Magnesium: Benefits, Sources, Symptoms, and Diagnostic Values

Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body. Magnesium is essential for the body to perform several functions such as muscle and nerve function, bone formation, DNA and RNA synthesis, heart health, and energy production.

Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for Magnesium

Age                                        Male                     Female                 

Birth to 6 months                  30 mg*                   30 mg*

7–12 months                        75 mg*                   75 mg*

1–3 years                             80 mg                    80 mg

4–8 years                            130 mg                  130 mg

9–13 years                          240 mg                  240 mg

14–18 years                        410 mg                  360 mg

19–30 years                        400 mg                  310 mg

31–50 years                        420 mg                  320 mg

51+ years                             420 mg                  320 mg                 

Sources:

Magnesium is naturally present in many foods, dairy products like milk, yogurt, milk products, and also fortified foods.

Some of the foods which contain magnesium include:

  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Fruit (figs, avocado, banana and raspberries)
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Legumes (black beans, chickpeas and kidney beans)
  • Vegetables (peas, broccoli, cabbage, green beans, artichokes, asparagus, brussels sprouts)
  • Seafood (salmon, mackerel, tuna)
  • Whole grains (brown rice and oats)
  • Raw cacao
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Tofu
  • Baked beans
  • Chlorella powder

Symptoms of magnesium deficiency include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Abnormal heart rhythms
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Muscle contractions and cramps

Who are at risk of Mg deficiency?

  • People with gastrointestinal diseases
  • People with type 2 diabetes
  • People with alcohol dependence
  • Older adults

Diagnostic Values:

A simple blood test can help detect the serum Mg levels. The normal range for blood magnesium level is 1.7 to 2.2 mg/dL (0.85 to 1.10 mmol/L).

What Abnormal Results Mean

A high magnesium level may be due to:

  • Adrenal insufficiency
  • Diabetic ketoacidosis
  • Taking the medicine lithium
  • Loss of kidney function
  • Loss of body fluids (dehydration)
  • Milk alkali syndrome

A low magnesium level may be due to:

  • Alcohol use disorder
  • Hyperaldosteronism
  • Hypercalcemia
  • Kidney disease
  • Long-term (chronic) diarrhea
  • Taking certain medicines such as proton pump inhibitors (for GERD), diuretics (water pills), aminoglycoside antibiotics, amphotericin, cisplatin, calcineurin inhibitors
  • Inflammation of the pancreas
  • Uncontrolled diabetes
  • Preeclampsia
  • Ulcerative colitis

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