Magnesium is an essential mineral for human nutrition.
Diet - magnesium
Magnesium is needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body. It helps to maintain normal nerve and muscle function, supports a healthy immune system, keeps the heart beat steady, and helps bones remain strong. It also helps regulate blood glucose levels and aid in the production of energy and protein. There is ongoing research into the role of magnesium in preventing and managing disorders such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes.
Most dietary magnesium comes from vegetables, such as dark green, leafy vegetables. Other foods that are good sources of magnesium:
Fruits or vegetables (such as bananas, dried apricots, and avocados)
Nuts (such as almonds and cashews)
Peas and beans (legumes), seeds
Soy products (such as soy flour and tofu)
Whole grains (such as brown rice and millet)
Side effects from increased magnesium intake are not common because the body removes excess amounts. Magnesium excess almost always occurs only when magnesium is supplemented as a medication.
Lack of magnesium (deficiency) is rare. The symptoms include:
Deficiency of magnesium can occur in people who abuse alcohol or in those who absorb less magnesium due to:
Low blood levels of calcium
Problems absorbing nutrients from the intestinal tract (malabsorption)
Symptoms due to a lack of magnesium have three categories.
Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health. Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Magnesium. Accessed February 12, 2013.
Alison Evert, MS, RD, CDE, Nutritionist, University of Washington Medical Center Diabetes Care Center, Seattle, Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.