium supplement usually comes in a pill, although other forms are also available. There are also different types of magnesium that pharmaceutical companies use when they manufacture these supplements. Overall, the primary purpose of a magnesium supplement is to increase the level of this mineral in the body. 

Regular over-the-counter magnesium supplements offer many benefits for people who simply want to maintain a healthy mineral level. They are efficient for those individuals who find that their daily diet does not offer them a sufficient amount of magnesium. 

However, in cases where you have a more severe deficiency, prescription-strength supplements may provide a more effective solution. 

These supplements contain a higher concentration of magnesium. Your doctor prescribes a specific dose based on lab tests to ensure you get enough of the mineral without causing an overdose. 

prostate-health-supplements

Who Might Need Magnesium Supplements?

Different scenarios may call for a magnesium supplement. To determine if this type of supplement is a good choice for yourself, it is important to consider any particular symptoms you experience. When there are symptoms associated with magnesium deficiency, then you might benefit from using these supplements. 

A doctor can request lab tests on a blood sample to help you better understand the magnesium levels in your body. This is useful if you think you may have a more severe deficiency of the mineral. 

There are other cases where magnesium supplements can also be used. For example, one study shows that a daily magnesium supplement could potentially help individuals who experience migraines

With this said, it is important to still check with your doctor and ensure the symptoms you experience are linked to a low magnesium level. 

Signs Of Magnesium Deficiency

Due to the many roles that magnesium plays, a deficiency of the mineral is likely to lead to the development of certain symptoms. 

It is important to understand what the signs of a magnesium deficiency are. This ensures you can take appropriate action if your body lacks a sufficient level of the mineral. A couple of symptoms can develop, although specific signs may differ from one individual to the next. 

These are some of the most common signs of a magnesium deficiency:

Muscle cramps

You may experience cramps in your muscles. Some people also complain about muscle twitches and tremors. In severe cases, this can result in convulsions too. 

Mental health problems

A magnesium deficiency can cause the development of certain mental health problems. There are some studies that suggest a lack of magnesium may cause problems like apathy. This can result in a type of mental numbness, making the individual feel like they lack emotions. 

Bone health 

Magnesium plays a role in bone health too. Thus, another potential sign of a magnesium deficiency can include symptoms associated with osteoporosis

Note that magnesium deficiency is not the only cause of osteoporosis. A lack of vitamin K and D also increases the risk. Sedentary lifestyles also cause a higher risk of osteoporosis. 

Muscle weakness and fatigue

Muscle weakness is also a very common symptom among people with a magnesium deficiency. In addition to muscle weakness, you may experience fatigue. 

Note that this type of fatigue differs from what you experience from time to time. The fatigue caused by a magnesium deficiency will generally feel more severe and consistent. 

Worsening asthma symptoms

Some studies have also linked a low magnesium level to worsening asthma symptoms. Studies also found that people with severe asthma tend to have a low magnesium level in their blood circulatory system. 

High blood pressure

Due to magnesium’s role in maintaining a healthy heartbeat, it is also important to note that a deficiency can affect your blood pressure. In particular, people with a magnesium deficiency will often have high blood pressure

Irregular heartbeat 

Apart from high blood pressure, it is also possible to find that your heartbeat becomes irregular when your magnesium levels decline too much. This can result in a complication known as arrhythmia. 

Apart from an irregular heartbeat, this can also lead to lightheadedness, breathing difficulties, fainting, and pain in the chest. 

heart-disease-ed

Who Should Not Take Magnesium?

Even though magnesium supplements, when taken according to your daily recommended intake levels, are safe, there are certain cases where you should not use them. 

First of all, consider how much magnesium you get from your food. This particular factor tends to be crucial when determining whether you need magnesium in a supplement form. 

If you already get enough magnesium from your daily diet, then there is no need to take an extra supplement. This can result in your magnesium levels rising too much. In turn, you may experience signs of a magnesium overdose. 

It is also important to be careful when taking magnesium supplements if you have certain health conditions. It is generally not good to get too much magnesium if you have a kidney disease. This includes chronic kidney disease, as well as diabetic nephropathy

People with hypothyroidism and Addison’s disease should also ensure they are cautious when they want to take a magnesium supplement. 

Apart from these factors, it is also important to realize that certain interactions can occur with magnesium supplements. If you currently take antibiotics or diuretics, then you should consult with your doctor before you decide to use a supplement to increase your magnesium levels. 

What Is The Best Form Of Magnesium To Take?

There are different forms of magnesium available when looking at these supplements. It is important to note that the absorption of these magnesium variations that companies use tend to differ. This is why you should carefully analyze the different supplements that are available. 

In most cases, people tend to opt for magnesium citrate. This particular form of magnesium is readily available on the market. It is also known to have a high absorbency. In turn, your body can easily absorb the magnesium that the supplement provides. 

Additionally, this form of magnesium also tends to be cheap – especially when you compare it to a few of the other available options. 

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Health Benefits Of Magnesium Supplements

If you have a deficiency in magnesium, then there are a couple of health benefits you can potentially gain when you turn to these supplements. We will analyze some of the most important benefits that magnesium supplements can offer below:

Helps With Hypertension

If you have high blood pressure and low magnesium, then using this supplement could help with blood pressure regulation. Several studies look at the relation between magnesium and blood pressure. 

