Magnesium for Health and Nutrition 

Magnesium is a mineral that plays several key roles in the body [1]. It is necessary for glycolysis and energy production; assists with the development of bone and muscle; regulates blood glucose, blood pressure, and protein synthesis; and influences the maintenance of healthy heart rhythm [1]. Magnesium’s role in health is pivotal, as is an understanding of the role of nutrition in acquiring magnesium — the requisite levels, key sources, and health consequences. 

The daily Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of magnesium is 400-420 mg for adult men and 310-320 mg for adult women [2]. Approximately 10 to 30% of people do not consume enough of the nutrient [3]. To correct this problem, medical professionals encourage people to focus on nutrition, eating a diet that features leafy greens, mineral water, and certain fortified breakfast cereals, among other sources, to maintain their health [1, 2]. It is important to note, however, that some forms of processing may strip foods of their magnesium content, so foods meant to contain magnesium may lose their nutritional value after cooking in some cases [1].  

The modern Western diet generally features a decreased presence of magnesium, meaning that it may be advisable for people fitting into those food habits to take magnesium supplements, like magnesium oxide, chloride, and citrate, to round out their nutrition and health [1, 4]. Before taking magnesium supplements, though, one should note the various side effects of supplements. For one, they may have a laxative effect [2]. Magnesium supplements may also reduce blood pressure or antibiotic absorption [5]. Moreover, there is a lack of a consensus within epidemiological literature concerning whether magnesium supplements can correct the diseases often characteristic of magnesium deficiency [2]. These caveats illustrate why people should not take magnesium supplements without consulting their doctor. 

By taking the appropriate level of magnesium, people may better avoid severe health conditions. Research demonstrates a lack of magnesium can result in various cardiac, neurological, and other issues [6]. Researchers also suggest that magnesium helps prevent or treat type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, heart disease, and migraine headaches [3]. In the elderly, researchers have identified an association between magnesium deficit and hyperemotionality, sleep disorders, cognitive disorders, and asthenia [7]. These occurrences demonstrate the importance of satisfying nutrition guidelines for magnesium in order to optimize health. 

Along with taking sufficient magnesium, it is also important for people not to consume too much magnesium. The Tolerable Upper Intake Level for magnesium ingested via supplementary sources is 350 mg [2]. An overdose of magnesium can have negative consequences, including nausea, cramping, and diarrhea [2]. More serious health effects, such as low blood pressure, depression, cardiac arrest, and heartbeat irregularities, may also be indicative of excessive magnesium intake [3]. Fortunately, these negative effects are attenuated by the kidneys, which dispel excess amounts of magnesium through urine [2]. As a result, otherwise healthy people rarely exhibit signs of magnesium overdose, but those with kidney impairments should be more cautious [3]. 

Given the various health issues associated with magnesium deficiency and overdose, the importance of consuming enough but not too much magnesium cannot be overstated. With magnesium naturally occurring in many consumable goods, along with easily accessible supplements, the RDA can be satisfied with simple adjustments in one’s diet and routine. 


[1] National Institutes of Health, “Magnesium,”  Updated June 2, 2022. [Online]. Available:  

[2] Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, “Magnesium,”  Updated March 2023. [Online]. Available:  

[3] J. Leonard, “Can you take too much magnesium?,” Medical News Today, Updated October 16, 2018. [Online]. Available:  

[4] D. Fiorentini et al., “Magnesium: Biochemistry, Nutrition, Detection, and Social Impact of Diseases Linked to Its Deficiency,” Nutrients, vol. 13, no. 4, pp. 1-44, Mar. 2021. [Online]. Available:  

[5] J. Kubala, “Health Benefits of Magnesium,” Health, Updated March 13, 2023. [Online]. Available:  

[6] R. Swaminathan, “Magnesium Metabolism and its Disorders,” The Clinical Biochemist Reviews, vol. 24, no. 2, pp. 47-66, May 2003. [Online]. Available:  

[7] M. Barbagallo, N. Veronese, and L. J. Dominguez, “Magnesium in Aging, Health and Diseases,” Nutrients, vol. 13, no. 2, pp. 1-20, Jan. 2021. [Online]. Available: