The EclecticPhysician

The Eclectic Physician
Vitamin and Mineral Information


The information on this page compiled by
Beth Burch N.D.
(click on the keywords)


Magnesium is involved in over 300 different enzyme reactions in the body and is especially important in energy production. It is vital for the formation of bones, proteins DNA, RNA and fatty acids; it activates B vitamins and is involved blood clotting. Insulin secretion and utilization requires magnesium and magnesium is required for proper cellular balance of sodium and potassium. Magnesium regulates calcium metabolism and blocks calcium entry into muscle cells. Magnesium deficiency is characterized by fatigue, irritability, insomnia, heart arrhythmias, muscle weakness and spasms, decreased appetite, depression and potassium depletion. Severe magnesium deficiency can result in seizures. Mild deficiency is common especially in the elderly and in women premenstrually. Many diuretics can deplete magnesium as well as potassium, as can laxatives and oral contraceptives. Alcoholism, diabetes, surgery, heart failure, diarrhea, malabsorption, severe burns and liver and kidney disease can all cause magnesium deficiency. A high intake of calcium decreases absorption of magnesium. Excess magnesium commonly occurs with magnesium intake in kidney failure. It results in muscle weakness, low blood pressure, respiratory depression and cardiac arrest.

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  • Magnesium oxide, sulfate, or chloride- inorganic, may cause diarrhea
  • Magnesium chelates- citrate, aspartate, malate, succinate- organic, better absorbed, donít cause diarrhea

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Food Sources

  • Magnesium is high in kelp, wheat bran & germ, nuts, molasses, nutritional yeast, whole grains and tofu. Green leafy vegetables, legumes, seeds and dried fruits are good sources

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  • Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA)
  • Infants- 40-60 mg
  • Children (ages 1-10)- 80-170 mg
  • Adults- 270-400 mg
  • Pregnancy- 320 mg
  • Lactation- 280 mg

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Optimal Supplementation

  • 250-350 mg daily, or 3 mg per pound of body weight

Treatment of Health Conditions

  • 500-700 mg daily, or 6 mg per pound of body weight

Conditions used for

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Side effects

  • Diarrhea especially with inorganic magnesium

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  • Kidney disease, severe heart disease

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Interactions with other nutrients

  • Calcium, potassium, zinc decrease magnesium absorption
  • Vitamin B-6 works together with magnesium

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Interactions with medications and herbs

  • Magnesium may increase the central nervous system depressant effects of alcohol, antidepressants, narcotics, anti-anxiety medications, barbiturates, sleeping medications, anti-psychotics and general anesthetics.
  • Magnesium and calcium with digitalis can cause heart block

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1. Dominguez LJ et al, Bronchial reactivity and intracellular magnesium: a possible mechanism for the bronchodilating effects of magnesium in asthma, Clin Sci (Colch) 1998;95(2):137-42
2. de Valk HW et al, Magnesium in diabetes mellitus, Neth J Med 1999;54(4):139-46
3. Ludwig H et al, Dysmenorrhea, Ther Umsch 1996;53(6):431-41
4. Benassi L et al, Effectiveness of magnesium pidolate in the prophylactic treatment of primary dysmenorrhea, Clin Exp Obstet Gynecol 1992;19(3):176-9
5. Seifert B et al, Magnesium--a new therapeutic alternative in primary dysmenorrhea, Zentralbl Gynakol 1989;111(11):755-60
6. Kao WH et al, Serum and dietary magnesium and the risk for type 2 diabetes mellitus: the atherosclerosis risk in communities study, Arch Intern Med 1999;159(18):2151-9
7. Paolisso G et al, Hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and insulin resistance: the role of intracellular magnesium, Am J Hypertens 1997;10(3):346-55
8. Worwag M et al, Prevalence of magnesium and zinc deficiencies in nursing home residents in Germany, Magnes Res 1999;12(3):181-9
9. Tanabe K et al, Efficacy of oral magnesium administration on decreased exercise tolerance in a state of chronic sleep deprivation, Jpn Circ J 1998;62(5):341-6
10. Russell IJ et al, Treatment of fibromyalgia syndrome with Super Malic: a randomized, double blind, placebo controlled, crossover pilot study, J Rheumatol 1995;22(5):953-8
11. Yang CY et al, Calcium and magnesium in drinking water and the risk of death from hypertension, Am J Hypertens 1999;12(9 Pt 1):894-9
12. Kawano Y et al, Effects of magnesium supplementation in hypertensive patients: assessment by office, home, and ambulatory blood pressures, Hypertension 1998;32(2):260-5
13. Kawasaki T et al, Reduction in blood pressure with a sodium-reduced, potassium- and magnesium-enriched mineral salt in subjects with mild essential hypertension, Hypertens Res 1998;21(4):235-43
14. Rodgers AL et al, Effect of mineral water containing calcium and magnesium on calcium oxalate urolithiasis risk factors, Urol Int 1997;58(2):93-9
15. de Swart PM et al, The interrelationship of calcium and magnesium absorption in idiopathic hypercalciuria and renal calcium stone disease, J Urol 1998;159(3):669-72
16. Ettinger B et al, Potassium-magnesium citrate is an effective prophylaxis against recurrent calcium oxalate nephrolithiasis, J Urol 1997;158(6):2069-73
17. Schuck P et al, Migraine and prevention of migraine: the value of magnesium, Schweiz Med Wochenschr 1999;129(3):63-70
18. Mauskop A et al, Role of magnesium in the pathogenesis and treatment of migraines, Clin Neurosci 1998;5(1):24-7
19. Pfaffenrath V et al, Magnesium in the prophylaxis of migraine--a double-blind placebo-controlled study, Cephalalgia 1996;16(6):436-40
20. Peikert A et al, Prophylaxis of migraine with oral magnesium: results from a prospective, multi-center, placebo-controlled and double-blind randomized study, Cephalalgia 1996;16(4):257-63
21. Tucker KL et al, Potassium, magnesium, and fruit and vegetable intakes are associated with greater bone mineral density in elderly men and women, Am J Clin Nutr 1999;69(4):727-36
22. Dimai HP et al, Daily oral magnesium supplementation suppresses bone turnover in young adult males, J Clin Endocrinol Metab 1998;83(8):2742-8
23. Sojka JE et al, Magnesium supplementation and osteoporosis, Nutr Rev 1995;53(3):71-4
24. Stewart A et al, Clinical and biochemical effects of nutritional supplementation on the premenstrual syndrome, J Reprod Med 1987;32(6):435-41
25. Walker AF et al, Magnesium supplementation alleviates premenstrual symptoms of fluid retention, J Womens Health 1998;7(9):1157-65

* The information presented in this web site is intended to inform and educate. It is not intended replace a qualified medical practitioner to diagnose or treat medical conditions.

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