Magnesium is required for proper bone growth and maintenance. Magnesium is also necessary for the proper functioning of nerves, muscles, and many other body parts. Magnesium aids in the neutralisation of stomach acid and the movement of stools through the intestine.
Magnesium is required for proper bone growth and maintenance. Magnesium is also necessary for the proper functioning of nerves, muscles, and many other body parts. Magnesium aids in the neutralisation of stomach acid and the movement of stools through the intestine.
Magnesium is a mineral that is necessary for the body’s normal bone structure. People get magnesium from their diet, but if magnesium levels are too low, magnesium supplements may be required. Low magnesium levels have been linked to diseases such as osteoporosis, hypertension, clogged arteries, hereditary heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.
Think of fibre as an easy way to remember foods that are high in magnesium. Foods high in fibre are typically high in magnesium. Magnesium is found in legumes, whole grains, vegetables (particularly broccoli, squash, and green leafy vegetables), seeds, and nuts (especially almonds). Dairy products, meats, chocolate, and coffee are also good sources. Magnesium can also be found in water with a high mineral content, also known as “hard” water.
Magnesium is most commonly used to treat constipation, as an antacid for heartburn, low magnesium levels, pregnancy complications known as pre-eclampsia and eclampsia, and a specific type of irregular heartbeat (torsades de pointes).
Sources of Magnesium
- Dark Chocolate
- Whole Grain
- Some fatty fishes
- Leafy Greens
Magnesium is an important mineral that you may be deficient in.
Fortunately, there are many delicious foods that will provide you with all of the magnesium you require.
Eat a well-balanced diet and increase your intake of the foods listed above to keep your health strong and your body satisfied.
Uses & effectiveness
Magnesium serves a variety of purposes.
These are some of them:
- Preparation of the bowel. Taking magnesium orally can help prepare the bowel for medical procedures.
- Constipation. Magnesium taken orally works as a laxative for constipation.
- Discomfort (dyspepsia). Magnesium that’s taken orally as an antacid relieves symptoms of heartburn and indigestion. Magnesium compounds of various types can be used, but magnesium hydroxide appears to be the most effective.
- Seizures in eclampsia patients. The treatment of choice for eclampsia is to administer magnesium intravenously (IV) or as a shot. Magnesium supplementation lowers the risk of seizures in people with this condition.
- Magnesium deficiency in the blood (hypomagnesemia). Magnesium supplements can be used to treat and prevent magnesium deficiency. Magnesium deficiency can occur as a result of liver disorders, heart failure, vomiting or diarrhoea, kidney dysfunction, and other medical conditions.
- High blood pressure and protein in the urine are symptoms of a pregnancy complication (pre-eclampsia). The treatment of choice for preventing seizures in females with pre-eclampsia is to administer magnesium intravenously (IV) or as a shot. However, taking magnesium orally does not appear to reduce the risk of pre-eclampsia in healthy adults.
- Cerebral palsy. The best evidence to date suggests that giving pregnant patients intravenous (IV) magnesium before a preterm birth can reduce the risk of cerebral palsy in the infant.
- Seizures. Giving magnesium intravenously (IV) can help treat a variety of seizures.
- An example of an irregular heartbeat (torsades de pointes). Giving magnesium intravenously (IV) is beneficial in treating torsades de pointes, a type of irregular heartbeat.
Although there is little scientific evidence to substantiate these treatments, Magnesium is also been used for:
- Heartbeat irregularity (arrhythmias). Giving magnesium intravenously (IV) or orally appears to be beneficial in the treatment of irregular heartbeats, also known as arrhythmias. It is unclear whether magnesium aids in the reduction of irregular heartbeat following heart surgery.
- Asthma. Giving magnesium intravenously (IV) appears to help treat unexpected asthma attacks. It could be more beneficial to children than to adults. However, inhaling magnesium or taking magnesium orally does not appear to work.
- Rectal cancer and colon cancer. According to research, eating more magnesium-rich foods is associated with a lower risk of colon and rectal cancer. However, other research suggests that magnesium may reduce the risk of colon cancer but not rectal cancer.
