Magnesium Issues

I am new to the forum. Please forgive my verbosity. Nonetheless, here it goes. I have suffered from insomnia for about five years and have done the following:

  1. I had a sleep test done in October 2017 which revealed that I have sleep apnea. I now use a CPAP machine.
  2. My sleep has moderately improved. I still suffer from nights when I get only 5-6 hours of rest. I consider a good night’s rest when I wake up 1-2 times.
  3. Heart palpitations intensified. Earlier in the year I had an EKG and thyroid tests done. Both came back with negative results.
  4. I met with my doctor, once again, who recommended that I take Benadryl to assist with the insomnia. This initially helped but then, I noticed, that its efficacy diminished over time.
  5. I discovered after some research that magnesium helps with heart palpitation and insomnia issues. So, I ordered a magnesium supplement after getting approval from my doctor. He advised caution but approved it. This initially helped with sleep but then I got some headaches. Perhaps this was due to the decongestants, like Benadryl, that I was taking.
  6. I contacted my doctor once again and asked about taking B-Complex. He approved it, seemingly more enthusiastically.
  7. I began taking it but continued taking the magnesium along with it. My energy level dropped dramatically during the day. Then, I noticed that my hair and skin started to become dry. My nails also developed a brittle quality to them.
  8. I discontinued these supplements for about one week and noticed that my hair and skin were not as dry.
  9. About ten days later I resumed with one 75 mg tablet of magnesium per day because heart palpitations returned. Also, I increased my magnesium levels to about 420 mg per day total from food. This included the magnesium supplement.
  10. My hair and skin began dry out once again.
  11. I researched the issue and discovered that low calcium levels could cause the dryness issues. So, I increased my calcium levels by mostly drinking additional glasses of milk per day.
  12. I noticed that my hair and nails were still dry but not as dry as several weeks ago.
  13. As I increased my calcium levels I noticed over the past three nights that my sleep deteriorated.
  14. I also discovered that higher magnesium levels could affect iron levels.

In addition to tracking my daily nutrition through Cronometer I am trying to set up an appointment with a nutritionist through my doctor. In the meantime, can anybody offer some advice? Thank you.



  • @Erick

    Given the chronic nature of your sleep issues and complexity of reactions, I think individual treatment is ideal in this situation.

    However, I would consider environmental and seasonal changes as possible culprits to the side effects you are mentioning . Calcium in our blood and calcium from our diet represent two separate pathways; it's unlikely that your blood calcium changed with increased milk intake (however, perhaps your total water intake increased, which benefited your skin and hair) .

    I would aim to keep a very detailed food log in Cronometer, noting all supplements, timing, food, and symptoms you experience (use the note section). This will provide useful information to both your doctor and dietitian.

    Best of luck!

    Susan Macfarlane, MScA, RD
    Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
    As always, any and all postings here are covered by our T&Cs:

  • Thank you very much, Susan! I have an appointment with a dietician on Tuesday. I will keep a detailed food log. Thanks again!!

  • @Erick

    Good luck and feel free to keep us posted.

    Kind regards,

    Susan Macfarlane, MScA, RD
    Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
    As always, any and all postings here are covered by our T&Cs:

  • For magnesium, you may want to consider use of transdermal magnesium oil. Ancient Minerals have excellent products. There are advantages to transdermal absorption of magnesium that Dr. Mark Sircus makes the argument for in his writings.

  • Magnesium is best at night time, it will help you sleep. B-complex better for day because of energy. But ask the dietitian to confirm.

  • Have you tried listening to binaural beats at night for insomnia? You have to wear ear buds all night but it works. Find on youtube.

  • Hi Erick! It's been a few months since your original post, but I was wondering if you had a followup after meeting an RD. I'm sure your logs were very helpful. I found that some Mg was helpful for sleep, but too much caused my bowels to get too watery. If that happened to you, that may lead to some dehydration, and may explain the dryness and headaches.

  • Hi Erick,

    I'm curious to know if you've had any luck improving your sleep quality?
    Also, have you been checked for a Vitamin D deficiency? ( I guess I shouldn't be so surprised to find out I have one, especially since I often have trouble with dairy.
    There are so many things that could be troubling your sleep, and since you've been using a CPAP for a while now, there may be some improvement in that area.

    When you mentioned having dry hair and skin, I immediately thought of Vitamin E, which can also help with sleep (, but I know the one that's toughest for me to get without supplementing is potassium.

    I've come to notice that it's all a big balancing act for me. You seem to be careful not to overdo it with supplements, because that can cause its own host of problems as well.

    Be well,


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