Nearly 60 percent of Americans don't consume enough magnesium, reports the U.S. Department of Agriculture. While a diet with plenty of whole grains, dark green leafy vegetables, nuts and beans can help most people fulfill their daily allowance, some individuals, including diabetics and those with kidney disease or digestive disorders, may need a magnesium supplement. These supplements are available as various forms of chelated magnesium. Do not begin taking chelated magnesium until you've spoken to your doctor.
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Purpose of Chelation
Chelated magnesium means the mineral is bound to a negatively charged group, or anion, in two or more places. Some examples of commercially available magnesium chelates include magnesium citrate, magnesium lactate and magnesium gluconate. When minerals such as magnesium are chelated, they are more likely to survive the passage from the stomach to the small intestines intact. Because of this, more magnesium from the chelated variety will be absorbed in the intestinal tract than magnesium that is nonchelated.
Possible Health Benefits
The University of Michigan reports that supplementing with magnesium may help lower your risk of congestive heart failure and heart arrhythmia, or irregular heart rate. It may also aid in the treatment of type-1 and type-2 diabetes, reduce the frequency and severity of migraine headaches and prevent menstrual symptoms like uterine cramps. Magnesium helps build and maintain strong bones, and taking chelated magnesium supplements may decrease the risk of osteoporosis. In addition, supplemental magnesium may prevent hypertension and depression.
Healthy women between 19 and 30 years old should consume 310 milligrams of magnesium each day; men of the same age need approximately 400 milligrams. Adults over 30 should have more: 320 milligrams daily for women and 420 milligrams for men. If you choose to supplement with chelated magnesium, you don't need to limit the amount of magnesium in your diet, but you do need to avoid taking more than 350 milligrams of supplementary magnesium per day. Doing so could cause trouble breathing, a severe drop in blood pressure, weakness and heart problems.
Potential Side Effects
Common side effects of chelated magnesium supplements include diarrhea, vomiting, nausea and stomach cramps. Avoid supplementing with magnesium if you have kidney problems or if you are taking a tetracycline, aminoglycoside or quinolone antibiotic; a muscle relaxant like orphenadrine; a potassium-sparing diuretic; a bisphosphonate; or a hypertension drug such as verapamil or nifedipine. Pregnant or nursing women and young children should not take chelated magnesium unless they are under the supervision of a doctor.
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: What We Eat in America, NHANES 2001-2002: Usual Nutrient Intakes From Food Compared to Dietary Reference Intakes
- National Institutes of Health: Magnesium
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Magnesium
- Jost Chemical: What Is a Chelate?
- University of Michigan Health System: Magnesium
- MedlinePlus: Magnesium