Category Archives: Magnesium supplements

Too Much Magnesium from Supplements Now?

Well, it’s yet another magnesium update, with my continued experiences and changes with the magnesium supplements. The latest is this.

So now it turns out that I may have been getting too much magnesium absorbed. I have been taking the WFM 365 magnesium glycinate for maybe two months now, one tablet (supposedly 133 mg) at breakfast and another at dinner. I’m not going to take a third one, as suggested on the label, because it contains too much of that filler stuff, certainly more than the KAL magnesium glycinate does. So because I wasn’t sure if 266 mg magnesium per day was enough, I was taking the Nature Made magnesium citrate (125 mg) between breakfast and lunch.

So now I am learning that too much magnesium in supplement form getting absorbed can be too much, and could affect your other nutrients including potassium and calcium, and could cause side effects, which I had been having. It’s like you just can’t win. Either I have magnesium deficiency because I can’t have the foods that give you the needed magnesium or the supplements are ineffective and/or not getting absorbed, or I’m getting too much magnesium absorbed. Stop the world, I’m getting off.

So I had been having that “too-much-magnesium headache” again indicating too much magnesium absorbed, but also other symptoms which it turns out are similar symptoms to magnesium deficiency! Such as muscle weakness, stiffness or cramps, lethargy.

And then I learned that it’s okay to get more than the daily recommended 400 mg magnesium from foods, but not from supplements. That’s different, apparently.

Some articles online are saying that with supplements you shouldn’t go over 350 per day. (And then there is the issue of some supplement makers giving you more than the number of mg per tablet or capsule than the label says, that should be considered as a possibility.)

Luckily, I am able to have my carrot juice (just not actual carrots, because of insoluble fiber), which the label says has 6% of the recommended 400 mg of magnesium. According to my calculations, the carrot juice at 3 servings per day gives me 72 mg/day of magnesium. That’s actually substantial and I should have been counting that. And sources online are saying that my apple juice at 12 mg per 8 oz., 2 per day adds up to 24 mg per day.

And also I have 4 servings of whole milk per day, which info online says is 24 mg magnesium per day. I’m not sure if I believe that. But I will take their word for it.

(I have the milk, which doesn’t bother my digestive issues, besides for its general nutritional benefits, because I read a while ago that milk fat has anti-inflammatory properties, especially directly in the digestive area.)

So adding up my carrot juice. milk and apple juice magnesium (supposedly 120 mg, although I didn’t realize that it was that high until now) with the 266 mg of my 2 tablets per day of magnesium glycinate and that’s 386 mg. Hmmm. So I guess I probably don’t need anything higher from supplements, assuming I’m taking a supplement that really is fully absorbing.

As an aside, I can see why in early 2015 I was experiencing magnesium deficiency with the muscle weakness problem. I had been drinking Ensure beginning in early 2000 during that terrible time with the digestive ordeal. And I was having 4 Ensure Plus (8 oz bottle) per day, up to 2013 when I started to gradually reduce it. It took me that long to realize that it’s not a good idea to drink Ensure in the long term, with its sugar and corn oil, etc.

So by January 2015 I had reduced Ensure to 1 per day, and in those months I was experiencing that muscle weakness problem. Ensure has “magnesium phosphate,” 100 mg. So, it seems that I had been used to the Ensure for that long, and decreasing it caused the magnesium deficiency. By March of 2015 I finally got the magnesium citrate capsules for the first time, and the muscle weakness got a lot better quickly.

But I must say that this whole ongoing ordeal with supplements has been frustrating. So now it seems that if I’m having symptoms that I thought were symptoms of magnesium deficiency, it turns out it could also be magnesium overload or overdose, whatever word you prefer. Frustrating.

And I really believe, as I wrote in my post on my years-long ordeal with the initial ulcerative colitis and the bad doctors and their bad advice that made things worse and bad prescription anti-inflammatories with side effects, that the sensitive condition that I have now would not have been this sensitive had those earlier issues not been so prolonged, with relapses and bleeding BMs throughout the 2000s. So, I blame those doctors for all this, and I probably would have been able to go back to eating actual vegetables and not have had to deal with these supplements and the difficulty associated with them, had it not been for the doctors’ bad advice (and withholding information such as about the acidophilus, which I didn’t learn about until 2005, but I believe the GI doctors do know about!)

My Latest Magnesium Update

Well, here we go again, it’s time to write another post on my latest dealings with nutritional supplements. Once again a magnesium update. Just to remind you, I take nutritional supplements because I have my digestive condition of ulcerative colitis and I can’t have most vegetables because many of them are mostly insoluble fiber, which is tough on a sensitive digestive system.

