For a human body to successfully regulate many biochemical reactions such as protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, blood glucose and blood pressure, there must be a rather necessary and important mineral present in the body called magnesium amongst so many other minerals. Magnesium is naturally plenteous in the human body and exists naturally in many foods and most times added to food products. It is also obtainable as nutritive supplements and can also be seen in medications such as antacids and laxatives. Magnesium is also necessary for the production of energy in the body, oxidative phosphorylation, and glycolysis. It adds to the essential growth of bone and also vital for the synthesis of DNA, RNA, and the antioxidant glutathione.

Study has it that an average adult body contains about 25 g magnesium, with about fifty to sixty percent of this mineral present in the bones and the rest found in the soft tissues in the human body. It further states that less than one percent of the total magnesium in the body is in the blood serum, and these levels are kept under close-fitting control. Normal serum magnesium concentrations varies within 0.75 and 0.95 millimoles (mmol)/L. in a situation where the serum level is less than 0.75 mmol/L, a condition known as hypomagnesemia occurs in the body. The kidney excretes about 120 mg magnesium into the urine each day, this process is called magnesium homeostasis and in situations where there is little magnesium available, the urinary excretion is considerably reduced.

Magnesium is not readily accessed in the body because it is mostly found inside the cells or in the bone but the most common way of assessing the status of magnesium in the body is by measuring the serum magnesium level. Although the serum level may have very little correlation with the entire magnesium available in the body, it is the most sufficient assessment readily available in measuring the quantity of magnesium present in the body. There are other methods used in assessing magnesium status and they include measuring magnesium status in erythrocytes, saliva, and urine; measuring ionized magnesium concentrations in blood, plasma, or serum; and carrying out a magnesium tolerance test. This procedure involves the measurement of magnesium in the urine after parental infusion of a dose of magnesium.

However, a single method in accessing magnesium is not sufficient; some experts concluded that the magnesium tolerance test is the best method for accessing magnesium level in adults. They further stated that to expansively assess magnesium level in the body, both laboratory tests and a clinical assessment might do the trick.

A nutritive survey in the United States reliably showed that people take in lower quantity of magnesium into their systems daily than the recommended quantity needed for the body. A consistent data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) of 2005–2006 revealed that a lot of Americans of all ages eat less magnesium from food than necessary for their body absorption. The study further revealed that adult men aged seventy-one years and upward and adolescent ladies are most probable to have low consumptions.

A reliable data from NHANES 2003–2006 to check for mineral consumption among adult showed that average ingestions of magnesium from food only were higher in nutritive supplements users; 350 mg for men and 267 mg for women. However, when supplements were included, an average intake of 449 mg for men and 387 mg for women was recorded.

This article would be looking into facts, roles, effects and side effects encountered, medical usage, sources, deficiencies of magnesium.


Studies have shown that magnesium is needed for proper functioning of activities carried out by hundreds of enzymes. It was also revealed that intake of the right amount of magnesium helped to minimize premenstrual symptoms. Magnesium can be found in reasonable quantities in foods like the sunflower seeds, almonds, and shrimps. It can also be taken as supplements; this supplement readily interacts with other drugs so it is advised to take magnesium supplements in the right dosage and the right way recommended by a health care provider.


Magnesium is largely seen in plants, animal foods and in beverages as well. Green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains, have been reported as good sources of magnesium. Well, foods with nutritive fiber also give magnesium.

Tap, mineral, and bottled waters are also sources of magnesium, but the quantity of magnesium in them depends on the source and brand of the water. The magnesium content in them usually varies within 1 mg/L to over 120 mg/L.

Some food rich in magnesium are whole wheat, spinach, quinoa, almonds, cashews, peanuts, dark chocolate, black beans, edamame, avocado, tofu and cultured yoghurt. Magnesium is also seen in nutritive supplements and medicines; and in some drugs they are the primary laxatives.


