Magnesium: a simple correction for heart palpitations

Health Q & A with Dr. Michael Jacobson, D.O.

In response to the April 2020 HealthWatch article, a member wrote:

Thank you for the clear and thorough explanation of how magnesium and calcium work in the heart. I began taking magnesium for anxiety without realizing the relationship between anxiety and heart palpitations. I thought I had two entirely separate issues. When my heart palpitations stopped so suddenly after I began taking magnesium, it took me several days to figure out why. Thank you again for your time!

Dr. Jacobson’s response: Thank you for sharing your story. Though your experience with magnesium makes perfect biological and pharmacological sense, it’s rare to see a case in which there is such a clear-cut connection.

Magnesium functions as a counterbalance to calcium. Whereas calcium is involved in muscle contraction, magnesium functions as a relaxant. This is why magnesium is contained in many laxatives. Furthermore, both calcium and magnesium are involved in conducting electrical impulses within the heart, with calcium playing an excitatory role and magnesium acting as a relaxant or depressant. This clarifies why, when determining treatment for cardiac dysrhythmias, one of the first things to consider is if there is an underlying need to increase magnesium. (See the October 2020 HealthWatch article for more information on palpitations.)

Please note: My office requires a one-week turnaround for medical information. If you have an acute or emergency medical incident, please seek immediate medical attention.

If you have a health question for Dr. Jacobson, CHM Medical Director, please email it to This information is not intended to replace the advice of your physician.

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