Magnesium overdose: These are the dangers

Magnesium Ãœberdosierung: Das sind die Gefahren

In addition to calcium, potassium, iron or zinc, etc., it is one of the vital minerals that our body cannot produce itself. Therefore, we must absorb it through our eating and our drinking. Magnesium is considered an all-rounder in parts: antispasmodic, ensures healthy muscles, healthy organs and has an effect on our bones.

Where so many positive qualities can be found, it can also have a negative impact on our body. Can a magnesium overdose occur? How does it affect you? What is the regular daily requirement of magnesium? Which foods contain magnesium? We would like to answer these and other questions for you. So that you know what a healthy diet containing magnesium looks like and what you can do in the event of a magnesium overdose, we have put together the most important questions and answers for you here.

the essentials in brief

  • Magnesium - What is it? Magnesium is an essential mineral that the body cannot produce itself. That's why you have to get it through food. It is found in many foods such as bananas or nuts, but also in fish or meat. In general, magnesium is considered an all-rounder and very healthy.
  • Magnesium - Function : Magnesium works in two areas of the body. The first is in the skeletal muscles. Here it has an antispasmodic effect and influences the oxygen uptake in the cells. It is also related to many enzyme systems, i.e. cell regulation. On the other hand, magnesium also has an effect on internal organs. There it acts on the blood vessels, the airways and the bronchi.
  • Magnesium - daily requirement : In principle, the daily magnesium requirement increases with age. For example, a child aged 1 to 4 years needs about 80 mg/day. An adult male from 25 to 51 years old needs an average dose of 350 mg/day. The recommended daily dose is highest between the ages of 19 and 25, after which it decreases again by around 50 mg/day.

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Magnesium Overdose: What You Should Know

Magnesium effervescent tablets, protein shakes with added magnesium or other preparations and dietary supplements with magnesium. Everywhere magnesium is touted as an (almost) all-rounder. And yes - it is healthy and we humans need it to live.

However, it also has a downside. The body can usually cope with so-called hypermagnesaemia - i.e. an overdose of magnesium - without any problems, but there can also be serious consequences. In this guide we want to show you what you need to know about it.

What functions does magnesium have in the body?

Magnesium has to be taken in by the body externally - through food - because humans cannot produce it themselves. The effect of this mineral relates primarily to two areas in the human body.

  • Skeletal muscles : Here, magnesium primarily has an antispasmodic effect. For this reason magnesium is often rated as the all-rounder in this area and advised by many doctors to take more magnesium. It also has an effect on oxygen supply and energy production. (1)
  • Internal Organs : Magnesium is also known to affect many enzymes and also internal organs. In this area, it also acts on the blood vessels, airways and bronchi. Without an adequate supply of the body, hardening of the arteries or even cardiovascular disease can occur. (2)

So it turns out that you need magnesium and it is part of a healthy, balanced diet.

You should not only consider the benefits of a regular magnesium intake, but also the disadvantages of a magnesium deficiency in your diet.

What is the daily requirement of magnesium?

The daily requirement of magnesium can be measured in milligrams (mg) per day and varies according to age and gender. The average daily requirement for adults is 350 to 400 mg.

However, magnesium requirements tend to increase with age up to 25 years. After that, it remains the same, with the exception of pregnant and breastfeeding women. (3)

Old Magnesium requirement (mg/day)
0 to 4 months 24
4 to 12 months 60
1 to 4 years 80
4 to 7 years 120
7 to 10 years 170
10 to 13 years male = 230 and female = 250
13 to 15 years 310
15 to 19 years male = 400 and female = 350
19 to 25 years male = 400 and female = 310
25 to 65 years and older male = 350 and female = 300
pregnant women 390
breastfeeding 310

You can use these average values ​​to orient your magnesium intake per day. It should also be mentioned that individual factors always play a role. You can have the exact value of magnesium per day tested by a nutritionist or by your general practitioner.

How do you recognize a magnesium overdose? - The symptoms

According to new studies, a (severe) overdose of magnesium can be life-threatening. (4) In this part you will learn a few symptoms that can occur with a magnesium overdose. This way you can better recognize hypermagnesemia and also better assess the severity.

  • diarrhea / loose stools
  • Fatigue and Exhaustion (5)
  • hypotension or respiratory depression
  • drop in blood pressure (6)
  • slowing of the heartbeat
  • nausea
  • Debilitated Reflexes (7)

These symptoms are common when you ingest too much magnesium. However, many of the well-known symptoms only occur in connection with pre-existing conditions such as reduced kidney function.

Perfectly healthy people usually excrete excess magnesium. Nonetheless, there are long-term medical conditions that can result from a permanent overdose. (8th)

stomach pain

Even if excess magnesium is excreted again, an overdose can also lead to many unpleasant symptoms. (Image Source: Darko Djurin / pixabay)

What role do dietary supplements play in magnesium overdose?

In principle, there is nothing to be said against the additional intake of magnesium via various preparations. This is also often prescribed by general practitioners and internists to compensate for a lack of magnesium when the recommended daily amount is not covered by the diet.

However, you should pay close attention to the dosage and follow your doctor's instructions.