So as I had mentioned in the previous posts, I had been taking the Bluebonnet magnesium citrate, but it took me the longest time to acknowledge that it just wasn’t that good. I think that’s because when I started taking it it was very effective. That was about February to May of 2018. But during last Summer it was less effective, and I concluded that the warmer or more humid weather could have an effect on supplements.

And I thought I had learned in these past couple of years that magnesium citrate is a good idea if you’re taking it for your muscles, nerves and joints and don’t want it to cause a laxative effect like magnesium oxide. But noooo, even though magnesium citrate is said to absorb very well, it still can have that laxative effect. Well, with my digestive issues, I don’t want a laxative!

Apparently magnesium glycinate has a superior absorption and doesn’t cause a laxative effect. So by a few months ago I was then taking the Whole Foods Market 365 magnesium glycinate at breakfast and at dinner, 133 mg each, and just the one Bluebonnet magnesium citrate (200 mg) about two hours after breakfast as the extra magnesium.

But even that one extra tablet of Bluebonnet mag citrate at 200 mg per day was causing a laxative effect. And I don’t want to take a third WFM 365 tablet per day because unfortunately those contain a lot of “filler” ingredients, mainly “microcrystalline cellulose.” But I’m willing to take 2 WFM glycinate per day, because the other glycinate product that’s available in store is KAL magnesium glycinate, which is bad in the purity category.

However, for that second, extra tablet of the day, I replaced the Bluebonnet citrate with the Bluebonnet “chelated and buffered” magnesium, which is magnesium biglycinate (apparently the same as glycinate) but “buffered with magnesium oxide.” Well, the company says it is buffered with the magnesium oxide to make it easier on the digestive system. Which it wasn’t. And I KNOW that magnesium oxide is mainly a laxative. For some reason I was thinking that well if it’s buffered and chelated then the laxative effect would be almost non-existent. Nope.

So, for now I’m taking the two WFM 365, at breakfast and dinner, and taking one softgel of the Nature Made magnesium citrate as that extra one with its 125 mg per softgel. Based on my experience now I think that having two different forms of the magnesium is a good idea. And I know that magnesium citrate has a little bit of a laxative effect, but with the NM product it’s minimal. I know there are other, better products I can get online but I don’t want to order things online especially supplements.

Now, After a few weeks with the combo I am having now, I can really tell that I’m finally getting a goodly amount of magnesium absorbed, but not too much that in the past has caused headaches. And while I am taking the magnesium mainly for muscle health (because of a problem I had in early 2015 that I concluded was because of magnesium deficiency but was much better after I started my first magnesium supplements), I think that my nerves are actually benefiting from it as well now. One way of telling is that when I shave, my skin feels more sensitive, which is probably a good thing. It may have been that because of still having a somewhat magnesium deficiency my nerves may have not been fully functioning. But I am only guessing here from my own experiences, or from my sensory or sensorial perceptions. (I could be all wet on this, though.)

By the way, speaking of the nerves and nerve health, I also learned over the years that too much vitamin B6 could cause numbing of the nerves. So I replaced my vitamin B-50, which has too much B6, with a different B-complex which has much lower B6.

What I’ve Learned about Magnesium So Far

Not to be too obsessed with magnesium, but I wanted to list the things I have learned so far about magnesium and magnesium supplements. As I have stated here before, I can’t have most vegetables or nuts, which are important sources of magnesium. So, I have to take magnesium supplements to get my magnesium. But I have sure learned quite a bit now about these *$#@%&%@! supplements.

And here are some of those things:

