73 Foods Rich In Magnesium
1. Pumpkin Seeds
592 mg / 100g
Come pumpkin carving season, don't throw out those seeds! Roast them and use them for snacks or add them to breads, cakes and cereals. One cup of roasted pumpkin seeds contains very good levels of nearly every important mineral that the body needs, including 42% of your daily magnesium needs; they're also a good source of protein and omega-6 fatty acids.
2. Flax Seeds
392 mg / 100g
Being rich in protein, calcium and dietary fibre, flax seeds are incredibly popular in many health food circles and often feature in many vegan diets. Their versatility seems to know no bounds either because they can be used in so many different recipes including houmous, bread, cakes, soup and even bean burgers.
3. Brazil Nuts
376 mg / 100g
Brazil nuts are an excellent source of non-animal protein, however, they are incredibly high in saturated fats and should be eaten in moderation. That said, they make a great addition to nut loaf and stuffing, providing a helpful boost of essential vitamins, minerals and omega-6 fatty acids. A one cup serving of nuts provides 125% of the recommended daily intake of magnesium.
4. Sesame Seeds
351 mg / 100g
Sesame seeds are used to make tahini which often forms the basis for many healthful dips, such as hummus; they are also a regular feature of seeded breads and crispbreads, and work really well in flapjacks and energy bars. A 28g serving of sesame seeds contains around 25% of the daily magnesium requirements, as well as a good amount of other important minerals, protein and dietary fibre.
5. Chia Seeds
335 mg / 100g
Native to Mexico and Guatemala, chia seeds are used worldwide to provide a nutritious boost to foods and drinks, especially in vegan and South American diets. The seeds are incredibly rich in omega-3 fatty acids and when soaked they have a surprisingly gelatinous texture rendering them useful as a thickening agent in many recipes.
6. Sunflower Seeds
325 mg / 100g
Sunflower seeds are a very rich source of vitamin E, dietary fibre and protein, as well as many other important vitamins and minerals; indeed, a one cup serving contains around 41% of the daily requirement of magnesium. They are incredibly high in fat, however, and should be enjoyed in moderation. These seeds can be added to trail mixes, flapjacks and breads to give them an important nutrient boost.
7. Cashew Nuts
292 mg / 100g
Cashew nuts are regularly used in vegan cooking thanks to their versatility and high protein content. Besides being delicious as a snack, they can be used to make vegan cream cheese and work very well in nut loaf and curries. One cup of cashew nuts will provide around 89% of the recommended daily allowance of magnesium but should be consumed in moderation due to their high fat content.
270 mg / 100g
Almonds are a key ingredient in the traditional English Bakewell tart, providing that delicious marzipan taste that makes the dessert incredibly popular. They also work very well as an easy snack and when powdered can be used to make proper homemade marzipan. Almonds contain one of the highest amounts of magnesium of any food, with a one cup serving containing 100% of the recommended daily allowance.
9. Pine Nuts
251 mg / 100g
Pine nuts are the most common ingredient in many pesto recipes, particularly Italian pesto, and they have been part of the diet in Europe and Asia since the Paleolithic era. These creamy nuts are often baked into bread, added to meat dishes and regularly enjoyed on their own as a snack, but they should be consumed in moderation due to their high fat content.
10. Lima Beans
224 mg / 100g
More commonly known as butter beans, lima beans are a creamy pulse that have quite a mild taste that makes them suitable for use as a base for protein packed, vegan-friendly dips. Lima beans also work very well in tomato-based dishes, such as gigantes plaki, tuscan bean soup and vegetarian chilli.
197 mg / 100g
Quinoa is one of the only plant-based foods that is a complete protein in its own right, usually you need to pair beans with a carbohydrate to achieve this, therefore it is incredibly popular in diets where protein from meat sources Is lacking. One cup of cooked quinoa is packed full of essential trace minerals, including 30% of the daily requirement of magnesium.
