Magnesium is required for nerve and muscle function, formation of bones and teeth, synthesis of the antioxidant glutathione, cell membranes, and body temperature regulation; involved in energy production, numerous enzyme reactions, and synthesis of DNA and RNA.
It is used by the body to prevent heart disease and in the treatment of high blood pressure, pre-eclampsia, heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, migraine headaches, and asthma. Although deficiency is uncommon, it may occur in those with poor diets, malabsorption syndromes (celiac disease), Crohn’s disease, intestinal surgery or inflammation, kidney disease, diabetes, alcoholism, and in the elderly due to reduced absorption. Marginal deficiency (consuming less than the RDA) is common and is estimated to affect 75 percent of people. Symptoms of deficiency include, muscle cramps and spasms, weakness, insomnia, poor appetite, kidney stones, osteoporosis, nervousness, irritability, anxiety, depression, and high blood pressure. How much magnesium do you need is also determined by what other medication you may be taking. Drugs that deplete magnesium: furosemide, hydrochlorothiazine, cholestyramine, and oral contraceptives.
Magnesium reduces the absorption of digoxin, nitrofurantoin, antimalarial drugs, quinolone antibiotics, tetracycline, chlorpromazine, alendronate, and etidronate, so people should separate their intake of magnesium from these foods by two hours.
High doses of zinc (greater than140 mg/day) also reduce magnesium absorption. Since it is difficult to meet the RDA through diet alone; therefore, a multivitamin/mineral supplement is recommended. Certain individuals may require an additional magnesium supplement.
How Much Magnesium Do You Need
- 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 sources of magnesium include: Leafy green vegetables, unrefined grains, nuts, seeds, meat, milk, soybeans, tofu, legumes, and figs.