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Calcium Magnesium & Zinc Supplement Side Effects

author image Amy Liddell
Amy Liddell has been writing on health and medicine since 2004. She is also a biomedical scientist and studies human cancer. Her articles have appeared in scientific journals, medical textbooks and on health-related consumer websites. Liddell holds a Doctor of Philosophy in biological and biomedical sciences from Harvard University.
Calcium Magnesium & Zinc Supplement Side Effects
Three spoons with supplement pills. Photo Credit: Marcin Lukaszewicz/iStock/Getty Images

Calcium, magnesium and zinc are essential minerals. Calcium builds and maintains healthy bones, and when combined with magnesium, regulates heart and muscle function and conducts nerve impulses. Magnesium is also important for energy production and DNA synthesis. Zinc is required for normal growth and development, vision and immune system function. Supplements are available for individuals who do not obtain these three essential minerals through diet alone. If you choose to supplement, be aware of possible adverse side effects.

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Calcium Supplement Side Effects

Some people experience gastrointestinal disturbances, including gas or constipation when taking supplemental calcium. These may be avoided by gradually increasing the dose of calcium over several days. Increasing your fluid intake and high fiber foods in your diet should alleviate gastrointestinal symptoms. If side effects persist, try switching to a different formulation of calcium supplement. Calcium supplements are available as calcium carbonate, calcium phosphate and calcium citrate and individuals tolerate these compounds differently. Never take more than the manufacturer's recommended dose without consulting your physician.

Magnesium Supplement Side Effects

The most common side effect of magnesium supplementation is diarrhea. High doses of magnesium may trigger a decrease in blood pressure and this may result in lethargy, confusion, heart rhythm disturbances and deterioration of kidney function. Muscle weakness, difficulty breathing and cardiac arrest may occur. Do not consume more than 350 mg per day of supplemental magnesium without consulting your health care provider. If you have kidney disease, you are at higher risk for the side effects of magnesium supplementation.

Zinc Supplement Side Effects

Zinc supplements may cause nausea or upset stomach. These symptoms can be reduced by taking your supplement with a meal. High fiber foods reduce the absorption of the zinc and should be avoided for 2 hours after you take a zinc supplement. High levels of zinc in supplemental form may interfere with the absorption of magnesium as well as copper, iron, or phosphorus. These supplements should be taken at different times of day to obtain the maximum benefits of each. Large doses of zinc may cause chills and fever, gastrointestinal distress, sore throat, ulcers or sores in the mouth or throat and fatigue and weakness. See your doctor if you experience these symptoms after taking supplemental zinc and never consume doses higher than the manufacturer's recommended instructions.

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