Magnesium For Blood Pressure


Magnesium is one of the seven macro minerals that the body needs in relatively large amounts daily, magnesium helps in regulating hundreds of body systems such as blood sugar, blood pressure, muscles, and nerve function. Only 1% of the body’s  magnesium is circulating in the blood while 50 to 60 % of magnesium is stored in the skeletal system, and the rest is stored in the muscles, soft tissue, and bodily fluids.5 Magnesium is our energy factory, where it turns the food we eat into energy; it maintains good bone health through regulating the parathyroid gland that produces hormones essential for bone development and health. Magnesium plays an essential role in the transport of calcium and potassium through the cell for normal heart rhythm, muscle contraction and nerve impulses.5

Effects of magnesium on blood pressure

Magnesium is essential for a healthy heart, where magnesium acts as a calcium channel blocker, wherein calcium contracts heart muscles and magnesium helps relax the muscles. Magnesium plays an important role in maintaining and regulating normal blood pressure through acting as calcium channel blocker, relaxing blood vessels and reducing the endothelial dysfunction, which is an imbalance between relaxing and contracting factors in blood vessels, all these methods work together to lower blood pressure. Normal magnesium daily intake helps in lowering the systolic blood pressure (upper) and diastolic blood pressure (lower).

Other health benefits of magnesium include:

The role of magnesium in bone development where it regulates parathyroid hormone and vitamin D, which are major regulators for bone development and formation.

Moreover, magnesium decreases risk of heart disease because it has anti-inflammatory properties and lowers blood pressure.

Increasing magnesium intake helps boost insulin sensitivity which decreases blood sugar level in type 2 diabetic patients.

Also, magnesium can be used as antidepressant drugs as it regulates brain function and mood and can decrease the symptoms of depression. It is beneficial to take magnesium for migraines, too. 

Signs of magnesium deficiency

According to the National Institutes of Health, 48% of Americans of all ages don’t get enough magnesium from their diet. Magnesium deficiency may be due to low intake of magnesium from diet due to restricted diet or unbalanced diet that is poor in vegetables and nuts. It could also be as a result of diseases in the body as the amount of magnesium in your body is regulated by how much magnesium is being absorbed by the intestine from the food and how much is removed away from the body through the kidneys.

Causes of low magnesium levels

Abnormal magnesium levels in the body may be due to dietary factor, or diseases such as:

  • Gastrointestinal disorders as coeliac disease7,9 or Crohn’s disease8,9
  • Kidney disorders6
  • Long term vomiting and diarrhea9
  • Long term use of diuretics6
  • Chronic alcoholism6
  • Type 2 diabetes6

Symptoms of magnesium deficiency

Symptoms of magnesium deficiency are mild at the beginning and when the deficiency progresses it causes distinctive symptoms:

Early signs of magnesium deficiency include:

  • Chronic fatigue and weakness6,9
  • Loss of appetite
  • Gastrointestinal problems such as nausea and vomiting

And as the deficiency worsens, the symptoms become more severe including:

  • Heart symptoms as Abnormal heart rhythms (irregular and fast heart rate) and coronary spasms including pain, tightness, pressure in the chest6,9
  • Muscle contraction cramps which may turn into seizures and convulsions in more severe cases.
  • Numbness and Tingling
  • Personality changes9

Complications of magnesium deficiency

Chronic low levels of magnesium have a bad impact on health where it increases the risk of:

  • High blood pressure 
  • Cardiovascular diseases
    • Hypertension is a risk factor for heart diseases and strokes, so intake of a high magnesium diet will reduce the risk of strokes and heart diseases
  • Osteoporosis
    • Diet containing magnesium improves bone health, helps in prevention and management of osteoporosis.
  • Type 2 diabetes
    • Because hypomagnesemia worsens insulin resistance

How is magnesium deficiency diagnosed?

Magnesium deficiency is diagnosed through a blood test which is the most common and readily available method to assess magnesium in the body, and a urine test to assess the amount of magnesium excreted in the urine.  If the amount of magnesium excreted is low, the body’s magnesium level is low too. The doctor asks for tests if you suffer from magnesium deficiency symptoms like abnormal heart rhythm, weakness, irritability or if you have abnormal levels of calcium and potassium.  Serum magnesium ranges between 0.75 to 0.95 millimoles per litre,6 hypomagnesemia is when serum magnesium is below 0.75 millimoles per litre.

