Magnesium is an essential mineral required by every organ in the body for a range of activities including proper growth and maintenance of bones, as well as protein and fatty acid formation. It is also essential in activating vitamins B and D, relaxing muscles, regulating calcium levels and helping blood to clot and is required for the secretion of insulin. In the stomach, magnesium helps neutralize stomach acid and moves stools through the intestine.
According to population studies of average magnesium intake, less than 55% of U.S. adults consume the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of magnesium and nearly 20% get only half of the magnesium they need daily to remain healthy. Adults require about 310 to 420 milligrams a day (1).
Warning Signs of Deficiency may include:
Studies show that too much stress, processed food, caffeine and alcohol, or heavy periods, can lower your levels. In fact, drinking too much carbonated sodas can flush magnesium out of your system despite having a balanced diet (2). Hence it is relatively easy to become mildly deficient in magnesium, but simple dietary changes or supplements can restore your levels. Magnesium chloride supplements are generally considered to be the form that allow for the greatest uptake and availability.
1: King DE, Mainous AG 3rd, Geesey ME, Woolson RF. Dietary magnesium and C-reactive protein levels. J Am Coll Nutr. 2005 Jun;24(3):166-71. PubMed PMID: 15930481.
2. Vartanian LR, Schwartz MB, Brownell KD. Effects of soft drink consumption on nutrition and health: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Public Health. 2007 Apr;97(4):667-75. Epub 2007 Feb 28. Review. PubMed PMID: 17329656;
PubMed Central PMCID: PMC1829363.
Dr Nicole Ng (MBBS) is a medical doctor with a passion in women's health and medical research