Magnesium-Critical roles in all body organs

Magnesium supplementation can cure many ‘illnesses’ but you may need to supplement every day. From your muscles to your brain, magnesium can improve your health and vitality.

Magnesium crystal (needs to be converted into an appropriate salt before consumption!)

Adequate intake of Magnesium is critical to good health and can cure many ‘illnesses’. On the other hand, inadequate intake of Magnesium can lead to problems of the nervous system, cramping muscles, migraines, and depression as well as serious cardiovascular and metabolic problems. A search of the medical literature on the terms ‘magnesium deficiency’ found 7,440 publications and there are also thousands of publications that demonstrate that Magnesium supplementation usually has beneficial effects.

If you experience any of the problems listed below, I wonder why your doctor hasn’t mentioned Magnesium supplementation to you? Taking Magnesium might be a simple and inexpensive cure for your health problem.

I have used the publication by Kostov & Halacheva (2018) to provide the critical information in the following Table. The Table summarizes the large number of negative health symptoms that can be caused by Magnesium deficiency and might be cured by simple supplementation.

General problems  Anxiety, agitation, irritability, headaches, loss of appetite, nausea
Muscles  Muscle spasms, tetany
Nervous System & Brain  Migraine, depression, poor memory, nervousness, low stress tolerance, tremor, seizures  
Cardiovascular System  Hypertension, cardiac arrhythmia, coronary spasm, atherosclerosis, endothelial dysfunction, arterial calcification and/or stiffness, vascular aging, increased platelet aggregation.  
Electrolytes  Sodium (and fluid) retention, low potassium, low calcium
Metabolism  Insulin resistance, decreased glucose tolerance, increased risk of Metabolic Syndrome and Type 2 Diabetes, Disorders of Vitamin D metabolism, Osteoporosis, Resistance to Parathyroid Hormone.  
Pregnancy & Reproductive  Pregnancy complications including eclampsia; Reproductive problems including polycystic ovarian syndrome (POCS).
Gastrointestinal tract  Constipation
Table: Health Effects of Magnesium Deficiency

Why are we becoming deficient in Magnesium?

Soft water

Water with low mineral content is easier to lather and probably better for our pipes but it doesn’t supply as many minerals as harder water and so we are more likely to become mineral deficient.

Deficiency in soils

Chorophyll requires magnesium so magnesium deficiency causes yellowing.
Yellowing of leaves typical of Magnesium deficiency

Many soils are deficient in nutrients. A magnesium deficiency should be obvious because it is a key component of green chlorophyll. Magnesium deficiencies are most common in sandy soils but is also caused by the over-use of potassium fertilizers. If the soil pH is not correct, then magnesium might not be available to the plants. This problem can occur in both hydroponic and soil nurseries.

Eating the wrong foods

All green vegetables are rich sources of magnesium as are cereals, nuts, and legumes. There are also moderate amounts of magnesium in chocolate, fruits, meat, and fish.

Over-cooking and processing of foods can destroy magnesium.


Women: Epidermal growth factor (an important stimulator of cellular growth) and Estrogen are both described as ‘magnesiotropic’ i.e. they regulate levels of magnesium in the blood and brain. This means that lowered estrogen levels in postmenopausal women can lead to increased loss of magnesium from the body and consequently, any of the problems listed in the table.

Age itself can lead to reduced absorption of magnesium from the intestine in both men and women. Find out much more about ageing here.

Gastrointestinal malabsorption and/or Caffeine

Any of the conditions that affect intestinal nutrient absorption can affect magnesium absorption so if you have sensitivity to gluten, fructose, or any other food, you are likely to have reduced absorption of magnesium.

Consuming caffeine also reduces your absorption of magnesium!


Alcohol comes in many forms but all have the same health consequences.
Drinking alcohol depletes Magnesium

There are many medical publications that discuss magnesium and other nutrient deficiencies in alcoholics but it’s likely that even regular light drinking can lead to lowered levels of magnesium and other electrolytes in many people.

Sport and Sweating

Leg cramps are usually caused by magnesium deficiency.
Soccer player experiencing leg cramp

Any activity that makes you sweat will deplete your electrolytes. This will be obvious in anyone who works out with high intensity but it’s also a problem in less energetic, prolonged activities such as golf. If this is you, you are likely to need to supplement your Magnesium and other electrolytes.

Medicinal drugs

A variety of drugs including antibiotics, chemotherapeutic agents, diuretics, and proton-pump inhibitors can cause magnesium loss and hypomagnesemia

Types of Magnesium Supplements

There are many Magnesium supplements available on the market and to date, the research on the efficacy of the different formulations is sparce. One thing that is sure is that both magnesium citrate and magnesium oxide have significant laxative effects! Be careful that these haven’t been added to other formulations.

Most of the research undertaken on Magnesium supplementation has been performed on rodents. These might be applicable to humans but there’s no doubt that the average rodent’s diet and lifestyle is less complex than the average human! Nevertheless, there are a great many physiological similarities.

In general, the research suggests that organic forms of magnesium are more effective than inorganic, and the three best supplements are (1) magnesium acetyl taurate, (2) magnesium malate and (3) magnesium glycinate.

It’s likely that the different forms of magnesium might be absorbed differently by our various organs and at this stage the research suggests that magnesium acetyl taurate might be taken up by the brain more efficiently than the other forms. It seems that despite magnesium being so important to our overall health, the research on effective supplementation needs a great deal more work.

Magnesium supplements can overcome deficiencies.
Magnesium supplements may be helpful but take care which one you take.

In general

A high proportion of people who exercise, who are older, who drink alcohol and/or who have any type of food malabsorption will find that they benefit from taking a magnesium supplement. However, not all supplements are equally effective and many – especially magnesium oxide and magnesium citrate cause diarrhea or loose bowel motions in a high proportion of people. I suggest that you choose a highly reputable brand and test the three listed organic types to see which one suits you best.

Kostov K & Halacheva L (2018) Role of Magnesium deficiency in promoting atherosclerosis, endothelial dysfunction and arterial stiffening as risk factors for hypertension. Int J Mol Sc 2018, 19: 1724

Published by Dr Judy

I am a PhD Geneticist and have spent many decades working in research related to reproduction and cancer. Both are affected by lifestyle, especially ageing and so I am passionate about teaching people how to change their lifestyles to optimise their health.

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