Magnesium Deficiency

Magnesium is an important mineral involved in over 300 enzymatic reactions in the human body. Its functions include supporting muscle and nerve function, regulating blood pressure, and supporting the immune system.

An adult body contains about 25 grams (g) of magnesium, of which 50-60% is stored in the skeletal system. The remainder resides in muscles, soft tissues and body fluids.

magnesium for health

Many people do not get enough magnesium in their diet, but symptoms of deficiency are rare in otherwise healthy people. Doctors link magnesium deficiency to many health complications, so people should aim to meet the recommended daily magnesium levels.

Almonds, spinach, and cashews are foods with the highest magnesium content. If a person is not getting enough magnesium from their diet, doctors may recommend taking supplements.

In this article, we'll take a look at the functions and benefits of magnesium, what it does in the body, dietary sources, and health risks that doctors may overstate.

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Magnesium is one of the seven essential macrominerals. These macrominerals are minerals that people need to consume in relatively large amounts, at least 100 milligrams (mg) per day. Trace minerals such as iron and zinc are also important but in smaller amounts.

Magnesium is essential for many bodily functions. Adequate intake of this mineral can help prevent or treat chronic conditions such as Alzheimer's disease, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and migraines. The next section discusses magnesium's role in the body and its effects on human health.

1. Bone health

While most research has focused on the role of calcium in bone health, magnesium is also essential for healthy bone formation.

bone health

A 2013 study showed that adequate magnesium intake led to increased bone density, improved bone crystal formation, and reduced risk of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women.

Magnesium may improve bone health both directly and indirectly, as it helps regulate levels of calcium and vitamin D, two other nutrients essential for bone health.

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2. Diabetes

Studies have shown that a high-magnesium diet leads to a lower risk for type 2 diabetes. This may be because magnesium plays an important role in glucose control and insulin metabolism.

A 2015 review in the World Journal of Diabetes reported that most, if not all, people with diabetes have low magnesium levels, suggesting that magnesium may play a role in diabetes management.

Magnesium deficiency can exacerbate insulin resistance, which often precedes his type 2 diabetes. On the other hand, insulin resistance can lead to low magnesium levels. In many studies, researchers have linked high-magnesium diets to diabetes. Additionally, a 2017 systematic review found that taking magnesium supplements may also improve insulin sensitivity in people with low magnesium levels is suggested.

But before doctors can routinely use magnesium to control blood sugar in diabetics, researchers need to gather more evidence.

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3. Cardiovascular health

The body needs magnesium to maintain muscle health, including the heart. Studies show that magnesium plays an important role in heart health.

A 2018 review reported that magnesium deficiency may increase the risk of cardiovascular problems, due to its role at the cellular level. The authors note that magnesium deficiency is common in people with congestive heart failure and may worsen clinical outcomes.

Cardiovascular health

People given magnesium soon after a heart attack have a lower risk of death. Doctors may use magnesium during the treatment of congestive heart failure (CHF) to reduce the risk of arrhythmias and arrhythmias.

A 2019 meta-analysis found that increasing magnesium intake may lower the risk of stroke. They report that every 100mg of magnesium per day reduces the risk of stroke by 2%.

Some studies have also suggested that magnesium is involved in high blood pressure, and decreases "only slightly".

The ODS calls for "large, well-designed" studies to understand the role of magnesium in heart health and the prevention of cardiovascular disease.

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 4. Migraines

Magnesium therapy can help prevent or relieve headaches. This is because magnesium deficiency affects neurotransmitters and can limit vasoconstriction, a factor doctor associate with migraines.

People who suffer from migraines may have lower levels of magnesium in their blood and body tissues than others.


During a migraine, magnesium levels in a person's brain may be lower. A 2017 systematic review found that magnesium therapy may help prevent migraines. The authors suggest that taking 600 mg of magnesium citrate appears to be a safe and effective preventive strategy.

The American Migraine Foundation reports that people commonly use doses of 400-500 mg per day for migraine prevention.