  1. Magnesium is important for muscles, nerves and joints. That is why, if you can’t have vegetables or nuts, supplementing is a good idea.
  2. Some magnesium supplements contain magnesium oxide, which is not very bioavailable, and it is best for those who want to use magnesium as a laxative. (If a supplement product claims to be good for your muscles, nerves and joints, but its main ingredient is magnesium oxide, then I think they are being dishonest, and I call that product “cheap crap.”)
  3. Some supplements are sensitive to hot and humid weather. At least that was my conclusion last Summer with my magnesium citrate that was or seemed less effective. When it was less effective, it seems to be then acting more as a laxative. That’s been my own personal experience.
  4. Magnesium citrate and magnesium glycinate are quite bioavailable, although the glycinate is more so, and the citrate can be used as a laxative. There are other forms of magnesium in supplements that I haven’t had.
  5. Magnesium supplements can interact with other mineral or vitamin supplements. Too much supplemental magnesium can affect calcium and vitamin D levels (and maybe vice versa). There might also be a magnesium-iron interaction. I’m not sure, because some things have said to separate the magnesium from the iron and other things say to combine them. I take my first magnesium pill at breakfast with my zinc, and my 2nd magnesium at dinner. And I take my multivitamin that contains 100% daily iron with my mid-day meal. I did see that iron should be separated from vitamin E and zinc. Here is something from Labdoor, and something from ConsumerLab. Unfortunately, there is some conflicting information on the Internet.
  6. Too much magnesium being absorbed can cause dehydration and headaches. Especially if you are not used to taking magnesium supplements, in which case it is recommended to take a small amount at first (like one pill rather than two per day) and gradually increase it.
  7. Many magnesium supplements have been shown to be too high in arsenic and lead. Check them on Labdoor.com and ConsumerLab.com. But the label can indicate that it is probably safer. For example, “GMP” stands for “Good Manufacturing Practices,” and “USP” stands for “United States Pharmacopeia” that means it has passed actual tests for quality and purity, as I wrote here.
  8. And other magnesium supplements seem to contain other ingredients that you may not want, as I wrote here.

Follow-Up on Magnesium Supplements Post

Well, I feel that I have to write another post on magnesium supplements, as a follow-up on my previous post. Sorry if I’m sounding like a broken record.

I had been taking the Bluebonnet magnesium citrate but it seems to have been less effective again, so because, supposedly, magnesium glycinate is even more effective in absorption and bioavailability, I decided to give the glycinate a try again.

As I had written before, I had the KAL magnesium glycinate, but I didn’t like certain side effects, and the Labdoor review of that gave it a low grade for purity. So I have been taking the WFM 365 magnesium glycinate. But that’s causing some sort of side effects as well now, including having laxative effects, which I don’t want. It’s not supposed to do that.

The 365 magnesium glycinate has “GMP” on the label which means “Good Manufacturing Practices,” but it isn’t poof of passing any actual testing. However, if something has “USP” on the label then that stands for “United States Pharmacopeia,” and means it has passed actual tests for quality and purity. For example, the Nature Made magnesium citrate has that  “USP Dietary Supplement Verified” on its label.

The WFM 365 magnesium glycinate is 3 tablets per serving, that adds up to 400 mg of magnesium. So I assume that’s 133 mg per tablet. So, that compares to the KAL magnesium glycinate at only 2 tablets adding up to 400 mg of magnesium.

Hmmm, I guess with the 365 that’s like saying the equivalent of one of those 3 tablets is all filler? (i.e. those “other ingredients,” microcrystalline cellulose, stearic acid, hypromellose, croscarmellose sodium, magnesium stearate, and the notorious silicon dioxide.) Why is this?

So, I got a new bottle of the Bluebonnet magnesium citrate with a new expiration date (and it has been my experience that the newer date has been better). So I’ll be taking that again. And I might also try that Nature Made mentioned above that has “USP” on the label. I see online that the other Nature Made magnesium products do NOT have “USP” on the label, and Labdoor reviews two of those, both of which have a high grade for label accuracy and nutritional value, but a terrible, low grade for purity and safety. (However, for the Nature Made magnesium citrate, 2 softgels is one serving at 250 mg. It also contains “medium chain triglycerides.” That could have a negative effect on my digestive issues.)

But this is very frustrating, because I can’t have those important vegetables for magnesium for muscles, nerves, and joint health. I do have a baked potato for dinner without skin. I believe the insides of the potato is half soluble and half insoluble fiber, but it hasn’t been a problem. If only there were some other vegetable I could have that’s high in magnesium but low in insoluble fiber. I do get some magnesium from my beloved carrot juice, but not enough per day, though.

And I’m not going to order supplements online and have them delivered. I have to get it in a store. That’s my own self-imposed limitations and refusal to risk getting things online that I will be ingesting internally.

More Issues with Magnesium Supplements

I’ve written about my supplements here plenty of times now, especially magnesium. Just to summarize, because of my UC I can’t have most vegetables, so to get adequate amounts of magnesium, zinc, K2, etc, I take supplements.

