Due to the site upgrade, your MY ACCOUNT logins will need to be updated. Please access Forgot Your Password to make this change. If you do not have an account, click here.

Background information on Magnesium

Nov 11, 2013

Background information on Magnesium

The mineral Magnesium is best known as a counterpart to Calcium for improving bone health but that is only a small part of the Magnesium story. The National Institutes of Health lists Magnesium as being necessary for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body. It is necessary for protein synthesis and maintaining normal muscle and nerve function, keeping the hearts rhythm steady and normal, and for energy production. Magnesium is also needed for blood glucose control (blood sugar), and blood pressure regulation.

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) refers to the average daily level of intake sufficient to meet the nutrient requirements of nearly all (97%–98%) healthy individuals. The RDA for Magnesium is 420mg a day for men over 30 and 320mg a day for women over 30. An adult body contains approximately 25 g magnesium, with 50% to 60% present in the bones and most of the rest in soft tissues. Less than 1% of total magnesium is in blood serum, and these levels are kept under tight control.

Assessing magnesium status is difficult because most magnesium is inside cells or in bone. The most commonly used and readily available method for assessing magnesium status is measurement of serum magnesium concentration, even though serum levels have little correlation with total body magnesium levels or concentrations in specific tissues.

Groups at Risk of Magnesium Inadequacy

The following groups are more likely than others to be at risk of magnesium inadequacy because they have medical conditions (or take medications) that reduce magnesium absorption from the gut or increase losses from the body:

  • People with gastrointestinal diseases or who have had surgical resection or bypass of the small intestine, especially the ileum, typically leads to malabsorption and magnesium loss
  • People with type 2 diabetes and increased urinary magnesium excretion can occur in people with insulin resistance and/or type 2 diabetes
  • People with alcohol dependence
  • Older adults generally have lower dietary intakes of magnesium than younger adults. In addition, magnesium absorption from the gut decreases and renal magnesium excretion increases with age. Older adults are also more likely to have chronic diseases or take medications that alter magnesium status, which can increase their risk of magnesium depletion.