177 mg / 100g
A breakfast of good old fashioned oats, be it in bircher muesli, regular muesli or porridge, is guaranteed to set you up for the day and not just because oats are wholesome and filling; they also contain very good levels of protein, dietary fibre and essential trace minerals. A one cup serving of oats has as much as 69% of the recommended daily intake of magnesium.
168 mg / 100g
Despite its name, the peanut is actually classed as a legume, not a nut and is believed to have first been domesticated for farming in Paraguay. Peanuts are versatile and can be used in a huge number of recipes whether that is confectionery, cookies, cakes or dips; they also work very well in curries.
163 mg / 100g
Hazelnuts are commonly used to make pralines and chocolate-based confectionery, and are a regular component of chocolate spreads. Despite their affinity with chocolate, hazelnuts are used in a number of savoury dishes including soup, terrine, salad and stuffing, providing a protein and mineral boost to any dish they are in.
15. Black Turtle Beans
160 mg / 100g
They are low in fat, but high in protein and dietary fibre, so it isn't a surprise that black turtle beans are a popular ingredient in the diets of health conscious people. The beans canbe cooked in a pressure cooker to save time because then they don't need soaking and they work incredibly well in bolognaise sauce and chilli, either to bulk out the meat or replace it.
158 mg / 100g
Walnuts are an excellent addition to vegetarian diets thanks to the high levels of protein that they contain; however, they should be consumed in moderation as they also have high levels of fat. Their distinctive bitter taste makes them a perfect addition to cakes and sweet treats where they can help cut through the sugary taste. One cup of walnuts contains as much as 63% of the daily recommended allowance of magnesium.
17. Dark Chocolate
146 mg / 100g
Dark chocolate is a healthier alternative than milk chocolate in things like cakes, cookies and trail mixes, and adding a couple of squares to chilli ensures a deliciously rich tasting dish. A 100g bar contains very high levels of nearly every mineral that the body needs to thrive, including 58% of the recommended daily intake of magnesium, making dark chocolate a naughty treat that is actually pretty good for you.
18. Brown Rice
143 mg / 100g
Brown rice is an excellent source of magnesium, indeed a one cup serving provides as much as 21% of the daily recommended intake. It is incredibly versatile and can be used in place of white rice in almost any dish that doesn't require the rice to become gelatinous including curry, steamed fish, paella and chilli.
19. Kidney Beans
140 mg / 100g
Kidney beans are one of the cheapest sources of non-animal protein available and therefore they feature regularly in frugal recipes, and when paired with a carbohydrate, they create a cheap complex protein that is ideal for vegetarian, vegan and low-meat diets. One cup of kidney beans also provides 19% of the daily recommended intake of magnesium.
20. Macadamia Nuts
130 mg / 100g
Macadamia nuts are a nutrient and energy dense food, however, it is important to understand that they are also very high in saturated fats so should be enjoyed in moderation. A one cup serving of these nuts contains around 39% of the recommended daily requirement of magnesium and can be enjoyed on their own as a snack or added to cakes.
127 mg / 100g
Corn is an incredibly versatile ingredient and is especially popular in South America and the southern states of the USA. It can be ground to make flour, cooked on the cob as a side to meat dishes and is regularly added to soups and risottos.
A one cup serving of corn contains around 11% of the daily requirement of magnesium, as well as plenty of other vitamins and minerals.
22. Adzuki Beans
127 mg / 100g
These small red beans are a regular feature in many Asian recipes and are often used in some puddings and sweet treats due to their sweet, nutty flavour. They are an excellent addition to the diet because they are low in fat, but high in dietary fibre and provide 30% of the recommended daily allowance of magnesium per one cup serving.
121 mg / 100g
Like many nuts, pecans are an energy and nutrient dense food that should be included into the diet when possible, but should also be enjoyed in moderation. Crushed pecans add a delicious smoky flavour to pastry and also work really well when sprinkled over treacle tart or coffee cake. One cup of pecans contains high levels of dietary fibre, protein and essential minerals, including 33% of the daily requirement of magnesium.