Before 2015 I had been drinking Ensure, mainly for the extra calories. But Ensure contains vitamins and minerals as well. When I reduced the Ensure to just 1 (8 oz.) bottle per day in January 2015, I then started to have a muscle weakening issue, especially in the arms. So I learned that it was probably due to magnesium deficiency, and I concluded that it was because I was used to the magnesium that the Ensure provides (for a while I was taking 4 per day). At that time I got my first magnesium supplement. By late March it was getting a lot better.

However, at various times between 2016-18 I was having issues, and it may very well have been because perhaps the magnesium supplement wasn’t as good as it was initially, or the hot and humid weather was affecting the supplement.

Early last year I found the Bluebonnet magnesium citrate, which by April of last year it was working very well, and maybe even was too much. Supposedly magnesium citrate has a high bioavailability and absorption, as does magnesium glycinate. But I have also learned that the citrate isn’t as bioavailable as the glycinate and that the citrate can be used as a laxative. So it’s been my experience that if the magnesium citrate is not as effective for my muscles, coincidingly it has been having a somewhat more laxative effect, which I don’t want.

So most recently, I have been having issues again, and the magnesium citrate just doesn’t seem to be working as well as it was in April-May of last year. I DON’T want anything that’s going to act as a laxative!

So, I’m in the process of switching back to magnesium glycinate. A few times I had had the KAL magnesium glycinate, but there was something about it that seemed not right. Online the product testing agency Labdoor gave the KAL a low mark for purity and ingredient safety. At least the 365 brand of the magnesium glycinate has “GMP” on the label that other products don’t have. That stands for “Good Manufacturing Practice.”

Another issue is that I won’t order any of those kinds of supplements online or have something like that delivered here. I just don’t trust the safety of getting those kinds of things that way, so I’m limiting myself to what I’m able to find at various stores here.

Some of My Issues With Dietary Supplements

Several times here I have mentioned my issues with some dietary supplements (as well as the prescription drugs). Because I can’t have certain foods especially most vegetables, because of my digestive condition (UC), I have to have certain supplements.

Magnesium is important for muscles, nerves and joints. However, it has been difficult and frustrating having a magnesium supplement that is bioavailable and that absorbs into the system, and doesn’t act as a laxative! Magnesium oxide is one of those forms of magnesium that acts as a laxative, so I don’t want that. Magnesium citrate and magnesium glycinate are the two forms that I’ve had that are best to absorb.

So here are some of the problems with magnesium supplements (some of which I have already mentioned here). In 2015 after having reduced the Ensure down to 1 per day, I was having problems with my muscles mainly in the arms. And I saw online that it could be magnesium deficiency. I think the Ensure that I was used to has magnesium as well as other minerals and vitamins. Well, the situation got a lot better after starting the magnesium citrate. In 2015-2017 I was getting the Vitamin World magnesium citrate. But in later 2017 my Vitamin World store closed down, so I had to find a different supplement. That was a very difficult process. I finally found the Bluebonnet magnesium citrate after having tried the KAL magnesium glycinate. There was something wrong with that KAL and I saw online that it got low marks in the purity category.

So while the Bluebonnet is (or was) good, I still have had some problems with these supplements, such as last Summer that was very hot and humid. And I learned that hot and humid weather can affect supplements. And there are other factors involved. And in the past month I am beginning to wonder if the Bluebonnet may not be as good now as it was last year. So this is frustrating. (I wish I could just eat broccoli and asparagus and all that stuff, but I can’t.)

And then there are other issues with supplements, such as containing other ingredients that cause problems. There’s no reason why, for example, Solaray’s “BioCitrate Magnesium” has to have “watercress leaf,” “dandelion root,” “alfalfa leaf,” and “parsley leaf.” Do they put that stuff in there just to be cool?

I wonder how many people take these supplements specifically because they have trouble digesting important vegetables? And other ingredients that might be harsh to digest. Do the supplement makers understand these things?

Why does Whole Foods 365 chelated zinc have to contain rice flour? I looked online and, while I know that rice is mostly (if not all) insoluble fiber, a cup of rice flour still contains not that much insoluble fiber. So there should only be a teeny-tiny amount of the fiber in one of these zinc pills. Right? I still had a problem with it. So I’ve been getting the Jarrow Formulas zinc, but I’m not totally pleased with it.

And why does Nature Made magnesium citrate have to contain “medium chain triglycerides”? I haven’t had it, but online sources state that medium chain triglycerides could cause gastric distress, something obviously someone like me doesn’t need. And it could also cause liver issues.