- Diabetes. A higher magnesium diet has been linked to a lower risk of developing diabetes in adults and overweight children. The research on people with type 2 diabetes is contradictory. Magnesium supplements, on the other hand, maybe most beneficial in people with type 2 diabetes and low magnesium levels. Taking magnesium appears to improve insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugar levels in people who developed diabetes during pregnancy.
- High cholesterol. In people with high cholesterol, taking magnesium chloride and magnesium oxide appears to slightly lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL or “bad”) and total cholesterol levels while slightly increasing high-density lipoprotein (HDL or “good”) cholesterol levels. There is also some evidence that magnesium may help people with high triglycerides lower their blood fats.
- A collection of symptoms that raises the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke (metabolic syndrome). Low magnesium levels are 6-7 times more likely to be associated with metabolic syndrome than normal magnesium levels. In healthy adults, higher magnesium intake from diet and supplements is associated with a lower risk of developing metabolic syndrome.
- Bones that are weak and brittle (osteoporosis). Oral magnesium supplementation appears to prevent bone loss in osteoporotic older females.
- After-surgery discomfort. Magnesium appears to increase the amount of time before pain develops and may reduce the need for pain relievers after surgery when administered with anaesthesia or given to people after surgery. Giving magnesium intravenously (IV) appears to help reduce pain after a hysterectomy, which is a surgical procedure to remove the uterus. However, magnesium does not appear to help reduce pain in children following tonsil removal.
- Premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Taking magnesium orally appears to alleviate PMS symptoms such as mood swings and bloating. Taking magnesium orally also appears to help prevent premenstrual migraines.
- Pain in the chest that’s caused by blood vessel spasms (vasospastic angina). Giving magnesium intravenously (IV) appears to prevent blood vessel spasms in people suffering from chest pain caused by spasms in the artery supplying blood to the heart.
- Acute altitude sickness. According to research, taking magnesium citrate by mouth daily in three divided doses, beginning three days before climbing a mountain and continuing until the mountain is descended, does not reduce the risk of altitude sickness.
- Athletic ability. The majority of research indicates that taking magnesium orally has no effect on energy or endurance during athletic activity.
- Swelling (inflammation) of the lung’s small airways (bronchiolitis). Early research indicates that administering magnesium intravenously does not help and may even worsen bronchiolitis in infants.
- Cancer drug treatment causes nerve damage in the hands and feet. The majority of research indicates that taking magnesium does not protect nerves from the cancer drug oxaliplatin.
- Pain in the limbs that usually occurs after an injury (complex regional pain syndrome). According to research, giving magnesium intravenously (IV) for 4 hours a day for 5 days does not improve pain in people who have chronic pain after an injury.
- Menopause symptoms. Despite contradictory findings, the best evidence indicates that magnesium oxide does not reduce hot flashes in postmenopausal women.
- Cramping of the muscles. Magnesium supplements do not appear to reduce the frequency or severity of muscle cramps.
- Brain, spinal cord, or nerve damage (neurological trauma). According to research, magnesium does not improve the outcome or lower the risk of death in people who have suffered a traumatic head injury. It’s unclear whether taking magnesium helps people who have had a concussion.
- Leg cramps in the middle of the night. According to research, taking magnesium for four weeks does not prevent nighttime leg cramps.
- Sickle cell anaemia. According to research, giving magnesium sulphate intravenously (IV) every hour for eight doses does not help children with sickle cell disease.
- Stillbirth. Taking magnesium supplements during pregnancy appears to have no effect on the risk of stillbirth.
- Clostridium bacteria cause a serious infection (tetanus). When compared to standard treatment, taking magnesium does not appear to reduce the risk of death in people with tetanus. Taking magnesium, on the other hand, may reduce the amount of time spent in the hospital, though results are conflicting.
- Alcoholism is a mental illness. Taking magnesium orally appears to improve sleep quality in people who are addicted to alcohol and experiencing withdrawal symptoms. However, injecting magnesium as a shot does not appear to alleviate the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Magnesium levels appear to be lower in children with ADHD. According to preliminary research, magnesium may be beneficial for children with ADHD who have low magnesium levels.