24. Pistachio Nuts
121 mg / 100g
These delicious little nuts are an amazing source of non-animal protein and dietary fibre, and a one cup serving will provide you with around 37% of your daily magnesium needs. Pistachio nuts pair well with chicken and make a wonderful cream that is perfect for use in cakes, but you can choose to simply enjoy them on their own as a snack.
25. Swiss chard
81 mg / 100g
This leafy green vegetable is considered to be one of the most nutritious around; it has large green leaves and colourful red, orange or yellow stalks. The best way to cook swiss chard is to boil it and then serve it as a side dish to meat, fish or other dishes.
One cup of swiss chard contains around 38% of the daily allowance of magnesium.
26. Garbanzo Beans
79 mg / 100g
Also known as chickpeas, garbanzo beans are a delicious, non-meat source of protein, as well as being abundant in important vitamins and minerals that are needed to a healthy body. These versatile beans can be used as a base for vegetarian burgers, added to curries and work extremely well in rice and beans recipes. One cup of garbanzo beans contains roughly 20% of the daily allowance of magnesium.
79 mg / 100g
When spinach is added to most recipes, it is recommended that it does not get added until a few minutes before the end of cooking in order to prevent it losing too many nutrients.
That said, spinach also works very well in salads and is often cooked for long periods in order to reduce it and add it to things like quiche and pasties.
76 mg / 100g
This oily fish is a good source of important omega fatty acids, protein, minerals and B vitamins that are all needed to help maintain a healthy heart and a strong immune system. Mackerel has a strong taste that works really well in pate, but it can also be barbequed, flaked up into fishcakes or even turned into smoked mackerel dip.
68 mg / 100g
Generally considered to be a weed in many countries, purslane is actually a very nutritional and beneficial crop that should be included in the diet when possible. Its popularity in poorer, hotter countries is due to its ability to tolerate bad soil and drought.
Purslane is often added to salads, chucked in stir-fries or used in a similar fashion to spinach.
61 mg / 100g
They are a rich source of omega fatty acids and non-animal protein, but edamame beans are also abundant in many of the essential minerals that our bodies require to function well. Edamame can be added to a bean salad or pureed to make a protein-packed dip, with one cup of beans containing around 34% of our daily protein needs and 25% of the required intake of magnesium.
60 mg / 100g
These odd looking plants look like they belong in the desert and if you know how to prepare and cook them, artichokes can be a delicious treat. Artichokes contain almost no fat, but plenty of dietary fibre and essential vitamins and minerals.
They are delicious steamed and served with butter; you can also find artichoke hearts in the antipasti aisle waiting to be served on wholemeal pizza or eaten straight from the jar.
57 mg / 100g
Often referred to as ladies' fingers, okra has a distinctive finger-like shape and is well known for its ability to become a bit slimy when sliced and cooked.
That said, okra works incredibly well when left whole and quickly stir fried, although if left to cook for a long time the sliminess of the vegetable dissipates, such as in gumbo recipes.
50 mg / 100g
Tuna is an exceptionally nutritional fish, containing huge amounts of protein, B vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, with a can of tuna containing around 11% of the recommended daily intake of magnesium. It is often mixed with mayonnaise and used in sandwiches, pasta and jacket potatoes, but as a steak can be grilled and served with salad and potatoes or rice.
47 mg / 100g
Lentils are an absolute powerhouse of nutrients, providing as much as 63% of the daily requirement of dietary fibre per cup and 18% of the daily requirement of magnesium, alongside high levels of many other vitamins, minerals and protein. These tiny pulses are incredibly versatile and work very well in casseroles, soups, lasagne and even salads.
47 mg / 100g
One cup of kale contains thirteen times the daily allowance of vitamin K and around 6% of the recommended intake of magnesium; it also has reasonable levels of nearly every other vitamin and mineral our bodies need.
