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Magnesium is a chemical element, that is important for normal bone structure [1]. It also plays an essential role in more than 300 cellular reactions [2]. Foods that are high in fiber are generally high in Magnesium [3]. Dietary sources of magnesium include legumes, whole grains, vegetables (especially broccoli, squash, and green leafy vegetables), seeds, and nuts (especially almonds). Other sources include dairy products, meats, chocolate, and coffee. Water with a high mineral content, or “hard” water, is also a source of magnesium. Dietary intake of magnesium may be low, particularly among women [4][5] [6]. Low intake and impaired absorption of Magnesium have also been associated with the development of various disease states such as osteoporosis, hypertension, atherosclerotic vascular disease, cardiomyopathy, diabetes, and stroke [7] [8] [9] [10] [11]. The Magnesium blood value only reacts to a large increase of Magnesium intake.

National Nutrition Study

  • 26% of all men do not reach the recommended daily allowance of Magnesium.
  • 29% of all women do not reach the recommended daily allowance of Magnesium [14].

Function of Magnesium

Magnesium is an important activator for more than 300 enzymes in the energy metabolism [12] [13].

Magnesium is the antagonist of Calcium in the muscle and is thus in charge of muscle relaxation [12] [13].

The mineral blocks the release of noradrenaline and adrenaline, which are responsible for agitation and arousal. Thus, Magnesium reduces physical stress [12].

Magnesium is stabilizing the cell membranes and reduces the irritability of nervous cells [12].

Deficiency Symptoms

A Magnesium deficiency can lead to neuro-muscular symptoms, like hyperarousal, muscle cramps and muscle twitching [12] [15].

It can also lead to a racing heart and cardiac arrhythmia [12] [14].

Higher Magnesium intake from diet and supplements is associated with a 27% lower risk of developing metabolic syndrome in healthy women and a 31% lower risk in healthy young adults [16] [17]. Additional epidemiological research suggests that people with low serum magnesium levels are 6-7 times more likely to have metabolic syndrome than people with normal magnesium levels [18].

Surplus of Magnesium

Very high intake of Magnesium can lead to diarrhea. This is a mechanism, which keeps the body from absorbing too much Magnesium [12].

[1] Covington TR, et al. Handbook of Nonprescription Drugs. 11th ed. Washington, DC: American Pharmaceutical Association, 1996.

[2] Shils M, Olson A, Shike M. Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Lea and Febiger, 1994.

[3] McCarty MF. Magnesium may mediate the favorable impact of whole grains on insulin sensitivity by acting as a mild calcium antagonist. Med Hypotheses 2005;64:619-27. (Abstract:

[4] Douban S, Brodsky MA, Whang DD, Whang R. Significance of magnesium in congestive heart failure. Am Heart J 1996;132:664-71. (Abstract:

[5] Tranquilli AL, Lucino E, Garzetti GG, Romanini C. Calcium, phosphorus and magnesium intakes correlate with bone mineral content in postmenopausal women. Gynecol Endocrinol 1994;8:55-8. (Abstract;

[6] Ilich JZ, Kerstetter JE. Nutrition in bone health revisited: a story beyond calcium. J Am Coll Nutr 2000;19:715-37. (Abstract:

[7] Douban S, Brodsky MA, Whang DD, Whang R. Significance of magnesium in congestive heart failure. Am Heart J 1996;132:664-71. (Abstract:

[8] Sabatier M, Arnaud MJ, Kastenmayer P, et al. Meal effect on magnesium bioavailability from mineral water in healthy women. Am J Clin Nutr 2002;75:65-71. (Abstract:

[9] Altura BT, Memon ZI, Zhang A, et al. Low levels of serum ionized magnesium are found in patients early after stroke which result in rapid elevation in cytosolic free calcium and spasm in cerebral vascular muscle cells. Neurosci Lett 1997;230:37-40. (Abstract:

[10] Suter PM. The effects of potassium, magnesium, calcium, and fiber on risk of stroke. Nutr Rev 1999;57:84-8. (Abstract:

[11] Cohen N, Almoznino-Sarafian D, Zaidenstein R, et al. Serum magnesium aberrations in furosemide (frusemide) treated patients with congestive heart failure: pathophysiological correlates and prognostic evaluation. Heart 2003;89:411-6.

[12] Koula-Jenik, H., Miko M., Kraft M., Schulz R., Leitfaden Ernährungsmedizin. Elsevier,Urban&Fischer Verlag 2013;p.56-57

[13] Christoph Raschka, Stephanie Ruf, Sport und Ernährung: Wissenschaftlich basierte Empfehlungen, Tipps und Ernährungspläne für die Praxis. Georg Thieme Verlag 2015; p.127-128

[14] Max-Rubner-Institut, Bundesministerium für Ernährung, Landwirtschaft und
Verbraucherschutz, Hrsg. Nationale Verzehrstudie II. Karlsruhe: MRI; 2008

[15] Wibusch N, Hofmann P, Förster H, Hörtnagl HLedl-Kurkowski E, Pokan R, Kompendium der Sportmedizin Physiologie, Innere Medizin und Pädiatrie. Springer-Verlag 2016; p. 352

[16] King DE, Mainous AG 3rd, Geesey ME, Woolson RF. Dietary magnesium and C-reactive protein levels. J Am Coll Nutr 2005;24:166-71. (Abstract:

[17] He K, Liu K, Daviglus ML, et al. Magnesium intake and incidence of metabolic syndrome among young adults. Circulation 2006;113:1675-82. (Abstract:

[18] Guerrero-Romero F, Rodriguez-Moran M. Low serum magnesium levels and metabolic syndrome. Acta Diabetol 2002;39:209-13. (Abstract: