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Magnesium overdose

by (941)
Updated 4 minutes ago
Created April 02, 2010 at 2:33 AM

I tried to take a 400mg supplement, but ended up with aches in my legs and back, a sign of overdose. How do you figure out how much to take? Could I take it every other day?

Medium avatar
39841 · March 29, 2013 at 9:23 PM

Did you take it all at once?

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10 · July 30, 2012 at 12:47 PM

Thanks Dragonfly. I will certainly try the magnesium citrate. Do you know if the citrate form will also help disolve a kidney stone? Have you had any experience with magnesium chloride?

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6117 · July 28, 2012 at 3:09 PM

+1 for magnesium citrate. It works!

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6117 · July 28, 2012 at 3:07 PM

@David Moss: I found once on a paleo diet that I became sodium-depleted, since I wasn't consuming any food that had salt in added to it already. So, at least for me, liberal use of salt in cooking is practically a necessity if I want to avoid cramping.

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6117 · July 28, 2012 at 3:03 PM

Excellent, thorough response. Since you have such a good understanding of Mg, I'd be very curious to hear your response to this other new question: http://paleohacks.com/questions/138935/how-is-supplementing-with-magnesium-citrate-different-than-becoming-dependent-on#axzz21vhJ3ftM

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32518 · July 28, 2012 at 2:02 PM

Magnesium citrate has the largest effect on the bowels & it is very bio-available as a form of Magnesium. It's likely you won't need more than 200-600 mg of it.

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754 · April 06, 2010 at 2:27 PM

MG is a tricky one in some ways cause of what it interacts with, basically Calcium, MG, D3, K2, and Boron too, I believe all depend on each other (these all help bone health too, which is why some cultures have strong bones with very little calcium intake). But yeah with that much aches you may want to research further.

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941 · April 05, 2010 at 1:24 PM

I realized that I was eating a lot of greens and nuts. This could have been giving me a reasonable amount of Magnesium. Thus, I don't need the supplement.

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2423 · April 04, 2010 at 11:16 AM

Probably. I wouldn't count on getting magnesium from water.

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7063 · April 03, 2010 at 9:55 AM

That is a good point, but I would never use a teaspoon of sea salt in anything, just a pinch, twice a day in cooking perhaps. Somedays I do not use it at all. Table salt has been chemically processed to strip it down to 98% sodium chloride - yes, I totally agree - we, with our modern diets, get way too much sodium chloride, but celtic sea salt is altogether different, it has synergy. For me, cutting down on sodium chloride and supplementing with sea salt was very beneficial and I would say safer than supplementing with isolated chemicals.

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941 · April 03, 2010 at 1:14 AM

I was taking it in the morning with my D and fish oil. But I would be sore all day. Not like workout sore, more like someone beat me up. And I would wake up sore and be sore all day. Should I be taking something else with it? Is there another mineral that assists processing?

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941 · April 02, 2010 at 4:00 PM

As far as I know, my kidneys are fine. I had a stone a few years ago, but don't think that did any damage. As stated above, the label got ripped off the bottle, so I don't know what else was in it. The aches felt like muscle aches. I stopped taking it and they went away. It was taken for over a week. Should I try another brand?

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941 · April 02, 2010 at 3:49 PM

I didn't think about that. We do have hard water, but I use a Pure filter. Would the filter take out the magnesium?

A3bb2c70384b0664a933b45739bac32c
941 · April 02, 2010 at 3:48 PM

The label got ripped off. My wife just wrote "400mg Magnesium" on the bottle.

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15593 · April 02, 2010 at 11:37 AM

Wasn't that because of the relative shortage of sodium in HG-times though (few sources and easily lost through activity and heat, and easily available potassium)? I'd have thought that in modern times, with every-one getting a sodium excess sea salt would be just as harmful as standard table salt (for causing relative excess of sodium to potassium). According to the breakdown of minerals you provide, sea salt seems to provide about 5% RDA of magnesium per teaspoon.

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10 Answers

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15593 · April 02, 2010 at 11:32 AM

It's surprising that 400mg of magnesium would cause an overdose, that's only the RDA and the problem with magnesium supplements generally is that they're very poorly absorbed (30-40% even for the better ones), so you're probably getting far less than the RDA.

