Magnesium provides a variety of benefits for conditions such as chronic pain, insomnia, stress, fatigue, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Magnesium supplements have been recommended by doctors to control symptoms of chronic conditions or to treat mineral deficiencies. However, overdoses of magnesium can cause problems.
Overdoses are unlikely through foods, but supplements have the potential to cause an excess of magnesium, according to Live Science.
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The body needs an adequate supply of magnesium along with other minerals, such as calcium, potassium, sodium and phosphorus, but getting too much of one mineral or vitamin can interfere with the chemical reactions and processing of other nutrients. An excessive amount of magnesium could result in calcium deficiencies, for example. Magnesium has been known to relieve constipation, but magnesium in laxatives when taken in excess could cause an overdose.
Supplements are more likely to cause the problem because you can receive a higher dose than through diet. Symptoms of excessive amounts of magnesium in the body include upset stomach and diarrhea. Other reactions range from confusion and vomiting to low blood pressure and slow heart rate.
Difficulty breathing, irregular heartbeat, and coma have been reported, and even fatalities have been reported due to magnesium overdoses. People with kidney problems may suffer from magnesium deficiencies, but they are also prone to the effects of an overdose of magnesium.
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Magnesium supplements can also interact with certain medications, such as antibiotics. Magnesium could worsen side effects of medications, such as those for high blood pressure, and interfere with thyroid medication. The mineral could strengthen the potency of diabetes medications. There is also a risk of magnesium interfering with medication for osteoporosis.
The recommended dosage for magnesium supplements is 350 mg a day for adults and children ages nine and up, 110 mg for children ages four to eight, and 65 mg for children ages one to three, according to WebMD, which notes that high levels of magnesium through food is safe.
To get an adequate amount of magnesium through diet, eat plenty of green, leafy vegetables, including spinach and kale, nuts and seeds, beans, peas, whole grains, fruit, and fish. Whole foods provide the body with the necessary levels of magnesium. The mineral can be diminished or lost through processed and refined foods.
People who have chronic diseases because of magnesium deficiencies should consult with their health care provider when considering supplements.
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