- Backache. Early research suggests that giving magnesium intravenously (IV) every 4 hours for two weeks and taking magnesium orally daily for four weeks reduces pain in people with chronic low back pain.
- Bipolar disorder. According to preliminary research, taking a specific magnesium product (Magnesiocard) may have similar effects to lithium in some people with bipolar disorder. Other preliminary research suggests that taking magnesium orally along with the drug verapamil reduces manic symptoms in people with bipolar disorder better than verapamil alone. Furthermore, administering magnesium intravenously (IV) appears to reduce the dose of other medications required to treat severe manic symptoms.
- Cancer patients experience nerve pain. Giving magnesium intravenously (IV) appears to help relieve pain caused by cancer-related nerve damage.
- Cancer drug treatment causes immune system damage. Early research suggests that taking magnesium orally may protect the immune system of children receiving the cancer drug cisplatin.
- Heart function is suddenly lost (cardiac arrest). According to preliminary research, higher magnesium levels are associated with a lower risk of cardiac arrest. It is unknown, however, whether taking a magnesium supplement reduces the risk of cardiac arrest. Giving magnesium intravenously does not appear to be beneficial.
- Cardiovascular disease (cardiovascular disease). It is unknown whether people who consume more magnesium in their diet have a lower risk of heart disease. According to some studies, increasing magnesium intake in the diet is associated with a lower risk of death from heart disease. However, other studies have found no benefit.
- The syndrome of chronic fatigue (CFS). The administration of magnesium as a shot may alleviate fatigue symptoms. However, not all research agrees.
- A lung disease that makes breathing difficult (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD). Intravenous magnesium administration (IV) appears to help with acute COPD symptoms. In addition, taking magnesium via inhaler in conjunction with the drug salbutamol appears to reduce sudden COPD symptoms better than salbutamol alone.
- Headache in clusters. Early research suggests that administering magnesium intravenously (IV) may alleviate cluster headaches.
- Cardiovascular disease (coronary heart disease). Early research suggests that taking magnesium orally may help prevent blood clots in people with heart disease.
- Depression. It is unknown whether people who consume more magnesium in their diet have a lower risk of depression. It is also too early to tell if magnesium can help people with depression. Taking magnesium orally for 6 weeks appears to alleviate mild to moderate depression in adults. However, when measured one week later, receiving a single intravenous (IV) dose of magnesium does not reduce depression symptoms.
- Confusion and agitation following surgery. According to preliminary research, IV magnesium does not reduce confusion and agitation in children after surgery.
- Exercise-induced muscle soreness. According to preliminary research, taking magnesium for 10 days may reduce muscle soreness after weight lifting.
- Fibromyalgia. Early research suggests that taking magnesium citrate daily for 8 weeks may alleviate some fibromyalgia symptoms.
- Fractures. People who consume more magnesium through their diet or through supplements appear to have a lower risk of fractures.
- Cancer of the stomach. People who consume more magnesium through their diet or as supplements do not appear to be at a lower risk of developing stomach cancer.
- Loss of hearing. Taking magnesium orally appears to prevent hearing loss in people who have been exposed to loud noise. In addition, taking magnesium appears to improve hearing loss in people who have sudden hearing loss that is not caused by loud noise.
- Blood pressure is too high. According to most studies, taking magnesium can reduce diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number in a blood pressure reading) by about 2 mmHg. This reduction may be insufficient to have a significant impact on high blood pressure. There is conflicting evidence regarding magnesium’s effects on systolic blood pressure (the top number in a blood pressure reading).
- Insomnia. Magnesium may help the elderly sleep better. However, it does not appear to improve sleep in people who do not have insomnia.
- Bleeding into or around the brain’s fluid-filled areas (ventricles) (intraventricular haemorrhage). According to preliminary research, premature infants may have a lower risk of a brain bleed if their mothers receive magnesium IV while pregnant.
- Stones in the kidney. According to some research, taking magnesium orally may help prevent kidney stones in people who have already had them.
