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General – Macronutrient element; the relaxation mineral; heart mineral;

  • Adult body contains about 25 grams of magnesium;
  • First studied in rats & found associated with neuro-muscular abnormalities;
  • Human depletion of this mineral is more common than expected;
  • Many interrelationships with electrolytes, messengers, hormone receptors, vitamin D

Metabolism, bone functions, etc.

  • Plays a major role in cell functions in all organs;
  • History: discovered in 1859; Essentiality for humans established in 1950; magnesium deficiency first described clinically in humans in early 1950’s;



  • Good: mineral ion in chlorophyll present in all green plants; abundant in whole foods (except milk) – soy beans, shrimp, wheat germ, whole grains, molasses, clams, cornmeal, spinach, oysters, crab, peas, liver, beef; pork:
  • Poor: refined & processed foods;
  • Supplements: magnesium salt (ColoZone), acid salt, amino acid chelate, multi-mineral, multi-vitamin mineral formulations;
  • Absorption from small intestine; about 50% of magnesium in foods is absorbed (30% from high intake; 60% from lower intake);
  • Improved by: body’s need for magnesium;
  • Lost by: some drugs; fasting, low phosphate, low potassium, high calcium & high magnesium; stress, disease, sweat, excess fibre; alcohol, diuretics; vomiting of gastric juice;
  • Storage: more than 65% of magnesium found in bone; level of intracellular magnesium in muscle & liver = 7x that in blood;
  • Excretion: excreted & regulated through kidneys;
  • Metabolism: controlled by thyroid gland;
  • Interactions: diuretics, drugs toxic to kidneys, corticoid-steroids; heart drug digitalis induces magnesium deficiency;

Functions of magnesium

  • Catalyst in hundreds of reactions, many in energy production facilities of cells (mitochondria);
  • Required in all reactions that involve release or expenditure of energy; ATP production;
  • Required in almost all reactions involving carbohydrate, lipid, protein and nucleic acid metabolism;
  • Involved in reactions related to synthesis, degradation & stability of genetic material (DNA);
  • Fulfills vital role in nerve transmission & muscle relaxation;
  • Important to maintain electrical stability of cells, membrane integrity, regulation of blood vessel tone; regulates calcium entrance into cells; regulates heartbeat;
  • Necessary to maintain acid-alkaline balance of body fluids;
  • Important role in bone physiology & tooth enamel formation;
  • Plays part as co-factor or catalyst in at least 300 enzyme reactions;
  • Necessary to transform essential fatty acids to prostaglandins;
  • Plays role in cold adaptation;


  • Measurement: milligrams;
  • Optimum (SONA) set at 300 mg/day
  • Individual optimum needs to be determined for each individual case; best balance between calcium & magnesium is about 1:1;
  • Minimum (EC RDA) set at 300 mg/day;
  • Less than RDA: 70% of population, according to a U.S government survey; imbalance in magnesium-calcium ratio is widespread because of over-consumption of magnesium-poor dairy products & calcium-rich formulations;
  • Deficiency from inadequate diet, poor absorption, diarrhoea, inflammatory bowel disease, gluten intolerance, short bowel syndrome; impaired kidney re-absorption, hormonal disorders, genetic conditions; alcoholism, burns, trauma, protein-energy malnutrition; low phosphate, low potassium, low calcium; increased dietary requirement;
  • At risk: elderly, people on low-calorie diets, diabetics, people taking diuretics or digitalis, alcoholics, pregnant women, those doing regular & strenuous exercise;
  • Symptoms include: muscle ache, tremor, spasm & cramp; low blood sugar, irritability, fatigue, depression, anxiety, sleeplessness;
  • Extreme deficiency: growth impairment, cardiovascular disturbances, calcium deposits in kidneys, heart & joints; calcium deposition in soft tissues; loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, confusion, tremors, loss of coordination, cardiac arrhythmia;
  • Toxicity: excess (more than 3 grams) causes diarrhoea; not toxic if kidneys are normal; in kidney failure, high magnesium can result in coma & heart failure;
  • (Should not be used by those with kidney failure except under doctors advice)

Therapy with magnesium

  • Protective against heart disease & helpful in treatment of high blood pressure; improves survival chances after heart attack; prevents ischemic heart disease;
  • May be helpful in treating PMS, along with zinc, vitamins B-6, B-3 & C;
  • Appears to help prevent oxalate kidney stones, with B-6; not effective with gall stones;
  • Might have positive effect on depression, through its role in neurotransmitter synthesis;
  • Effective in treatment of convulsions in pregnant women, premature labour & pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure, swelling {oedema} of tissues, protein in urine) & eclampsia (convulsions, coma);
  • Treats neuro-muscular & nervous disorders due to magnesium deficiency;
  • Treats magnesium deficiency-induced respiratory muscle weakness;
  • Can be used to induce diarrhoea (cure constipation);
  • Useful, with calcium in the treatment of cramps;
  • Prevents arrhythmias;
  • Replenishes loss of magnesium from diarrhoea, prolonged sweating, diuretic use & alcoholism;
  • Part of program to alleviate cramps & cravings of premenstrual syndrome (PMS);
  • Synergists: vitamin B-6; calcium; phosphorus;

Source: Enerex.

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