How much magnesium can you tolerate before diarrhea?

by (2401) Updated July 08, 2013 at 5:39 PM Created July 02, 2013 at 11:33 PM

I've visited this in the past here. I use Albion Labs chelate.

I started taking a lot more calcium recently, ESP before bed to facilitate better REM sleep, and that has worked wonders. I take cal in the morning to speed up fat loss.

In the absence of calcium, if I take magnesium at 600mg, I get super loose movements. 400mg is tolerable to hit-or-miss. I always space it out in the day, and I've tried with and without meals.

If I don't take mag, I get much more sore and fatigued on my mountain climbs. Noticeable effect. If I take it, my movements are too soft serve, or diarrhea.

Now, since adding more calcium (500mg AM 500mg PM), the same 400mg of magnesium is giving me watery diarrhea or super soft serve slop. Sorry.

I am trying to isolate the cause, but I'm pretty sure it's mag. I cut out all MCT and coconut oil and it didnt help. I added a course of Dr. Ohhiras probiotics, which usually make nice stools, but no dice. I also take digestive enzymes, but as they've helped improve digestion significantly for me, I don't wanna cut them out.

I'm not interested in soaking in salts. I shower quickly and get it done. And I'm not interested in slathering oil onto myself.

I'm looking at ideas on how, when, how much, etc to take this stuff.

I'm also interested to hear if others get similar side effects.


EDIT: really interested in any supplements to take with the mag that will increase intestinal absorption and thereby limit the increased speed of bowel movements that the unabsorbed mag causes.

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5 Replies

1600 · July 03, 2013 at 9:58 PM

I think 600-800 mg of Mg glycinate? It's been a while. To be honest, after I oversupplemented with magnesium and probably got too little calcium for a significant period of time, say a couple of months before i figured out what was going on, I started getting spots on my fingernails which have never really gone away.

They may also be caused by an imbalance between Mg, Potassium, Ca, Zinc, and who knows what else. (it's definitely not from slamming my fingers in doors or something like that)

But I also read on perfect health diet than above 200 mg per day of Mg can contribute to biofilm formation. http://perfecthealthdiet.com/2010/07/bowel-disease-part-iv-restoring-healthful-gut-flora/

"The supply of minerals, especially calcium, iron, and magnesium, can be a rate-limiting factor in biofilm formation. Removal of calcium can cause destruction of biofilms."

So I started trying epsom salt baths, because I also read that Magnesium is better absorbed through skin and is better indicated if you have problems with the tablets/pill forms because of intestinal issues or dysbiosis. the baths seem to give me a relaxed feeling more so than the pills.

Maybe try that? Forgot to mention that in addition to Vitamin K2, I also thought I read Boron can affect and direct calcium and magnesium to the proper locations. and of course Vitamin D3 also has a role in all of this, as well as zinc.

I stick to the Perfect Health Diet supplementation as to get my nutrients in the right amounts but not feed bacteria too much, so pretty much 3 mg of boron per week, 50 mg of zinc per week, beef liver for copper (I'm sure this is related somehow too!), 200 mg of mg per day (natural calm) and Vitamin D3 maybe 10 000 IU per week, and K2 as well. I know Vitamin D3 uses up magnesium as a cofactor, and I'm not super strict about my supplementation. I think I read some of this on whole health source where he also mentions Vitamin A. So, it's pretty tough to answer your question unless you've got an accurate picture of all of these other vitamins and minerals in the body I would say.


Why do you need to take so much Mag/are dead set on taking it no matter what? Maybe your body needs a break from it, or maybe you should try cooking some bones to death to get some.

I also use a sea salt that has some Magnesium in it, per the theory that we most likely evolved from the sea and got Mg exposure by swimming in the Mg-rich ocean or drinking water with Ca and Mg, so perhaps you could try any of those things- the salt, the beach, drinking mineral water, etc. ?

Perhaps check out this site: http://www.mgwater.com/require.shtml

It says

Human metabolic balance studies have examined the effects of increasing the ratios of Ca/Mg and PO4/Mg within the limits of normal dietary intakes. When the dietary intake of Mg was maintained at 250 mg/day, and Ca was increased from low (200 mg/day) to high (1400 mg/day), negative Mg balance was observed.13 [...] High levels of fat in the intestinal lumen derived from fatty food ingestion or intestinal dysfunction, such as steatorrhea or short bowel, interfere with Mg absorption because soaps that are formed from fat and divalent cations like Mg are not absorbed.2

So it seems like:

Adequate protein but not too high not too high levels of fat (whatever that means)

and intake of sugar and alcohol will increase your Mg requirement. So perhaps try a day with some sugar and alcohol and see if that has any difference?

But also what you're describing may also be Crohn's or something else.

28 · July 03, 2013 at 2:25 PM

The answer is… it depends… The “Recommended Daily Allowance” is 400 mg per day for men and 300 mg per day for women.

1513 · July 03, 2013 at 2:08 AM

make sure to remember potassium for cramps as well

11011 · July 03, 2013 at 1:41 AM

If it's supplemental magnesium, then not much, maybe a tablespoon.

2328 · July 02, 2013 at 11:53 PM

Three questions before I say anything:

  • Are you tracking how much Ca, Mg, and K2 you're getting from your diet alone?
  • Have you had lab work done to determine your electrolyte levels? Mag and potassium require a test for intra-cellular levels, like the EXATest, not serum levels.
  • Where are you getting your target intake values?

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