Magnesium is a mineral found naturally in many foods, in the body, and in some medications.1 It’s essential for the human body since it helps make up teeth and bones and contributes to muscle and heart health.2 Your body needs a constant supply of magnesium for proper muscle function, and having too little can increase your risk of heart problems.3 You can get magnesium through your diet or by taking a magnesium supplement. Magnesium rich foods include dark, leafy greens, whole grains, and nuts.2 Having a magnesium deficiency is rare, although it can cause complications. For example, a severe magnesium deficiency can impact calcium and vitamin D homeostasis.4 Individuals with gastrointestinal and renal disorders are more susceptible to a magnesium deficiency, and a deficiency may increase risk of metabolic disorders, osteoporosis, and cardiovascular disease.4
Magnesium benefits include that it decreases heart disease and stroke risk, promotes positive results in people with diabetes, boosts bone health, and reduces the risk of colon cancer.5 Taking a magnesium supplement can also help with the following conditions.
It’s also been suggested that there may be an association between magnesium and weight loss.6 However, it’s not clear if magnesium itself promotes a healthy weight. It’s likely that adopting a magnesium rich foods diet contributes to weight loss because the foods are low calorie and contain many other healthy nutrients.
Magnesium is an essential mineral, but getting too much can cause diarrhea. High doses can also lead to heart problems.8 Magnesium overdoses aren’t common since the kidneys naturally eliminate excess amounts. Therefore, having too much magnesium in the blood can be a sign of kidney problems.9 It’s unlikely to overdose by eating magnesium rich foods, but taking too many magnesium supplements or taking magnesium intravenously as a medication can cause issues.9 In the rare case that an overdose does occur, side effects can include:
These side effects typically occur when using magnesium as a medicinal treatment and injecting it directly into the body. Most of these side effects will go away on their own and do not require medical attention. However, you should mention them to your doctor to avoid further overdose.10