Health Benefits of Magnesium

What is magnesium?

Magnesium is one of the macronutrients that the body needs in relatively large amounts to function properly and effectively.1 This article will discuss the importance of magnesium, how magnesium affects our health, how much magnesium is needed daily, and the symptoms of magnesium deficiency, in addition to its treatment. 

Health benefits of magnesium

Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body, and it plays a key role in many physiological processes.

  • Magnesium and biochemical reactions in the body:

Magnesium is involved in more than 300 enzymatic reactions in the body as it acts as a cofactor (helper molecule) in these reactions. 

Magnesium is included in:

  • Metabolism: where food is converted into energy
  • Gene creation and maintenance: magnesium plays a role in DNA and RNA synthesis and repair
  • Protein formation: magnesium is used to create  new proteins from amino acids
  • Magnesium and heart health:

Magnesium is important for a healthy and strong heart and for maintaining a regular heart rhythm.

High magnesium intake is related to a lower risk of heart disease, strokes,  and for reducing the risk of high blood pressure.

Magnesium helps to lower blood pressure because it acts to block the channels that allow calcium into cells.2 Calcium contracts heart muscles, while magnesium reverses the action of calcium and helps heart muscles and blood vessels relax, in addition to reducing  dysfunction of the  endothelium, dysfunction between relaxing and contracting factors in blood vessels. Normal magnesium intake helps lower systolic blood pressure (upper) and diastolic  blood pressure (lower).

  • Magnesium has anti-inflammatory effects:

Magnesium supplements decrease the levels of C-reactive protein and interleukin 6, which are markers of inflammation.3

  • Magnesium and blood sugar level:

Magnesium has  a role in managing your insulin levels and regulating metabolism. Research indicates that magnesium helps manage blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.4 Poor magnesium intake increases the risk of type 2 diabetes.

  • Magnesium promotes bone health:

50% to 60% of magnesium is found in bones, so the lower the level of magnesium, the higher the risk of osteoporosis , which causes bones to be weak, brittle, and more liable to fracture.5

  • Magnesium and mental health:

Magnesium has  a crucial role in brain function and mood regulation. Magnesium is  critical for the correct functioning of the central nervous system andcommunication between cells in the nervous system. Magnesium intake improves mood and reduces symptoms of depression, mental disorders, and anxiety.6

  • Boosting exercise performance:

Magnesium helps in muscle movement, aiding muscle contraction and relaxation.7 Moreover, magnesium gets rid of lactate , which builds up during exercise and is responsible for fatigue after exercise and physical activities.8

  • Sleep and magnesium:

According to the  Sleep Foundation, the relationship between sleep and magnesium is still not completely clear, but studies indicate that magnesium supplements may improve sleep duration and quality. A Magnesium-rich diet is shown to  promote better sleep health and may be  beneficial for patients with insomnia and sleeping disorders.9

Natural sources of magnesium

Magnesium can be easily taken through diet where there are a variety of foods that contain

magnesium.iIncluding such magnesium sources in your daily diet is necessary for optimal health. Magnesium-rich foods include:

  • Green, leafy vegetables such as spinach
  • Nuts: almonds, cashews
  • Beans: black beans, kidney beans, and edamame.
  • Seeds such as sunflower, pumpkin, and flax seeds
  • Grains: quinoa and whole grains
  • Fish, including salmon and mackerel
  • Bananas
  • Avocado
  • Potatoes
  •  Dark chocolate
  • Yogurt
  • Apple
  • Carrot
  • Broccoli
  • Rice
  • Cocoa powder
  • Soymilk
  • Cereals
  • Peanut butter
  • Water is also considered a source of magnesium, whether it is tap water, mineral water, or bottled water


What does magnesium do?

Magnesium is crucial for physiological functions; it acts as an energy factory and is important for muscle function, cardiovascular health, bone health, and maintaining good mental health.  

How much magnesium do I need?

Although magnesium is extremely important in many body functions and is found in many sources, some people have a magnesium deficiency, so it is necessary to take the recommended amount daily. According to the NHS, the amount of magnesium that should be taken by those assigned males at birth  (aged 19 to 64) is 300mg per day, while for those assigned females at birth  (aged 19 to 64) 270 mg of magnesium per day is recommended. 

What are the risks and side effects of magnesium?

According to the National Institute of Health, 48% of Americans (of all ages) don’t get enough magnesium from their diet. 

The amount of magnesium in your body is regulated by how much magnesium is absorbed by the intestine from food and how much is removed from the body through the kidneys. Therefore, magnesium deficiency may be due to a low intake of magnesium from the diet as a result of a restricted or unbalanced diet (a diet low in vegetables and nuts) or as a result of diseases in the body.  

Causes of low magnesium levels:

Abnormal magnesium levels in the body may be due to dietary factors10 or diseases11 such as:

The symptoms of magnesium deficiency  are mild at the beginning, but when the deficiency progresses, it causes distinctive symptoms.

