Magnesium is one of the most fundamental elements for our health, playing a part in approximately 300 different bodily functions. You can get magnesium through a balanced diet or through certain supplements, but supplements may not suit everyone. How can you tell if you shouldn’t take magnesium supplements? We’ll answer this question and many more throughout this article, so let’s get started!
- Magnesium is a fundamental element involved in various processes in the human body. It helps us keep our muscles, nerves, and heart functioning, as well as providing support to the immune system.
- Magnesium supplements can help you increase the levels of this mineral in your bloodstream. However, a healthy diet always ought to be the first step when trying to maintain optimal magnesium levels.
- Certain individuals may experience adverse effects when taking magnesium supplements. It’s important to ask your doctor before beginning any treatment, especially if you belong to an at-risk group.
What You Need to Know About Magnesium’s Side Effects
We can ingest magnesium through our diet and/or through supplements. Normally, the magnesium in food does not produce any adverse effects. However, mineral supplements may be harmful if taken by people highly sensitive to them. If you suffer from any of these conditions, take care before trying supplement products:
|Pre-Existing Condition||Possible Side Effects|
|Renal Insufficiency (Kidney Problems)||Magnesium accumulation in the bloodstream; magnesium poisoning|
|Coronary Artery Disease (Heart Blockage)||Worsening of heart blockage|
|Drug Interactions||Altering medications’ effects|
|Combined Use with Calcium Supplements||Negative effects on bones and organs|
|Allergies||Skin redness, itching, and inflammation; breathing problems|
The kidneys are in charge of deciding what stays in our bloodstream and what gets expelled. When we build up an excess of a substance, the kidneys make sure it gets discarded through urine (1). When we develop kidney problems, they lose the ability to properly remove certain substances from our blood. As such, substances can accumulate in our bodies, producing unwanted symptoms and affecting our internal organs (2). This type of reaction could occur with magnesium, since this element is regularly eliminated through urine. Increasing magnesium consumption may bring side effects if you suffer from kidney problems. Remember: only take magnesium supplements if your physician has approved them!
Magnesium helps the heart beat consistently and regularly. However, increasing magnesium intake could affect that regularity in people with certain conditions (3). Heart blockages come about when the heart loses its rhythm or “skips” a few beats. Electrical signals make the heart beat, and when they have difficulty passing through the body, blockages are the result (4). Taking magnesium could worsen heart blockages, or even cause them in people with other pre-existing heart conditions (5). Use precaution when trying supplements!
The medications we take travel out of our digestive systems through our bodies, eventually reaching the intended organs. In some situations, combining magnesium with other medications may hinder the medicine’s absorption in the intestines, weakening its effects. These medications should not be combined with magnesium supplements (6):
- Tetracyclines: Antibiotics which may be used to treat skin, eye, and respiratory infections (7).
- Quinolones: Antibiotics which can treat a wide range of bacterial infections (8).
- Biphosphonates: Medications which prevent loss of bone density (which typically occurs in osteoporosis and bone cancer) (9).
It is possible that more medications than these may interact with magnesium. As such, ask your doctor before taking supplements if you’re on any sort of medical treatment.
Combined Use with Calcium Supplements
Calcium is incredibly important for our bone structure, as well as the functioning of many internal organs and systems. Magnesium is a great ally of calcium, aiding calcium’s transport through the body and its absorption (10). However, all substances are harmful in excess. Overconsumption of food high in calcium or calcium supplements, when combined with magnesium, may cause harm. You may observe these symptoms when an excess of calcium builds up in your bloodstream (11):
- First signs: Increased thirst, increased need to urinate, and stomach pain
- Kidney stone formation
- Alterations to normal bone structure
- Changes in heart rate
- Digestive distress including nausea, vomiting, and constipation
Check with your doctor right away if you begin experiencing these symptoms.
Allergies to magnesium supplements are rare, but they can happen. As such, it’s important to distinguish between the magnesium we eat in food and the magnesium we take in supplements:
Magnesium Found in Food
- There are no known cases of allergies to the magnesium in food. Even if you’re allergic to some forms of magnesium, you won’t have reactions to foods which contain this mineral in its natural form.
- On the other hand, you may be allergic to foods which happen to contain magnesium, but these allergies will not be related to the mineral. This may be the case with peanut butter, almonds, or dairy, which many people are allergic to or intolerant of.
