Most Americans don't meet their daily magnesium needs through diet alone, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements. If you're considering adding magnesium supplements to your daily routine, make sure you choose the right kind. Some magnesium supplements are not absorbed as well as others and may cause gas pain or other side effects. Consult your doctor before adding any vitamin or mineral supplements to your daily routine.
Organic vs. Inorganic Magnesium Supplements
While any magnesium supplement can help you better meet your needs, according to Robert A. DiSilvestro, author of the "Handbook of Minerals as Nutritional Supplements," organic -- or natural -- magnesium supplements may be better absorbed than inorganic -- or synthetic -- ones. Examples of organic magnesium supplements include magnesium lactate, magnesium fumurate and magnesium citrate. Inorganic magnesium supplements include magnesium sulfate, magnesium chloride and magnesium carbonate.
Gas and Other Side Effects
Poor absorption of your magnesium supplement can cause gastrointestinal side effects, including gas. In addition to gas pain, some people may also experience diarrhea or nausea when taking certain types of magnesium supplements.
Other potential side effects might include low blood pressure, confusion, dizziness, change in heart rate, muscle weakness or skin irritation. Allergic reactions are always a possibility as well. Consult your doctor if you experience any side effects after taking a magnesium supplement.
Benefits of Supplements
While some supplements have the potential to cause gas, magnesium also offers health benefits. About half of the magnesium is found in your bones, where it contributes to bone density to keep your bones strong, while the rest is in your soft tissue. Magnesium is needed to help perform more than 300 enzymatic reactions. It also assists in the production of protein, regulates blood sugar and blood pressure, and helps make energy.
While some people, such as those with gastrointestinal malabsorption, may need to take magnesium supplements, others may be able to meet their needs by including more magnesium-rich foods in their diet. Good food sources of magnesium include almonds, cashews, spinach, black beans, soybeans and soy milk, whole-wheat bread, avocados, baked potatoes, chickpeas, yogurt and fortified breakfast cereals.