The Hidden Side Effects Of Too Much Magnesium

Magnesium is a mineral found in many of the foods that are part of a balanced diet. When taken in through foods, it is very difficult to get too much of this vital nutrient, according to the Mayo Clinic. Many people add magnesium to their diet through a supplement, however, and in this case, it is a good idea to know what dosage is enough, and what is too much.

The average adult male should get between 400 to 420 mg of magnesium per day, according to the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Adult women should get between 310 to 320 mg, with pregnant women taking in 350 to 360 mg. If you choose to take a magnesium supplement, you should choose one with no more than 350 mg per daily serving.

Magnesium is important for bodily processes like protein synthesis, the formation of bones, stabilizing blood pressure, and maintaining the heart's electrical conduction system. Sometimes magnesium is prescribed to prevent migraine headaches, but this should only be attempted under a doctor's orders, according to Healthline.

When does magnesium become toxic?

Most of the magnesium we take in comes from food sources like nuts, spinach, wheat bread, black beans, peanut butter, soymilk, and more. It's also found in some laxatives, in much higher amounts than associated with food, and, in smaller amounts, in medications for indigestion.

Since the kidneys excrete excess magnesium from food, it's difficult to get too much magnesium through diet alone. High doses taken in from supplements, however, can cause nausea, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps, according to the NIH.

Magnesium toxicity is called hypermagnesemia. Some people, notably those with kidney disease, pregnant women being treated for preeclampsia, and patients undergoing cancer treatment are at higher risk for the condition. Symptoms of hypermagnesemia include diarrhea, nausea, lethargy, weakness, cardiac electrical system problems, and low blood pressure. Cardiac arrest and respiratory distress can result, according to the NIH.

If you think you're not getting enough magnesium, it's a good idea to speak with your doctor. And try reaching for those healthful options like nuts and whole foods before adding in a supplement.