  • Supplementing your daily magnesium requirement
  • also works with acute problems such as cramps
  • Supports the function of muscles, blood vessels and internal organs
  • Precise coordination with the diet desirable
  • Dosage partially unclear
  • Danger of overdose and the associated negative consequences
  • So there are many positive factors of magnesium supplements and they are a good way to regulate your magnesium balance. However, you should always pay attention to the exact dosage and possibly test it for a few weeks to see whether symptoms of a magnesium excess occur. (9)

    Can a magnesium overdose cause cardiac arrhythmia?

    Cardiac arrhythmias are not among the common listed symptoms of magnesium overdose. Nevertheless, there are various studies that address the connection between hypermagnesemia and cardiac arrhythmias.

    In most cases, cardiac arrhythmias are a symptom of magnesium deficiency. In clinical studies, researchers tried to treat this symptom with a magnesium overdose. The results show that a magnesium deficiency cannot be compensated for by an overdose of magnesium. (10)

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    How does a magnesium overdose affect blood pressure?

    Studies have shown that taking magnesium affects both blood pressure and blood vessels. Researchers have tried, among other things, to treat high blood pressure with an additional administration of magnesium.

    All results show that an additional intake of magnesium has a blood pressure-lowering effect. Based on this study, you can see that low blood pressure can be a symptom of a magnesium overdose on the one hand. It also has positive effects.

    High blood pressure can possibly be treated with an additional administration of magnesium. (11)

    Is a magnesium overdose particularly dangerous during pregnancy or breastfeeding?

    Gynecologists always recommend taking extra magnesium during pregnancy. Since it acts as an antispasmodic and has an impact on the cardiovascular system, it has many positive effects during pregnancy and breastfeeding. In most cases, overdosed magnesium is simply excreted from the body.

    You should always see a doctor if you have severe symptoms.

    Sometimes the usual symptoms such as diarrhea or tiredness can also occur, but this should not pose any danger to the unborn child. If you experience more severe symptoms or are simply unsure, we advise you to always consult a doctor and have yourself examined if necessary.

    How does a magnesium overdose affect risk groups and those with previous illnesses?

    In the case of previous illnesses such as reduced kidney function, even renal insufficiency or cardiovascular diseases, a permanent magnesium excess can lead to serious problems.

    If you suffer from these conditions, you should also discuss magnesium intake with your doctor. As soon as you notice any symptoms of a magnesium overdose, we advise you to consult a doctor immediately for possible treatment.

    Approaches to treating magnesium overdose

    In this section we have compiled options for treating a magnesium excess for you. In this way, you may be able to counteract the symptoms and their causes yourself.

    Treatment Short explanation
    Discontinuation of magnesium supplements If you take additional magnesium preparations such as effervescent tablets, normal tablets or shakes and notice symptoms of an overdose, you can simply stop taking the preparations.
    Avoidance of foods containing magnesium Another way to reduce magnesium intake. For example, you could do without nuts, bananas or sunflower seeds.
    calcium gluconate Calcium gluconate acts as an acid regulator and can be used as a therapy for hypermagnesemia.
    hemodialysis In severe cases (usually in connection with previous illnesses such as renal insufficiency), dialysis can also be considered as a form of therapy.

    So you see: an acute magnesium excess is definitely treatable. If you experience (severe) symptoms, your doctor will usually find a solution quickly.


    We hope that you have learned a little about the topic of magnesium and overdose in our guide. Now you have the opportunity to recognize an excess of magnesium and to counteract it.

    In summary, a magnesium overdose is not necessarily healthy, but unless it is permanent, it is not necessarily harmful either. They cause you to have some uncomfortable symptoms, but they also pass quickly, especially if you limit magnesium consumption. If you suffer from previous illnesses or are experiencing stronger symptoms, you should definitely see a doctor and find a suitable therapy for you.

    We have one last tip for you: try to integrate the recommended daily dose of magnesium into your diet and only take magnesium from dietary supplements when it is necessary.


        Magnesium (Mg): Essential mineral, in: Apotheken Umschau, 2013.
        Tangvoraphonkchai K, Davenport A. Magnesium and Cardiovascular Disease. Adv Chronic Kidney Dis. 2018;25(3):251-260.
        German Society for Nutrition e. V.: Magnesium Recommended Intake, 2020.
        Van Laecke S. Hypomagnesemia and hypermagnesemia. Acta Clinic Belgium 2019;74(1):41-47.
        Diana Moll: How much magnesium is allowed?, in: Deutsche Apotheker Zeitung, 2017.
        HERMES Arzneimittel GmbH: Magnesium overdose, 2013.
        Cascella M, Vaqar S. Hypermagnesemia. In: StatPearls. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020
        Joint editorial office of the consumer center of North Rhine-Westphalia: Magnesium - what needs to be considered?, 2020.
        Blancquaert L, Vervaet C, Derave W. Predicting and Testing Bioavailability of Magnesium Supplements. nutrients. 2019;11(7):1663, 2019.
        Tangvoraphonkchai K, Davenport A. Magnesium and Cardiovascular Disease. Adv Chronic Kidney Dis. 2018; 25(3)
        Xi Zhang, Yufeng Li, Liana C. Del Gobbo, Andrea Rosanoff, Jiawei Wang, Wen Zhang, and Yiqing Song: Effects of Magnesium Supplementation on Blood Pressure - A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Trials, 2016.
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