The mineral magnesium plays several key roles in the body, including the regulation of blood pressure. People who eat diets rich in this nutrient along with others such as potassium tend to have lower blood pressure compared to people whose diets lack adequate levels. Whether or not supplementing with magnesium will offer benefit for treating high blood pressure has not been conclusively established, though the University of Maryland Medical Center notes some studies did produce positive results. No official dosage recommendations exist to specifically address hypertension, though some general ones have been established. Talk to your doctor about the appropriateness of magnesium supplements to treat your hypertension and a suggested dosage, which will likely hinge on several individual factors, such as the use of medications that lower magnesium levels in the body. To achieve optimal benefits of this mineral for high blood pressure, eat more magnesium-rich foods.
The suggested daily dosage for magnesium hinges on gender. The UMMC notes a dosage range of 270 mg to 400 mg for men and 280 mg to 300 mg for women. Dr. Michael T. Murray, an expert on the role of nutrition in health, recommends taking 150 mg to 250 mg three to four times a day to treat hypertension. This greatly exceeds the dosages recommended to ensure adequate intake and promote general health. Often, you might require larger doses of a vitamin or mineral to achieve a medicinal effect. Work with your doctor in these instances since high amounts of natural substances can carry the risk for adverse reactions much like drugs can.
Choosing a Supplement
Magnesium supplements come in many forms. The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center says that magnesium citrate might offer the best absorption. Look for supplements that contain the USP label, which indicates a pure supplement that contains the active ingredients in the stated amounts as well as other aspects of quality. USP stands for the United States Pharmacopeia, and any supplement with this designation has undergone testing through this nonprofit organization. This is a voluntary process however, and a lack of this designation does not automatically imply a poor-quality supplement. Your doctor or pharmacist can also offer guidance on quality brands.
Side Effects and Safety Concerns
If you have heart or kidney disease, do not supplement with magnesium without your doctor's supervision. Common side effects include diarrhea and stomach upset. If you already have low stores of calcium, magnesium supplementation could lead to a calcium deficiency because these nutrients compete for absorption. Talk to your doctor about the need for a calcium supplement while using magnesium. When taken at the suggested dosages, the use of supplements appears safe.
Magnesium could decrease the effectiveness of several medications, including the antibiotics ciprofloxacin, moxifloxacin, tetracycline, doxycycline and minocycline and the osteoporosis medications tiludronate and alendronate. To avoid interactions, take magnesium supplements either one hour prior to taking these drugs or two hours after. If you take medications to manage your blood pressure, the use of supplements that exert similar effects could necessitate dosage adjustments to compensate for actions of magnesium. Only your doctor can safely make these determinations. Do not alter your treatments on your own.