Too much magnesium – these symptoms are possible

A woman holds a nutritional supplement and a glass of water in her hands.

Taking magnesium is not only a waste of money, but it can also cause unpleasant symptoms. (Source: Iuliia Pilipeichenko/Getty Images)

Anyone who consumes too much magnesium through dietary supplements can expect problems. Here you can find out which symptoms are typical.

Magnesium is a vital mineral. Among other things, it is important for building bones. It also helps the nerves and muscles do their job.

To meet the physical need for magnesium, adults should consume around 300 to 350 milligrams of the mineral through their diet. Cereal products, seeds and kernels, legumes and green leafy vegetables are among those rich in magnesium.

Unpleasant symptoms caused by too much magnesium

Anyone who takes nutritional supplements because they are worried about a magnesium deficiency is just wasting money and doing nothing good for their health . The kidneys can excrete excess magnesium. However, it has been shown that an overdose of magnesium caused by dietary supplements can cause unpleasant symptoms: Even an additional intake of 300 milligrams of magnesium per day in the form of preparations triggers digestive problems such as diarrhea in some people.

With a natural diet, this risk usually does not exist, even if magnesium-rich foods are on the menu every day. This means: A magnesium overdose can be easily avoided by avoiding dietary supplements.

Too much magnesium as a result of kidney disease

If a person consumes more magnesium than necessary, their body normally ensures that too much of it does not enter the blood: the excess amount of the mineral is excreted via the intestines and/or kidneys.

An excessively high magnesium level in the blood, technically known as hypermagnesemia, is extremely rare and, if it does, then as part of an illness. It mainly affects people with chronic kidney disease because their kidneys no longer work properly.

Hypermagnesemia is usually not initially manifested by symptoms. Symptoms only appear when there is significantly too much magnesium in the blood. A magnesium level of 0.75 to 0.96 millimoles per liter of blood is considered healthy. If the level exceeds two millimoles per liter of blood, symptoms such as nausea and vomiting and reddening of the skin may occur. At higher values, additional symptoms typically arise, especially muscle weakness, speech disorders and cardiac arrhythmias .

If the magnesium level reaches a value of over six millimoles per liter of blood, the symptoms can take on life-threatening proportions: blood pressure drops, breathing becomes shallower, those affected lose consciousness and there is a risk of cardiac arrest .However, all of this can be prevented with timely treatment. In the case of chronic kidney disease, blood washing (dialysis) may be necessary.


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