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Discover the benefits of magnesium

Tracy Woolrich's picture
The health issues connected to low magnesium levels that could spell trouble.

According to the USDA, the average intake of magnesium by men 19 to 50 years was about 94 percent of the recommended amount. However, women in the same age group were found to be consuming only about 74 percent of the RDA. Considering the health issues connected to low magnesium levels that could spell trouble.

I have found that it is difficult for me to get my daily requirements in dietary form; therefore I have to take supplementation. As I have fibromyalgia as well as migraines, it is crucial I do so. It is also helpful to maintain my blood pressure and is also good for depression. So what exactly are the recommended requirements to maintain health?

Recommended Daily Requirements
Adult males: 400 milligram
Adult females: 310 milligrams
Pregnancy: 360-400 milligrams
Breastfeeding women: 320-360 milligrams
1-3 years old: 80 milligrams
4-8 years old: 130 milligrams
9-13 years old: 240 milligrams
14-18 years old (boys): 410 milligrams
14-18 years old (girls): 360 milligrams

Foods high in magnesium

Because chlorophyll, which gives green leafy vegetables their color contain magnesium, most are good sources. This includes spinach, kale and chard. Vegetables such as broccoli and okra are also rich in magnesium. Beans and lentils as well as brazil nuts and almonds are also good choices. What most people do not realize though is that seafood such as halibut, oysters and mackerel are also good sources.

It is not always possible to get the required amount of magnesium through your diet. It is always best to do so through nutrition however if you do not always eat as healthy as you should, then you may need to supplement. Your health depends upon it.

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Diseases and low magnesium
According to the National Institutes of Health, magnesium may help prevention or treatment the following disorders:

Heart disease
In one study, 50 men and women with coronary heart disease received either a placebo or a supplement with 342 mg magnesium twice daily. 6 months later those who received the magnesium supplement had improved exercise tolerance during stress testing.


Magnesium deficiency is a risk factor for osteoporosis. That is because low magnesium levels alter calcium absorption. In studies of older adults, the greater the magnesium intake the better the individuals done density.


In one Harvard study, it was discovered that a lower risk of hypertension was associated with diets that contained more magnesium, potassium, and fiber. Unfortunately, since most foods that are rich in magnesium are also higher in fiber and potassium it was difficult to see which element was most beneficial.

Magnesium plays a crucial role in carbohydrate metabolism. It influences the release of insulin. Individuals with type 2 diabetes are often low in magnesium. In addition, low magnesium levels may worsen insulin resistance. With insulin resistance, you do not use insulin efficiently and require greater and greater amounts of insulin to maintain blood sugar within normal levels. Once your glucose elevates, your kidneys become stressed and you have a hard time retaining magnesium levels. This cycle may be reduced though magnesium intake. Talk to your doctor about taking magnesium however if you have kidney failure as your magnesium levels could become dangerously high.


There are a few medications that interact adversely with magnesium. Here are a few of the more well known ones.


Quinolone antibiotics such as Cipro and Tetracycline may be less effective in the presence of magnesium. To avoid this interaction take these antibiotics at least 2 hours before, or 4 to 6 hours after, magnesium supplements.
Tetracycline antibiotics

Heart/Blood pressure medications

Calcium channel blockers such as Procardia, Verapamil, Cardizem and Norvasc may decrease your blood pressure too low in the presence of magnesium.

Take home message:

Magnesium deficiency is not uncommon in the U.S. and is particularly common among African Americans and the elderly. Proper nutrition is the best medicine however, supplementation may be necessary. Remember to discuss this with you healthcare professional or pharmacist to make sure that there will not be any interactions or contraindications for magnesium supplementation.

Morgan KJ, et al. Magnesium and calcium dietary intakes of the U.S. population. J Am Coll Nutr. 1985;4(2):195-206.
Witteman JC, Grobbee DE, Derkx FH, et al. Reduction of blood pressure with oral magnesium supplementation in women with mild to moderate hypertension. Am J Clin Nutr 1994;60:129-35.
Yokota K, Kato M, Lister F, et al. Clinical efficacy of magnesium supplementation in patients with type 2 diabetes. J Am Coll Nutr 2004;23:506S-509S.