- Cancer of the liver. People who consume more magnesium in their diet appear to have a lower risk of developing liver cancer.
- Migraine. Taking high doses of magnesium orally may help prevent migraines and make them less severe. However, not all research agrees. People who do not get enough magnesium in their diet may benefit from IV magnesium therapy to alleviate migraines.
- Heart attack. In general, administering magnesium intravenously (IV) or orally does not appear to reduce the overall risk of death after a heart attack.
- Lack of oxygen causes brain damage in infants. According to research, giving magnesium intravenously (IV) may improve outcomes in infants with brain damage caused by a lack of oxygen in the short term. However, it does not appear to have a long-term benefit.
- Obesity. It is unknown whether taking magnesium orally improves weight loss in obese people. If it does, the benefits will most likely be minor.
- Death can occur from any cause. More magnesium in the diet has been linked to a lower risk of death. Taking magnesium supplements, on the other hand, does not appear to reduce this risk.
- Suffering (chronic pain). People who consume more magnesium through their diet or supplements appear to have a lower risk of chronic pain.
- Physical performance in the elderly. According to some research, taking magnesium daily for 12 weeks may help elderly females walk further.
- A hormonal condition that results in enlarged ovaries with cysts (polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS). Magnesium supplementation does not appear to reduce insulin resistance in PCOS.
- Pregnant women experience leg cramps. The majority of research suggests that taking magnesium orally may help reduce leg cramps during pregnancy. However, not all research agrees.
- Premature birth. When premature labour occurs, giving magnesium intravenously (IV) may prevent contractions. According to some studies, magnesium is more effective than some conventional drugs at delaying labour by 48 hours. However, not all experts agree that it is beneficial, and some research suggests that it may have more negative consequences.
- A rare, inherited disorder characterised by mineral buildup in the skin, eyes, and blood vessels (Pseudoxanthoma elasticum or PXE). According to preliminary research, magnesium supplementation may reduce mineral buildup in people with PXE.
- A condition that causes leg pain and an insatiable desire to move the legs (restless legs syndrome or RLS). In patients with restless legs syndrome, taking magnesium by mouth may reduce movement while increasing sleep. However, the role of magnesium in restless legs syndrome, if any, is unknown. Some people with this condition have high blood magnesium levels, while others have low blood magnesium levels.
- Stroke. The majority of early research found that increasing magnesium intake in the diet is associated with a lower risk of stroke death. There is also some evidence that increased magnesium intake in the diet appears to improve mental ability in people who have had a stroke. However, the effects of intravenous (IV) magnesium are conflicting. According to some studies, it may protect the brain after a stroke. However, other research indicates that it does not reduce the risk of death or disability in the majority of people.
- Bleeding in the area around the brain (subarachnoid hemorrhage). There is conflicting evidence regarding the role of magnesium in the treatment of brain bleeding. Some research suggests that giving magnesium intravenously (by IV) reduces the risk of death and vegetative state. Other research, however, contradicts these findings.
- Allergic rhinitis.
- Hay fever.
- Urinary incontinence.
- Other conditions.
More research is needed to rate magnesium for these applications.
When taken orally. Magnesium is likely to be safe for the majority of people. Most adults can tolerate doses of less than 350 mg per day. Magnesium may cause stomach upset, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, and other side effects in some people. Magnesium is possibly unsafe when taken in extremely high doses (more than 350 mg per day). Large doses may cause an excess of magnesium to accumulate in the body, resulting in serious side effects such as irregular heartbeat, low blood pressure, confusion, slowed breathing, coma, and death.
Magnesium is likely to be safe for most people when administered as a shot or via IV when the prescription-only, injectable product is used correctly by a healthcare provider.
If you get any side effects, talk to your doctor, pharmacist or nurse. This includes any possible side effects not listed on this page. In the UK you can also report side effects directly to the Yellow Card Scheme By reporting side effects you can help provide vital information on the safety of this medical supplement.
Is this medicine suitable for you?