Kale works really well in pesto and stir fry, and it adds a good dose of protein and fibre to any salad.
47 mg / 100g
Arugula is also known as salad rocket and is often used in simple green salads when the leaves are young. Arugula leaves have a spiky, deep green appearance and an aromatic, peppery taste that goes very well with meat dishes.
In Slovenia, older leaves are often used in pasta dishes and in Italy, they are used to top pizzas before or just after the end of the cooking period.
43 mg / 100g
Dates are a staple ingredient in the diets of raw vegans, as well as those who are generally health conscious and mindful of not adding too much processed sugar to their diets. They are often used as a natural sweetener in cakes, biscuits and smoothies, and are an impressively rich source of nutrients that are key to good health.
41 mg / 100g
Prunes are essentially dried plums and are often touted as the food to eat if you are suffering from constipation; they are also a delicious addition to a number of meat dishes including lamb tagine, pot roasted beef and shredded duck in plum sauce. Prunes also work very well with cheese and have even been used to give it a slightly sweet flavour.
39. Dandelion Greens
36 mg / 100g
Dandelion greens are rich in vitamins A, C and K, and dietary fibre; a one cup serving also provides 6% of the daily requirement of magnesium.
They can be lightly steamed and used as a side dish, just like other greens, or they can also be turned into a delicious pesto, tossed through pasta. The flowers can even be used to make wine.
35 mg / 100g
Also known as prawn, the humble shrimp has been likened to tasting a lot like chicken rather than seafood, which makes it a versatile ingredient. You can chuck shrimp into a seafood paella or add it to a creamy chicken pasta or carbonara. Shrimp is high in cholesterol and should be consumed in moderation, but it is also good source of protein, vitamin B12 and many of the important trace minerals.
34 mg / 100g
Mussels work incredibly well in almost any seafood dish, including paella and fish pie. They are also delicious when served in a cream and white wine sauce with garlic, greens and pasta. These humble little shellfish contains some amazing quantities of trace minerals and vitamins, particularly B12 where a serving contains three times the daily requirement!
33 mg / 100g
One cup of peas contains some very high levels of vitamins, minerals, dietary fibre and protein, whilst also remaining low in calories, making them an excellent weight loss food. Peas can be served as a simple side dish to meat and fish or added to cottage pie and pasta bakes, and they are one of the key components in pea and ham soup.
32 mg / 100g
The level of nutrients you get from coconut will depend on whether you are consuming the meat or milk and also how the nut has been processed, but incorporating coconut into the diet isn't difficult to do and is certainly worthwhile; the milk can be added to smoothies and milkshakes, the dried meat can be sprinkled over cereal with dried fruit or added to flapjacks.
32 mg / 100g
Raisins are a popular snack for children and grown ups alike; they are sweet and store incredibly well because of the high levels of sugar present from dehydration. They can be added to oat cookies, sponge cakes and are delicious coated in chocolate and enjoyed in moderation. Raisins are a very good source of dietary fibre and many other important vitamins and minerals.
45. Mustard Greens
32 mg / 100g
Mustard greens are the leaves of the mustard plant and have a peppery, slightly bitter flavour; they are commonly used in Chinese and Indian cooking.
They can be served raw in salads, but they also work well in place of other leafy green vegetables to give a slightly fiery kick to a dish.
29 mg / 100g
Traditionally available and at their best in winter, parsnips make delicious, warming soups and work incredibly well when paired with other root vegetables and red meats; they can even be used in place of carrot in cakes!
Parsnips are one of the few vegetables around in winter that can provide very good levels of important vitamins and minerals during the colder months for those trying to eat seasonally.
47. Passion Fruit
29 mg / 100g
Native to Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina, the passionfruit is a round, purple fruit that contains sweet tasting, edible seeds. It has a very distinctive aroma that lends itself incredibly well to fruit salads and smoothies, but also turns a vanilla cheesecake into a tropical delight when the seeds are sprinkled over the top.
