A lot of people don’t get enough magnesium in their diets.
Or they think they don’t.
So they take magnesium supplements.
Sometimes every day. For a long time.
Magnesium is in the news a lot lately. Especially if you read natural health advice.
This crucial mineral is necessary for our body to function well. Too little and we may experience symptoms of deficiency.
These include muscle fatigue and weakness. Muscle cramps and twitching. High blood pressure and asthma. Heart disease and stroke.
Depression is also linked to low magnesium levels. Magnesium deficiency is also linked to osteoporosis.
So magnesium deficiency is real. It’s potentially serious.
It’s also generating a lot of press.
Less talked about is the fact that magnesium supplements can cause side effects. This includes intestinal distress.
However, it’s possible to bypass the digestive tract altogether.
I like the idea of transdermal magnesium. So I invested in three bottles of magnesium spray, sourced from an ancient mineral bed in Europe.
Transdermal magnesium is believed to be a more efficient route of getting magnesium into the body. The mineral is known to be poorly absorbed orally.
For me, the magnesium spray seems to work. It ushers in a sense of well being and calm.
But I found that it works too well. Using too much spray caused me to become jittery and unable to sleep.
I don’t know if everyone would have the same reaction. But it underscores the point of using everything in moderation. It also drives the point home of working closely with your healthcare team.
Do Magnesium Supplements Have Side Effects?
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The mainstream medical site WebMD published a list of possible side effects of magnesium supplementation. (At the end of this post you can find a link to this article. Below you can see an excerpt.)
I believe we should take these potential side effects seriously. Here’s what WebMD wrote:
“When taken in very large amounts, magnesium is POSSIBLY UNSAFE. Large doses might cause too much magnesium to build up in the body, causing serious side effects including an irregular heartbeat, low blood pressure, confusion, slowed breathing, coma, and death.” (You can see a link to this site at the end of this post.)
This is why I think anyone considering magnesium supplements should work closely with a doctor.
Unfortunately, there’s not much research on transdermal magnesium. One study I found pointed out that there’s no proof as of yet that transdermal magnesium helps correct a deficiency. The authors noted that more research is needed.
However, my personal anecdotal experience leads me to believe that something is happening. The potential side effects I experienced of being really jittery and unable to sleep went away when I stopped using the spray.
Now I use magnesium spray intermittently. Sort of like when my body “tells” me I need it.
Side Effects of Magnesium Supplements
There are several different forms of oral magnesium supplements.
Some are considered better than others for absorption, or for minimizing potential digestive upset.
There are also a variety of options as to which form is the best.
So much information.
Much of it confusing.
So I turned to natural health expert Dr. Joseph Mercola, DO. He points out that magnesium oxide supplements are cheap. But largely inefficient.
Only about 4 percent of magnesium oxide is absorbed, according to Dr. Mercola. The rest goes through your digestive tract, and may have a laxative effect. A better choice is magnesium glycinate, he believes.
Dr. Mercola’s article also cited the benefits of Epsom salt foot baths. The scientific name for Epsom salt is magnesium sulfate. Your body can absorb this through the skin, notes Dr. Mercola.
Good Food Sources for Magnesium
In my own humble non medical professional opinion, the best source of nutrients comes from food. Not from a laboratory. Not from a pill
Food sources of magnesium will contain additional nutrients, which possibly help our body better use this mineral. All of the nutrients will be present in just the right proportions, as nature intended.
(This is why I take only a food based multivitamin, instead of a synthetic vitamin.)
So it’s important to include magnesium rich foods in your diet. These include leafy vegetables, beans, seeds and nuts, bananas, avocados, figs and seafood.