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Magnesium for Adrenal Fatigue

  • You lose magnesium quickly under stress
  • However ...with advanced adrenal fatigue ... too much magnesium can lower sodium, which can cause a crash

Magnesium is an important Adrenal Fatigue Supplement. However, the amount of magnesium you need and can tolerate depends greatly what stage of AF you are on.

If you are constantly stuck in a state of stress, you will use up magnesium very quickly.

If you are unfortunate enough to get to the exhaustion stage ......too much magnesium can cause you to crash since it lowers sodium.

You still need some magnesium if your adrenal fatigue is advanced. Just be careful not to overdo it.

Early Stage Adrenal Fatigue (Stage 2)

You need a lot of magnesium during the early stages of adrenal fatigue .... when you are under chronic stress and the adrenal glands are still able to produce stress hormones at a high rate.


For an explanation of the stages, see the article:
Stages of Adrenal Fatigue

However, usually people don't feel too bad during stage 2 of adrenal fatigue. You still have lots of energy, and seem to be able to handle more stress than others.

Some hints that you may be in an early stage are constipation, inability to rest, work hard / play hard. You might be starting to get a little Anxiety. You have become hyperviligent, and are very jumpy.

Magnesium supplements would have been very helpful for you at this point.

My guess is that you are not in stage 2... because usually people have not started to turn to the internet for answers at this point. You generally feel ok .. and have lots of energy during stage 2. You have not started to search for adrenal fatigue supplements

It is when you crash at Stage 3 that everything falls apart, your doctor can't find anything wrong, and you end up at sites like this one.

Magnesium During Stage 2 Adrenal Fatigue

During the early stages, when you are stuck in a "stressed" mode from having a dominant sympathetic nervous system, your need for magnesium is great.

This is when you are producing large amounts of epinephrine and cortisol, which results in magnesium loss1.

  Stress causes secretion of epinephrine(adrenaline) and corticosteroids and results in Magnesium loss in animals and humans. 1

Back when you were Stage 2, this is when you really could have used lots of magnesium.

The problem with the loss of magnesium that results from stress is that is actually makes it difficult for you to return to a calm state.

Magnesium tends to reduce activity of the stressed side of your nervous system (sympathetic)2. So if you are deficient in magnesium, it results in more stress.

  An important study in 1995 showed that even marginal magnesium deficiency could induce the brain to become hyper-excitable, as shown by EEG measurements.8

You end up with a vicious cycle of stress leading to magnesium loss, which creates more stress.

magnesium adrenal fatigue

Once this cycle is set-up, it is very difficult to calm yourself down, and you will be headed towards Stage 3 adrenal fatigue.

Stage 3 Adrenal Fatigue and Magnesium

  • Magnesium can cause extreme fatigue

If you are near Stage 3 Adrenal Fatigue, magnesium can cause fatigue. During later stages, epinephrine is below normal. So your need for magnesium is reduced since there will be much less magnesium loss.

In fact, in later stages of adrenal fatigue, elevated magnesium can be a problem.

  Hypothyroidism, adrenal insufficiency ......occasionally produce mild elevations of serum magnesium.3

Magnesium Lowers Sodium

If you have fairly advanced adrenal fatigue, you probably have low sodium levels. Do you crave salt?

Increased magnesium intake reduces sodium levels. 4, 5, 6. Anything that reduces sodium in late stage adrenal fatigue is actually a stressor, since the adrenal glands will need to work harder to retain sodium by producing more Aldosterone.

I learned this the hard way. I started using magnesium oil. Although I initially felt better from it, after a couple of weeks I had a bit of a crash. My skin as also become very dehydrated.

Here is a post on the forum on, from someone who had a similar experience with magnesium oil:

  I had a similar situation using Magnesium chloride spray. I used it for about 2 weeks (just one spray) and it completely wiped me out.
It has taken me months to recover from it. post by SB1108

So...although it seems like a good thing that magnesium oil can bypass problems with reduced absorption, it is risky. Since magnesium oil is absorbed through the skin and right into the blood stream, it is similar to getting an I.V.

If you are still weak and tired all the time, it is probably safer to stick to oral magnesium, since your bowel tolerance will naturally limit how much gets absorbed.

Excessive use of epsom salt baths (magnesium sulfate) can also cause serious imbalances in sodium, potassium,calcium, or iron7

Here is another post on the adrenal fatigue forum by a person describing how Epsom salt baths make them tired (or any other forms of magnesium)

  Mag. chloride baths, mag. supplements and Epsom Salt baths all wipe me out, such fatigue. I know i'm low on sodium...not releasing much in urine at all and also low BP - despite eating much of it. So i still have to be very careful with the mag. as it does seem to lower sodium. post by by purplepixie


You very likely have symptoms of magnesium deficiency. Almost everyone with adrenal fatigue will have experienced years and years of being deficient in magnesium.

Most people do notice several symptoms improve when they use magnesium for adrenal fatigue. However, you cannot replenish your magnesium stores overnight.

If you are already exhausted all the time...... use oral magnesium only. Magnesium oil is too risky for those with advanced adrenal fatigue.

If you are wired, but not that tired, you could try magnesium oil. It is more powerful and effective. Just make sure to start slow, and watch how you feel.

How Much?

The nutritional balancing program (from ARL/Larry Wilson) uses 450-mg of magnesium per day, in 3 divided doses (150-mg per dose)

In her book Dr. Carolyn Dean states that a rule of thumb is 6-8 mg/kg of body weight per day, which equates to 600 to 900 mg per day for a 200-lb man.

What type of Magnesium?

Magnesium Oxide is the most common type you will find in a pharmacy and the most poorly absorbed. Only about 4 percent of magnesium oxide is absorbed. 8

Chelated Magnesium, or Magnesium Citrate are absorbed at a higher rate. Powdered magnesium citrate is not expensive, and absorbed at a fairly high rate.

For a program designed to balance minerals, see the article Introduction to Nutritional Balancing

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1. The Important Role of Nutritional Magnesium and Calcium Balance in Humans Living with Stress
2. Magnesium inhibits norepinephrine release by blocking N-type calcium channels at peripheral sympathetic nerve endings
3. Hypermagnesemia
4. Effects of magnesium on blood pressure and intracellular ion levels of Brazilian hypertensive patients
5. Effects of dietary magnesium supplementation on diurnal variations of blood pressure and plasma Na+, K(+)-ATPase activity in essential hypertension.
6. Mineral Ratios for Calcium, Magnesium and other Elements, and their Relationship to Spinal Manipulation and Alignment
7. Calcium and Magnesium
8. Dean Md Nd, Carolyn (2008-12-24). The Magnesium Miracle. Random House Publishing Group.
9. The Calcium Shell

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