29 mg / 100g
Salmon is considered a delicacy in many parts of the world; it has a delicious flavour that is not too overpowering, making it ideal for regular consumption, unlike some stronger smelling seafood. This oily fish is an incredibly rich source of vitamin B12 and omega-3 fatty acids and also contains around 28% of the daily requirement of magnesium per average sized fillet.
29 mg / 100g
The avocado pear has quite a plain taste which makes it incredibly versatile and great for use in a number of vegan dishes where a creamy, non-dairy base is required. It is also the main ingredient in guacamole and is delicious cubed and tossed through salad with salt and pepper. A one cup serving of avocado also provides around 11% of the recommended intake of magnesium.
28 mg / 100g
Whilst leeks are part of the onion family, they have a far milder flavour that is ideal for people who might want an onion flavour in their meal without the strength of a regular onion.
Leeks contain very reasonable levels of most vitamins and minerals, as well as being very low in calories, making them a healthful addition to quiches, risottos, soups and many other dishes.
28 mg / 100g
Chicken has many uses and tends to be the most frugal option for many people when it comes to buying meat. One whole chicken can be used for a roast dinner, with the leftovers going in sandwiches, risotto and jacket potatoes and the carcass being used to make a nutrient dense stock. A 100g portion of chicken also contains around 5% of the daily requirement of magnesium.
27 mg / 100g
Being a member of the mustard family, horseradish has quite a fiery kick to it, which is why horseradish sauce tends to be quite popular.
This parsnip-looking vegetable isn't just good for making sauce though. It is also tasty when included in fishcakes, mixed into mashed potato or grated into coleslaw to provide a spicy twist on an old favourite.
53. Collard Greens
27 mg / 100g
Despite being a member of the brassica family, collard greens do not have a head from which their leaves grow, like cabbage and broccoli do.
Instead they are a hardy, dark green, leafy vegetable that grow on thinner stalks and are available all year round, but are at their best when picked after the first frosts in winter. They can be used in most recipes that call for green, leafy vegetables.
27 mg / 100g
Bananas are the ultimate healthy snack, they are ridiculously low in fat, have good levels of dietary fibre, vitamins and essential minerals and they taste great. They are also one of nature's best sweeteners and the softer they become the sweeter they are, making them great to add to cakes where processed sugars need to be reduced.
27 mg / 100g
Tilapia is a freshwater fish often found in ponds and rivers; it is also considered to be one of the safest fish to eat because it has one of the lowest levels of mercury of any fish thanks to its largely vegetarian diet. Tilapia can be used in most recipes that call for fish, however it is especially good simply barbequed and enjoyed with salad and new potatoes.
27 mg / 100g
Whilst many people only have it at Christmas, turkey is fast becoming a popular ingredient to use in place of chicken in many recipes. Turkey mince can be used to make a healthier bolognaise that would otherwise use beef and turkey meat itself is delicious in stews, curries and risottos.
57. Chilli Peppers
25 mg / 100g
Chilli peppers add an awesome flavour kick to cheese and meat dishes like pizza, fajitas and toasties, but they are also packed with nutrients that are very beneficial to the immune system, with a single chilli pepper containing nearly double the daily requirement of vitamin C! A single pepper also has around 3% of your daily magnesium requirements.
58. Green Beans
25 mg / 100g
Green beans come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from the small, thin ones that are great to chop up and add to cottage pie, to the big chunky ones that you can pop open and eat raw or chuck in a wok to stir fry with other vegetables.
These delicious beans are also bursting with vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre, making them an excellent addition to any diet.
59. Sweet Potato
25 mg / 100g
The sweet potato tastes like a cross between a carrot and a regular potato; it is also the only member of the potato family whose vitamin C content actually counts towards one of your five a day.
