Magnesium – What You Need to Know, What Health Coaches Can Do

by | Jan 30, 2024 | 01 Blog, 01B Coaching, 01B Wellness | 0 comments

Everything You May Want to Know About Magnesium

Magnesium is a crucial mineral for regulating heart rhythm, muscle and nerve function, brain activity, and energy levels, as explained by the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements.  

Magnesium: Essential for Health

  • What is Magnesium?
    • A vital mineral for heart rhythm, muscle and nerve function, brain activity, and energy levels.   

Causes of Magnesium Deficiency

  • Dietary Intake: Low magnesium due to inadequate diet.
  • Absorption Issues: Poor magnesium absorption by the body.
  • Excretion: Excessive loss of magnesium.
  • Risk Groups: There is a higher risk in people with diabetes, gastrointestinal disorders, alcohol use disorders, and older adults.

Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency

  • Initial Stage: Often symptomless initially.
  • Early Symptoms: Fatigue, muscle weakness, poor appetite, nausea.

Understanding Magnesium in the Body

  • Body Storage: Approximately 25 grams in adults, mostly in bones and cells.
  • Serum Magnesium: Less than 1% in blood serum.

When Symptoms Appear

  • Compensation: The body uses stored magnesium from cells and bones.
  • Symptom Onset: Occurs when reserves are depleted.

Symptoms Over Time

  • Varied Severity: Depends on the rate of magnesium depletion.
  • Common Symptoms: Muscle weakness, fatigue, appetite loss, nausea, muscle spasms, mood changes, tingling, stiffness, insomnia, abnormal heartbeat.

Interrelationship with Other Nutrients

  • Magnesium and Others: Works with potassium, vitamin D, and calcium.
  • Regulatory Role: Helps regulate potassium and convert vitamin D to its active form.

Daily Magnesium Requirements

  • Adult Females: 310-320 mg.
  • Adult Males: 400-420 mg.
  • Special Cases: Different requirements for postmenopausal, pregnant, and lactating individuals.

Detecting Magnesium Deficiency

  • Home Tests: Available but may not show complete picture.
  • Healthcare Provider Tests: More specialized tests are recommended for accurate diagnosis.

Consequences of Untreated Low Magnesium

  • Health Risks: Includes seizures, heart issues, hypertension, osteoporosis, migraines, diabetes, and more.
  • Pregnancy Concern: Low levels can indicate preeclampsia.

Treating Magnesium Deficiency

  • Dietary Changes: Increase magnesium-rich foods and adjust the diet as needed.
  • Supplementation: Follow the healthcare provider’s guidance on oral supplements.

Magnesium-Rich Foods

  • Examples: Pumpkin seeds, almonds, spinach, soy milk, black beans, edamame, yogurt, oatmeal, bananas, salmon, milk, wheat bread, chicken, avocado, and raisins.

Risks of Excess Magnesium

  • Supplement Caution: Overuse can lead to adverse effects like low blood pressure, muscle weakness, and more.
  • Medical Guidance: Always consult healthcare providers before starting supplements.


  • Magnesium is crucial for various bodily functions.
  • Maintain adequate levels through diet or supplements, under medical advice, to avoid deficiency or toxicity.


Addressing a magnesium deficiency often involves adopting specific lifestyle habits that can help increase magnesium levels or enhance its absorption in the body. Here are some key habits to consider:

