Northside Health Library Magnesium in diet
Magnesium is an essential mineral for human nutrition.
Diet - magnesium
Magnesium in the body serves several important functions:
Contraction and relaxation of muscles
Function of certain enzymes in the body
Production and transport of energy
Production of protein
Most dietary magnesium comes from vegetables, such as dark green, leafy vegetables. Other foods that are good sources of magnesium:
Fruits or vegetables (such as bananas, dried apricots, and avocados)
Nuts (such as almonds and cashews)
Peas and beans (legumes), seeds
Soy products (such as soy flour and tofu)
Whole grains (such as brown rice and millet)
Side effects from increased magnesium intake are not common because the body removes excess amounts. Magnesium excess almost always occurs only when magnesium is supplemented as a medication.
Lack of magnesium (deficiency) is rare. The symptoms include:
Deficiency of magnesium can occur in people who abuse alcohol or in those who absorb less magnesium due to:
Low blood levels of calcium
Problems absorbing nutrients from the intestinal tract ( malabsorption)
Symptoms due to a lack of magnesium have three categories.
Reduced ability to learn
Moderate deficiency symptoms:
Heart (cardiovascular) changes
Continued muscle contraction
Seeing or hearing things that aren't there (hallucinations)
These are the recommended daily requirements of magnesium:
1 - 3 years old: 80 milligrams
4 - 8 years old: 130 milligrams
9 - 13 years old: 240 milligrams
14 - 18 years old (boys): 410 milligrams
14 - 18 years old (girls): 360 milligrams Adult females: 310 - 320 milligrams
Pregnancy: 350 - 400 milligrams
Breastfeeding women: 310 - 360 milligrams
Adult males: 400 - 420 milligrams
Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine.
DRI Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Vitamin D, and Fluoride. Washington, DC: National Academy Press; 1997.
Yu ASL. Disorders of magnesium and phosphorus. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds.
Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 120.
Rakel D, ed.
Integrative Medicine. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007.
Alison Evert, MS, RD, CDE, Nutritionist, University of Washington Medical Center Diabetes Care Center, Seattle, Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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