There are a number of recipes that call for sweet potatoes including sweet potato pie, root mash and vegetable stew; they can also be enjoyed simply baked and slathered in butter.
23 mg / 100g
The humble beetroot is not only used as a foodstuff, but is also well known for its medicinal and colouring properties. The rich reddish purple colour of beetroot indicates that it contains a good quantity of vitamins and minerals that are essential to good health.
A common way to eat it is diced and tossed through a salad, or pickled and sliced in a sandwich.
23 mg / 100g
Whether you enjoy them mashed, roasted, cut into chips or baked, potatoes are a versatile ingredient that can be used in so many recipes and provide a good level of dietary fibre that helps you feel fuller for longer.
An average sized baked potato also contains a surprising amount of nearly every vitamin and mineral your body needs to thrive, including about 12% of the daily allowance of magnesium.
62. Brussels Sprouts
23 mg / 100g
Whether you love them or hate them, there's no denying that brussel sprouts are good for you.
With the exception of vitamin B12, they provide reliable levels of every other vitamin and mineral that is essential for good health which means that they should be eaten whenever possible, be it with a Sunday roast or chopped in half and stir fried with other vegetables.
22 mg / 100g
The guava fruit is an often underestimated delicacy, just one cup of this fruit contains more than six times the daily requirement of vitamin C and very good levels of nearly every other vitamin and mineral that we need. It is ideal added raw to fruit salads, but can also be lightly cooked to create a sort of puree to pour over ice cream or add to fools.
22 mg / 100g
Being part of the berry family, raspberries are considered something of a superfood; they are high in vitamin C and dietary fibre, low in calories and contain reliable levels of nearly every other vitamin and mineral that the body needs. As well as being enjoyed on their own, raspberries can be made into a puree for pouring over ice cream, baked into muffins and chucked into fruit salads.
65. Broccoli Rabe (Rapini)
22 mg / 100g
This dark green vegetable is a reliable source of nutrients, with an 85g serving providing good overall levels of nearly every vitamin and mineral that the body needs, including magnesium.
Broccoli rabe is best when lightly steamed and served as a side dish or chucked in a wok and stir fried.
21 mg / 100g
Native to the North Atlantic Ocean, haddock is a popular fish that can be used in many recipes that require white fish, such as fish pie, fishcakes, paella; it is also the main ingredient in kedgeree. Like with most fish, haddock is a reliable source of protein and numerous essential vitamins and minerals including magnesium, with a 150g fillet containing roughly 19% of the daily magnesium requirement.
21 mg / 100g
This tree shaped vegetable is packed full of goodness, with an average sized head of broccoli providing huge quantities of important nutrients like vitamins A, C and K.
The best way to enjoy broccoli is lightly steamed so that it is still al dente, ensuring that it retains the maximum amount of nutrients possible.
21 mg / 100g
Papaya adds a deliciously tropical twist to any fruit salad, but can also be enjoyed dried and sprinkled over cereals or added to trail mixes. A one cup serving of papaya fruit contains nearly one and a half times the daily requirement of vitamin C, a good amount of dietary fibre and around 3% of the daily requirement of magnesium.
21 mg / 100g
Related to the mustard plant, watercress has a slightly bitter, peppery taste that gives a fiery kick to any salad bowl; it is also the main ingredient for watercress soup and works incredibly well in sandwiches.
Like many green leaf vegetables, watercress should generally be added to a dish a few minutes before the end of cooking in order to prevent too many nutrients being lost.
20 mg / 100g
Make them into jam or bake them in an apple pie, blackberries are a delicious treat, especially when they are in season in the autumn. If you pick them when they are at their best, they will freeze incredibly well and can be added to smoothies, cakes and other treats throughout the year. One cup of blackberries will provide around 7% of your daily magnesium requirements.
20 mg / 100g
Scallions are small bulbs with edible green stalks, more commonly referred to as spring onions. They make a wonderful addition to salads and can be added to stir fries for a delightful crunch.
