Week 35 blog-  Magnesium

What is Magnesium- the history-

Magnesium is a mineral that is a vital regulator of basic health. Magnesium is a macro-mineral and is needed by the body in large amounts. Magnesium is the second most abundant element inside human cells and the fourth most abundant positively charged ion in the human body. In nature, magnesium can be found in many different forms, bonded with other atoms, such as: Magnesium chloride, found naturally in the sea, Magnesite, the insoluble rock salt also known as magnesium carbonate, and in plant matter the central element in chlorophyll. Unstable in its pure state, magnesium typically forms a white coating of magnesium oxide. In nature, most of its compounds appear as white crystals. Approximately 320,000 tons of magnesium are extracted every year for commercial use.  Magnesium is commonly extracted from seawater, where it is the third most common component.

Magnesium was first discovered outside of the Greek city of Magnesia. In 1808, Sire Humphrey Davy first isolated several of the alkaline earth metals, naming them after their oxides as barium, strontium, calcium, and magnium. Davy derived the term “magnium” from the common name for magnesium oxide: magnesia. Eventually the term magnesium replaced the term magnium. Magnesium was used as a curative as early as ancient times, in the form of laxatives and Epsom salts.

What is the role of magnesium in our health?

Magnesium is found throughout your body and every cell in your body contains this mineral and needs it to function. 60% of the magnesium in your body is in bone, while the rest is in muscles, soft tissues, and fluids, including blood. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26404370/   It act as a cofactor or helper molecule in the biochemical reactions performed by enzymes. It’s involved in more than 600 reactions in your body, including

-Energy creation: converting food into energy

-Protein formation: creating new proteins from amino acids

-Gene maintenance: helping create and repair DNA and RNA

-Muscle movements: aiding in muscle contraction and relaxation- by playing a role in the active transport of calcium and potassium ions across cell membranes. This process is important to nerve impulse conduction, muscle contraction, and normal heart rhythm.

-Nervous system regulation: regulating neurotransmitters, which send messages throughout your brain and nervous system

--Many studies are looking at the role of magnesium in those with high blood pressure, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and people who suffer with migraines. Several population-based studies have found positive associations between magnesium intake and bone mineral density in both men and women. Other research has found that women with osteoporosis have lower serum magnesium levels than women who do not have osteoporosis or osteopenia (The medical condition of having low bone density, but not low enough to be considered osteoporosis). These and other findings indicate that magnesium deficiency might be a risk factor for osteoporosis. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19968914/

-Magnesium supplements are often used as a natural remedy for sleep issues such as insomnia. This is because magnesium regulates several neurotransmitters involved in sleep, such as gamma aminobutyric acid. One review in older adults with insomnia found that magnesium supplements lowered the amount of time it took people to fall asleep by an average of 17 . https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33865376/   study in nearly 4,000 adults linked increased intake of this mineral to improvements in sleep quality and duration. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34883514/   Furthermore, another study associated higher magnesium intake in women with a reduced likelihood of falling asleep during the daytime.

- There are so many more benefits but I must move on!

What do I need daily?

The US RDA for magnesium in adults:

                           Male                   Female                    Preg                 lactating

9–13 years          240 mg               240 mg                

14–18 years        410 mg               360 mg                  

19–30 years        400 mg                310 mg                 350 mg               310 mg

31–50 years        420 mg               320 mg                 360 mg                320 mg

51+ years            420 mg               320 mg 


Approximately 50%- 75% of U.S. adults get less than the recommended daily amount of magnesium. We need to focus on improving our diets to meet our magnesium need daily.

Where do we get magnesium?

Food sources:

Magnesium is widely distributed in plant and animal foods and in beverages. Green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains, are good sources. Foods containing dietary fiber provide magnesium. Magnesium is also added to some breakfast cereals and other fortified foods. When grains are refined it removes the nutrient-rich germ and bran, lowering the magnesium content substantially. Whole grains are always best! Avoid white and wheat breads all together! Tap, mineral, and bottled waters can also be sources of magnesium The amount of magnesium in water varies by source and brand (ranging from 1 mg/L to more than 120 mg/L). Check your labels but from my research, it is hard to find.

Specific great food sources: Pumpkin seeds, roasted, 1-ounce      156mg   37% DV, Almonds, dry roasted, 1-ounce (23)             80mg     19% DV, Spinach, boiled, ½ cup  78mg     19% dv, Cashews, dry roasted, 1-ounce (16-18)    74mg     18% DV,

Peanuts, oil roasted, ¼ cup          63mg     15% dV, Peanut butter, smooth, 2 tablespoons               49mg     12%DV, Potato, baked with skin, 3.5 ounces         43mg     10% DV, Rice, brown, cooked, ½ cup    42mg     10%DV

You can see it is very easy to get your requirements daily but you have to incorporate, whole grains, nuts and leafy greens!

Dietary supplements

Magnesium supplements are available in a variety of forms, including magnesium oxide, citrate, and chloride. Absorption of magnesium from different kinds of magnesium supplements varies. Forms of magnesium that dissolve well in liquid are more completely absorbed in the gut than less soluble forms. Studies have found that magnesium in the aspartate, citrate, lactate, glycinate, orotate, carbonate and chloride forms is absorbed more completely and is more bioavailable than magnesium oxide and magnesium sulfate.,https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11550076/,       https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2050185/,      https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2050185/    Check your supplement label.


Magnesium is a primary ingredient in some laxatives. Phillips’ Milk of Magnesia®, for example, provides 500 mg elemental magnesium (as magnesium hydroxide) per tablespoon; the directions advise taking up to 4 tablespoons/day for adolescents and adults. (Although such a dose of magnesium is well above the safe upper level, some of the magnesium is not absorbed because of the medication’s laxative effect.) Magnesium is also included in some remedies for heartburn and upset stomach due to acid indigestion. Extra-strength Rolaids®, for example, provides 55 mg elemental magnesium (as magnesium hydroxide) per tablet, although Tums® is magnesium free.

Magnesium Deficiency

Low intakes or excessive losses of magnesium due to certain health conditions, chronic alcoholism or the use of certain medications can lead to magnesium deficiency.  The early signs of magnesium deficiency include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and weakness. As magnesium deficiency worsens, numbness, tingling, muscle contractions and cramps, seizures, personality changes, abnormal heart rhythms, and coronary spasms can occur. Severe magnesium deficiency can result in hypocalcemia- low serum calcium or hypokalemia -low potassium levels, because mineral homeostasis is disrupted.


Over three dozen prescription medications interfere with magnesium absorption and retention in the body, including some antibiotics, diuretics, allergy and asthma medications, and chemotherapy treatments. Check with your pharmacist for info on your medications.

Health Risks from Excessive Magnesium

Too much magnesium from food does not pose a health risk in healthy individuals because the kidneys eliminate excess amounts in the urine. But, high doses of magnesium from dietary supplements or medications often result in diarrhea that can be accompanied by nausea and abdominal cramping. Very large doses of magnesium-containing laxatives and antacids (typically providing more than 5,000 mg/day magnesium) have been associated with magnesium toxicity and can be fatal. Always consult your health care provider if you use magnesium containing laxatives and antacids daily!

Do not supplement if your kidneys don't work well. The kidneys will have trouble clearing magnesium from the body. Taking extra magnesium can cause magnesium to build up to dangerous levels. Key: Don’t take magnesium if you have kidney problems.