Magnesium: Why You’re Probably Not Getting Enough of It

Magnesium: Why You're Probably Not Getting EnoughA staggering amount of people today are going about their daily lives without enough magnesium in their systems. Magnesium is mentioned time and time again in nutrition-related articles, yet so few people are really aware of what it is and why it’s so important – let alone how to get enough of it! Whether you’re brand new to learning about the mineral or just need a refresher, you’ve come to the right place. In this article we’ll go over the dangers of magnesium deficiency, great food sources of magnesium and a brief overview of what might be the best magnesium supplement for you.

Are You Getting Enough Magnesium?

In the United States alone, 6 percent of all people suffer from insomnia [5]. Furthermore, 13 percent of all American adults experience recurrent headaches and migraines [6]. Over 5 million people throughout the US are affected by mild to severe symptoms of fibromyalgia, resulting in fatigue and muscle pain [7].

What do these ailments have in common? They’re all common symptoms of magnesium deficiency. Not every single person with those symptoms are necessarily magnesium deficient, of course. However, with up to 80% of adults estimated to be deficient in the mineral, there’s a good chance that there’s some kind of connection.

The wide-ranging list of symptoms is what makes a magnesium deficiency so difficult to detect. That’s why it’s so important to examine your regular diet and make sure you’re getting enough.

What is Magnesium?

Magnesium is a shiny solid element with the atomic number of 12. It’s considered the 9th most abundant mineral on the entire planet. It can be found in various forms in nature, where it’s always combined with other elements. For example, in the form of the hard stone known as magnesite, or in the ocean as magnesium chloride. [4]

Within the body, magnesium functions as an electrolyte, which means it conducts electricity vital for numerous functions. Much of our magnesium, however, is actually uncharged and stored in our bones, which is why it’s so vital for proper bone health. [8]

Magnesium is among the five most abundant minerals in the human body alongside calcium, phosphorus, sodium, and potassium. The mineral is responsible for the activation of more than 300 enzyme-controlled reactions. It’s also involved in energy production, the metabolism of consumed nutrients and nerve transmission, just to mention a few [4].

Common Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency

We briefly went over above how wide-ranging magnesium deficiency symptoms can be, and therefore difficult to pinpoint the root cause of. Nevertheless, it’s important that we become aware of common deficiency symptoms. If you’re experiencing one or more of the issues below, then you may be suffering from magnesium deficiency.

Symptoms of magnesium deficiency include:

· Restless leg syndrome [8]

· Headaches and migraines induced by peroxynitrite damage

· Amplified symptoms of PMS

· Mood swings

· Insomnia

· Osteoporosis

· Painful muscle cramps and weakness

· Loss of sexual desire/impotence

· Formation of tooth cavities

· Liver damage

· Kidney failure

· Hypertension

· Cardiovascular illnesses

The body is constantly using up its magnesium reserves in processes such as muscle movement, hormone synthesis, and even heart palpitations [3]. It’s imperative that we replenish the levels of magnesium in our bodies consistently in order to reap the full health benefits of the vital mineral.


Insomnia Magnesium
Magnesium supplementation can help those suffering from insomnia

So How Much Magnesium Do We Really Need?

The National Institute of Health of the United States recommends between around 400 – 420 mg daily for adult males, and between 310 – 320 mg for adult females.

The Institute’s recommendations vary slightly depending on age. Pregnant women should try to get between 350 and 360 mg of the mineral. [9]

You may still be wondering just how to get your daily recommended amount of magnesium. We will cover this in depth down below. But first, let’s go over some health issues that getting adequate amounts of magnesium could potentially help you solve.

The Remarkable Health Benefits of Magnesium

Above we went over the potential dangers of a magnesium deficiency. But now let’s look at things from a more positive angle. Getting enough magnesium in your life can bestow tremendous health benefits and help solve a wide variety of ailments. Let’s go over a few:

1. Asthmatic Relief

The use of magnesium supplements in the alleviation of symptoms of asthma, such as wheezing and breathlessness, is a demonstration of the mineral’s muscle movement regulating capabilities. Magnesium controls the movement of the bronchial muscles, thereby preventing shallow irregular breathing, and promoting deep, consistent breaths [31

2. Prenatal Nutrition

Pregnant mothers should keep their magnesium intake at an optimal minimum to ensure that the unborn baby is getting enough of it. In addition to keeping the development of early osteoporosis in the unborn child at bay, magnesium also increases the mother’s tolerance to the pains of childbirth, making the delivery process much less harrowing. Mothers who suffer from hypertension should increase their magnesium intake significantly since it can prevent eclamptic seizures [1].

3. Clears up Constipated Bowels

Magnesium has strong laxative properties that come in handy during episodes of constipation [3]. Its naturally hydrophilic nature works together with its muscle-relaxing properties to, well, help you poop!

4. Regulates Blood Sugar

Diabetic patients benefit from the homeostatic properties of magnesium which enable it to regulate the reaction of insulin to the sugar in the blood. This is the same process in which magnesium helps to prevent hypertension and to lower blood pressure in people who suffer from high blood pressure [1], [2]. Studies show that 48 percent of all people suffering from type 2 diabetes show low levels of magnesium in their blood [2]. And the lack of adequate magnesium reserves impairs their body’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels using insulin.

5. Cures Muscle Aches, Pains and Cramps

People suffering from severe muscle aches and pains or recurrent cramps usually benefit greatly from the muscle relaxing properties of magnesium [3]. Furthermore, it expedites the process of calcium absorption in the body, which is especially significant during the bone healing period. Taking magnesium supplements will also reduce cramping in the legs.

