In the final part of my series on the essential mineral magnesium, I look at the foods you can find it in highest, any safety issues you should consider if taking supplements, as well as any potential interactions.
You can find magnesium in a wide range of natural foods. These items lead the grocery list: green leafy vegetables like kelp and collard greens; whole grains; nuts like almonds and cashews; fruit like figs and apricots; and others such as sweet corn, cheddar cheese, shrimp, milk, and sunflower seeds.
Taking too much magnesium can lead to diarrhea. Toxicity is usually seen in patients with kidney failure, because a healthy organ will get rid of excess magnesium from the body. Very high doses of laxatives have been associated with magnesium toxicity even in people with normal kidney function. Older adults are at a much higher risk of magnesium toxicity, as it is known that kidney function
declines with age, plus the fact that the elderly are more likely to be taking magnesium-containing laxative and antacids.
Note: You should be alert to the signs of excess magnesium. These can be the same as if you are deficient in the mineral. Symptoms include nausea, diarrhea, appetite loss, muscle weakness, difficulty breathing, change in mental status, very low blood pressure, and irregular heartbeat.
Here are the drug or supplement interactions to watch out for with magnesium:
Vitamin D and Calcium: Low magnesium levels lead to low blood calcium levels and resistance to the action of Â parathyroid hormone and some of the effects of vitamin D.
Protein: Lower magnesium absorption is associated with a lower protein intake of less than 30 grams/day.
Zinc: High doses of supplemental zinc interfere with the absorption of magnesium.Magnesium interferes with the absorption of these
drugs: digoxin; ACE inhibitors (heart medication); nitrofurantoin (antibiotic); bisphosphonates (alendronate and etidronate)Â used for treating osteoporosis; and anti-malarial drugs. InÂ all cases, magnesium will reduce the effectiveness of theÂ drugs.
An important note here: You should take magnesium two hours either before or after taking the above drugs to avoid the absorption problem.
The mineral can reduce the effectiveness of oral anticoagulants, quinolone and tetracyclines (antibiotics), chlorpromazine (tranquilizer), and penicillamine.
Finally, magnesium can cause blood sugar to fall (hypoglycemia) in diabetic patients on sulfonylurea drugs such as “Tolinase,” “Micronase,” “Orinase,” “Glucotrol,” “Dibinese,” “DiaBeta.” Be sure to consult your physician prior to taking any magnesium reparation.
See the previous articles in this series:Â The Most Critical Nutrient in Your BodyHow This Mineral Could Protect You from Heart Disease and MoreÂ Four More Benefits of Magnesium