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The Side-Effects of Magnesium Glycinate

author image Joe King, M.S.
Joe King began writing fitness and nutrition articles in 2001 for the "Journal of Hyperplasia Research" and Champion Nutrition. As a personal trainer, he has been helping clients reach their fitness goals for more than a decade. King holds a Bachelor of Science in kinesiology from California State University, Hayward, and a Master of Science in exercise physiology from California State University, East Bay.
The Side-Effects of Magnesium Glycinate
Magnesium glycinate is found in tablet form.

Magnesium glycinate is a form of the mineral magnesium that is bound to the amino acid glycine. Glycine increases the bio-availability of magnesium by increasing its absorption in your small intestine, enhancing the uptake of magnesium into your blood stream. Magnesium glycinate is commonly used to correct a magnesium deficiency, particularly when you may have difficulty absorbing adequate amounts of magnesium due to illness, or if you lack the enzymes that naturally facilitate magnesium absorption and transport.

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Because of its increased bio-availability, the risk of an overdose of magnesium glycinate may be higher than that of magnesium found naturally in food. According to the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, the symptoms of a magnesium overdose are diarrhea, hypotension, lethargy, confusion, disturbances in normal cardiac rhythm, and a deterioration of kidney function. Muscle weakness, difficulty breathing, and cardiac arrest may occur in the most severe cases.

Immune System Function

Small doses of magnesium glycinate, about 300 mg to 400 mg in women and men, respectively, have been approved for use in nutritional products by the Food and Drug Administration. However, high amounts of magnesium glycinate can negatively affect your immune system function by adversely affecting the normal functioning of immune cells called T cells. Your immune system is responsible for your body's ability to fight infection and illness and to maintain the health and function of your body's organs and cells. Compromising your immune system with excessive amounts of magnesium glycinate may leave you more vulnerable to illness.


Some individuals may have difficulty absorbing both magnesium and glycine, leading to gastrointestinal distress, especially if you take magnesium glycinate on an empty stomach. Symptoms of gastrointestinal distress may include stomach cramps, increased sweating, headache, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Taking smaller doses of magnesium glycinate with food and adequate amounts of water may help to reduce the risk of developing gastrointestinal distress as a result of magnesium glycinate supplementation.

Drug Interactions

Magnesium may interfere with the absorption of some heart medications, antibiotics, and anti-malarial drugs, which may potentially reduce their efficiency. Drugs used to treat osteoporosis, such as bisphosphonates, should be taken at least several hours apart from magnesium to ensure they won't interfere with one another. Magnesium should not be taken if you are using diuretics, as serious kidney and renal system complications may occur. Consult your physician prior to taking magnesium glycinate to make sure it will not adversely interact with any medications you are currently taking.

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