Early signs of magnesium deficiency

  • Chronic fatigue and weakness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Gastrointestinal problems such as nausea and vomiting

As the deficiency worsens, the symptoms become more severe, and can  include:

  • Heart symptoms include Abnormal heart rhythms (irregular and fast heart rate) and coronary spasms, including pain, tightness, and pressure in the chest.
  • Muscle contraction cramps, which may turn into seizures and convulsions in more severe cases.
  • Numbness

Complications of magnesium deficiency

Chronic low levels of magnesium have a bad impact on health because they increase the risk of conditions including:

  • High blood pressure 
  • Cardiovascular diseases:

Hypertension is a risk factor for heart diseases and strokes, so increasing your intake of magnesium will reduce the risk of strokes and heart diseases.

  • Osteoporosis

A diet containing magnesium improves bone health and helps in the prevention and management of osteoporosis.

  • Type 2 diabetes 

Magnesium deficiencyworsens insulin resistance.

How is magnesium deficiency diagnosed? 

Magnesium deficiency is diagnosed through a magnesium blood test, which is the most common and readily available method to assess magnesium in the body, whilst a urine test can  assess the amount of magnesium excreted in the urine. The doctor may ask  for tests if you suffer from magnesium deficiency symptoms like abnormal heart rhythm, weakness, and irritability, or if you have abnormal levels of calcium and potassium. Serum magnesium ranges between 0.75 to 0.95 millimoles per litre.  hypomagnesemia (magnesium deficiency) occurs when serum magnesium is below 0.75 millimoles per litre. .

Treatment of magnesium deficiency

Magnesium supplements are prescribed to treat  magnesium deficiency. Current advice is to do not take too much magnesium or you may experience side effects.

Lifestyle changes such as eating a balanced diet containing greens, nuts, and sources full of magnesium will help treat and prevent magnesium deficiency. 

Types of magnesium supplements: 

Magnesium supplements come in different forms; easily-absorbed  forms include:

These types of magnesium supplements are better absorbed by the body than others. 

Magnesium supplements are delivered in different forms, such as tablets, powders , gummies, and liquids. You can choose  products according to your personal preferences. 


Magnesium is one of the minerals that are  essential fo regulating and maintaining physiological processes. Optimal amounts of magnesium, either through diet or supplements, are able to reduce blood pressure,2 decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease,10 decrease the severity of migraines,11 enhance mental disorders, improve depression symptoms,6 and help type 2 diabetic patients decrease blood sugar levels.4 Magnesium is available in many foods, so focus on a balanced and healthy diet to obtain the required daily amount.


  1. Health NRC (US) C on D and. Minerals [Internet]. National Academies Press (US); 1989 [cited 2023 Jun 30]. Available from:
  2. DiNicolantonio JJ, Liu J, O’Keefe JH. Magnesium for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease. Open Heart [Internet]. 2018 Jul 1 [cited 2023 Jun 30];5(2):e000775. Available from:
  3. Veronese N, Pizzol D, Smith L, Dominguez LJ, Barbagallo M. Effect of magnesium supplementation on inflammatory parameters: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Nutrients [Internet]. 2022 Feb 5 [cited 2023 Jun 30];14(3):679. Available from:
  4. Morais JBS, Severo JS, de Alencar GRR, de Oliveira ARS, Cruz KJC, Marreiro D do N, et al. Effect of magnesium supplementation on insulin resistance in humans: A systematic review. Nutrition. 2017 Jun;38:54–60.
  5. Botturi A, Ciappolino V, Delvecchio G, Boscutti A, Viscardi B, Brambilla P. The role and the effect of magnesium in mental disorders: a systematic review. Nutrients [Internet]. 2020 Jun 3 [cited 2023 Jun 30];12(6):1661. Available from:
  6. Nielsen FH, Lukaski HC. Update on the relationship between magnesium and exercise. Magnes Res. 2006 Sep;19(3):180–9.
  7. Cinar V, Nizamlioğlu M, Moğulkoc R. The effect of magnesium supplementation on lactate levels of sportsmen and sedanter. Acta Physiol Hung. 2006 Jun;93(2–3):137–44.
  8. DiNicolantonio JJ, O’Keefe JH, Wilson W. Subclinical magnesium deficiency: a principal driver of cardiovascular disease and a public health crisis. Open Heart [Internet]. 2018 Jan 13 [cited 2023 Jun 30];5(1):e000668. Available from:
  9. Swaminathan R. Magnesium metabolism and its disorders. Clin Biochem Rev [Internet]. 2003 May [cited 2023 Jun 30];24(2):47–66. Available from:
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Noran Kotaem

Bachelor's degree, Dentistry, The British University in Egypt

Noran is a dentist and a teaching assistant at the Faculty of Dentistry in the British university in Egypt. Passionate about research, reading and writing in the fields of medicine, nutrition and lifestyle. Keen to learn more about evidence based scientific research and writing. presents all health information in line with our terms and conditions. It is essential to understand that the medical information available on our platform is not intended to substitute the relationship between a patient and their physician or doctor, as well as any medical guidance they offer. Always consult with a healthcare professional before making any decisions based on the information found on our website.
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