Magnesium makes me jittery

Magnesium makes me jittery

Magnesium supplements are known to be helpful in reducing anxiety, depression, insomnia, and muscle cramps. So it comes as no surprise it’s one of the most popular supplements available right now, of course no supplement comes without its side-effects. So could magnesium supplementation actually be making you feel jittery?

Magnesium has been known to cause certain people to feel jittery. Whilst it’s an unlikely and lesser known side-effect it does happen. The reason is because magnesium is an electrolyte. When consuming individial electrolytes they can increase or decrease the efficacy of other electrolytes, such as potassium, calcium or sodium. When certain electrolytes get out of balance it can make us feel ‘not right’ or generally anxious.

Could magnesium be making me feel jittery?

When we ingest any supplement, be it a vitamin or mineral it doesn’t only increase that vitamin or mineral. Often times these supplements will interact with other chemicals in our body resulting in an increase or decrease in another. One example would be vitamin D, when we ingest vitamin D it utilises magnesium for its absorbtion. In this instance high dose supplementation of vitamin D can lower actually your available magnesium as the magnesium is utilised for it’s absorption.

A more relevant example would be in the consumption of magnesium. Whilst often overlooked magnesium is in fact an electrolyte as well as a mineral. Electrolytes are particularly prone to becoming out of balance in the body because of their frequent utilisation in day-to-day tasks as well as being water soluble. This means high amount of stress such as exercise, or an increased intake of water could drastically reduce or dilute your electolytes. When electrolytes such as magnesium or calcium get out of balance we can begin to feel jittery or nervous.

This is why electrolyte depletion is so commonly seen amongst athletes. This is because they’re often sweating tremendous amounts of fluids and drinking large quantities of water in an effort to rehydrate.

Why is magnesium making me jittery?

One reason magnesium could be causing you to feel anxious or jittery is because your electolytes have been put out of balance by over-supplementation. This is a common issue when independantly supplementing minerals or electrolytes. This doesn’t often happen when we consume the same minerals or electrolytes via food because natural food often has a balance of minerals. For example you’re very unlikely to find a whole-food that only contains magnesium or only contains sodium. Whole foods usually contain a combination of all the essential minerals in varying amounts and often in harmonious balance. Nature can be pretty helpful like that. What’s more, the amounts of minerals and electrolytes found in foods are a far smaller quantity than what’s found in most supplements.

Why is magnesium making me jittery?

The specific mechanism that magnesium could make you feel this way is usually a reduction in either sodium, potassium or calcium. Whilst magnesium is needed for the utilisation of all of these electrolytes, in high doses magnesium will actually deplete them.

The reason is when magnesium levels increase our ability to absorb sodium in the intestines decreases. Similarly when magnesium levels decrease the amount of sodium absorbed in our intestines increases. It’s a ying-yang type relationship. Whilst this may seem beneficial if you’re suffering from a sodium heavy diet, it can cause issues.

Sodium isn’t the enemy in our bodies. Not only does sodium fuel our adrenal glands which provide us energy, it also maintains fluid balance inside our bodies and cells. If our sodium levels drop too much it can lead to increased frequency and volume of urination. Each time we urinate we lose a small amount of electrolytes down the toilet. Normally this is completely routine, but if we’re urinating too big a volume or too frequently then problems can occur.

Sodium, potassium and calcium are all utilised in the process of muscle contractions. When any one of these electrolytes become too low we can begin to feel ‘off’. One reason for this feeling is our muscles inability to properly contract, leaving us feeling constantly anxious or nervous. This is also why unbalanced electrolytes lead to muscle cramping.


So now you have it. Magnesium is a brilliant supplement and one that’s helped countless people overcome anxiety, insomnia, muscle cramps, depression symptoms and more. But use with caution. Overdoing magnesium can unbalance your other electrolytes leading to a jittery feeling. This is because with the over-consumption of magnesium we’re unable to properly contract our muscles which can leave us in a constant tremor-like feeling.

Solution? Use magnesium supplements with caution. Don’t take more than is necessary and if for whatever reason you do take large quantities of magnesium- pay close attention and don’t ignore your other electrolytes!

Do you want to learn more about how minerals interact with one another? We did a deep dive in The Ultimate Guide to Mineral Interactions in the Body. Learn how supplements effect eachother to perfect your supplement stack!


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