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Magnesium Facts

sir humphry davisMagnesium is a very important mineral needed by the human body. Magnesium was isolated in 1808 by Sir Humphry Davy. It has several important functions. It is needed by every cell of your body. About half of your body's magnesium stores are found inside cells of body tissues and organs. The other half are combined with the minerals calcium and phosphorus in bone. Only one percent of this important mineral in your body is found in blood. Your body works very hard to keep blood levels of magnesium constant [1].

Magnesium is responsibe for over than 300 enzymic reactions in the body. It helps maintain normal muscle and nerve function, keeps heart rhythm steady, and bones strong. It is also involved in energy metabolism and protein synthesis[2].


Magnesium regulates active calcium transport and plays an important part in maintaining strong bones. It is essential for many other important functions. A significant portion of the symptoms of many chronic disorders are identical to symptoms of magnesium deficiency.

Vegetables of the green varity, such as spinach provide magnesium because the center of the chlorophyll molecule contains magnesium. Other foods, such as nuts, seeds, and some whole grains are also good sources of magnesium[3].

Magnesium while it occurs in many foods, it is usually found in very small amounts. As with most nutrients, daily needs for magnesium cannot be met from a single food. The magnesium content of refined foods is usually very low[4].

The Recommended Dietary Allowance;

Ages 14 - 18
410 mg
 360 mg
400 mg
 360 mg
Ages 19 - 30
400 mg
 310 mg
350 mg 
 310 mg
Ages 31 +
420 mg
 320 mg
360 mg
 320 mg
Source: [5]
  1. Rude RK. Magnesium deficiency: A cause of heterogeneous disease in humans. J Bone Miner Res 1998;13:749-58.
  2. Wester PO. Magnesium. Am J Clin Nutr 1987;45:1305-12.
  3. U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service. Nutrient Database for Standard Reference.
  4. Institute of Medicine. Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary Reference Intakes: Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Vitamin D and Fluoride. National Academy Press. Washington, DC, 1999.
  5. Results of two national surveys, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III-1988-91) (5) and the Continuing Survey of Food Intakes of Individuals (1994 CSFII) (4), indicated that the diets of most adult men and women do not provide the recommended amounts of magnesium. The surveys also suggested that adults age 70 and over eat less magnesium than younger adults, and that non-Hispanic black subjects consumed less magnesium than either non-Hispanic white or Hispanic subjects (4).