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Magnesium: Benefits, Sources, and Risks

Jason Hughes
Published by Jason Hughes
Fact checked by Markus Oliver, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: June 22, 2022

Many people don't get sufficient magnesium from their diet, and medical professionals have linked a wide range of health issues with magnesium deficiency. Fortunately, if you don't get enough magnesium in your diet, you can take supplements.

Why the Body Needs Magnesium

Magnesium is an essential mineral that plays a role in more than 300 enzyme reactions that occur in the human body.

Here are a few of the important bodily functions that involve magnesium.

  • Nerve function
  • Muscle function
  • Protein formation
  • Blood pressure regulation
  • Gene maintenance
  • Immune system support
  • Energy creation

Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency

How do you know if you're not getting enough magnesium? Here are some of the symptoms.

  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Appetite loss
  • Weakness or fatigue

If someone has advanced magnesium deficiency, these symptoms may be present.

  • Numbness
  • Muscle cramps
  • Seizures
  • Tingling
  • Heart spasms or rhythm changes
  • Personality changes

Causes of Magnesium Deficiency

Magnesium deficiency is medically known as hypomagnesemia. Here are some of the things that can cause magnesium deficiency.

  • Side effects of some medications
  • Health conditions such as diabetes and gastrointestinal disorder
  • Excessive alcohol consumption

Note that hypomagnesemia is most common in older adults.

Health Benefits of Magnesium

Magnesium is an essential nutrient. Below, we list some of the many health benefits of magnesium.

1. Diabetes

Nearly half of people with type 2 diabetes have low magnesium blood levels. Also, people who consume sufficient magnesium have a decreased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

For people at risk for developing type 2 diabetes, magnesium supplements may improve insulin sensitivity and blood sugar levels.

2. Migraine Headaches

Migraine sufferers can find relief with magnesium supplements. In fact, some researchers believe that people who have migraines are most likely to be deficient in magnesium.

3. Depression and Anxiety

Because magnesium is important for brain health and healthy mood, low levels are linked to a risk factor in depression. Data from a study of more than 8,000 people shows that people under 65 are at a 22% greater risk of developing depression if they have low magnesium levels.

Another study shows that taking magnesium supplements can reduce depression symptoms.

4. Bone Health

To protect against bone loss and maintain bone health, consider asking your doctor if you need a magnesium supplement. Because between 50-60% of magnesium in the human body is found in bones, this is especially important.

5. Heart Health

Magnesium helps the heart remain strong and healthy. Studies have revealed that magnesium supplements can help keep blood pressure at healthy levels, and another review showed that high magnesium intake can reduce the risk of stroke and heart disease.

6. Exercise Performance

When you exercise, the body needs more magnesium than when it's resting. Magnesium serves to move blood sugar directly into the muscles, and it also helps with lactate disposal that builds up during exercise and causes fatigue.

In older adults, studies show that taking magnesium supplements can be beneficial for improving exercise ability and performance.

7. Anti-Inflammatory Benefits

People who have low magnesium levels sometimes experience increased inflammation levels. Inflammation plays an important role in chronic disease and aging.

A review of 11 studies determined that magnesium supplements helped to decrease C-reactive protein (CRP) levels. This protein is an inflammation marker in people who suffer from chronic inflammation.

Magnesium Sources

Magnesium is readily available in food sources, and you can also take magnesium in supplement form.

Food Sources

These foods are excellent sources of magnesium.

  • Chia seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Almonds
  • Spinach
  • Black beans
  • Cashews
  • Peanut butter
  • Edamame
  • Salmon
  • Brown rice
  • Avocado
  • Halibut

Supplements

Magnesium supplements are readily available and affordable. Before taking any type of supplement, be sure to consult with your doctor.

You can take supplements via capsule or in a drink mix. Check out Trunature magnesium and ashwagandha drink mix reviews to see if this product is a good fit for you.

If you're looking for the best vegan magnesium supplement, look for a vegan calcium magnesium supplement.

Magnesium Risks and Side Effects

As with any supplement, there are potential risks for some individuals. The most common magnesium risks are overdosing and interactions with other drugs or supplements.

Overdose

Fortunately, the body will eliminate most excess magnesium through urine.  However, if you take a high-dose magnesium supplement, you may experience gastrointestinal problems such as nausea, diarrhea, or cramping.

Worse, very high doses of magnesium can cause serious problems, including:

  • Urine retention
  • Low blood pressure
  • Kidney problems
  • Depression
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Loss of CNS (central nervous system) control
  • And even death

Important note: If you have a kidney disorder, you shouldn't consume magnesium supplements unless you're under medical care and a doctor prescribes them. 

Drug Interactions

If you take magnesium supplements along with some medications, you may experience drug interactions. Please speak with your doctor before taking magnesium supplements if you take any of these medications.

  • Osteoporosis medications such as Fosamax (alendronate)
  • Doxycycline, demeclocycline, and other tetracycline antibiotics
  • Diuretics such as Lasix
  • Levaquin, Cipro, and other quinolone antibiotics
  • Nexium and other prescription proton pump inhibitors

FAQs

Below are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about magnesium.

Where is magnesium produced in the body?

Adult bodies contain about 25 grams of magnesium, and as much as 60% of this is stored in the skeletal system. The other 40% of magnesium is in the body's soft tissues, muscles, and bodily fluids.

Who needs magnesium supplements?

If you experience the magnesium deficiency symptoms, speak with your medical practitioner to see if you need to take magnesium supplements.

Which magnesium is bad for you?

Many medical professionals advise against taking magnesium citrate because it can lead to electrolyte imbalances and dehydration.

Which magnesium gives you energy?

If increasing energy is your goal, do some research on magnesium malate, which is known to help people who are suffering from fatigue. However, more research is needed to back up these claims.

trunature magnesium and ashwagandha drink mix reviews


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