Magnesium: Get To Know This Powerhouse Nutrient

Magnesium, with over 300 roles in the body, is more important than most people realize. Its many benefits include fighting depression and improving sleep.

It’s a hard-working nutrient, essential to all cells, and plays an important role as a co-factor for more than 300 enzymes that regulate diverse mechanical reactions. It is critical for energy (ATP) metabolism and is involved in the transfer, storage and utilization of energy.Magnesium regulates sodium, potassium, proton and calcium transport, all important for heart health.

It’s needed for the production of proteins, nucleic acids and neurotransmitters, all important for brain health. It’s intrinsic to bone and tooth structure, calcium and vitamin D absorption, regulation of the cell cycle and stability of cells. In other words, magnesium is important for every cell and pathway in the body.

It’s about time, then, we give this under-appreciated nutrient the respect it deserves.

Up to 65 per cent of Canadians don’t get enough magnesium, calcium, vitamin D and vitamin A from their diet, according to Health Canada (2012). Some of the culprits include mineral-depleted soil and processed foods. Alcoholism, intestinal malabsorption issues, certain drugs (proton pump inhibitors, ACE inhibitors, diuretics and antimicrobials) and laxatives can also contribute to low magnesium levels.

The effects of low magnesium can include everything from fatigue and loss of appetite, to tremors and muscle cramps. Severe deficiency can cause cardiac arrhythmias. The combination of a healthy diet with supplementation can alleviate and, in some cases, eradicate most health issues related to low magnesium levels.

Here are Just Some of Magnesium’s Benefits:

Mind–Body Power

It can stave off depression and boost energy in everyone from the elderly to athletes.

Fight Diabetes

It can help prevent diabetes and, for Type 2 diabetics, help improve insulin sensitivity.

Other Benefits

Magnesium can improve sleep quality, relieve constipation and alleviate inflammation, muscle aches, pain and migraines. It helps fight osteoporosis, stroke, heart disease, depression and anxiety and Alzheimer’s.

Did you know?

Foods high in magnesium include dark green vegetables (spinach and broccoli), fruit (avocados and berries), fish, legumes, seeds and nuts. For example, an avocado has 58 mg of magnesium, according to this handy online source.

Adult dose(s): Four to six milligrams of magnesium per kilogram of body weight per day: on average, 420 mg for males and 320 mg for females. Your health care professional may recommend more. The best form of the supplement is a magnesium citrate malate combination.


Dean, C. (2014). The Magnesium Miracle. New York, NY; Ballantine Books