Scallions can also be used in onion soup and kneaded into flatbreads or focaccia for a more delicate onion flavour.
20 mg / 100g
More commonly known as swede or turnip, rutabaga is a popular root vegetable usually enjoyed in winter when it is at its best. It is a regular feature in the traditional Sunday roast and can also be found in many winter stews.
One cup of rutabaga contains more than half of the daily requirement of vitamin C and has around 10% of the daily requirement of magnesium.
20 mg / 100g
Whether you use them to make soup, casserole or simply fry them off in garlic to serve on toast, mushrooms are a tasty, versatile vegetable that can add a deliciously meaty texture to any dish, which can be especially handy for vegetarian and vegan meals.
Depending on the type of mushroom being used, a one cup serving will provide between 5% and 7% of the daily allowance of magnesium.
Magnesium is one of the essential trace minerals that should be included in our diet and its importance in the healthy functioning of our bodies cannot be overstated. The human body contains as much as 25g of magnesium, most of which is locked up in bones and soft tissue, and it is one of the major catalysts in the creation of new bone, proteins and DNA.
Our bodies also rely on magnesium to help transport potassium and calcium ions to where they are needed in cell membranes. This process ensures that we have a normal heart rhythm, nerve impulse conduction and muscle contractions.
Understanding how much magnesium is in the body can be difficult to do because most of it is locked away in bones and cells; scientists are unable to agree on the right method of determining magnesium levels because no one method is completely accurate. That said, many experts do agree that a urine test is one of the most reliable methods of establishing magnesium levels.
However, the best way to ensure that there is enough magnesium in the body is to eat well and take supplements when in doubt. There are a number of different magnesium supplements available and some are considered to be superior to others. Supplements like magnesium citrate and magnesium chloride are considered to be the best ones to take because they dissolve well in liquid,which therefore means that they are more easily absorbed into the body.
Why Is Magnesium Important?
As mentioned above, magnesium plays an important role in maintaining the body’s most basic functions, such as cell proliferation, but it is also considered a fundamental player in preventing a number of illnesses, where low levels of magnesium have been understood to play a pivotal role.
Type 2 diabetes is considered to be one such illness whereby low levels of magnesium is thought to have an impact on the risk of developing the condition. There have been a number of investigations into the effect that magnesium has on the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
One such study analysed data from seven trials, with a total of 286,688 participants, and found that an overall increase in magnesium levels by 100mg a day would reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by as much as 15%!
Recently, another study has sifted through the vast number of trials relating to the effects of magnesium on cardiovascular disease and come to the conclusion that further research needs to be done in order to assess exactly how magnesium affects the cardiovascular system and, therefore, how it can be used in its treatment and prevention. The researchers found that, overall, having good concentrations of magnesium in the blood stream was associated with a 30% reduction in the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
Since magnesium is a key component in bone formation, it would make sense that low levels of the mineral would result in an increased risk of developing osteoporosis. Indeed, a 2007 study found that women suffering from osteoporosis had lower levels of magnesium than women suffering from osteopenia (which is less severe than osteoporosis) and those not suffering from either condition.
Another study examined the effects of magnesium supplementation on twenty women with osteoporosis and found that the increased levels of magnesium slowed the rate at which bone material was lost, suggesting that good levels of magnesium are paramount in preventing osteoporosis and other bone related conditions.
Magnesium isn’t just important in preventing diseases, such as those mentioned above. It is also known to help prevent migraines. According to a 2009 study, low levels of magnesium are thought to contribute to risk factors associated with developing migraines. Whilst current scientific research in this area is quite sparse, the trials that have been conducted have shown that increases in magnesium intake does help to reduce the instances of migraines.
For children, the recommended daily intake of magnesium is the same for both boys and girls until they reach adolescence.
