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It is widely found in plants sources including green vegetables (magnesium is a component of chlorophyll: artichokes, okra, spinach, Swiss chard, turnip greens, legumes. Also, whole grains, nuts (such as Brazils, almonds, cashews, and peanuts),
sunflower seeds, and tofu. In animal products, it can be found in seafood, lamb kidney and red meat.
What is known to be good for:
Formation of bones and teeth. It also involved in the process of transmitting nerve
signals and causing muscle contractions with the minerals calcium, sodium and potassium.
It also helps the body process fat and protein.
Other functions of Magnesium:
Used medically to reduce irregular heart rhythms (arrhythmias) or contractions of the uterus in pregnant women. Magnesium has properties that may help people with Asthma because it helps
reduce inflamation by stabilizing immune calls ? mast cells and T lymphocytes.*
Lack of Magnesium:
It is rare. But if it occurs, it can be due to problems with absorption of nutrients in the intestine,
long-term use of diuretic medications, excessive vomiting, kidney disease, chronic alcohol abuse,
hyperparathyroidism, and liver cirrhosis. Because magnesium is also needed for the functioning of
the parathyroid glands, which secrete parathyroid hormone, low magnesium levels can decrease the
level of calcium in the blood. Symptoms: fatigue, weakness, poor appetite, impaired speech,
anemia, irregular heart rhythms, and tremors.
Excess of Magnesium can:
It has been reported in patients with renal failure receiving high doses of magnesium. Symptoms of
magnesium toxicity are the reverse of the symptoms of patients that lack magnesium. The symptoms are:
lethargy and decreased nerve impulse transmission. Nausea, vomiting and flushing may be present.
The most severe cases of magnesium toxicity can result in paralysis, cardiac arrest and death.
Do you know where you find Magnesium in your body?
Bone, muscles, cells, and the fluids that surrounds cells.
Absorption, Storage and Excretion
Absorption of magnesium occurs throughout the small intestine, particularly the jejunum and the ileum.
Excretion of magnesium is largely via the urine. In hot climates, however, up to 25 percent of total
magnesium losses are via the sweat. Very little of absorbed magnesium is lost by the fecal route.
HEINZ HANDBOOK of Nutrition, 9th. EDITION, Edited by David L. Yeung, Ph.D. and Idamarie Laquatra,
Ph.D., R.D. and Nutrition for Life, The no-fad, no-nonsense approach to eating well and reaching your healthy weight, LisaHark, PhD, RD and Darwin Deen, MD.
*John Britton, M.D. Senior Lecturer in the respiratory medical unit at City Hospital in Nottingham, England.
Adapted by Editorial Staff, January 2008
Last update, August 2008