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name of the term : Magnesium

Short introduction

  • Magnesium is a mineral with the symbol Mg.
  • Over 50% of all magnesium in the body is found in the skeleton and about 25% in muscles.

Main natural sources

  • Since magnesium is part of chlorophyll, the green pigment in plants, green leafy vegetables are rich in magnesium.
  • Other sources include whole grains, nuts (almonds, cashews), seeds (pumpkin), fish (halibut, mackerel). Meats and milk have a moderate magnesium content.

Main function

  • Together with calcium (and phosphorus), magnesium is necessary for the formation of bones and teeth. It is important for bone mineralisation (skeletal integrity) and teeth function.
  • Cofactor (helping factor) for hundreds of enzymes that regulate reactions in the body. These include energy production, DNA, RNA (genetic materials) and protein synthesis (formation), muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control, blood pressure and normal heart rhythm.

Deficiency disease

  • Magnesium deficiency in healthy individuals who are consuming a balanced diet is quite rare because magnesium is abundant in both plant and animal foods. Besides, the kidneys are able to limit urinary excretion of magnesium when intake is low.
  • At risk: people with long-lasting  diarrhoea, malabsorption or kidney disorders.
  • Symptoms include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, sleepiness, weakness and muscle spasms. Severe deficiency can lead to muscular problems (e.g. spasms) in children.

Recommended daily intake

Latest Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs)
Institute of Medicine (IOM)

Age categoryPer day
Pregnancy
14 – 18 years
19 – 30 years
31 – 50 years
400 mg (RDA) 
350 mg (RDA) 
360 mg (RDA)
Lactation
14 – 18 years
19 – 30 years
31 – 50 years
360 mg (RDA)
310 mg (RDA)
320 mg (RDA)
Infants 6 – 12 months75 mg (AI)
Children
 1 – 3 years
 4 – 8 years
80 mg (RDA)
130 mg (RDA)
Males
 9 – 13 years
14 – 18 years
19 – 30 years
31 – 50 years
50 – 70 years
> 70 years
240 mg (RDA)
410 mg (RDA)
400 mg (RDA)
420 mg (RDA)
420 mg (RDA)
420 mg (RDA))
Females
 9 – 13 years
14 – 18 years
19 – 30 years
31 – 50 years
50 – 70 years
> 70 years
240 mg (RDA)
360 mg (RDA)
310 mg (RDA)
320 mg (RDA)
320 mg (RDA)
320 mg (RDA)

 

AI = Adequate Intake.
RDA = Recommended Dietary Allowance.


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