Magnesium is considered to the fourth most abundant mineral in the human body, notes the National Institutes of Health. Magnesium is commonly found in green, leafy vegetables and shouldn't cause an allergic reaction when you get it from foods. An allergic reaction may occur if you take magnesium supplements, according to Drugs.com. Before taking any supplement, talk with your doctor to make sure it's safe. An allergic reaction to magnesium supplements can be life-threatening.
During an allergic reaction, your body mistakes magnesium as a harmful substance and therefore defends itself. The immune system begins to produce IgE antibodies that attack the mineral, notes MedlinePlus. The antibodies trigger mast cells throughout the body to produce histamine. Histamine helps the antibodies fight off the magnesium and at the same time causes inflammation in soft tissue throughout the body. This leads to the most common allergic reaction symptoms.
Common symptoms to magnesium supplements are rhinitis, digestive complications, skin rashes and asthma. Rhinitis symptoms include a runny nose, nasal congestion, sneezing, watery eyes and throat irritation. You may experience nausea, vomiting, cramping, abdominal pain and diarrhea as a result of an allergy to magnesium. Your skin can become itchy, inflamed and irritated in the form of hives or eczema. Some people react with asthma symptoms, such as shortness of breath, chest pain and wheezing.
Magnesium can cause a severe allergic reaction. A severe allergic reaction, or anaphylaxis can cause swelling in the mouth, face, lips or tongue, black stool, mental confusion, dark urine, ringing in the ears, dizziness, severe stomach pain, vomiting, a sudden drop in blood pressure and appearing pale. A severe allergic reaction to magnesium can lead to death if not promptly treated. Call 911 or other emergency medical care if these symptoms develop.
A severe allergic reaction to magnesium may require an injection of epinephrine within the first 15 minutes to prevent further complications. Mild allergy symptoms, such as a skin rash or rhinitis, can be treated with an oral antihistamine and topical steroid lotions.
Prevention begins by talking with your doctor. Your doctor may recommend allergy testing. If you are diagnosed with an allergy to magnesium, your doctor may recommend a specific diet for you to follow. You should inform your family, friends and coworkers about your condition and wear a medical bracelet, in case of an emergency.