Treatment of magnesium deficiency

Hypomagnesemia is treated by prescription of magnesium supplements, try not to take too much to avoid side effects (not more than 400 mg a day).  Lifestyle changes such as taking a balanced diet containing greens, nuts and sources full of magnesium will help treat and prevent magnesium deficiency. 

How much magnesium should you take per day?

According to the NHS, the amount of magnesium that should be taken for people assigned male at birth (AMAB)  aged 19 to 64 is 300mg per day, while people assigned female at birth (AFAB) (19 to 64) should take 270 mg of magnesium per day.10

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

magnesium. Magnesium rich foods include:

  • Green leafy vegetables as spinach
  • Nuts: almond, cashews
  • Beans: as black beans, kidney beans and edamame.
  • Seeds such as sunflower, pumpkin, and flax seeds
  • Grains: quinoa and whole grains
  • Fish including salmon, mackerel
  • Bananas
  • Avocado
  • Potatoes
  • Dark chocolate
  • Yogurt
  • Apple
  • Carrot
  • Broccoli
  • Rice
  • Cocoa powder
  • Soymilk
  • Cereals
  • Peanut butter
  • Even tap, mineral and bottled waters can be a source of magnesium intake.

What if I take too much magnesium?

People sometimes think about taking too many vitamin and mineral supplements to get more benefit and that it will not be harmful, but that is not the case.  In fact, taking too much magnesium, more than 400 mg daily, will cause side effects such as diarrhoea and cramps. t is recommended to restrict to the optimal amount of magnesium needed. Try to take the magnesium needed from dietary sources, instead of magnesium supplements, because the magnesium obtained from diet is not harmful and does not need to be limited. Magnesium supplements are not harmful if the obtained amount is 400mg or less a day, while more than this it may cause harm.


Magnesium is one of the most abundant minerals present in your body, regulating and maintaining many functions in the body. Optimal amounts of dietary magnesium are able to: 

  • Reduce blood pressure
  • Decrease the risk of heart disease
  • Improve depression symptoms
  • Decrease the severity of migraine
  • Help type 2 diabetes patients to decrease blood sugar levels

Magnesium is available in many foods so focus on a balanced and healthy diet to obtain the required daily amount, help prevent magnesium deficiency and reduce the risk of complications. 


  1. Zhang X, Li Y, Del Gobbo LC, Rosanoff A, Wang J, Zhang W, et al. Effects of magnesium supplementation on blood pressure: a meta-analysis of randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trials. Hypertension [Internet]. 2016 Aug [cited 2023 Mar 13];68(2):324–33. Available from:
  2. Houston M. The role of magnesium in hypertension and cardiovascular disease. J Clin Hypertens (Greenwich). 2011 Nov;13(11):843–7.
  3. Key minerals to help control blood pressure [Internet]. Harvard Health. 2014 [cited 2023 Mar 13]. Available from:
  4. Nutrition C for FS and A. Fda announces qualified health claim for magnesium and reduced risk of high blood pressure. FDA [Internet]. 2022 Jan 10 [cited 2023 Mar 13]; Available from:
  5. Boston 677 Huntington Avenue, Ma 02115 +1495‑1000. Magnesium [Internet]. The Nutrition Source. 2019 [cited 2023 Mar 13]. Available from:
  6. 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 Mar 30];5(1):e000668. Available from:
  7. Rujner J, Socha J, Wojtasik A, Kunachowicz H, Iwanow K, Syczewska M, et al. [Magnesium status in children and adolescents with celiac disease]. Wiad Lek. 2001;54(5–6):277–85.
  8. Main AN, Morgan RJ, Russell RI, Hall MJ, MacKenzie JF, Shenkin A, et al. Mg deficiency in chronic inflammatory bowel disease and requirements during intravenous nutrition. JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 1981;5(1):15–9.
  9. Swaminathan R. Magnesium metabolism and its disorders. The Clinical Biochemist Reviews [Internet]. 2003 May [cited 2023 Mar 30];24(2):47. Available from:
  10. Vitamins and minerals - Others [Internet]. 2017 [cited 2023 Mar 30]. 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.

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