Why Magnesium is the Most Important Mineral for Good Health and How to Get Enough

The need for magnesium in the daily diet is perhaps one of the most underrated mineral requirements for good nutritional health. While other minerals such as calcium or selenium get the higher billing, studies have concluded that magnesium edges out all other minerals as the most important for promoting optimum health and fighting off disease.

In fact, after water, food and oxygen, this mineral proves to be absolutely necessary for proper functioning of the body.

Magnesium is More Important than Potassium, Calcium and Sodium

The reason that magnesium is so important to the body is because it is a factor in synergistically activating the biochemical reactions in over 300 functions.

magnesium supplementsSome of the most important include the formation of bone, production of energy, cell creation, activation of the B complex vitamins, support and proper function of muscles, brain, adrenal glands, nervous system, heart and kidneys.

Without magnesium providing the balancing act, potassium, calcium and sodium could not perform their all important functions in the body. The scope of magnesium’s health impact on the body is almost endless, making it a top priority for everyone’s use of a magnesium supplement.

How to Get Enough

Magnesium is found naturally in foods such as:

  • Nuts
  • Shellfish
  • Leafy green vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Legumes

However, the modern lifestyle and nutritional diet make it almost impossible for most people to consume enough foods to provide for their body’s requirements.

A poor diet that includes coffee, sodas, sugar, table salt, processed foods, and foods high in carbohydrates are contributors to the loss of magnesium in the body. Also, other factors contribute to the reduction of this mineral such as living under high mental stress and taking medicinal drugs or diuretics.

Illnesses that affect the amounts of magnesium in the body are diabetes and low thyroid levels. These reasons are why it’s almost an imperative for everyone to take magnesium supplements to ensure proper body function.


  • Tablet
  • Gelcap
  • Liquid (ionic or chelated magnesium)
  • Capsule
  • Spray (for skin application)

How Much to Take

As with many dietary supplements, the RDA may not be enough to even maintain good health, much less help combat certain diseases of illnesses. The RDA for men ages 19 to 30 is 400 mg day and for women, 310 mg. For men ages 31 to 70, the RDA is 420 mg a day and for women, it is 320 mg. Studies have shown that this amount is not enough in many cases and can result in deficiencies in the body.

Here’s a few dosage guidelines for common usage of a magnesium supplement for certain health conditions:

  • Diabetes – 500 mg a day
  • Asthma, congestive heart failure and arrythmius – 400 mg twice a day
  • Fibromyalgia – 150 mg of magnesium with 600 mg malic acid twice a day (For effectiveness, sometimes magnesium works synergistically
    with other nutrients.)
  • High blood pressure – 400 to 800 mg a day
  • Osteoporosis – 300 to 500 mg a day with 600 to 1,000 mg a day of calcium (Rule of thumb: Take calcium and magnesium at the 2:1 ratio.)

How to Take Magnesium Mineral Supplements

  • If taking tetracycline antibiotics, take this mineral supplement 1 to 3 hours before or after taking the drug. Magnesium reduces the effectiveness of this medicine if taken at the same time.
  • Take with food for best absorption.
  • Take a chelated magnesium supplement (calcium as well) for best absorption. Chelated refers to the process of attaching a mineral element such as magnesium to an organic compound like an amino acid. The body more readily absorbs this form because it recognizes it and can digest it properly. Ionic or liquid magnesium supplements are also very easily absorbed since the digestive system does little work in assimilating the nutrients for use.
  • Use magnesium citrate, as it is chelated with citrus fruits and is more easily digested. Avoid magnesium oxide, which is not chelated.

Possible Side Effects

An overdose on magnesium is uncommon, because the kidneys are quite adept at getting rid of excessive amounts. However, some people may develop diarrhea or nausea when taking supplements. This is often due to the form in which this mineral is ingested. A user can switch to a liquid, chelate or ionic magnesium.

Also, try taking magnesium sulfate, magnesium gluconate or magnesium citrate for better digestion. It’s always best to consult your doctor or nutritionist before taking elevated levels of this mineral if you have any serious health conditions.

Did you know?
Researchers have concluded that magnesium citrate is the best form of magnesium supplements to take, since it is the best absorbed by the body.


National Institutes of Health

Mother Natural Network

CNN Health


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