- Pregnant and breastfeeding. Magnesium is likely to be safe for pregnant or breastfeeding women when taken orally in doses less than 350 mg per day. Magnesium is possibly safe when the prescription-only, injectable product is administered intravenously or as a shot for up to 5 days prior to delivery. However, only serious health conditions are treated with prescription-only magnesium during pregnancy. There is evidence that using magnesium to induce early labour may result in serious problems for the infant. Magnesium is a mineral. Possibly unsafe when taken by mouth in high doses or when the prescription-only, injectable product is administered via IV or shot for more than 5 days. High doses of magnesium taken orally can result in diarrhoea and an excess of magnesium in the blood. If an infant receives prescription-only magnesium via IV or shot for more than 5 days, it may develop bone and brain problems.
- Children. Magnesium is likely to be safe for most children when taken orally or when the prescription-only, injectable product is used properly. Magnesium is safe when taken orally in doses of less than 65 mg for children aged 1-3 years, 110 mg for children aged 4-8 years, and 350 mg for children aged 8 years and older. Magnesium is likely to be unsafe in higher doses when taken orally.
- Alcoholism. Alcoholism raises the risk of magnesium deficiency.
- Bleeding disorders. Magnesium appears to slow the clotting of blood. Taking magnesium may, in theory, increase the risk of bleeding or bruising in people with bleeding disorders.
- Diabetes. Diabetes raises the likelihood of magnesium deficiency. Diabetes, if not well controlled, reduces the amount of magnesium absorbed by the body.
- Heart block. People with heart block should not be given high doses of magnesium (typically delivered via IV).
- Myasthenia gravis. Magnesium administered intravenously (IV) may exacerbate weakness and cause breathing difficulties in people suffering from myasthenia gravis.
- Kidney problems, such as kidney failure. Magnesium is difficult to remove from the body when the kidneys do not function properly. Taking extra magnesium can cause magnesium levels to rise to dangerously high levels. If you have kidney problems, avoid taking magnesium.
Consult your doctor
If you are taking any of the following medicines please consult your doctor:
- Carbidopa/Levodopa (Sinemet). Parkinson’s disease is treated with levodopa/carbidopa (Sinemet). Taking magnesium oxide with levodopa/carbidopa may reduce the effectiveness of the drug. If you are taking levodopa/carbidopa, avoid taking magnesium oxide.
- Antibiotics (Aminoglycoside antibiotics). Some antibiotics can have an effect on the muscles. These antibiotics are referred to as aminoglycosides. Magnesium can also have an effect on the muscles. These antibiotics, combined with a magnesium shot, may cause muscle problems. Amikacin (Amikin), gentamicin (Garamycin), kanamycin (Kantrex), streptomycin, tobramycin (Nebcin), and other aminoglycoside antibiotics are examples.
- Antibiotics (Quinolone antibiotics). Magnesium may reduce the number of antibiotics absorbed by the body. Taking magnesium with some antibiotics may reduce the effectiveness of some antibiotics. Take these antibiotics at least 2 hours before or 4 to 6 hours after magnesium supplements to avoid this interaction. Ciprofloxacin (Cipro), gemifloxacin (Factive), levofloxacin (Levaquin), moxifloxacin (Avelox), and other antibiotics may interact with magnesium.
- Antibiotics (Tetracycline antibiotics). Magnesium may reduce the number of antibiotics absorbed by the body. Taking magnesium with some antibiotics may reduce the effectiveness of some antibiotics. Take these antibiotics at least 2 hours before or 4 to 6 hours after magnesium supplements to avoid this interaction. Demeclocycline (Declomycin), minocycline (Minocin), and tetracycline are examples of tetracyclines (Achromycin).
- Bisphosphonates. Magnesium can reduce the amount of bisphosphate absorbed by the body. Taking magnesium with bisphosphates may reduce the effectiveness of the bisphosphate. To avoid this interaction, take bisphosphonate at least two hours before or after magnesium. Alendronate (Fosamax), etidronate (Didronel), risedronate (Actonel), tiludronate (Skelid), and other bisphosphonates are examples.