I also have been consuming whey protein for quite a few years. Whey contains natural amino acids and L-glutamine, which have been shown to repair damaged colon tissue (damaged, in my case, from inflammation), as well as aid in general muscle tissue replacement. Which is why body-builders use whey protein. However, many of those supplements contain a lot of extra ingredients that aren’t particularly good or healthy, such as artificial sweeteners, preservatives, etc. It is difficult for me to find a good product that’s reliable in my stores. And I don’t want to order these kinds of things online. I was getting one product at Trader Joe’s but they haven’t had it for a few months, so I have to get it at Whole Foods, at $15 more than I was getting it for at Trader Joe’s. Frustrating. A similar product, the same brand but a different variety (and with ingredients I don’t particularly want) is available at GNC.

So magnesium, zinc and vitamin K2 are especially important, and I have to have these supplements. That’s the way it is.

Further Update on Magnesium Supplements

I probably have mentioned this before, but in the past few weeks I have been experiencing apparent problems with the magnesium supplement again. I’ve been taking the Bluebonnet magnesium citrate 200 mg twice per day. But I have noticed that it seemed to be getting less effective and my arm issue I have had was returning. And now this morning I’m waking up with lower leg cramps, which I rarely get, a good sign of magnesium deficiency. But that particular brand of magnesium seemed to be the best so far, that I had been taking since about January or February (and reviews online as well as Labdoor testing report seem to agree with me).

And then I checked out whether the extreme hot and humid weather we have been having could affect the supplements, which it turns out that could have an effect. I live in the northeast U.S. and we had many more 90+ degree (F) days than usual for three months, all Summer long. And the humidity has been extremely oppressive. It’s even affecting my front door, which has been sticking way too much.

So I added a 133 mg caplet* of the other form of magnesium I had been taking prior to switching to Bluebonnet magnesium citrate, magnesium glycinate, in addition to my two 200 tablets (or caplets) per day, until I buy new pills at the store.

To reiterate, I have to take magnesium supplements along with zinc and other vitamins and minerals. Because of my ulcerative colitis digestive condition, I can’t have the particular vegetables that are the sources of those nutrients.

*I assume they are 133 mg caplets/tablets because the nutritional information states that one serving is 3 pills that adds up to 400 mg.

Further Commentary on Magnesium

Regarding my previous post, and the concern that my magnesium supplement was being interfered with by other supplements, I have learned since then that the magnesium could interact negatively with vitamin D supplements, and that separating them by an hour or two is helpful. Also, if I had been taking too high a dose per day of magnesium, that could cause dehydrating and would explain the headache side-effect, and increasing water throughout the day is helpful.

Too Much Magnesium Supplements?

As a follow-up to my previous post of February 17, 2018 and updated on March 13, 2018, I had been taking the Bluebonnet magnesium citrate one caplet twice per day, but two weeks ago I reduced the second one by cutting it in half. They are 200 mg caplets.

The reason was that I had been getting these headaches and having some other issues like dizziness. And so after some more research I learned that too much magnesium can affect calcium, vitamin D and other vitamin or mineral levels and thus cause symptoms. But I was taking the recommended daily allowances of magnesium which is 400 mg. However, because both magnesium glycinate and magnesium citrate are highly absorbable, some sources on the Internet recommended started off at a low dose like 1 caplet of 200 mg per day.

So two weeks ago I reduced the Bluebonnet magnesium citrate to 1 and 1/2 caplets per day. The symptoms have definitely gone down now.

It’s possible that I might be taking too much vitamin D, however. For a while I had been taking a total of 3400 i.u. of vitamin D, from the two multi-vitamin tablets I take per day (containing 1,000 i.u. vitamin D each), a 1,000 i.u. softgel and a 400 i.u. softgel. But that might be too much. Another thing I read is that, while vitamin D is supposed to help strengthen the immune system, too much vitamin D could actually compromise it. And I read the same thing about magnesium as well.

The reason I take the &$@*$&@ supplements is because with my ulcerative colitis (as mentioned in the previous post) I can’t eat particular foods, such as most vegetables, which contain a lot of non-digestible irritants known as “insoluble fiber.”

We need to get magnesium for our muscles, nerves and joints, as well as zinc, vitamin K and K2 for bones and other functions, and sources of those nutrients are mostly vegetables and fruits. This has been going on with me since 1999. So it’s taking me this long to understand these things. And as I mentioned in the previous post, I was probably getting some of these nutrients from drinking Ensure, which went on for over ten years. But I concluded that overall it’s not a good idea to drink Ensure over the long term of many years. And the same thing goes for fish oil softgel supplements. But that’s a different discussion.