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New guideline values: Magnesium is harmful to health from the following quantities

New guideline values: Magnesium is harmful to health from the following quantities


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BfR defines the maximum amount for magnesium intake via food supplements

Dietary supplements are enjoying growing popularity overall and most users hope that they will have health benefits. However, dietary supplements can also lead to health risks because certain substances are supplied to the body in too high a dose. The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) has examined to what extent the intake of magnesium from food supplements can be harmful to health.

A maximum daily amount of 250 milligrams (mg) in the intake of magnesium via food supplements should not be exceeded in order to avoid health risks, according to the BfR, taking into account the latest data. Magnesium is a vital mineral that plays an important role in many metabolic processes such as the formation of nucleic acids, the formation of bones, membrane physiology, neuromuscular transmission of stimuli and muscle contraction. But higher doses pose health problems.

Undesired health effects

"Dietary supplements are in vogue; many people believe that they will achieve health benefits," reports BfR President Professor Dr. Dr. Andreas Hensel. However, "taking dietary supplements can also lead to health risks." Increased intake of magnesium via dietary supplements, in addition to magnesium intake through normal nutrition, can cause diarrhea, for example. Although the complaints are completely reversible within a day or two and are not a significant health risk for healthy people with normal kidney function, the experts say they have to be classified as undesirable health effects.

Dietary supplements are usually superfluous

"The best nutritional strategy is fundamentally a balanced and varied diet with lots of fruits and vegetables," emphasizes Prof. Hensel. This provides the healthy body with all vital substances and in most cases, food supplements are therefore superfluous. If these are still used, the maximum daily intake of magnesium should not exceed 250 mg. Because with intakes of up to 250 mg magnesium per day, in addition to the magnesium intake via the normal diet, corresponding diarrhea was not observed.

The maximum daily allowance applies only to adults

The BfR recommendation takes up the daily maximum, which was set in 2001 by the European Union's Scientific Committee on Food (SCF), a forerunner of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), for additional magnesium intake . However, the 250 mg only apply to people aged four and over. According to the BfR, no daily maximum could be derived for infants under four years of age due to a lack of data.

Distribute the magnesium intake over several intakes per day

Furthermore, according to the BfR, the maximum daily amount should be divided into at least two intakes per day, "because in most studies that served to derive the maximum amount, the magnesium intake was over two or more servings per day and this probably increases the tolerability." With the "normal" magnesium intake via the diet, no adverse effects have so far been observed in healthy consumers, according to the BfR. (fp)

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