Magnesium: all about this essential trace element

The fourth most common mineral in the body, magnesium is essential to our health. In addition to its well-known positive effects on stress and irritability, it also acts on many other levels: muscle contraction, bone mineralization, chronic fatigue, etc. 

Although many common foods are full of magnesium, the body cannot store or synthesize it. It is necessary to ensure that you provide enough and constantly to avoid the inconveniences associated with a lack of magnesium.

Characteristics of magnesium:

  • An essential trace element that the body cannot synthesize or store
  • Involved in over 300 metabolic reactions
  • Found mainly in mineralized waters, oilseeds, and legumes
  • Effective in the fight against stress, cramps, and bone demineralization
  • Its assimilation requires the presence of vitamin B6 in sufficient quantity

Why consume foods rich in magnesium?

Benefits and roles of magnesium in the body

Reduces stress

Magnesium intervenes at the level of the nervous system and more particularly on the release of serotonin which it stimulates. Serotonin is the anti-stress and soothing neurotransmitter par excellence. 

A good magnesium intake, therefore, helps to limit stress, and irritability and promote quality sleep.

Muscle contraction

Magnesium is responsible for normal muscle contraction. In other words, in the event of a lack of magnesium, the muscles are much more exposed to various unpleasant phenomena: tetany, cramps, spasms, etc.

Bone mineralization

The bone mass contains about 50% of the total magnesium present in the body. In the teeth and bones, magnesium allows the good fixation of calcium thus guaranteeing the growth and solidity of the bone tissue.

Prevention of metabolic diseases

Magnesium plays a significant role in the quality of nerve impulses and the correct contraction of the heart muscle. It is involved in no less than 300 metabolic reactions. 

All the roles played by magnesium in the body make it a particularly effective trace element for preventing metabolic disorders, and in particular cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases.

20 Magnesium-Rich Foods

Food Portions      (mg)  
Dry Roasted Soy Beans     1 tax273 mg 
Dark chocolate 70%100 g208 mg
Pumpkin and squash seeds, dehydrated1/4 tax207 mg
Dehydrated Brazil nuts1/4 tax133 mg
Black or white beans, lima beans, cooked250ml (1 cup)102-127 mg
Breakfast cereals, 100% bran (All Bran type)30 g111 mg
roasted almonds1/4 tax97-107 mg
Baked Atlantic halibut100 g107 mg
Cooked pinto beans1 tax90 mg
Cashew nuts roasted dry or in oil1/4 tax89-90 mg
Dehydrated pine nuts (pine nuts)1/4 tax86 mg
Grilled Atlantic Pollock100 g86 mg
Mixed nuts, including peanuts, roasted1/4 tax85 mg
Boiled spinach1/2 tax83 mg
Lentils and split peas, boiled1 tax75 mg
Tuna (red or yellowfin) baked100 g64 mg
raw wheat germ30 g64 mg
Potato with skin, baked150 g47-52 mg
Boiled beet leaves1/2 tax52 mg
Boiled artichoke1 medium (120g)50 mg

It should be noted that mineralized waters such as Hépar, Badoit, Rozana, Quézac, or even Contrex greatly contribute to covering the body’s magnesium needs.

How to properly use magnesium?

Use of magnesium

Magnesium requirements

The body cannot manufacture magnesium, nor store it. For these reasons, it is imperative to ensure that you have a constant and sufficient supply of this element which is essential for the proper functioning of the human body. Here is a table grouping the magnesium needs of different populations:

Recommended Dietary Intake (ANC)            
Babies 0-6 months    30 mg*
Babies 7-12 months75 mg*
Babies 1-3 years old80 mg
Children 4-8 years old130 mg
Boys 9-13 years old240 mg
Girls 9-13 years old240 mg
Boys 14-18 years old410 mg
Girls 14-18 years old360 mg
Men 19-30 years old400 mg
Women 19-30 years old310 mg
Men 31 and over420 mg
Women 31 and over320 mg
Pregnant women350-360 mg
Nursing women310-320 mg

*Sufficient intakes

Magnesium in dietary supplements

Magnesium-based food supplements can be found very easily and in different forms: magnesium chloride, marine magnesium, capsules, etc.

Magnesium chloride comes in the form of white crystals or chips. Very inexpensive, it can treat many conditions: eczema, stress, lowered immune defenses, transit disorders, kidney stones, etc. 

As for the dosage, 20 g of magnesium chloride should be diluted in 1-2 liters of water. It is recommended to drink 200 ml of this drink a day, preferably when you wake up. Magnesium chloride does not pose any particular health hazard. 

On the other hand in case of diarrhea, hypertension, dehydration, or cardiac or renal insufficiency it is preferable to seek the advice of a doctor. In the elderly, its use is not recommended.

Marine magnesium is extracted from seawater. It is recommended to consume it as a cure for 1 to 6 months and particularly in cases of stress or chronic fatigue. The dosage depends on the problem and the context, please seek advice from a health professional.

It is important to note that magnesium is much better absorbed in the presence of vitamin B6, whichever supplement you choose make sure it contains both for optimal effect.

Side effects of magnesium

Consequences of a lack of magnesium

Symptoms of a lack of magnesium are as sneaky as they are common. Indeed, a magnesium deficiency is quickly felt through unmistakable bodily signals: spasms of the eyelids, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, cramps, tetany, irritability, stress, headaches, or even tingling and numbness. If you notice more than one of these symptoms, talk to your doctor.

Consequences of excess magnesium

Although extremely rare, excess magnesium can cause more or less serious inconvenience, we speak of hypermagnesemia. In this case, it is possible to observe digestive disorders (nausea, diarrhea), a drop in blood pressure, or breathing difficulties. Excess magnesium can also aggravate pre-existing heart or kidney failure.

Interaction of magnesium with vitamin B6

The action and assimilation of magnesium are greatly facilitated in the presence of vitamin B6, so it is essential to take care to consume enough of it to avoid a magnesium deficiency. In addition, magnesium is involved in the use of potassium, calcium, and many vitamins (B, C, E, D). Having a sufficient intake is therefore particularly important.

Chemical properties

The symbol of magnesium is Mg, its atomic number is 12. The atomic molar mass of magnesium is 24.305 u. In its natural state, it is a dark earthy metal. Magnesium is the fourth most present element in the body and the ninth in the universe, so it is a very important element for humans and their environment.

In addition to its interest in oligotherapy and medicine, it is used by the automotive industry, in mechanics, and metallurgy for the production of fuels or even alloys.


Nutrient history

The name magnesium comes from a Greek district called Magnesia whose environment was extremely rich in it.

In 1755, it was recognized as an element by J. Black. However, it was only after 1800 that scientists succeeded in isolating it to obtain pure magnesium.

Long used in metallurgy or the mechanical industry, it has also always interested biochemists because of its key role in metabolism. It is involved in more than 300 metabolic reactions, making it an essential trace element for health.

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