- High blood pressure medications (Calcium channel blockers). Some blood pressure medications work by preventing calcium from entering cells. Calcium channel blockers are the medical term for these medications. Magnesium may also inhibit calcium entry into cells. Taking magnesium along with these medications may result in dangerously low blood pressure. Nifedipine (Adalat, Procardia), verapamil (Calan, Isoptin, Verelan), diltiazem (Cardizem), isradipine (DynaCirc), felodipine (Plendil), amlodipine (Norvasc), and others are among these medications.
- Muscle relaxants. Magnesium appears to aid in muscle relaxation. Taking magnesium with muscle relaxants may increase the risk of muscle relaxant side effects. Carisoprodol (Soma), pipecuronium (Arduan), orphenadrine (Banflex, Disipal), cyclobenzaprine, gallamine (Flaxedil), atracurium (Tracrium), pancuronium (Pavulon), succinylcholine (Anectine), and others are examples of muscle relaxants.
- Water tablets (Potassium-sparing diuretics). Some “water pills” have been shown to raise magnesium levels in the body. Taking “water pills” with magnesium may result in an excess of magnesium in the body. Amiloride (Midamor), spironolactone (Aldactone), and triamterene are examples of “water pills” that increase magnesium levels in the body (Dyrenium).
- Anticoagulant / antiplatelet drugs (medications that slow blood clotting). Magnesium has the potential to slow blood clotting. Taking magnesium in conjunction with medications that also slow clotting may increase the likelihood of bruising and bleeding. Aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), dalteparin (Fragmin), enoxaparin (Lovenox), heparin, indomethacin (Indocin), ticlopidine (Ticlid), warfarin (Coumadin), and other blood clotting medications are examples.
- Digoxin (Lanoxin). Digoxin (Lanoxin) causes the heart to beat faster. Magnesium may reduce the amount of digoxin (Lanoxin) absorbed by the body. Magnesium may reduce the effects of digoxin (Lanoxin) by reducing how much of it the body absorbs (Lanoxin).
- Diabetes medications (Sulfonylureas). Magnesium supplements come in a variety of salt forms. Some magnesium salt forms may increase the amount of sulfonylurea absorbed by the body. These forms of magnesium may increase the risk of low blood sugar in some patients by increasing the amount of sulfonylurea absorbed by the body. Carbutamide, acetohexamide, chlorpropamide, tolbutamide, gliclazide, glibornuride, glyclopyramide, and glimepiride are examples of sulfonylurea agents.
- Antacids interact. Antacids may reduce magnesium’s laxative effects. People who use magnesium as a laxative may need a higher dose. Calcium carbonate (Tums, for example), dihydroxyaluminum sodium carbonate (Rolaids, for example), magaldrate (Riopan), magnesium sulphate (Bilagog), aluminium hydroxide (Amphojel), and other antacids are examples.
- Gabapentine (Neurontin). Magnesium may reduce the amount of gabapentin (Neurontin) absorbed by the body. Magnesium may reduce the effects of gabapentin (Neurontin) by decreasing the amount of gabapentin (Neurontin) that the body absorbs (Neurontin). Gabapentin (Neurontin) should be taken at least 2 hours before or 4 to 6 hours after magnesium supplements.
- Ketamine (Ketalar). Ketamine is a drug that is used to treat severe pain and depression. Taking large amounts of magnesium with ketamine may increase the effects and side effects of the drug.
- Sevelamer (Renagel, Renvela). Sevelamer (Renagel, Renvela) has the ability to raise magnesium levels in the body. Taking sevelamer alongside a magnesium supplement may result in excessive magnesium levels.If you are taking sevelamer, consult your doctor before taking magnesium supplements.
The NHS recommends that men between the ages of 19 and 64 consume 300mg of magnesium per day, while women between the ages of 19 and 64 consume 270mg. If you need to take magnesium supplements because you aren’t getting enough from your diet, limit yourself to 400mg per day. It is never a good idea to take too much of any supplement or medicine – in the case of magnesium, taking more than 400mg per day can cause diarrhoea. If you’re thinking about taking supplements, talk to your doctor or a pharmacist first to make sure they’re right for you, especially if you have a pre-existing medical condition.