The role of magnesium in the functioning of the body

Minerals are essential for the proper functioning of the body – they perform a number of important functions in it.  One of them is magnesium, which, as the most important intracellular cation, activates over 300 enzymes.  What role does it play in the body? Where does it occur? Should it be supplemented?


  1. Magnesium – properties
  2. Magnesium – shortage
  3. Magnesium – excess
  4. Magnesium – demand
  5. Magnesium – occurrence
  6. Magnesium – supplementation
  7. Summary

Magnesium properties

Magnesium is included in macroelements. The body contains 25-35 g of magnesium, the largest of which is accumulated in the bones and muscles, while only 1% in the blood. Only about 50% of magnesium is absorbed from food products.  Protein, vitamin B6, vitamin D, and lactose (milk sugar) are responsible for increasing its absorption.

Magnesium has many important functions in the body

  • – participates in the construction of bones, teeth, hair, skin, and nails,
  • – participates in the transformation of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats,
  • – regulates the metabolism,
  • – participates in the transport of sodium and potassium,
  • – accelerates the absorption of calcium,
  • – reduces stress,
  • – affects the functions of the brain,
  • – slows down the aging process,
  • – improves sleep,
  • – shows beneficial effects in premenstrual syndrome, depression,
  • – is important in the regulation of blood pressure,
  • – stimulates the production of calcitonin hormone, which increases the calcium content in the bones,
  • – it relaxes the muscles.

Magnesium – shortage

More and more people suffer from insufficient magnesium intake. The cause may be a too low supply of this element with diet, consumption of alcohol, taking some medicines, among others psychotropic, hypnotic, contraceptive and diuretic, or its impaired absorption in the body. Factors that reduce the absorption of magnesium include phytic compounds (cereal preparations, dry legume seeds), phosphates, calcium, phosphorus, and too much fiber supply. In addition, the amount of magnesium decreases significantly during the thermal processing of products.

Magnesium deficiency is manifested by hyperactivity, moodiness, disturbances of consciousness and concentration, bad sleep, headache, painful muscle cramps, and chronic fatigue. The small amount of this element in the body has been prolonged for a prolonged period of time. to bones’ fragility, reduced immunity, development of anemia, heart problems, increased risk of some cardiovascular diseases, decreased calcium levels in the bones, decrease in the amount of potassium in the blood, and numerous inflammations in the body.

Magnesium – excess

Excess magnesium is observed practically only in people with renal insufficiency. Too high amounts of magnesium may cause nausea, vomiting, and a drop in blood pressure. Hypermagnesaemia is manifested by impaired consciousness, drop in blood pressure, cardiac disorders, and hypothermia.


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Magnesium – demand

Demand for magnesium increases with the body’s growth. According to the Institute of Food and Nutrition, 300 mg of magnesium is needed for an increase of 1 kilogram of body mass, and 200 mg for the increase of each kilogram of muscle mass. Increased demand for this element is shown by women during pregnancy (360-400 mg/day), lactation (320-360 mg/day), athletes, people who do heavy physical work and live in constant stress.

Magnesium – occurrence

Magnesium is part of chlorophyll – a green dye of plants, and in large quantities, it is found in green leafy vegetables like lettuce, spinach, and kale. Although they are usually consumed in small amounts, they are one of the best sources of this element.

In addition, magnesium can be found in whole-grain cereal products, including in larger quantities in oat flakes, plant sprouts, legumes, bananas, nuts, pumpkin seeds, and cocoa. Large amounts of magnesium are also found in chocolate. However, you should remember to eat good quality chocolate products. Chocolate is often a product rich in sugar and trans fats, which are very harmful. In addition, it contains large amounts of oxalic acid and theobromine, which impede the absorption of magnesium. A good source of magnesium is also drinking water, especially hard water.

Magnesium – supplementation

Magnesium deficiency is already a significant problem among people from various age groups. It has a connection with a lower content of this element in food products, the main cause of which is the poor condition of soils. The more north of the equator, the fewer soils are in magnesium. That is why we hear about the necessity of its supplementation more and more often. Magnesium supplements are usually sold at doses close to the daily requirement for this element. This is because the determination of the concentration of magnesium in the blood is not tantamount to its overall compactness in the body. However, magnesium supplementation is safe. His possible excess is excreted in the urine.

The use of magnesium supplements is especially recommended for pregnant women, during lactation, in cancer, and in the case of diuretics. On the market, you can find supplements in the form of tablets and effervescent dragees to dissolve in water. Tablets are definitely a better choice. Magnesium dissolved in the liquid irritates the stomach mucosa, contributing to the formation of ulcers. It is also important to pay attention to its form.  Citrate, lactate, and magnesium chelate are best absorbed. It should be remembered that taking very high doses of magnesium salt has a laxative effect and can cause poisoning.

Optimally bioavailable magnesium - Apollo's Hegemony Magnesium Bisglycinate
Optimally bioavailable magnesium – Apollo’s Hegemony Magnesium Bisglycinate


Magnesium is indispensable in every diet. It has many important functions in the human body. It is involved in the transformation of macronutrients and is necessary for the absorption of calcium and the transport of sodium and potassium. A theoretically well-balanced diet rich in green leafy vegetables and whole-grain cereal products should provide the right amount of this element. However, more and more is being said about its reduced content in food associated with the depletion of soils. Magnesium is a particularly valuable element in the course of the modern fast pace of life, in which stress is already the norm. Therefore, it is worth considering additional supplementation.


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