Magnesium

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Magnesium is an essential mineral and needed in every single organ in the body. It is a cofactor for hundreds of enzymes. Magnesium is involved in many physiologic pathways, including energy production, nucleic acid and protein synthesis, ion transport, cell signaling, and also has structural functions. Magnesium promotes heart, muscles, and kidney health. It is also present in the composition of teeth and bones, helps activate important enzymes in the body, plays a role in energy production, and helps maintain levels of nutrients such as calcium, copper, zinc, potassium, vitamin D, and other key nutrients. While magnesium deficiency is not common, magnesium supplements can be used to address this concern. People who have certain intestinal viruses can be deficient in magnesium. Other conditions that may result in deficiencies include:

  • Gastrointestinal diseases (IBS, ulcerative colitis)
  • Diabetes
  • Pancreatitis
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Kidney disease
  • Diuretic use
  • Overconsumption of coffee
  • Soda
  • Alcohol
  • Salt
  • Heavy menstruation or excessive sweating
  • Long periods of stress

Deficiency can be recognized by symptoms such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Irritation
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Sleep issues
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abnormal heart rhythms
  • Low blood pressure
  • Confusion
  • Muscle spasm
  • Muscle weakness 
  • Hyperventilation
  • Insomnia
  • Nail growth issues
  • Seizures

Also known as:  Aspartate de Magnésium, Carbonate de Magnésium, Chelated Magnesium, Chlorure de Magnésium, Citrate de Magnésium, Dimagnesium Malate, Epsom Salts, Gluconate de Magnésium, Glycérophosphate de Magnésium, Glycinate de Magnésium, Hydroxyde de Magnésium, Lactate de Magnésium, Lait de Magnésium, Magnesia, Magnesia Carbonica, Magnesia Muriatica, Magnesia Phosphorica, Magnesia Sulfate, Magnesia Sulfurica, Magnesio, Magnésium, Magnesium Ascorbate, Magnesium Aspartate, Magnesium Carbonate, Magnésium Chelaté, Magnesium Chloride, Magnesium Citrate, Magnesium Disuccinate Hydrate, Magnesium Gluconate, Magnesium Glycerophosphate, Magnesium Glycinate, Magnesium Hydroxide, Magnesium Lactate, Magnesium Malate, Magnesium Murakab, Magnesium Orotate, Magnesium Oxide, Magnesium Phosphate, Magnesium Phosphoricum, Magnesium Sulfate, Magnesium Taurate, Magnesium Taurinate, Magnesium Trisilicate, Malate de Magnésium, Milk of Magnesia, Numéro Atomique 12, Orotate de Magnésium, Oxyde de Magnésium, Phosphate de Magnésium, Sels d'Epsom, Sulfate de Magnésium, Trisilicate de Magnésium

Diseases and Conditions

Magnesium is effective in the treatment of magnesium deficiencies. A magnesium deficiency often results in gastrointestinal diseases (including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and ulcerative colitis), diabetes, pancreatitis, hyperthyroidism (elevated thyroid hormone levels), and kidney disease. Signs of a magnesium deficiency include:

  • Slow growing and brittle nails
  • Heart rhythm abnormalities
  • Anxiety
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Low blood pressure
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Muscle spasms and weakness
  • Hyperventilation
  • Insomnia

Several studies have also shown that when inhaled, magnesium can be used in the treatment of acute asthma attacks. Preliminary research also suggests magnesium supplements can help prevent type 2 diabetes and improve muscle strength in children with cystic fibrosis. More research is needed to conclude magnesium’s effective in medical treatment.

Safety

Safe when used orally and appropriately in adults under the supervision of a knowledgeable health care provider. Excessive doses may result in overdose.

Elevated serum levels of magnesium (hypermagnesemia) may result in a fall in blood pressure (hypotension). Some of the later effects of magnesium toxicity, such as lethargy, confusion, disturbances in normal cardiac rhythm, and deterioration of kidney function, are related to severe hypotension. As hypermagnesemia progresses, muscle weakness and difficulty breathing may occur. Severe hypermagnesemia may result in cardiac arrest. The Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) of the Institute of Medicine set the tolerable upper intake level (UL) for magnesium at 350 mg/day; this UL represents the highest level of daily supplemental magnesium intake likely to pose no risk of diarrhea or gastrointestinal disturbance in almost all individuals. The FNB cautions that individuals with renal impairment are at higher risk for adverse effects from excess supplemental magnesium intake. However, the FNB also notes that there are some conditions that may warrant higher doses of magnesium under medical supervision.

Medication Interactions

Do not mix with quinolone and tetracycline antibiotics, as magnesium may reduce antibiotic absorption. Avoid use with:

  • Aminoglycosides
  • Blood pressure medications
  • Calcium channel blockers
  • Diabetes medication
  • Digoxin
  • Loop diuretics
  • Fluoroquinones
  • Hormone replacement therapy drugs
  • Labetol
  • Levomethadyl
  • Levothyroxine
  • Penicillamine
  • Skelid or Fosamax
  • Other aminoglycoside antibiotics

Supplement and Food Interactions

None reported with food.

Adverse effects from excess magnesium have been observed with intakes of various magnesium salts. The initial symptom of excess magnesium supplementation is diarrhea — a well-known side effect of magnesium that is used therapeutically as a laxative. Individuals with impaired kidney function are at higher risk for adverse effects of magnesium supplementation, and symptoms of magnesium toxicity have occurred in people with impaired kidney function taking moderate doses of magnesium-containing laxatives or antacids.

Dosage

Follow dosage as recommended by a healthcare professional.

RDA for magnesium intake is 400-420 mg/day for men and 310-320 mg/day for women.

Foods

Foods that contain magnesium:

  • Tofu
  • Legumes
  • Whole grains
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Wheat bran
  • Brazil nuts
  • Soybean flour
  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Blackstrap molasses
  • Pumpkin and squash seeds
  • Pine nuts
  • Black walnuts
  • Peanuts
  • Whole wheat flour
  • Oat flour
  • Beet greens
  • Spinach
  • Pistachio nuts
  • Shredded wheat
  • Bran cereals
  • Oatmeal
  • Bananas
  • Baked potatoes (with skin)
  • Chocolate
  • Cocoa powder
  • Agar seaweed
  • Coriander
  • Dill weed
  • Celery seed
  • Sage
  • Dried mustard
  • Basil
  • Fennel seed 
  • Savory herb 
  • Cumin seed
  • Tarragon
  • Marjoram
  • Poppy seed

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References

  1. https://examine.com/supplements/magnesium/
  2. https://naturalmedicines.therapeuticresearch.com/references.aspx?productid=998
  3. http://www.umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/magnesium
  4. http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/minerals/magnesium

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