In one study, researchers found that using a magnesium supplement can effectively reduce blood pressure levels among patients. Another study shows that magnesium supplements work on both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. 

Improves Heart Health

High blood pressure puts a lot of stress on the cardiovascular system. This essentially increases the risk of several heart diseases

One study shows that a significant deficiency in magnesium causes a higher risk of dying from heart disease. In another study, researchers show that taking magnesium supplements can cause a considerable reduction in these risks. 

Improved Sleep

You may also find that taking magnesium supplements makes you sleep better at night. This is due to the relaxing effects that the supplements can have if you currently experience a magnesium deficiency. 

melatonin supplement

Apart from these benefits, magnesium supplements may also reduce the signs of depression you experience. The supplements also seem to be helpful for people who struggle with blood glucose control. 

Possible Side Effects Or Risks Of Magnesium Supplements

As with any supplement, make sure you understand the possible adverse effects that a magnesium pill may produce. There are a couple of side effects that you should take note of. 

In most cases, the most common side-effect that people tend to experience when they use magnesium supplements is diarrhea. This is usually a temporary side-effect that should go away in a few days. 

Taking more magnesium than you should can result in magnesium toxicity. This can produce more severe side effects, but you can avoid this by following your daily recommended intake guidelines. 

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Recommended Daily Allowance

It is important to understand how much magnesium your body needs to function correctly. The recommended daily allowance depends on both age and gender. Here is a quick overview:

  • Infants need between 30mg and 75mg per day, depending on their age. 
  • Children between one and three need 80mg of magnesium. 
  • 130mg magnesium is recommended for kids between four and eight. 
  • This amount increases to 240mg between the ages of nine and 13. 
  • Boys who are between 14 and 18 need 410mg of magnesium, whereas girls need 360mg. 
  • Between 19 and 30, women need 310mg and men 400mg. 
  • Women older than 30 should take about 320mg daily, whereas men of this age need 420mg. 

Can You Take Too Much Magnesium?

In most cases, it is safe to take magnesium supplements. This especially accounts for people who have a low level of the mineral in their blood circulatory system. 

With this said, you should take note that an overdose is possible. This is why you need to be cautious when you turn to supplements to increase your magnesium levels. Taking more magnesium than your daily recommended intake can result in certain adverse effects. 

Nausea and diarrhea are both common symptoms that can develop when you take too much magnesium. It is also possible for your blood pressure to lower in this particular scenario. 

Some people complain about muscle weakness if they accidentally overdose on magnesium, accompanied by fatigue. It is also important to note that magnesium overdoses can result in fatal complications at a significantly high dose (11). 

dhea-supplements

Can Magnesium Supplements Be Taken Long-Term?

You can take magnesium supplements over a long period of time. Many people take these supplements for many years continuously. You do need to keep a few things in mind, however. 

Taking too much magnesium can result in dangerous complications. This is why you should constantly monitor your magnesium levels if you plan on taking these supplements for a long time. 

You may need to adjust the dose you take over time to accommodate changes in your magnesium levels. This can help to prevent overdosing and complications. 

Does Magnesium Help Hormonal Balance?

Magnesium does play a role in helping to maintain a balance with hormones in the human body. Several hormones depend on the presence of magnesium. 

The mineral has been found to help with the production of thyroid hormones, as well as sex hormones in both men and women. Additionally, the mineral also assists in the regulation of cortisol. This can help reduce the risk of an excessive amount accumulating in your body. 

Conclusion

Magnesium supplements have many benefits and can help individuals with a deficiency or low levels to increase their blood concentration of the mineral. These supplements are readily available, but different forms do exist. 

There are also natural sources that you can turn to when you want to maintain a healthy magnesium level in your body. 

Taking too much magnesium can cause side effects, so you also have to consider your recommended daily intake. Maintaining an appropriate level of magnesium is important, however, as many bodily functions depend on this mineral. 

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Sources

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  2. Jahnen-Dechent W, Ketteler M. Magnesium basics. Clin Kidney J. 2012. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26069819/
  3. Potter JD, Robertson SP, Johnson JD. Magnesium and the regulation of muscle contraction. Fed Proc. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7286246 
  4. Gaul C, Diener HC, Danesch U; Migravent® Study Group. Improvement of migraine symptoms with a proprietary supplement containing riboflavin, magnesium and Q10: a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, multicenter trial. J Headache Pain. 2015. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25916335/ 
  5. Pham PC, Pham PA, Pham SV, Pham PT, Pham PM, Pham PT. Hypomagnesemia: a clinical perspective. Int J Nephrol Renovasc Dis. 2014. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24966690
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  7. Kass L, Weekes J, Carpenter L. Effect of magnesium supplementation on blood pressure: a meta-analysis. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2012. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22318649
  8. Guerrero-Romero F, Rodríguez-Morán M. The effect of lowering blood pressure by magnesium supplementation in diabetic hypertensive adults with low serum magnesium levels: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. J Hum Hypertens. 2009. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19020533
  9. Reffelmann T, Ittermann T, Dörr M, Völzke H, Reinthaler M, Petersmann A, Felix SB. Low serum magnesium concentrations predict cardiovascular and all-cause mortality. Atherosclerosis. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21703623
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