8 May 2024

Magnesium is one of those minerals that are produced in the body, like calcium or iron.  However, it is one of those things that won’t show up unless it becomes too low.  Blood tests will reflect when the levels are too low, but not when they are simply on the decline.

Magnesium controls glucose, helps regulate blood pressure, and supports good muscle and nerve performance.  It helps transport calcium and potassium through the cells.  Appropriate levels of magnesium can help lessen the occurrence of cramps and help level out mood swings.  Amounts of this mineral in the body can become lower due to stress or emotional depression.

The largest deposit of magnesium in a human is in the bones.  About half or less is distributed through the other organs, mostly muscles.  When magnesium is low, the body looks to the skeletal structure to replenish its supplies.  This weakens the bones.  Especially in older adults, this can be a real problem since bones will lose their strength with age, nothwithstanding the magnesium.

Actually magnesium contributes to many biological functions, including: DNA and RNA production, blood pressure, and energy levels.

Inflammation is a biological response to trigger the immune system.  However, excessive inflammatory events have been linked to low magnesium levels.  These lower levels are also often associated with heart disease, diabetes, various forms of arthritis, and even some dementia.  Check in with your medical group to see if you could benefit from some additional magnesium in your regimen.

Be very aware that too much magnesium can result in a toxic situation that may lower blood pressure, cause the heart to beat irregularly, and even result in death.  That is why you should check with your medical team before self medicating.

Kidneys store magnesium and release it as necessary.  However, as pointed out earlier, the levels of magnesium don’t necessarily show up on blood tests, so it becomes easy for someone to become deficient without realizing it.  The groups most at risk are older adults (no surprise there), those with diseases that affect the gastrointestinal system, those with type 2 diabetes, and those who consume alcohol on a regular basis to the point of dependence.  Of course, medications can also affect amounts of magnesium.

magnesium supplement

There are recommended dosages based on gender and age:


  • Ages 19 to 30 – 400 mg
  • Age 31 and older – 420 mg

Women *

  • Ages 19 to 30 – 310 mg
  • Age 31 and older – 320 mg

Adolescents ages 14 to 18 **

  • Males – 410 mg
  • Females – 360 mg

Children **

  • Ages 1 to 3 – 80 mg
  • Ages 4 to 8 – 130 mg
  • Ages 9 to 13 -240 mg

*Pregnancy and other hormonal factors can affect the need and amounts.  Be sure to consult your OB/GYN and primary care team

**Before adding supplement, check with your pediatrician or family care physician.


The best way to intake magnesium is with your daily diet.  Foods that are rich in magnesium include:

  • Seeds and Nuts
  • Dark Greens, like spinach
  • Black Beans
  • Soy, including edamame, milk, tofu
  • Brown Rice
  • Dairy
  • Fruits, like avocados and bananas

So, if you eat a balanced diet that includes regular servings of these items, you should be perfectly fine.  However, if not, work with your medical team and a nutritionist, and add a supplement.


Symptoms of low magnesium include:

  • Irritability
  • Muscle cramps
  • Fatigue
  • Vertigo

As you can tell, these are also symptoms of other conditions or illnesses.  Only a qualified physician or specialty team can determine if you indeed have a magnesium deficiency.  Self diagnosis can lead to various uncomfortable side effects and even death.  Tread carefully and always defer to the professionals.


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