13 Side Effects of Magnesium

Magnesium is an essential mineral that plays a key role in many bodily functions, including converting food into energy and helping maintain normal muscle and nerve function. While magnesium supplements are commonly taken to improve overall health, there can be side effects associated with taking too much magnesium or taking it incorrectly. This article will explore the potential side effects of magnesium supplementation, as well as ways to minimize these risks.

Magnesium is found naturally in foods such as green leafy vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, seafood, and whole grains. Magnesium helps regulate blood sugar levels, and blood pressure and supports optimal bone density. Additionally, research has shown that supplementing with extra magnesium may provide benefits for reducing inflammation and improving brain function.


Magnesium is an essential mineral that plays a role in many bodily functions. It has been shown to have health benefits for the heart, muscles, and bones. Magnesium can be obtained from dietary sources such as green leafy vegetables, nuts, and grains or it may be taken as a supplement. Recommended daily magnesium dosage depends on age, gender, and other individual factors.

Absorption of magnesium varies depending on how much total intake there is, with more being absorbed when levels are low. Factors like certain medications and medical conditions can affect absorption rates. People who do not get enough magnesium through their diets may need to take supplements to benefit from its effects on the heart, muscle, and bone health.

Side Effects of Magnesium

(1) Digestive Issues

Magnesium supplementation can cause digestive issues in some individuals.

The most common side effects of magnesium are bloating, abdominal pain, constipation, and acid reflux. In addition to these, indigestion, stomach cramps, flatulence (gas), stomach upset, and stomachaches have been reported. Furthermore, nausea is another possible symptom caused by taking a high dosage of magnesium or having an intolerance for it.

These symptoms may be mild or severe depending on the individual’s tolerance levels and other factors such as the type of magnesium used. It is important to note that if any of these symptoms become too severe or persist despite stopping the use of magnesium supplements then medical attention should be sought immediately.

It is recommended to start with low doses when beginning magnesium supplementation and gradually increase until desired results are achieved while monitoring for any adverse reactions that could occur. If symptoms arise then stop taking the supplement right away and consult with a healthcare provider before continuing its use again.

(2) Nausea And Vomiting

Nausea and vomiting are common side effects associated with magnesium intake.

The severity of nausea and vomiting can vary depending on the source, dosage, and individual sensitivity to the nutrient. Nausea is often accompanied by an upset stomach or abdominal cramping, while vomiting may occur after consuming large doses of magnesium supplements or certain types of foods that contain high levels of magnesium.

The causes for these symptoms are not well understood but it has been suggested that they may be caused by too rapid absorption of magnesium in the intestines. Treatment options include reducing or stopping the consumption of magnesium-containing products or switching to a different type such as citrate form which is better absorbed.

Over-the-counter medications like antacids may also provide relief from gastrointestinal distress related to the ingestion of magnesium. Prevention includes avoiding excessive consumption and taking smaller doses spread out over time to allow more gradual digestion.

(3) Weakness Or Fatigue

Magnesium supplementation has been recommended for improving physical performance and reducing muscle fatigue, but it should be taken with caution since excessive amounts may increase the risk for adverse events such as weakness or fatigue.

It is therefore important to monitor dietary intake, supplement use, and blood tests to ensure a proper balance between magnesium sources and needs. Additionally, lifestyle factors such as stress level and sleep hygiene should be considered when evaluating a person’s overall health status related to their potential for developing signs or symptoms associated with either insufficient or excess magnesium levels.

(4) Muscle Cramps And Spasms

Muscle cramps and spasms are common symptoms of magnesium deficiency. The causes of muscle cramps due to a lack of magnesium can include insufficient dietary intake, malnutrition, excessive sweating during exercise, dehydration, or chronic medical conditions. Magnesium is an important mineral for the proper functioning of muscles and nerves; thus, inadequate levels may cause the body’s muscles to experience painful contractions which can lead to cramping and spasms.

To treat these episodes of muscle cramps caused by low magnesium levels, it is necessary to adjust one’s diet accordingly as well as take magnesium supplements to replenish lost stores. Eating foods rich in magnesium such as nuts, legumes, and whole grains may help prevent further episodes of muscle cramps.

Additionally, increasing daily water consumption helps keep your electrolyte balance in check while also aiding with hydration-related issues associated with severe cases of muscle cramping or spasms. Taking regular breaks from intense physical activity can also be beneficial when dealing with recurrent bouts of leg cramps or other types of related muscular pain induced by low magnesium levels.

(5) Respiratory Problems

Magnesium intake can also have a direct effect on the respiratory system.

In some cases, excessive magnesium consumption has been linked to breathing difficulties, shortness of breath, and even asthma symptoms. High levels of magnesium in the body may irritate the lungs or cause an obstruction in the airway leading to chest tightness and other respiratory issues.

Furthermore, those suffering from pre-existing lung conditions such as bronchial asthma may experience worsened symptoms when consuming too much magnesium. Additionally, some reports suggest that excessive supplementation with magnesium can lead to an increased risk of developing certain types of respiratory infections.

Some people who consume too much magnesium report experiencing a wheezing sound during respiration accompanied by labored breathing due to the narrowing of their airways. Therefore, it is important for individuals with existing respiratory problems to consult a doctor before using any supplement containing magnesium.

(6) Allergic Reactions

Allergic reactions are a common side effect of magnesium intake.

Allergic responses can range from mild to severe, with symptoms including skin rashes, itching, hives, swelling, sneezing, and wheezing. In some cases, anaphylaxis may occur which is a life-threatening allergic reaction that requires immediate medical attention.

The most commonly reported type of allergic reaction associated with magnesium ingestion is contact dermatitis or an allergic skin rash. This condition is caused by the body’s response to direct contact between the allergen and the skin surface.

Symptoms usually develop within minutes after exposure and include redness, itchiness, and swelling in the affected area. In more serious cases, immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibody production results in systemic reactions such as difficulty breathing and throat constriction.

People who experience any of these symptoms should seek medical help right away as they could be suffering from anaphylaxis or other potentially dangerous conditions related to hypersensitivity reactions induced by magnesium intake.

(7) Changes In Heart Rate

Magnesium is important for the proper functioning of the cardiovascular system.

Low magnesium levels can cause disturbances in heart rate, such as irregular heartbeat, palpitations, accelerated heart rate, slowed pulse rate, and rapid heart rate. These can lead to serious arrhythmia symptoms. Heart Rate Variability (HRV) is a measure of the time interval between heartbeats and a decrease in magnesium levels can disrupt this, leading to atrial fibrillation and other arrhythmias.

This can also lead to a higher resting heart rate, decreased exercise capacity, and quicker fatigue during physical activity. To avoid these problems, it is important to maintain a healthy level of magnesium through diet or supplementation.

(8) Headaches Or Migraines

Headaches and migraines can be caused by a magnesium deficiency, as well as a magnesium overdose. Magnesium supplementation is important to ensure proper levels of the mineral in the body. Symptoms associated with low levels of magnesium include chronic headaches or migraines, which may require treatment with magnesium supplements.

On the other hand, an excessive amount of magnesium intake through dietary sources or supplements can also lead to symptoms like headaches or migraine. It is therefore essential for individuals to monitor their daily doses of magnesium carefully and take into account any potential side effects before taking any kind of supplement containing high amounts of this mineral.

Furthermore, if someone experiences ongoing headaches or migraines that cannot be alleviated through normal treatments, they should consult their doctor immediately and consider testing for possible underlying causes such as magnesium deficiency or excess.

(9) Skin Rash

A skin rash is an undesired side effect of magnesium supplementation. It may manifest itself in the form of redness, itchiness, and swelling on the surface of the skin. The occurrence of a magnesium-induced rash can be attributed to various causes such as allergic reactions or contact dermatitis.

If you develop a magnesium-induced rash, it is important to seek medical attention immediately. Your doctor will be able to identify the cause and recommend appropriate treatment options that are tailored to your individual needs. Depending on the severity, this could range from avoiding further exposure, antihistamine treatments, topical steroid creams and ointments, or even oral corticosteroids in severe cases.

(10) Excessive Sweating

Excessive sweating is another side effect of magnesium supplementation.