6. Cures Mental and Psychiatric Illnesses

Regulated doses of magnesium supplements can be used to cure mental dysfunctions such as anxiety and unnecessary agitation [1]. Magnesium has also been associated with a significantly reduced risk of depression [2].

7. Maintains Good Heart Health

One of the more significant health benefits of magnesium is that it helps to keep the heart in tip top shape by preventing undue stress being exerted on the heart muscles. Not only does it directly relax cardiovascular muscles, it also prevents other failing processes such as indigestion and cramps from negatively impacting the cardiovascular system. This helps ensure good heart health at all times [1].

8. Cures Recurrent Headaches and Migraines

For people who suffer from recurrent headaches or intense migraines, taking magnesium supplements can alleviate their pain by cutting down the rates of recurrence and the intensity of the aches [1], [3].

9. Acts as an Anti-inflammatory

Chronic inflammation, which is believed to be a leading cause of obesity and aging, is said to arise from an acute shortage of magnesium in the body. Studies have shown that magnesium combats inflammation by reducing CRP (an inflammatory marker) levels in the body [2].


Foods rich in magnesium
You can experience the benefits of magnesium simply by eating some of your favorite foods

Some of the Best Foods Containing Magnesium

When possible, it’s always a good idea to focus on getting your mineral and vitamin intake through natural foods. Healthy foods that are magnesium-rich are also chock full of other vital nutrients.

Magnesium works well in tandem with other minerals. It helps with the absorption of calcium, for example. [9] And it just so happens that magnesium-rich foods like salmon, beans and seeds are great sources of both magnesium and calcium.

If you’re concerned with sufficient magnesium intake, here are some foods (in alphabetical order) you should start including more of in your regular diet.

Almonds – From just an ounce of almonds, you can get 20% of the RDA for magnesium. They’re also high in fiber, calcium, potassium and vitamin E. [11]

Avocado – A medium-sized avocado contains about 60 grams of magnesium. Avocados also contain over a quarter of the RDA for vitamin K, and are great sources vitamin C and folate, among other nutrients. And avocados are excellent sources of healthy fats.

Black beans – A single cup contains roughly 120 grams of magnesium. They’re also great sources of potassium, protein and phosphorus.

Boiled spinach – Spinach is one of the best magnesium sources out there, with around 150 – 180 mg per cup. It’s also a fantastic source of minerals like zinc and potassium. It can even improve your eyesight and boost metabolism!

Boiled Swiss chard – This leafy green vegetable has at least 175 grams of magnesium per cup. Eating Swiss chard is also a good way to get vitamins C, K and A in addition to other beneficial minerals.

Dark chocolate – Chocolate is a fantastic source of magnesium, as it contains around 100mg of magnesium per square. Not only is it delicious, but chocolate also acts as a mood enhancer and memory booster. Just be sure you’re getting the kind with at least 70% cacao. [10]

Pumpkin seeds – If you’re looking for an easy way to get enough magnesium, just ¼ a cup of pumpkin seeds gives you around half the RDA! Pumpkin seeds are also one of the best plant sources of zinc and ALA. [12]

Salmon and Mackerel – Each of these fish contain 100 grams of magnesium in every 3.5 ounces [1], [3]. They are also some of the best ways to get omega-3 fatty acids, among many other nutrients.

Benefits of magnesium avocado
Avocado: an excellent source of magnesium

What is the Best Magnesium Supplement?

Taking magnesium supplements is recommended for people who suffer from an acute deficiency of the mineral. Or, for whatever reason, if you have some difficulty getting adequate amounts of the foods listed above.

Some of the supplements that are widely available include magnesium orotate, magnesium citrate, magnesium carbonate, magnesium glycinate, magnesium chelate, magnesium threonate, and magnesium chloride oil.

But what do all those terms mean? When produced as a supplement, magnesium needs to be processed in a lab in a way that the body can easily absorb it. The different types of magnesium supplements, then, refer to the different types of processing that goes on.

But you’re likely still wondering “Which kind is the best magnesium supplement for me?” Let’s go over what are often considered to be the superior varieties:

Magnesium orotate is widely regarded as one of, if not the most effective magnesium supplements. Supposedly, this particular variety can penetrate more deeply into the body’s cell membranes. It can be especially beneficial for heart health. [13] Magnesium orotate is available in either powder or tablet form.

Magnesium citrate is considered to be one of the varieties with a higher bioavailability. It can be used to prevent kidney stones and even help with constipation. [13] There are a lot of highly regarded products to choose from online, such as this one by NaturaLife Labs.

Magnesium and calcium are often packaged together because the two minerals work so well with one another. This product by Vital Nutrients contains a special mix of calcium and magnesium citrate, while calcium with other types of magnesium are also on the market.

Note: If you’re suffering from a specific deficiency-related issue, then one of the other varieties may be the best magnesium supplement for you. You are best off getting special recommendations from an expert or professional about your particular issue and which supplement to take for it.

Potential Side Effects of Too Much Magnesium

We’ve just been going over the risks of magnesium deficiency, but could there actually be a risk in getting too much magnesium? Fortunately, side effects are quite rare. However, exceeding the recommended dosage may lead to loosening of the bowels, nausea or vomiting [1], [3].


Magnesium is absolutely essential to so many aspects of our health and well-being. It’s scary to think how many people today are walking around deficient. But hopefully you now have a better idea of the dangers of magnesium deficiency and how to prevent it. There are plenty of magnesium-rich foods to choose from that are cheap and delicious. And while the amount of supplements on the market can be overwhelming, a little bit of research should help you determine the best magnesium supplement for you.
















Magnesium: Why You're Probably Not Getting Enough
Pin it!
Scroll to Top