Magnesium and magnesium supplement have an important role to play in nerve impulse conduction, muscle contraction, kidneys and normal heart rhythm because it actively transports calcium and potassium ions across cell membranes.

Magnesium produces energy in the body and also controls blood sugar and chemical reactions in the body. It also helps in preserving other minerals like zinc, potassium and calcium that helps in building teeth and bones.


When magnesium is not taken in the right amount needed in the body, it brings about some changes in the biochemical paths that can in turn increase the risk of illness. Studies however, have found that nutritive supplement containing magnesium lowers blood pressure and thereby reducing considerably, the risk of heart diseases and stroke.

Nonetheless, research also found that magnesium eaten from food and supplements assessed every two to four years had something to do with sudden cardiac death. An efficient study found that higher serum levels of magnesium were suggestively connected to lower risk of cardiovascular disease, and higher nutritive magnesium were related to a significantly lower risk of ischemic heart disease.

Other health conditions that magnesium has been known to significantly reduce their chances of occurrence in the body are type2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and migraine headaches. Magnesium is also encompassed in some medications for heartburn and upset stomach due to acid indigestion


When magnesium from foods is taken into the body in large doses, there are no threats encountered most times since the kidneys eliminates the excess magnesium through the urine but magnesium from nutritive supplements or medications most times results in diarrhea, vomiting and cramping of the abdomen. This is possible due to the osmotic activity of unabsorbed salts in the system and the stimulation of gastric motility by the intestine and colon.

There are forms of magnesium that are known to cause diarrhea and they include magnesium carbonate, magnesium chloride, magnesium gluconate, and magnesium oxide.  Magnesium with laxatives and antacids when given in large doses that is above 5,000 mg/day was stated to be toxic for the body.

Magnesium toxicity is normally experienced when serum concentrations surpasses 1.74–2.61 mmol/L reportedly caused fatal hypermagnesemia in a twenty-eight months old boy and also in an elderly man. Some of the signs associated with magnesium toxicity include hypotension, nausea, vomiting, facial flushing, retention of urine, ileus, depression, and lethargy before developing to muscle feebleness, difficulty in breathing, extreme hypotension, irregular heartbeat, and finally, cardiac arrest.


When the quantity of magnesium eaten falls below the needed amount for daily operations, the body starts experiencing magnesium inadequacies or deficiencies. There are however some group of persons that are at risk of magnesium inadequacy because they usually ingest unsatisfactory amounts of magnesium or they have medical conditions that reduce magnesium absorption from the gut. These set of people are; people with gastrointestinal diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease and celiac disease, people with type 2 diabetes, people that depend on alcohol and older adults.

Other health conditions that can easily lead to magnesium deficiencies include kidney diseases, stomach viruses that cause vomiting and diarrhea. Too much intake of alcohol or caffeine on regular bases affects the body’s magnesium status as well.

Symptoms associated with magnesium deficiencies are; muscle twitches and cramps, mental disorder, irregular heartbeat, asthma, weak bones and higher chances of bone fractures, faintness and muscle weakness, and high blood pressure.


A detail survey has shown that seventy-five percent of American populations hardly meet up with the daily required magnesium intake for a day. Another estimate concluded that shortage of magnesium is a well-known health problem that about seventy-three percent of Americans suffer from.

The signs for magnesium deficiency are most times very elusive and except in cases where magnesium is severely low, the signs can be totally ignored. Magnesium deficiency can cause faintness; mental problems, osteoporosis, muscle cramps, irregular heartbeats, and these are symptoms that can be related to other health conditions. It is therefore advised to always request blood tests to determine the magnesium status of a body and in situations where there may be some sort of shortage in the amount of magnesium needed, the help of a health care provider should be sought and adhered to.

Adequate intake of magnesium is a must for a healthy living, whether through magnesium-rich whole foods such as nuts, seeds, grains, beans or magnesium supplement. The listed foods are also rich in other healthy nutrients; so, including them in the daily meal not only lowers risks of magnesium deficiency but promotes the general health as well.