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What Is Involved in Magnesium Treatment?

By M. West
Updated May 17, 2024
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Magnesium is a mineral essential for the proper functioning of every organ in the body. Supplemental magnesium treatment is used to alleviate a magnesium deficiency. While a healthy diet normally provides sufficient magnesium, supplements may be needed for patients whose levels of this mineral have been depleted by illness or certain medications. In addition to being used to treat a deficiency, it is also used as an adjunct treatment for a variety of medical conditions. Consult your doctor before taking this mineral, as it is not recommended for use in some illnesses and is not advised to be taken with some medications.

Oral supplements for magnesium treatment are available in a variety of dosage forms, including powders, capsules, and liquids. In addition, intravenous magnesium treatment is administered only under a doctor’s supervision. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of magnesium for adult females is 280 to 300 mg per day, while, for adult males, it is 270 to 400 mg per day. Dark green leafy vegetables and legumes, nuts, and whole grains are excellent dietary sources of magnesium, in addition to bananas, apricots, and avocados.

Symptoms of magnesium deficiency will vary with the severity of the condition. Early symptoms include mental and emotional disturbances, such as confusion, irritability, and poor memory. Other mild effects include insomnia, fatigue, and poor appetite. Moderate deficiency effects include rapid heartbeat and heart changes, while a severe lack of magnesium causes delirium, hallucination, and sustained muscle contractions.

In addition to the mineral deficiency, magnesium treatment may be used for some heart disorders. Intravenous magnesium is sometimes administered in the hospital to patients with irregular heartbeats. One medical study found that patients with congestive heart failure could benefit from this supplement. As the ratio between magnesium and calcium needs to be very precise for proper heart function, a doctor should supervise supplementation in these patients. Research concerning the use of magnesium for heart attack patients has mixed results, with some studies showing a benefit and others showing a detriment.

Aside from heart disease, magnesium treatment may be used to complement traditional treatment in a variety of conditions, including asthma, diabetes, and fibromyalgia. Other disorders that have shown improvement from this supplementation include migraine headaches, osteoporosis, and eclampsia. It also may help with restless leg syndrome and noise-related hearing loss.

The more common adverse reactions to magnesium treatments are nausea and vomiting. Although overdosing from food sources is very rare, patients who take large amounts of magnesium laxatives may overdose and experience serious effects. An overdose of this mineral can cause severely lowered blood pressure, slowed heart rate and even death. Heart or kidney patients are generally advised not to take magnesium unless under a doctor’s supervision.

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