For infants under the age of one year, there isn’t an official recommended intake; instead there is a guideline known as an adequate intake. For babies from birth to six months this is 30mg a day and for babies aged seven months to one year it is 75mg a day.
Between the ages of one to three years, children should be getting around 80mg of magnesium a day; for those who are four to eight years old, this amount increases to 130mg a day; and for children aged between nine and thirteen years old, the recommended allowance is 240mg a day.
From fourteen years of age onwards the recommended amounts of magnesium differ for males and females. Between the ages of fourteen and eighteen, males should be receiving around 410mg of magnesium and females should be getting 360mg. For pregnant females this amount increases to 400mg a day.
Adult males aged thirty or under should be getting roughly 400mg of magnesium a day, whilst females should be getting 310mg, with pregnant females needing about 350mg.
From about the age of thirty-one onwards, the recommended intakes of magnesium stay the same until old age, with males requiring 420mg and females requiring 320mg; again, pregnant females require around 360mg a day.
Magnesium Deficiency And Inadequacy
Unlike with many nutrients in the body, magnesium deficiency is incredibly rare and in actuality most people suffer instead with magnesium inadequacy. A magnesium inadequacy occurs when the levels of magnesium in the body drop below the recommended levels over a period of time, but are still high enough to prevent actual deficiency. Inadequacy is more likely to occur in certain groups of people, including:
- Alcohol dependent adults – alcohol dependency can result in a number of issues such as diarrhoea, vomiting and poor diet, and can affect the healthy function of the kidneys and liver. This in turn can result in poor absorption of magnesium and even lead to more magnesium being expelled from the body than is normal.
- People suffering from gastrointestinal diseases – because magnesium is usually absorbed through the gut, a person suffering from a gastrointestinal disease is likely to experience issues with magnesium absorption either due to the disease itself or the medication they receive to manage the condition.
- People with type 2 diabetes – individuals that have diabetes will usually need to pass water more often than those without the condition, this leads to an increase in magnesium lost through urine excretion.
- Older people – older adults are more likely to experience magnesium inadequacy than younger adults. This is due to a few factors including the fact that as they age, the ability to absorb nutrients via the gut decreases. Older people are also more likely to eat less than their younger counterparts, which will reduce the amounts of magnesium they are getting. They are also more likely to be taking medication for age-related ailments that could have an overall effect on their ability to absorb magnesium effectively.
If magnesium inadequacy is allowed to continue for any length of time, it will quickly develop into magnesium deficiency. The early warning signs include feeling weak and tired, nausea and vomiting. If left untreated, more severe symptoms will start to emerge, including changes in personality, abnormal heart rhythms, numbness and tingling, cramps and even seizures.
Eventually, in the worst case scenario, you will experience low calcium and potassium levels because the damage done from magnesium deficiency is so bad that it disrupts the balance of minerals in the body resulting in conditions like osteoporosis.
Risks And Warnings
The risks associated with ingesting too much magnesium are quite rare in healthy people with properly functioning kidneys, since the kidneys control the amount of magnesium that can be excreted in urine. That said, there are some things to be aware of which are explained below.
It is understood that the most common symptom of too much magnesium in the body is diarrhoea, which is quite often accompanied by stomach cramps and nausea. These symptoms explain why laxatives will often contain magnesium because in safer doses it is a very effective laxative. However, consuming too many laxatives that contain magnesium can result in something called magnesium toxicity, which can be fatal. The same is also true if you consume too many magnesium-containing antacids.
Symptoms of magnesium toxicity can include low blood pressure, depression, feeling lethargic and nausea. If left untreated, this can quickly develop into something more serious with symptoms including severely low blood pressure, breathing difficulties, muscle weakness and even a heart attack.
It is also worth noting that some medications may interfere with magnesium absorption, making it difficult for the body to achieve the recommended daily intakes for magnesium. If in doubt, speak to your doctor about the medication you are taking and establish what steps need to be taken to ensure that your magnesium levels are not adversely affected.