Magnesium is also absurdly difficult to overdose on because your body keeps blood levels rock steady even in the face of chronic deficiency, also the kidneys excrete magnesium very efficiently. 1% of the magnesium in the body is in the blood and 50-69% in the bone, which can easily soak up masses of magnesium so it's unlikely that blood levels would be forced that high; we store so much magnesium (20-28g) that 400mg even in one shot (1-2% of stores), is unlikely to make that much of a difference.

Do you have any sort of kidney disorder? If so then an overdose would be more plausible.

Speculating as to other causes of your symptoms... was there anything else in the supplement? Often they're full of vegetable oil, soy, all the nasties you could imagine, but even so it's difficult to see how they's cause such immediate symptoms. Magnesium supplements do often cause intense digestive upset though. I don't know if the nerves are arranged such that this could cause aches extending to the legs (in the same way that digestive upset can pains in the chest), but it certainly could in the back.

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941 · April 02, 2010 at 4:00 PM

As far as I know, my kidneys are fine. I had a stone a few years ago, but don't think that did any damage. As stated above, the label got ripped off the bottle, so I don't know what else was in it. The aches felt like muscle aches. I stopped taking it and they went away. It was taken for over a week. Should I try another brand?

A7768b6c6be7f5d6acc76e5efa66464c
6117 · July 28, 2012 at 3:03 PM

Excellent, thorough response. Since you have such a good understanding of Mg, I'd be very curious to hear your response to this other new question: http://paleohacks.com/questions/138935/how-is-supplementing-with-magnesium-citrate-different-than-becoming-dependent-on#axzz21vhJ3ftM

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974 · April 04, 2010 at 6:55 AM

I take magnesium to soften my stools. By trial and error, I figured out that if I take 600 mg of magnesium citrate, I get diarrhea. 200 mg is the right amount for me. Magnesium glycinate does not have the same laxative effect.

My guess is the supplement you took was magnesium oxide because it is the most common magnesium supplement available. Magnesium oxide is also not very bioavailable. If you want a magnesium supplement try the citrate, glycinate or tartate forms.

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10 · January 21, 2013 at 9:51 PM

It is most likely that the leg and back pain was caused by a sudden relaxation fo the Illiopsoais and Piriformis muscles. Almost all low back pain can be traced to these sets of muscles as they get stressed by stimulants and/or everyday stress; either mentally or even physically. As someone else stated, it is unlikely to O.D. because of the actual amount the body absorbs but also because Magnesium is water soluble, like Vitamin B-12. Your body uses up what it needs and excretes the rest through urine, feses and sweat. There is much information online about it and Magnesium is EXTREMELY important for your health. One website stated that Mg is used for EVERY bodily function there is. I believe it. As for the most absorbing form, go with Magnesium Chloride.

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10 · July 28, 2012 at 1:03 PM

I'm 62 years of age. I have suffered from hard stools and slow motility all my life, until two years ago when I started taking 800 - 1,200 mg. of magnesium oxide each night. It has been the answer for me, but I've noticed that I've been belching quite a bit lately and have just read that magnesium oxide neutralises the hydrocloric acid in the stomach. Hydrocloric acid is needed for digestion and from what I understand most people don't have enough hydrocloric acid, that's why they have reflux, yet doctors give them drugs to deplete the acid which further compounds the problem. Does anyone know of anything better than magnesium oxide to soften the stool?

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32518 · July 28, 2012 at 2:02 PM

Magnesium citrate has the largest effect on the bowels & it is very bio-available as a form of Magnesium. It's likely you won't need more than 200-600 mg of it.

A7768b6c6be7f5d6acc76e5efa66464c
6117 · July 28, 2012 at 3:09 PM

+1 for magnesium citrate. It works!

E7afef055922678015236603c83231f9
10 · July 30, 2012 at 12:47 PM

Thanks Dragonfly. I will certainly try the magnesium citrate. Do you know if the citrate form will also help disolve a kidney stone? Have you had any experience with magnesium chloride?

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2713 · April 02, 2010 at 5:11 AM

Some local municipal water supplies have higher magnesium than others; typically these are in the areas considered to have "hard water". Because of this, it may be hard to generalize.

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941 · April 02, 2010 at 3:49 PM

I didn't think about that. We do have hard water, but I use a Pure filter. Would the filter take out the magnesium?

8e3782b68e033763485472f414f507a5
2423 · April 04, 2010 at 11:16 AM

Probably. I wouldn't count on getting magnesium from water.

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9948 · April 02, 2010 at 4:35 AM

You did not say what formulation of magnesium you used. My wife and I take 12000mg of magnesium citrate every day from Olympic Labs. It keeps the leg cramps away for us.