This can manifest in a variety of ways, including increased perspiration during physical activity or heat, night sweats, and excessive body heat on hot days. It is important to note that not all people will experience this symptom when taking a magnesium supplement; however, those who do may need to reduce the dosage they are taking or stop using it altogether if the symptoms become too uncomfortable.

Magnesium plays many roles in the human body and helps regulate things such as temperature control and muscle function. When taken as a supplement, it can cause an increase in blood flow which in turn increases the amount of sweat produced by the body. As with most supplements, some individuals may be more sensitive than others and therefore have stronger reactions to the effects of magnesium on their bodies. It is recommended that anyone experiencing increased sweating due to magnesium supplement use should speak with a healthcare professional about adjusting their dosage or discontinuing its use entirely.

(11) Diarrhea

One of the most common side effects associated with magnesium is diarrhea, which can range from mild to severe. Magnesium-induced or magnesium-related diarrhea typically presents as loose stools and/or watery stools, accompanied by abdominal cramps and frequent bowel movements with increased urgency. This type of gastrointestinal distress may be referred to as “magnesium toxicity” or simply “loose bowels”.

In some cases, these symptoms may last for several days before resolving on their own without medical intervention; however, if the symptom persists it is best to contact a healthcare professional for advice. More serious symptoms such as fever, vomiting, and bloody stool should prompt immediate medical attention.

Taking preventative measures such as avoiding high doses of dietary supplements and consulting a health care provider before taking any new medication will help minimize potential adverse reactions related to magnesium intake.

(12) Kidney Damage

Kidney damage caused by magnesium toxicity can be serious, even leading to renal failure.

Symptoms may include fluid retention, swollen legs, ankles, and feet, high blood pressure, and decreased urination or dark-colored urine.

Treatment involves removing excess magnesium from the body, such as through dialysis or other methods.

Prevention is key, and involves proper regulation of serum levels and avoiding excessive intake of magnesium. Diagnosis usually involves lab tests, imaging scans, and biopsies. Prognosis varies based on severity, but early intervention is key to improving outcomes and reducing risks of long-term complications such as ESRD.

(13) Interactions With Other Medications

When taking medications, it is important to discuss potential interactions with your healthcare provider, as magnesium can interact with a variety of medications. This article will outline the various types of magnesium-drug interactions to be aware of and their potential effects.

  1. Magnesium-Supplement Interactions: Taking antacids containing aluminum hydroxide can reduce the absorption of oral forms of magnesium, although it does not affect transdermal administration such as creams and oils.
  2. Magnesium-Antidepressant Interactions: In general, these types of drug interactions may result in reduced absorption or effectiveness of the medication being taken.
  3. Magnesium-Antibiotic Interactions: Antibiotics may increase the body’s excretion rate of both calcium and zinc if combined with large amounts of this nutrient.
  4. Magnesium-Diuretic Interactions: Diuretics may decrease serum levels of calcium if taken in combination with high doses of supplemental magnesium.
  5. Magnesium-Analgesic Interactions: In general, these types of drug interactions may result in reduced absorption or effectiveness of the medication being taken.
  6. Magnesium-Steroid Interactions: High doses of magnesium supplements may increase the risk of side effects when taken with certain steroids.
  7. Magnesium-Psychiatric Medication Interactions: In general, these types of drug interactions may result in reduced absorption or effectiveness of the medication being taken.
  8. Magnesium-Hormone Interactions: High doses of magnesium supplements may increase the risk of side effects when taken with certain hormones.
  9. Magnesium-Antihypertensive Interactions: In general, these types of drug interactions may result in reduced absorption or effectiveness of the medication being taken.


In conclusion, magnesium has a range of side effects that can occur from high levels or long-term use. Digestive issues such as nausea and vomiting are common, as well as weakness or fatigue, muscle cramps and spasms, excessive sweating, diarrhea, and kidney damage.

Some medications may interact with magnesium supplements which could potentially cause other complications. It is important to be aware of the potential dangers associated with too much magnesium intake and speak to a healthcare professional before taking any additional dietary supplement.

With careful monitoring and consideration of individual health conditions, it is possible to safely take supplemental magnesium for its many beneficial properties.

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