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Magnesium L-Threonate Side Effects: Causes and Prevention

a woman holding her temples due to a headache, magnesium threonate side effects

Key Takeaways:

  • Stick to recommended dosage to avoid magnesium threonate side effects
  • Minor side effects may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramping, drowsiness
  • Excessive intake above 5000mg/day may lead to toxicity symptoms
  • Discuss magnesium intake with healthcare provider
  • Check elemental magnesium amount on supplement labeling
  • Magnesium L-Threonate benefits cognitive function
  • Helps treat Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and alleviate depression
  • May improve sleep quality
  • Ensure to follow recommended daily dose of 320-420mg

Because your body is so individualized it's hard to predict how you can react to different supplements. It's no different with taking magnesium L-threonate, the brain magnesium touted to be a beneficial supplement for cognitive enhancement. In this article, we cover a quick overview of the different magnesium threonate side effects, what it is exactly, and how it affects the body.

Side Effects of Magnesium L-Threonate

Even essential nutrients, including magnesium, can sometimes cause side effects due to individual variations in absorption, dosage, and the specific form of magnesium being consumed. Some individuals might experience mild digestive discomfort or diarrhea, particularly at higher doses or when using forms with higher laxative effects. This occurs because unabsorbed magnesium draws water into the intestines, leading to looser stools.

That is why it's important to stick to the recommended dosage (not more than 320-420mg per day) to avoid unpleasant and sometimes, life-threatening symptoms and side effects of magnesium threonate.

Some of the minor side effects seen with consuming magnesium L-threonate may include:

  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Drowsiness

Consuming excessive amounts of magnesium (i.e. above 5000mg/day) may cause toxicity or magnesium poisoning, resulting in the following signs and symptoms:

  • low blood pressure
  • urine retention
  • lethargy
  • muscle weakness
  • low mood, depression
  • nausea and vomiting
  • difficulty breathing
  • heart problems (irregular heartbeat or cardiac arrest)

If you're concerned about the potential side effects, discuss magnesium intake with your healthcare provider to determine the right form and dosage for you.

Moreover, ensure you check the amount of elemental magnesium, which you can find on the labelling of your supplement container, to find the actual amount of magnesium you'll be getting.

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So, What is Magnesium L-Threonate?

Magnesium is one of the essential minerals that the body needs to perform essential functions such as helping build strong bones, regulating blood pressure, and supporting healthy heart, muscle, and nerve function. You can obtain magnesium naturally from food sources such as:

  • dark green vegetables (spinach, swiss chard)
  • nuts (almonds, peanuts, and cashew nuts)
  • oatmeal
  • white rice
  • white potato with skin
  • some seafood like salmon
  • beef
  • poultry
  • legumes like kidney beans
  • milk, yoghurt
  • chocolate or cocoa

Although there are plenty of sources for magnesium, various factors contribute to you not getting as much of the mineral as you might expect from natural sources. For example, for plant sources, the soil in different places may not necessarily have the same levels of magnesium as in previous years (a downward trend). Commercial processing may also result in a loss of the amount of minerals naturally present in the food source. As a result, you may be consuming less magnesium than you should.

Measuring magnesium levels in the blood may not yield accurate results because much of the magnesium in the body is stored in the bones and tissues. The bones alone store up to 60% of the magnesium present in the body.

So if you have a deficiency, you may be asked to take magnesium supplements. However, do note that not all magnesium supplements can be readily absorbed by the body. Fortunately, magnesium L-Threonate (or just Magnesium Threonate) is one of the forms of magnesium that can be easily absorbed. It's a type of salt formed when magnesium combines with threonic acid, a metabolite of Vitamin C. Research has shown that it benefits in increasing the magnesium concentration in the brain.

a woman tired from her run due to magnesium deficiency, magnesium threonate side effects

Signs of a Magnesium Deficiency

If you're deficient in magnesium, you may experience the following:

  • low appetite
  • nausea or vomiting
  • general fatigue or weakness
  • seizures
  • numbness and tingling in the skin
  • muscle spasms or tremors
  • abnormal heart rhythms
  • irritability or depression

Some people may be at a higher risk of magnesium deficiency. They are usually:

  • People who have been consuming alcohol long-term because it can interfere with the absorption of magnesium.
  • Older people who may have difficulties absorbing the recommended amount of magnesium.
  • People who consume specific types of medication such as diuretics or medicines for reflux.
  • Those with long-term issues with vomiting or diarrhoea.
  • People who have specific health conditions that can interfere with the ability to absorb magnesium.
  • Anyone with Type II diabetes. The kidneys may influence increased urination causing the body to lose more magnesium.

