Is magnesium harmful to kidneys?

Magnesium, the fourth most abundant mineral in the human body, is essential for our well-being. It plays a crucial role in over 300 biochemical reactions; this includes muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control, protein synthesis and energy production. However, when it comes to kidney health does magnesium play nice?

The Double-Edged Sword that is Magnesium

The mighty mineral that we speak of has both its positives and negatives. On one hand, low levels of magnesium can increase the risk of chronic diseases such as Type 2 Diabetes mellitus (T2DM), hypertension and cardiovascular disease. Conversely, high intake or excessively elevated serum levels (medicalese alert) can lead to potentially fatal cardiac arrhythmias.

Wait! What are Cardiac Arrhythmias?

Cardiac Arrhythmia refers to any abnormality in your heart rate or rhythm – things aren’t ‘ticking’ quite right! This can be felt as palpitations (irregular flutterings) or dizziness —or worse still passing out—.proceeds-to-knock-on-wood.

Kidney Physiology 101

Our kidneys have an important job of regulating electrolyte balance (including magnesium) via filtration processes which happen at specific points along its anatomical design structure known by all good medics as simply speaking “the nephron”.

This complex network helps kindle critical chemical imbalances needed for normal bodily functions whilst also exculpating waste products like urea from our system ending up being expelled into a toilet near you!

Nephrology Pro-Tip

High dietary content of colorful fruits/veggies, nuts & seeds may contain more amounts of ‘not-so-nice-for-nephrons’ compounds called oxalates[1]. So please do not think going on an almond diet will magically improve your renal readings.

Magnesium and Chronic Kidney Disease

Having established what Chronicles of Nephrons makes kidneys pee-tick, now let’s take a look at whether too much magnesium causes harm to Renal System.

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is an increasing global health burden. The prevalence of CKD according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)[2] was about 15% – indicating that one in seven persons have CKD. One potential medication/complication/chicken-or-egg/factor in causing Kidney problems could be excessive magnesium supplementation or increased dietary intake which will overwhelm nephron filtration mechanisms and resultantly cause decreased renal function, something leading experts unnecessarily call a “Reduce? No We Can’t” scenario when treating(Management off CKDs).

Dialysis Dilemma

Patients with End-Stage Renal Diseases typically might require periodic dialysis; high levels of serum magnesium can result in gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea, nausea/vomiting etc.Who would want that elaborate pendulum motion on their gut right?

Studies done so far show no clear pattern between normal daily intakes/magnesium therapy & reduced risk/increased incidence of Chronic Renal Failure among general populace [3] confusing us mere mortals further!

Possible Prevention / Treatment Strategies

Let’s get Lawyered! Take your metaphorical stethoscope out & listen carefully.

As always, it’s better safe than sorry! If you’ve had history of kidney issues including stones or renal failure #MagnesiumIntakeRegulation2000. Ideally speaking… Pretesting! ‘The goal for everyone’ should strive towards preventive strategies like excretion treatments if excess Mg concentration is identified especially preexisting conditions leading to CaMg imbalance.

Ding-Ding – Counseling Call!

“Increasingly alarming serum emedicine trends have been reported over years therefore early detection/prevention is the key to achieve success & prevent irreparable renal function loss.

Here’s your kick with medical jargon; increase excretion via metabolic acidosis verification protocols eg:

  • Sodium Polystyrene Sulfonate Exchange Resin
  • Mild/Acuta Azotemia
  • All-Zelter Case(We give up too!)

While optimal magnesium intake remains crucial for a healthy individual,
oversaturation of dietary supplements and miraculous claims about curing everything under the sun does not come without its problems.

So next time you’re considering taking anything new, be sure to check with your Doctor(we strongly recommend it) , because when it comes to kidneys – ignorance isn’t bliss!

Have a great day folks


[1] Massey LK. Food oxalate: factors affecting measurement, biological variation, and bioavailability. J Am Diet Assoc 2007;107:1191–4.
[2] Available at Accessed 16May2013.
[3] Siener R, Jahnen A, Hesse A (2016) Bioavailability of magnesium from different pharmaceutical formulations[J]. Urology Journal,13(5),2779-2788.

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