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When you hear the word magnesium, what do you think first? Sleep? Mood? Those are two common reasons people supplement with magnesium. But it actually does so much for us! I think you’ll be surprised at how important magnesium is in your life by the end of this article.

What does magnesium do?

Magnesium is needed in over 300 metabolic processes throughout the body. Imagine how much could go wrong if you lost all your magnesium!

Energy production – ATP (your body’s energy molecule) exists mostly as a complex with magnesium. Carbohydrate and fat metabolism specifically require the use of magnesium as well.

Structure – Bones, cell membranes, and chromosomes all require magnesium in their structure!

Wound healing – Our cells depend on the calcium and magnesium present in the fluid around them to migrate, which is important in wound healing, among other things.

Transporting ions across the cell membrane – Muscle contractions, heart rhythms, and nerve impulses are all affected by the role magnesium plays in the cell’s ability to transport ions across the membrane.

What happens if I’m deficient in magnesium?

It is actually pretty difficult to become clinically deficient in magnesium because it’s found so readily in both plant and animal foods. The kidneys are also good at modulating the amount of magnesium that is excreted based on the amount present. However, those with GI disorders (like Crohn’s disease, celiac, and other malabsorption issues), renal disorders, or chronic alcoholism are at a higher risk of deficiency. 

Magnesium deficiency can cause low calcium and potassium levels, sodium retention, neurological and muscle issues (like tremors and spasms), loss of appetite, nausea, and changes in personality.

Magnesium in disease prevention and treatment

Since diets high in magnesium also tend to be diets high in fruits, vegetables, calcium, potassium, etc. it can be difficult to ascertain which benefits are specifically attributed to magnesium. However, it certainly plays an important role in preventing hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and osteoporosis. 

Magnesium can also be used in therapeutic doses to treat many different problems. 

Pre-eclampsia – This is a pregnancy-specific disease that manifests as high blood pressure, protein in the urine, and severe swelling. If left untreated, it can lead to eclampsia, which adds seizures to the mix. Intravenous magnesium is usually used to prevent pre-eclampsia from turning into eclampsia because it increases blood flow to the brain. 

Endothelial Dysfunction – Regular intake of oral magnesium has shown to improve endothelial function. This means the lining of the blood vessels is able to expand and contract when needed, promoting healthy blood flow and preventing blood clots. 

Diabetes – Magnesium supplementation has been shown to increase glucose tolerance as well as insulin sensitivity, which is a huge plus for those with diabetes.

Asthma – Good news for those suffering from severe, acute asthma: IV magnesium infusions have shown to improve lung function and reduce the need for hospitalization by 71%. Oral supplementation is not known to produce the same results.

Food sources of magnesium

Chlorophyll, the green pigment in plants, contains magnesium in its chemical structure, so focusing on leafy greens such as spinach, swiss chard, etc. is a great idea if you’re wanting to up your magnesium intake. Other good sources of magnesium include oat bran, brown rice, almonds, lima beans, blackstrap molasses, peanuts, okra, milk, and bananas.

Supplementing magnesium

The recommended upper limit of magnesium supplementation is 350 mg/day. However, this is just for supplements – you do not need to limit magnesium intake from real food.

You’ve heard me talk about Premier Research Labs before, and I’ve got good news for you: They have a Magnesium Lactate powder, which is a great option for those needing a bit more magnesium in their lives. If you’re a professional practitioner, you can fill out your info at our affiliate link and get set up to order this product! Registration: Account Information | Premier Research Labs (

AzureWell, another favorite of ours, has Magnesium Glycinate in capsule form. To set up an account with AzureWell, head to


Higdon, Jane and Victoria J. Drake, “An Evidence-based Approach to Vitamins and Minerals,” 2nd Edition, 2012

About the author

Hey! My name is Brittan and I live in Utah with my husband and one adorable toddler. I love finding holistic and natural ways to care for myself and my family. I particularly enjoy learning about nutrition, herbal medicine, the emotional, spiritual, and energetic aspects of health, and anything else that contributes to complete wellness. Thanks for joining me!

I am not a doctor. Everything I write about is from my personal experience and perspective. Consult a physician if you have questions specific to your health.

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