Magnesium – functions in the body, demand, effects of deficiencies

Pharmacy shelves are even yielding under the weight of magnesium preparations. Do we really need supplementation with this element? What functions does the body perform?


  1. Magnesium – functions in the body
  2. Magnesium – demand
  3. Magnesium – the effects of deficiencies
  4. How to top up magnesium in your diet?
  5. Magnesium – side effects
  1. Magnesium – functions in the body

Magnesium is one of the elements that are most important for the human body. It plays numerous roles, including the activator role of about 300 enzymatic reactions. It is necessary in the processes of conduction of nerve impulses and muscle contractions (including myocardial work) – it takes part in the transport of calcium and potassium ions through cell membranes.

It is indispensable in the process of ATP production, i.e. high energy compounds.It can therefore be said that it is necessary for the body’s energy processes to take place.For this is also necessary in the process of hydroxylation of vitamin D. Hydroxylation is a process required to convert vitamin D into its active form.

The magnesium content in the human body reaches 35 g. It occurs mainly inside cells – mainly around the cell nucleus. There is definitely less magnesium in the periphery of the cell.The tissues of the body are saturated with magnesium to varying degrees. Half is inbonetissue, about 20% in skeletal muscle, the same in other tissues and systems. Only 1% of the whole pool is in the blood.

Therefore, if we want to assess the body’s saturation with magnesium, we should not rely on blood tests, because this measurement will not reliably reflect the presence of this element in the body. You should take care of its sufficient amount in your diet on a regular basis.

  1. Magnesium – demand

The daily requirement for magnesium for the Polish population is 420 mg for men and 360 mg for women. However, research indicates that Europeans are under-consuming.

So why is it so difficult to cover the magnesium demand now? First of all due to limited intake of vegetables and unprocessed cereals. The main source of magnesium is green vegetables (they contain chlorophyll – a dye with a magnesium atom in its structure).A large dose of magnesium can also be provided by eating nuts and seeds, as well as baking from wholemeal flour.A lot, as much as 10% of magnesium, can be drunk if we choose mineral water rich in minerals.

Mainly in the small intestine from the food is absorbed from 24-72% of magnesium, the rest is excreted with faeces.Interestingly, the higher the magnesium content in the body, the less it absorbs from food, and vice versa.The body regulates the pool of the element in the body in a clever way. Perhaps thanks to this, despite the low magnesium consumption, only a small part of the population is deficient (defined on the basis of blood content below 0.75 mmol / l). It is worth taking care of the appropriate magnesium supply. There are more and more reports of the unpleasant consequences of its shortage.

  1. Magnesium – the effects of deficiencies

According to recent studies, chronic magnesium deficiency is associated with a higher risk of atherosclerosis, hypertension, arrhythmia, lipid disorders and insulin resistance. Symptoms of this condition are usually non-specific and include loss of appetite, nervousness, depression, headache, irritability, nausea, weakness.Serious shortages are rare.

The most common causes of magnesium deficiency include alcoholism, renal failure, diseases occurring with insufficient absorption in the intestine (eg Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, ulcerative colitis).Studies show that low levels of magnesium in the blood are diagnosed in people with migraine.In one study, supplementation with magnesium citrate 600 mg per day for 12 weeks compared to placebo reduced the number of seizures in the 9th week.If your diet is not well balanced, it’s very possible that you belong to a group of Europeans who consume an insufficient amount of magnesium.Have you ever wondered how to supplement this element in your diet?

  1. How to top up magnesium in your diet?

The simplest method is to follow the rules of proper nutrition. The daily intake of five servings of vegetables, handfuls of nuts, thick groats and whole-wheat bread will easily provide at least 400 mg of magnesium each day.If, however, changing the diet is not an option, we can help with supplements and water. Highly mineralized water can deliver up to 130 mg of this element with every liter.

If we decide on a supplement, it is worth choosing the one with the best digestibility. Magnesium salts available in the preparations are divided into organic (citrate, ascorbate, lactate) and inorganic (chloride, carbonate, nitrate). Organic salts are much better absorbed by the body, therefore a better choice will be, for example, magnesium citrate, although magnesium chloride is the most efficient when compared to other inorganic salts. It is worth choosing preparations in which magnesium is present in combination with vitamin B6, which facilitates its use by the body. Can anyone supplement magnesium?

Optimally bioavailable magnesium - Apollo's Hegemony Magnesium Bisglycinate
Optimally bioavailable magnesium – Apollo’s Hegemony Magnesium Bisglycinate
  1. Magnesium – side effects

The use of magnesium is safe for most healthy people. According to the National Institute of Health, the daily dose of magnesium in the form of a supplement should not exceed 350 mg in adults. Caution is advised in case of kidney disease (risk of hypermagnesemia). Magnesium formulations should not be combined with certain drugs, e.g. those used to treat reflux, diuretic, antibiotics. Simultaneous zinc supplementation can reduce the absorption of magnesium. Below is a table with examples of products with a high content of this element.