Warning: If you have kidney disease (renal failure), you must not take any magnesium supplements.
You may decide to use magnesium supplements to increase or ensure your magnesium status. Magnesium supplements can be very helpful both short term and long term if a supplementation program is designed for nutrient balance. For information that can help you balance nutrients while supplementing see Optimal Nutrition, Supplements or Food , as well as summary of "What We Eat In America" on this website.
We are lucky to have a wide variety of magnesium supplements available to us. Magnesium comes in several forms:
and many others.
plus it comes in combination with other nutrients such as
vitamin B6, which increases magnesium absorption.
Those who can handle big, bulky pills can use magnesium supplements in pill form. For those who dislike pills, magnesium citrate can be dissolved in hot water and taken as a tea.
As a general rule, when taking magnesium supplements, start at a low dose and gradually build it up. When you get diarrhea, you can back off until your stools are comfortably loose. This daily amount of magnesium should be enough to rebuild your magnesium status. If you are depleted in magnesium status, you will be able to take high doses comfortably until your depletion is corrected. Then, all of a sudden, you may notice diarrhea. Adjust your dose down to where your stools are, again, comfortably loose. Then maintain that dose until things change again, then readjust. You can speed up your program by taking your magnesium supplement in two or three daily doses. This way you can take in more magnesium per day without diarrhea.
Julee was in her 50's when she decided to take magnesium for her mitral valve prolapse condition. She had had rheumatic fever as a child, which may have helped deplete her of her magnesium, and years later, a cumulation of low magnesium balance was bringing on clinical symptoms. She began with a daily dose of 700 mg magnesium, and found it quite comfortable for 3 to 4 months. Suddenly she developed diarrhea and, with the help of her nutritionist, realized her magnesium deficiency was possibly gone. She could now find her lower daily dose of magnesium that was comfortable for her so that she could remain in positive balance for the rest of her life.
Oral magnesium supplements as low as 120 mg/day and as high as 1920 mg/day have been reported to safely control symptoms of magnesium deficiency, even in people with high genetic magnesium loss.
There are many good magnesium supplements. The trick is to balance the magnesium with the calcium. To forestall conditions such as osteoporosis, many of us are using calcium supplements which are popular right now among supplement producers and doctors. When one has enough magnesium, calcium supplements are fine. But when a person has low or marginal magnesium status, as many of us do, extra calcium can be dangerous.
For those preventing heart disease, closing a daily magnesium gap, 150 to 250 mg magnesium per day as a supplement will secure most along with not more than 800 - 1000 mg calcium from all sources--food, water and supplements -- for most adults. For those needing to correct a magnesium deficit, most will do well on 400 to 700 mg magnesium per day along with not more than 1000 mg calcium as supplements. See DRIs for Calcium and Vitamin D. Those who need to reverse some aspect of heart disease or other manifestation of Magnesium deficit may need more magnesium.
You may be able to tolerate magnesium pills easily. But some people do not. If pills do not work for you, consider the liquid forms of magnesium supplements or seriously consider a magnesium-containing salt. Some people will have to get their magnesium from foods only, while others may show allergies to the highest magnesium foods--nuts. Everyone is different. You will need to find out how best your body can get its precious daily magnesium.
There are some contraindications for magnesium supplements: persons on certain antibiotics are not to take magnesium with the anti-biotic; persons with kidney disorders need to work closely with a physician to correct a magnesium deficiency and not try to supplement on their own. To be completely thorough we need to mention the remote possibilities of magnesium toxicity which are extremely rare for oral magnesium. One report told of elderly people dying from taking too much antacid medicine (over the counter). The authors assumed it was the magnesium in the antacids that became toxic with overdose, causing the deaths. This might be true. A more likely explanation may have been the aluminum in the antacids or that such extreme overuse of these widely available medicines meant these patients had undiagnosed conditions that caused at least some of their deaths. At any rate, this source caused two deaths per year, one of the lowest rates any medicine can boast.
Magnesium supplements can be very helpful both short term and long term if a supplementation program is designed for nutrient balance. For information that can help you balance nutrients while supplementing see Optimal Nutrition, Supplements or Foods, as well as summary of "What We Eat In America" on this website
Caution: If you have kidney disease (renal failure) you must not take any magnesium supplements.