Health Benefits of Magnesium

Why we need foods rich in magnesium.

Magnesium is necessary for over 300 reactions in the human body. However, the health benefits of magnesium are not as well known as those of many other minerals. On this page we aim to redress that balance and give you a better understanding of how this mineral helps keep you healthy. We also cover the health risks of a magnesium deficiency; furthermore, we outline the symptoms of this condition so you know what to look out for.



Thankfully magnesium deficiency is rare, though it is more common in certain groups of people. Those who have Crohn’s or kidney disease, have parathyroid problems or abuse alcohol are more likely to be at risk. Therefore if you fall into one of these categories, you may want to consider magnesium supplements.

Consumption of caffeine, sugar, processed foods and alcohol can deplete magnesium levels in the body.

In this section we will list the health benefits of magnesium:

  • Magnesium helps the body to process vitamin D in the parathyroid gland
  • It is necessary for the proper transportation of calcium across cell membranes
  • Helps maintain normal muscle and nerve function
  • It can aid in the reduction of cholesterol levels
  • This mineral enhances circulation and can reduce the chances of cardiovascular disease
  • It assists the regulation of blood pressure
  • As it helps regulate blood sugar levels, magnesium can help to reduce the chances of developing type 2 diabetes
  • Magnesium helps maintain the strength of your bones and can therefore help prevent osteoporosis
  • It has also been known to assist in reducing migraines
  • Magnesium is believed to aid insomnia
  • Helps prevent and reverse kidney stone formation
  • Magnesium has a positive effect on the metabolism and therefore it helps prevent weight gain
  • Magnesium plays a role in red blood cell formation, hence it helps to prevent pre-menstrual syndrome
  • It supports a healthy immune system

These are just some of the benefits from ensuring your body has a sufficient amount of magnesium. If you are unsure which foods contain this vital nutrient, or just want some ideas on how to get enough magnesium in your diet, please refer to our Magnesium rich foods page.

Why do we need foods with magnesium in them?

Without the presence of magnesium in the body, energy could not be produced or used in the cells. Furthermore muscles could not contract and relax, and hormones that help control vital bodily functions could not be synthesised. If you do not regularly eat enough of this nutrient or take a regular magnesium supplement then as a result you maybe at risk of developing a magnesium deficiency.

In this section we are going to explain what the health implications are of not eating enough foods rich in magnesium. Just as the above section explains precisely why this mineral is important to a healthy lifestyle, here we show the problems associated with not having enough magnesium in the diet.

As you might imagine for a mineral that is involved in over 300 bodily functions, there are many symptoms of possible magnesium deficiency. However, some of these symptoms does not necessarily mean you are suffering from a deficiency. Nonetheless if you are concerned, it is important to speak to a qualified medical practitioner as soon as possible.

Magnesium deficiency symptoms include:


  • Decreased bone strength, volume and development
  • Excess release of calcium from bone into the blood, leading to hypercalcemia
  • Loss of appetite, or conversely carbohydrate cravings can result
  • Fatigue, inability to sleep or insomnia
  • Irregular heartbeat or palpitations
  • Cramping of the legs
  • Coldness in the extremities
  • Disrupted or slow metabolism
  • Nausea and sickness
  • Dizziness, weakness and poor co-ordination
  • Irritability, anxiety or restlessness
  • Mood swings or depression
  • Confusion and poor short term memory
  • Muscle tremors, soreness or spasms, and even seizures
  • Higher risk of developing hypertension (high blood pressure)

Therefore, as you can see there are many benefits to having the correct amount of magnesium in your diet. For an average male this is 420 mg per day and for a female, 320 mg.

Finally, in addition to the conditions mentioned near the top of the page, people suffering from burns, recovering from surgery or taking certain medications may be more at risk from magnesium deficiency. If you fall into any of these categories you may want to consider taking regular supplements so you can be sure you are getting the magnesium health benefits listed above.