Potentially effective doses are likely to be large, and people should use this remedy only under the guidance of a doctor.

Read more about magnesium for migraines.

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5. Premenstrual Syndrome

Magnesium may also play a role in premenstrual syndrome (PMS).

Small studies, including a 2012 article, suggest that taking magnesium supplements along with vitamin B-6 may improve symptoms of PMS. The review reports that research is mixed and ongoing.

Daily intake

The following table shows the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for magnesium intake by age and sex.




1–3 years

80 mg

80 mg

4–8 years

130 mg

130 mg

9–13 years

240 mg

240 mg

14–18 years

410 mg

360 mg

19–30 years

400 mg

310 mg

31–50 years

420 mg

320 mg

51+ years

420 mg

320 mg


People should increase their magnesium intake by around 40 mg per day during pregnancy.

daily intake

Experts base the adequate intake for babies under 1-year-old on the amounts found in breast milk.

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Sources of Magnesium

Many foods are high in magnesium, including nuts and seeds, dark green vegetables, whole grains, legumes, etc. Manufacturers also add magnesium to some breakfast cereals and other fortified foods.

magnesium sources

The best sources of magnesium are:


Per serving

Percentage of daily value

Almonds (1 ounces or oz)

80 mg


Spinach (half a cup)

78 mg


Roasted cashews (1 oz)

74 mg


Oil roasted peanuts (one-quarter cup)

63 mg


Soy milk (1 cup)

61 mg


Cooked black beans (half a cup)

60 mg


Cooked edamame beans (half a cup)

50 mg


Peanut butter (2 tablespoons)

49 mg


Whole wheat bread (2 slices)

46 mg


Avocado (1 cup)

44 mg


Potato with skin (3.5 oz)

43 mg


Cooked brown rice (half a cup)

42 mg


Low fat yogurt (8 oz)

42 mg


Fortified breakfast cereals

40 mg


Oatmeal, instant, 1 packet

36 mg


Canned kidney beans (half a cup)

35 mg


Banana (1 medium)

32 mg



Wheat products lose magnesium during refining, so it's best to choose whole grains and bread products. The most common fruits, meats, and fish are low in magnesium.


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Magnesium deficiency

Although many people do not meet the recommended intake of magnesium, symptoms of deficiency are rare in otherwise healthy people. Magnesium deficiency is called hypomagnesemia.

Magnesium deficiency or deficiencies can occur due to excessive alcohol consumption, side effects of certain medications, and health problems such as gastrointestinal problems and diabetes.

Symptoms of magnesium deficiency include:


2.Nausea or vomiting

3.Fatigue or weakness


Symptoms of more advanced magnesium deficiency include:

1.Muscle spasms

2.Hearing loss


  1. Seizure

5.Personality change

6.Arrhythmia or convulsions


Studies have linked magnesium deficiency to many health conditions, including Alzheimer's disease, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and migraines.

Risks of too much magnesium

The body excretes excess magnesium from food through the urine, so it is unlikely that you will overdose on magnesium from food sources.

However, taking too much magnesium from supplements can cause gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhoea, nausea, and cramps.

Very high doses can cause kidney problems, hypotension, urinary retention, nausea and vomiting, depression, lethargy, loss of central nervous system "CNS" control, cardiac arrest, and possibly death.

People with kidney disease should not take magnesium supplements unless directed by a doctor.

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Should we take supplements?

Magnesium supplements can be purchased online, but it's best to get your vitamins and minerals from food because the nutrient works more effectively when combined with other nutrients.

magnesium supplements

Many vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals work synergistically. The term means that taking them together has more health benefits than taking them separately.

Concentrating on a healthy, balanced diet to meet your daily magnesium needs and using supplements is recommended, but under the supervision of a doctor.


Magnesium is an essential macronutrient that plays an important role in many bodily processes, including muscle, nerve, bone health, and mood.

Research has linked magnesium deficiency to many health complications. If a person is unable to meet their daily needs from their diet, doctors may recommend taking a magnesium supplement.


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