How to Tell If You're Overdosing on Magnesium

Not many people know it, but magnesium is a vital nutrient in many bodily functions and processes. Without it, your health will deteriorate. However, that doesn’t mean you must ingest handfuls of magnesium supplements every day. There are also risks associated with overdosing on magnesium. If you want to know more about this mineral, continue reading.



Magnesium, with the chemical element symbol of Mg and an atomic number of 12, is an essential mineral that your body requires to function properly. It’s one of the major minerals you need in larger quantities.

For those who are unaware, magnesium plays a key role in the processing of adenosine triphosphate, as well as the regulation of muscle and nerve function. It’s also significant in controlling blood sugar levels and blood pressure. Apart from that, magnesium is required for the production of DNA, bone and protein.

While many choose to rely on supplements for their nutritional needs, you can easily find magnesium in plenty of everyday food items. Avocados, banana, brown rice, edamame, legumes, nuts, potatoes, raisins, seeds, soy milk, spinach and whole grains are all good sources of the mineral. You can find magnesium in some meats and fortified breakfast cereals.

It’s important to get your daily dose of magnesium to stay healthy. And, as you can see, many foods are rich in the mineral. For males over 40 years old, 420mg of magnesium per day is the recommended dietary allowance.


Why exactly is it so critical to get your daily dose of magnesium? Well, if you don’t have enough magnesium in your system, you may develop hypomagnesemia or a magnesium deficiency.

The causes of hypomagnesemia can be a multitude of things, including alcoholism, diarrhoea and starvation, among others. Symptoms of this condition include abnormal heart rhythms, hypoparathyroidism, muscle cramps, palpitations, paresthesias, tiredness and weakness. In extreme cases, it can lead to epileptic seizures and even death.

Magnesium deficiency, on the other hand, can be caused by alcohol abuse, excessive diarrhoea and long-term stress. Something as simple as poor or improper diet can also lead to a deficiency.

Symptoms include anxiety, apathy, appetite loss, confusion, cramps, fatigue, insomnia, sensitivity to light and sound, spasms, tremors and weakness. In more severe cases, magnesium deficiency can result in delirium, hallucinations, rapid heartbeat and heart failure.


Conversely, taking excessive amounts of magnesium can also lead to hypermagnesemia, which is characterised by a high level of the mineral in your blood. Symptoms of this condition include abnormal heart rhythms, dizziness, low blood pressure, nausea, sleepiness, trouble breathing, vomiting and weakness.

If you eat a lot of magnesium-rich foods, you’ve got no need to worry. Consuming these foods won’t result in hypermagnesemia. However, you must be extra cautious when it comes to magnesium supplements and medications. Taking large quantities of these can be harmful to your health.

When it comes down to it, the best way to maintain a healthy lifestyle is to keep a balanced diet and exercise regularly. Magnesium is an essential mineral for a reason, as it performs many functions within your body. However, overdosing on magnesium can also be a real problem. Since there are many good sources of the mineral in food, perhaps, there’s no need to turn to supplements. And if you do, make sure to consult with your doctor first.


Anthony Hill

When you put together the sum total of my 30 years of bodybuilding training, the contests, the vast array of diets I have experimented (tortured) myself with as well as the experiences I have been through with various training partners in the gyms I have trained in all over the world, it’s been a great ride and I wouldn’t change it for anything. Over the years, I have been fortunate enough to be able to do lots of personal training for private clients alongside my day job. For a few years during my 30’s, I moved to Asia and worked as the Fitness Manager and head personal trainer at one of Thailand’s leading gyms in Bangkok. Learn More

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