Education: Magnesium and Calcium Supplements

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Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2007
Total Posts : 502
   Posted 2/11/2009 2:18 PM (GMT -7)   
 Hi everyone, I think before anyone takes a supplement sold over the counter they should be aware of what they are taking. In our collective search to ease the pain and suffering of liver disease patients we get to a point of feeling totally frustrated. The medical teams are not giving us enough information, we don't understand what is happening, our loved ones are in pain and their health is declining fast, and we simply can't get any definitive information right? I know the feeling too. Many of you know that my mom passed away in November of 07 from liver cancer and I stopped being an experienced RN and became the daughter of a very ill woman who I loved very much. I was really incapable for awhile of being objective and I just wanted them to "fix" her. I would have tried anything to make her feel better and not suffer so much. Now, after some time I am able to use my education and experience to help others deal with this illness. I think I can help educate people to make informed choices so I will address the electrolyte topic that was mentioned in another thread. As always I encourage people to make their own decisions as to their care but at least you'll be informed.

Magnesium: Magnesium is a mineral requirement in the body and is a vital electrolyte. It is needed for several reasons including nerve function, maintaining heart rhythm, supports a healthy immune system, maintains  blood pressure and blood sugar levels, and protein synthesis. about 50% of our magnesium is found in our bones. There are approximately 300 different ways that the body uses magnesium. Vital for heart and nervous system function. Magnesium is excreted from the kidneys.

Normal levels- Normal plasma magnesium levels range from 1.5 to 2.5 mEq/liter.

Uses: Magnesium (Mg.++) is utililized in smooth muscle tissue for relaxing the muscle. Many muscles in the body are considered smooth muscles, examples include: male and female reproductive organs, urinary bladder, stomach lining, and intestinal lining. These muscles are used involuntarily by the body. Even though the heart is an involuntary muscle they are not called smooth muscles but rather cardiac muscles. Even when you are sitting still and not participating in any activity these muscles are constantly moving or “working”. These are just a few ways that the body uses magnesium.

Elevated Mg++ Levels: Called “Hypermagnesemia”, is any blood level above 2.5 mEq/liter and is cause for serious concern. Kidney disease is the major cause of elevated Mg++ because the kidneys can no longer excrete electrolytes properly. Therefore the levels remain in the cells and the levels rise. Symptoms of an elevated Magnesium levels or hypermagnesiemia include:

  • thirst
  • orthostatic hypotension (blood pressure falls sharply when you stand up from a sitting position)
  • dry mouth and mucous membranes
  • dark, concentrated urine
  • loss of elasticity in the skin
  • irregular heartbeat or tachycardia (rapid)
  • irritability
  • fatigue
  • lethargy
  • heavy, labored breathing
  • muscle twitching and/or seizures

Low  Mg++ Levels: Called “Hypomagnesemia” is any blood level below 1.5 mEq/liter.

Symptoms include:

  • nausea, abdominal cramping, and/or vomiting
  • headache
  • edema (swelling)
  • muscle weakness and/or tremor
  • paralysis
  • disorientation
  • slowed breathing
  • seizures
  • coma

Magnesium is just one of several electrolytes that the body has to have in order to function properly. Other electrolytes are potassium, calcium, chloride, phosphate, sodium, etc. They all work together to maintain body function. Doctors check electrolytes when they draw blood during the course of various illnesses as well as routinely during the year. It is a common blood test and can reveal many health problems.

I have concerns with anyone taking over the counter electrolyte medications without their doctor authorizing it. Major health issues can occur as a result of high levels of any electrolyte. Major heart problems are the most common and often fatal. PLEASE check with your doctor before taking any of these meds.




“Life is not the way it's supposed to be. It's the way it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference."


Elite Member

Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 12014
   Posted 2/11/2009 3:16 PM (GMT -7)   
Shelly, thanks so much for the info.  You are right--a doctor should be consulted before a patient takes any supplement or OTC med.

Forum moderator - Hepatitis
"But that was yesterday, and I was a different person then."
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Pink Grandma
Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 2445
   Posted 5/3/2009 11:39 PM (GMT -7)   
Pink Grandma
Forum moderator-Hepatitis

When the going gets tough....the tough get going! Don't always know where I going but I get there anyways.

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