What is Magnesium?

Magnesium is an essential mineral and the fourth most abundant in the human body, vital for numerous physiological functions. It serves as a cofactor in over 300 enzymatic reactions, playing a crucial role in energy production, protein synthesis, DNA and RNA synthesis, and the regulation of muscle and nerve functions. Magnesium is also integral to maintaining healthy bone structure, supporting cardiovascular health by regulating blood pressure, and aiding in blood glucose control. It is naturally present in a variety of foods, including leafy green vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and legumes, and can also be taken as a dietary supplement to ensure adequate intake and overall health. (Al Alawi, Abdullah M et al. “Magnesium and Human Health: Perspectives and Research Directions.” International journal of endocrinology vol. 2018 9041694. 16 Apr. 2018, doi:10.1155/2018/9041694)

Why is Magnesium Important?

Due to magnesium's role in improving bone health, treating migraines, assisting with neurological pathways (and its potential link to mood disorders), regulating blood pressure and cardiovascular disease risk, and supporting enzymes that modulate blood sugar and insulin regulation (and potentially mitigating Type 2 Diabetes risk), SiPhox Health includes magnesium in our Mineral Panel. Inadequate magnesium levels can lead to various health issues, including muscle cramps, fatigue, and increased risk of cardiovascular diseases. Maintaining adequate magnesium levels is crucial for overall health and well-being.

How Can I Better Understand My Magnesium Levels?

To assist in interpreting results, various health organizations and labs outline ranges that indicate normal levels of magnesium in the blood. These ranges often differ slightly from each other. ZRT Laboratory has a list of Heavy Metals & Essential Elements Reference Ranges which can be found here.

According to ZRT Laboratory, the normal range for magnesium is 29-51 mg/L.

Low levels of magnesium may be caused by factors such as poor dietary intake, gastrointestinal diseases, chronic alcoholism, and certain medications. High levels are less common but can occur due to excessive supplementation or kidney dysfunction.

How Can I Maintain Optimal Magnesium Levels?

If you need to maintain or increase your magnesium levels, consider the following strategies:

  • Dietary Sources: Incorporate magnesium-rich foods into your diet, such as leafy green vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and legumes. According to the National Institute of Health, a single ounce of pumpkin seeds or chia seeds contains over 100 milligrams (156 mg and 111 mg, respectively)! Approximately 30% to 40% of the dietary magnesium consumed is typically absorbed by the body. 
  • Supplementation: If dietary intake is insufficient, magnesium supplements can help. According to the NIH, "magnesium in the aspartate, citrate, lactate, and chloride forms is absorbed more completely and is more bioavailable than magnesium oxide and magnesium sulfate. One study found that very high doses of zinc from supplements (142 mg/day) can interfere with magnesium absorption and disrupt the magnesium balance in the body". Calcium may also compete with magnesium for absorption if calcium concentrations are much higher than that of magnesium (here is an interesting blog on the topic). The Recommended Dietary Allowance differs with age, sex, pregnancy, and lactation, so consult with your healthcare provider for the appropriate dosage.
  • Lifestyle Changes
    • There is a link between alcohol consumption and magnesium deficiency, especially in those who may chronically abuse alcohol (Rivlin RS. Magnesium deficiency and alcohol intake: mechanisms, clinical significance and possible relation to cancer development (a review). J Am Coll Nutr. 1994;13(5):416-423. doi:10.1080/07315724.1994.10718430).
    • Several studies on stress and magnesium show that extended periods of stress result in progressive magnesium deficit. (Cuciureanu MD, Vink R. Magnesium and stress. Magnesium in the Central Nervous System [Internet]. Adelaide (AU): University of Adelaide Press; 2011. Available from:

Where Can I Learn More?