  1. Dietary Changes
    • Consume Magnesium-Rich Foods: Incorporate foods high in magnesium into your diet. Examples include:
      • Nuts and seeds (e.g., pumpkin seeds, almonds).
      • Leafy green vegetables (e.g., spinach, kale).
      • Whole grains (e.g., brown rice, whole wheat bread).
      • Legumes (e.g., black beans, lentils).
      • Fish (e.g., salmon, mackerel).
      • Fruits (e.g., bananas, avocados).
  2. Stay Hydrated
    • Adequate Water Intake: Drinking enough water can help your body regulate magnesium levels effectively.
  3. Reduce Alcohol Consumption
    • Limit Alcohol: Excessive alcohol use can lead to decreased magnesium absorption and increased excretion.
  4. Manage Stress
    • Stress Reduction Techniques: Stress can deplete magnesium levels. Practices like meditation, yoga, and mindfulness can help manage stress.
  5. Regular Exercise
    • Physical Activity: Regular exercise can improve overall health and may help with magnesium absorption. However, excessive sweating can lead to mineral loss, so it’s important to balance exercise with adequate magnesium intake.
  6. Avoid High Intake of Certain Foods and Beverages
    • Limit Processed Foods: Foods high in sugar and fat can decrease magnesium absorption.
    • Caffeine Moderation: High amounts of caffeine can lead to increased excretion of magnesium.
  7. Healthy Gastrointestinal Health
    • Probiotics and Fiber: Maintaining gut health with a diet rich in fiber and probiotics can improve magnesium absorption.
  8. Review Medications
    • Consult Healthcare Providers: Some medications can affect magnesium levels. It’s important to discuss with a healthcare provider if you suspect your medication might be impacting your magnesium levels.
  9. Supplementation (if Necessary)
    • Magnesium Supplements: If dietary changes aren’t enough, consider magnesium supplements, but always under the guidance of a healthcare provider.
  10. Cooking Methods
    • Preserve Magnesium: Use cooking methods that preserve the magnesium content in foods, such as steaming or roasting, rather than boiling for long periods.
  11. Regular Checkups
    • Health Monitoring: Regular health checkups can help monitor magnesium levels and overall health.

Adopting these habits can significantly improve and maintain adequate magnesium levels, thereby enhancing overall health and well-being. However, it’s important to consult with healthcare professionals before making significant changes to your diet or lifestyle, especially if you have existing health conditions or are taking medication.



  1. “The Magnesium Miracle” by Carolyn Dean
    • A comprehensive guide on the importance of magnesium, including its health benefits and how to incorporate it into your diet.
  2. “Magnesium: What Your Doctor Needs You to Know” by Nolan Edwards
    • This book provides insights into how magnesium works in the body and practical advice on managing magnesium levels.
  3. “The Magnesium Solution for High Blood Pressure” by Jay S. Cohen
    • Focuses on the relationship between magnesium and blood pressure, offering strategies for using magnesium to improve heart health.
  4. “The Miracle of Magnesium” by Sandra Cabot
    • Explores the wide-ranging impacts of magnesium on health, from mental well-being to chronic disease prevention.

Scientific Articles

  1. “Magnesium in Man: Implications for Health and Disease” – Physiological Reviews
    • An in-depth review article discusses magnesium’s physiological roles and its impact on various health conditions.
  2. “Dietary Magnesium and Cardiovascular Disease: A Review with Emphasis in Epidemiological Studies” – Nutrients Journal
    • A comprehensive review of the scientific literature on the role of magnesium in cardiovascular health.

Online Resources

  1. National Institutes of Health (NIH) – Office of Dietary Supplements
  2. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
    • Magnesium Overview
    • Offers an accessible overview of magnesium, its health benefits, and dietary sources.
  3. Mayo Clinic
  4. World’s Healthiest Foods
    • Magnesium Rich Foods
    • Lists foods high in magnesium and offers recipes and preparation tips to maximize magnesium intake.

Podcasts and Videos

  1. “The Doctors Farmacy” Podcast
    • Episode:  How To Know If You’re Magnesium Deficient And What To Do About It
  2. YouTube Channel
    • Dr. Michael Greger often discusses the importance of minerals, including magnesium, in his evidence-based video series.

By exploring these resources, you’ll better understand magnesium’s role in health, how to identify and address deficiencies, and the best dietary sources to maintain optimal levels.  


Remember to consult with healthcare professionals for personalized advice, especially if you have specific health concerns or conditions.

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