Magnesium is a mineral your body needs. Because it is involved in more than 300 metabolic reactions, getting your daily requirements is a must. The typical American’s diet is sorely lacking in the whole grains and leafy greens that provide this element. Therefore, taking a daily supplement may be required. However, precaution is necessary when you take this supplement, especially if you have kidney problems. As always, consult your physician before you start taking anything new.
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Magnesium oxide, also known as magnesia, is found naturally as periclase, a white solid rock material. When added to water, it is known as milk of magnesia. It can be used for several reasons. According to PubMed Health, in addition to being a dietary supplement, people may use magnesium oxide as an antacid to relieve heartburn and a sour stomach or as a short-term laxative to cleanse the bowels before surgery. It can also be topically applied to canker sores to provide relief. Magnesium oxide can be found in tablet, capsule, or liquid forms.
Magnesium and Kidney Failure
For individuals with impaired kidney function, magnesium toxicity is a very real possibility. Reduced kidney function can result in the loss of the kidney’s ability to remove excess magnesium. This can lead to toxic levels of magnesium or severe hypermagnesmia. Hypermagnesmia can be a problem in individuals who have chronic kidney disease. They often take magnesium containing phosphate binders to manage high phosphorous levels that can occur in patients who regularly receive dialysis. A1982 study reported in the journal "Nephron" showed that uncontrolled hypermagnesmia did not occur in dialysis patients taking magnesium containing binders. However, having increased levels of magnesium is a common occurrence in kidney patients and should always be monitored.
Magnesium and Kidney Stone Formation
In individuals with healthy kidneys, magnesium is reported to reduce the formation of kidney stones by creating an alkaline environment in the body thus inhibiting the formation of calcium-oxalate crystals in the urine. A 2004 study published in the “Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand,” reported a significant reduction in the factors that contribute to kidney stone formation. The researchers recommended that individuals at risk for stone formation should be supplemented with both magnesium and potassium together to provide the alkaline environment necessary to reduce stone formation.
Symptoms of Hypermagnesmia
When too much magnesium collects in the body, hypermagnesmia occurs. Symptoms of this condition are low blood pressure, fatigue, confusion, and arrhythmia. As the condition worsens, a person can experience difficulty breathing, muscle weakness, and possible cardiac arrest. If you experience any of these symptoms, or suspect hypermagnesmia, contact your physician immediately.