Vitamin Expert


Mineral name
What’s it used for? Key for many enzyme reactions involved with energy production and cardiovascular function. Needed for strong bones and teeth, muscle relaxation and blood pressure reduction
Best food sources Green leafy vegetables, seafood, nuts, seeds, legumes and wholegrains
How much do I need? NRV is 375mg per day*
Need to know Absorption of magnesium is similar to calcium; the ratio of intake needs to be about 2:1 calcium to magnesium

*A Nutrient Reference Value or NRV is the recommended level set by the UK Department of Health for daily nutrient intake


Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body and plays a very important role in numerous enzyme reactions relating to energy and cardiovascular function. Around 65% of magnesium is stored in the bones and teeth, with the bones acting as a significant reservoir, just like calcium. Interestingly, calcium gets all the acclaim for bone health, but magnesium is just as important; magnesium and calcium need to be in balance for optimal wellness.

Why do I need it?

Since magnesium is involved with so many enzyme reactions (over 300 in total), its use in the body is very widespread. Magnesium is critical to cellular functions, energy production and protein formation; the body is largely built from protein.

Magnesium is known as ‘nature’s natural tranquiliser’ because it helps to relax skeletal muscle, as well as those within the gastrointestinal tract. This effect can also help to relieve asthma by relaxing the muscles around the bronchial tubes. Magnesium also appears to prevent spasms that can cause heart attacks, as well as helping to lower blood pressure.

Magnesium is needed for effective hormone production, therefore is very helpful at alleviating the symptoms of PMS, particularly alongside vitamin B6. Together, these nutrients also help manage cramps associated with menstrual periods, plus they can be used effectively to reduce the severity of migraine attacks.

Best food sources

The most abundant sources are green leafy vegetables, nuts, wholegrains and seafood. One of the best sources is kelp, which is found predominantly in seaweed and sea vegetables.

Five foods high in magnesium

Kelp – 760 mg per 100g
Wheat germ – 336mg per 100g
Almonds – 270mg per 100g
collard greens
Collard greens – 57mg per 100g
Shrimp – 51mg per 100g

Are you getting enough?

Deficiency symptoms are generally not looked for. However, if detected, they are actually more common in people with refined diets or in the elderly. Because magnesium is used so widely in the body, deficiency, or even a marginal deficiency, may cause a variety of symptoms. These include fatigue, insomnia, muscle spasms, rapid heartbeat and irritability.

Magnesium is needed for energy production, due to its requirement in many enzyme systems, but it also aids fatigue because it functions within the nervous system and has a beneficial effect on stress.

Did you know?

The word magnesium comes from the name of the Greek city, Magnesia
Magnesium is suitable to take during pregnancy and breast feeding at recommended dosages – always consult your healthcare professional for advice
Alcohol can decrease magnesium absorption but additional supplementation may help hangover symptoms
Low magnesium levels are common in the elderly, therefore potential deficiency symptoms should be monitored

For all the latest research on magnesium click here

Try this

Magnesium is found in the Alive! range of multi vitamins and minerals.

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