Magnesium is a mineral that's crucial to the body's function. Magnesium helps keep blood pressure normal, bones strong, and the heart rhythm steady.
Why do people take magnesium?
Experts say that many people in the U.S. aren't eating enough foods with magnesium. Adults who consume less than the recommended amount of magnesium are more likely to have elevated inflammation markers. Inflammation, in turn, has been associated with major health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers. Also, low magnesium appears to be a risk factor for osteoporosis.
There's some evidence that eating foods high in magnesium and other minerals can help prevent high blood pressure in people with prehypertension.
Intravenous or injected magnesium is used to treat other conditions, such as eclampsia during pregnancy and severe asthma attacks. Magnesium is also the main ingredient in many antacids and laxatives.
Severe magnesium deficiencies are rare. They're more likely in people who:
- Have kidney disease
- Have Crohn's disease or other conditions that affect digestion
- Have parathyroid problems
- Take antibiotics or drugs for diabetes and cancer
- Are older adults
- Abuse alcohol
Health care providers sometimes suggest that people with these conditions take magnesium supplements.
Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) a common type of medicine used to treat acid reflux, have also been tied to low magnesium levels. Examples of PPIs include Nexium, Dexilant, Prilosec, Zegerid, Prevacid, Protonix, and AcipHex. If you take any of these medicines on a long-term basis, your health care provider may check your magnesium level with a blood test