- Your body requires daily consumption of foods high in magnesium. If you have allergies to some of those foods, a nutritionist will be your best bet; they can create a diet individualised for your health needs.
Magnesium in Supplements or Topical Products
- Some products which contain magnesium sulphate (Epsom salts) or magnesium chloride (magnesium crystals) may cause allergic reactions (12, 13).
- These allergic reactions may be the result of taking supplements, externally applying products, or even going to certain beaches which are rich in magnesium salts.
- Allergic reactions may present as skin redness, itchiness, or swelling. It may even present as difficulty breathing (14).
- If you experience any side effects, stop your use of magnesium and contact your doctor or go to the nearest health clinic right away.
How to Take Magnesium Safely
Magnesium is essential if we want our bodies to function in top shape. That’s hardly surprising, since it’s involved in approximately 300 bodily processes. If you want to enjoy magnesium’s full benefits, here’s some helpful advice!
The daily amount of magnesium you require may vary according to your age and gender. It will also vary if you’re pregnant or have certain pre-existing conditions. To simplify, however, adults should not exceed a daily dosage of 350 milligrams of magnesium in supplements. If you take too much magnesium, there may be unwanted effects for your heart and brain (15, 16).
Traditional Vs. Liposomal Magnesium
Until quite recently, if you wanted to include a magnesium supplement in your diet, you would have had to settle for traditional pills or powder packets. Magnesium in those traditional forms has various side effects including stomach pain, nausea, and indigestion. Fortunately, recent years have seen the development of a new format for magnesium supplements. Sundt Nutrition’s liposomal magnesium, for example, is a product which “packages” this micronutrient inside liposomes. Liposomes are compounds which may be imagined as “bubbles”, with a similar structure to our own cells. What do we gain from encapsulating magnesium in liposomes? Nothing less than full protection of the magnesium while it’s absorbed – which prevents it from affecting our intestines. As such, the likelihood of digestive side effects is greatly reduced. After that, the mineral travels through the body more easily, passing into the bloodstream to carry out its beneficial effects.
Products to Avoid
Not all magnesium supplements are high-quality or effective. Avoid any product which:
- Is poorly labeled
- Does not list its ingredients
- Does not come in sealed packaging
- Is homemade
- Comes from untrustworthy websites
Vegan and Vegetarian Products
If you’re vegan or vegetarian and looking to try magnesium supplements, you’re in luck! This mineral usually comes from natural sources and can be derived from vegan foods. However, you can ensure that your supplements are fully compliant with your diet by:
- Avoiding products that combine magnesium and collagen. There are plenty of these on the market, but collagen is an animal product.
- Being careful about capsules. Quite often, capsules are made from gelatin (which is an animal product).
- When you use topical magnesium products like bath salts, make sure they’re labeled as cruelty-free and have not been tested on animals.
- Products that are vegan will almost always say so! Just make sure it’s a trustworthy product appropriately labeled.
Our liposomal magnesium is made with 100% natural ingredients which are perfect for vegan and vegetarian diets.
Supplements for People with Food Allergies
Shopping for supplements can often be difficult when you’re allergic to certain ingredients. But don’t worry! Here are our tips:
- Manufacturers are required to list ingredients like gluten, lactose, and nuts on their packaging. If you’re allergic to ingredients like these, the product will tell you whether it contains any traces.
- Always check the ingredient list if you’re unsure whether a product contains an ingredient you’re allergic or intolerant to.
- Avoid products which lack an ingredient list.
- Never take expired products.
- Always ask a doctor or pharmacist to choose the best supplement for you.
One of the safest magnesium supplements for people with special dietary needs is Optinerve® liposomal magnesium. It’s sugar-free, gluten-free, and contains no additives or GMOs.
Magnesium offers incredible health benefits, and we need optimal levels in our bloodstream to stay well. However, take proper precautions before taking magnesium supplements, since they may affect some people negatively. The best magnesium supplements are those which the body absorbs more easily, leading to fewer adverse effects. To choose a supplement properly, make sure you’ve done your research and checked with a healthcare professional. Did you learn anything new about magnesium’s possible side effects? Share this article to spread the knowledge, and don’t forget to leave a comment!