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Benefits of Magnesium Threonate

Early research into the specific benefits of magnesium L-threonate suggests the following:

  • Supplementing with magnesium threonate may help attenuate cell death and cerebral infarction (stroke) due to hypoxia (a condition where there's not enough oxygen in the body). It may also protect cognitive functions (learning, memory) in the process.
  • Treatment with magnesium threonate has been associated with increasing magnesium levels in the cerebrospinal fluid, significantly attenuating MPTP-induced motor deficits and reducing dopamine (DA) neuron loss in Parkinson's Disease.
  • May relieve symptoms of migraine headaches, Alzheimer’s disease, and even stroke.
  • May have a beneficial effect on subjects prone to mental stress. A higher intake of magnesium has been associated with lower depression symptoms.
  • It may also help you sleep better due to its calming effects. Try the "sleep cocktail" recommended by neuroscientist Andrew Huberman, which uses magnesium as one of its main constituents. The sleep cocktail, incidentally is non-alcoholic but is instead, a mixture of supplements, that when taken together may promote faster and more restful sleep.

It is important to remember that more research may still be necessary to validate all the claims made regarding the benefits of magnesium L-threonate.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. Who should not take magnesium threonate?

Avoid magnesium L-threonate if you have a known allergy to magnesium. Also, consult your doctor if you have an existing health condition. People who are pregnant or breastfeeding must also consult a medical practitioner before consuming magnesium L-threonate. Don't forget to discuss the type of supplement you're taking before you start consuming magnesium. Liquids and powder variants, as opposed to capsule/tablet forms, may contain sugar or artificial sweeteners like aspartame.

Q2. Is it safe to take magnesium threonate daily?

Generally, it is considered safe for healthy adults, as long as they do not exceed the recommended dose of 320 to 420 mg per day. Some individuals may need to take capsule supplements to address magnesium deficiency. In this case, it is important to follow the prescribed dose instead.

Q3. How does magnesium threonate make you feel?

If you're supplementing with magnesium threonate to offset a deficiency, it may help you overcome typical signs of deficiency. These signs can be low appetite, nausea or vomiting, general fatigue or weakness, seizures, numbness and tingling in the skin, muscle spasms or tremors, abnormal heart rhythms, and irritability or depression. Some people may also experience stomach upset or nausea when consuming magnesium supplements, as some forms and high doses can irritate the gut. However, magnesium L-threonate, in particular, is easily absorbed and well-tolerated.

Q4. Does magnesium L-threonate make you sleep?

Magnesium L-threonate may appear to have a calming effect on the brain, making it easier to fall asleep. Andrew Huberman, a notable neuroscientist, even recommends a cocktail mixture containing magnesium to help you get to sleep faster and feel more rested.

Q5. What is magnesium L-threonate used for?

Magnesium L-threonate is a form of the essential mineral magnesium, which the body requires for many essential functions. Doctors may prescribe it as a supplement for magnesium deficiency since the body can absorb it more readily compared to some other forms of magnesium. Early research suggests it may have benefits in boosting and preserving cognitive function, helping treat Alzheimer's or Parkinson's, and alleviating depression.

Q6. How long does it take for magnesium L-threonate to work?

You may start to see the effects of magnesium L-threonate around the one-month mark, although you may need to supplement up to 3 months to see the full benefits.

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Concluding Thoughts

In summary, magnesium L-threonate offers a lot of promise, especially in terms of supporting and boosting cognitive function. At the same time, it's important to look at individualised experiences and reactions to the intake of supplementation. Follow the recommended dosage of supplemental magnesium L-threonate to optimize benefits while avoiding nasty side effects.

Darcy Ogdon-Nolan

Holding a Bachelor Of Science (Hons.) combined with close to a decade now in the health food and wellness industry, I believe I'm uniquely positioned to provide a depth of knowledge and first-hand experience on emerging health products, trends and ideas! From greens powders and medicinal mushrooms through to protein powders and workout nutrition - I'm particularly interested in what modern science can uncover about what human cultures have been using to treat ailments for millennia!

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