A3bb2c70384b0664a933b45739bac32c
941 · April 02, 2010 at 3:48 PM

The label got ripped off. My wife just wrote "400mg Magnesium" on the bottle.

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0 · April 20, 2013 at 5:06 AM

I could see that an interaction may be possible with spironallactone. That medicine drives up potassium levels -of driving up both mg andtoo k at the same time may have been too much for you. Make sure also that it was not magnesium potassium aspartate: mg/k chelated together -a that would be bad because of the K.

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0 · March 29, 2013 at 9:09 PM

I just made myself very sick taking the RDA magnesium supplement. After looking around online, I've found that it likely was a bad combination with my weak diuretic (spirinolactone) that I take for acne (believe it or not). I'd better warn my dermatologist to warn others of this interaction- I was very ill. Vomiting, diarrhea, but the worst was the accompanying pain in my sternum and mid-back.

Medium avatar
39841 · March 29, 2013 at 9:23 PM

Did you take it all at once?

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754 · April 02, 2010 at 7:13 PM

were they aches? or were you feeling the muscle relaxant effect? and what time of day was it?

The first week or so of taking MG for me this effect was very noticeable, equivalent to after you've worked out hard all day and all your muscles just feel tired, or after a deep tissue massage, which can help with sleep some. After the first week I can't feel it anymore but I still sleep more deeply.

Technically I'm Taking a ZMA supp (Mg, Zinc, and b12) at night 30-60 mins before bed.

A3bb2c70384b0664a933b45739bac32c
941 · April 03, 2010 at 1:14 AM

I was taking it in the morning with my D and fish oil. But I would be sore all day. Not like workout sore, more like someone beat me up. And I would wake up sore and be sore all day. Should I be taking something else with it? Is there another mineral that assists processing?

0d821bf7d4028b84a6838062db0e9ce0
754 · April 06, 2010 at 2:27 PM

MG is a tricky one in some ways cause of what it interacts with, basically Calcium, MG, D3, K2, and Boron too, I believe all depend on each other (these all help bone health too, which is why some cultures have strong bones with very little calcium intake). But yeah with that much aches you may want to research further.

33b6c516904a967ef8ecb30f1dbd8cf2
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7063 · April 02, 2010 at 8:37 AM

IMHO, I would never take a separate high-dose supplement, just because we, as in the science/health community, really have no conclusive evidence as to what it is doing to our bodies in these huge doses and also if we are lacking in another mineral which must work in synergy with the supplement we are taking to render it safe, meaning we could be doing more harm than good.

You could try using Celtic Sea Salt in cooking instead, here is a breakdown of the minerals it contains (including magnesium). I do not worry about the dosage (these are all trace amounts), I use it liberally when cooking and I know that my body will be able to assimilate it or in tandem with the other minerals, excrete it. you will find the whole gamut of minerals in a totally natural form in this salt, which can be used whenever needed and has none of the dangers of sodium chloride (table salt).

Many anthropologists noted that hunter/gatherers would travel for days to find sources of naturally occurring salt - this is one of them.

33b6c516904a967ef8ecb30f1dbd8cf2
7063 · April 03, 2010 at 9:55 AM

That is a good point, but I would never use a teaspoon of sea salt in anything, just a pinch, twice a day in cooking perhaps. Somedays I do not use it at all. Table salt has been chemically processed to strip it down to 98% sodium chloride - yes, I totally agree - we, with our modern diets, get way too much sodium chloride, but celtic sea salt is altogether different, it has synergy. For me, cutting down on sodium chloride and supplementing with sea salt was very beneficial and I would say safer than supplementing with isolated chemicals.

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107
15593 · April 02, 2010 at 11:37 AM

Wasn't that because of the relative shortage of sodium in HG-times though (few sources and easily lost through activity and heat, and easily available potassium)? I'd have thought that in modern times, with every-one getting a sodium excess sea salt would be just as harmful as standard table salt (for causing relative excess of sodium to potassium). According to the breakdown of minerals you provide, sea salt seems to provide about 5% RDA of magnesium per teaspoon.

A7768b6c6be7f5d6acc76e5efa66464c
6117 · July 28, 2012 at 3:07 PM

@David Moss: I found once on a paleo diet that I became sodium-depleted, since I wasn't consuming any food that had salt in added to it already. So, at least for me, liberal use of salt in cooking is practically a necessity if I want to avoid cramping.

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