- Activating more than 300 enzymes (Enzymes are chemicals that regulate a variety of body functions, including making body proteins and causing muscle contractions.)
- Aiding in the metabolism of fat and carbohydrate to produce energy
- Ensuring proper nerve and muscle function and keeping heart rhythm steady
- Helping synthesize nucleic acids (DNA and RNA) and proteins, which are the building blocks of body tissue
- Giving structure to cell membranes
- Helping keep bones and teeth healthy
Recommended Dietary Allowance
(AI) = 30
|AI = 30|
|7-12 months||AI = 75||AI = 75|
|Pregnancy (18 years or younger)||n/a||400|
|Pregnancy 19-30 years||n/a||350|
|Pregnancy 31-50 years||n/a||360|
|Lactation (18 years or younger)||n/a||360|
|Lactation 19-30 years||n/a||310|
|Lactation 31-50 years||n/a||320|
Gastrointestinal disorders, such as:
- Severe diarrhea
- Chronic or severe vomiting
- Surgical removal of part of the intestine
- Intestinal inflammation
- Malabsorption disorders, including:
- Thiazide diuretics (can increase loss of magnesium in the urine)
- Certain antibiotics
- Poorly controlled diabetes (can increase the loss of magnesium through urine)
- Alcoholism—Alcohol increases urinary excretion of magnesium. People who drink heavily typically have poor diets that are lacking in many essential nutrients, including magnesium.
- Kidney disease—The kidneys are important for reabsorption and excretion of magnesium.
Tolerable Upper Intake
Tolerable Upper Intake Levels
|Pregnancy (18 years or younger)||n/a||350|
- Abdominal cramping
- Nausea and diarrhea
- Muscle weakness
- Irregular heartbeat
Major Food Sources
- Wheat bran
- Cashews, dry roasted
- Black beans
- Whole wheat bread
- Shredded wheat cereal
Tips For Increasing Your Magnesium Intake
- Sprinkle wheat germ over your morning bowl of cereal or oatmeal and on top of casseroles or in baked goods.
- Throw a handful of nuts into a spinach salad to add a little crunch and some extra nutrition.
- Wrap beans, rice, sauteed vegetables, and a little bit of cheese in a warm tortilla for lunch.
- Add beans to dishes like chili, soup, salad, pasta, or rice.
- Have a bowl of whole grain cereal for breakfast or to snack on; if you are not used to the taste, mix it with your usual cereal.
- Bake a potato and top it with sauteed spinach, black beans, and salsa.
- Spread peanut butter on your toast or bagel instead of butter, margarine, or cream cheese.
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics http://www.eatright.org
International Food Information Council Foundation http://www.foodinsight.org
Dietitians of Canada http://www.dietitians.ca
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Appel L, Moore T, et al. A clinical trial of the effects of dietary patterns on blood pressure. N Engl J Med. 1997;336:1117-1124.
Magnesium. Office of Dietary Supplements website. Available at: http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/. Updated November 4, 2013. Accessed July 15, 2014.
Osteoporosis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated June 10, 2014. Accessed July 15, 2014.
The seventh report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure. Hypertension. 2003;42:1206. National Heart Lung and Blood Institute website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/hypertension/. Published December 2003. Accessed July 15, 2014.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 07/2014 -
- Update Date: 07/15/2014 -