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Magnesium Nutrient Profile

Magnesium - profile, daily requirement & more

Want to know more about the bulk element magnesium? Great, then you will find all the important information about the nutrient here in this article. Starting with a clear profile, the type, function, daily requirement, overdose and deficiency, through to foods and food supplements. Towards the end of the article, you will also find out whether and what vegans and vegetarians should consider with regard to their magnesium supply.

Here is in advance a short Overview for you:

  1. Profile
  2. Recording
  3. Daily requirement
  4. Meaning
  5. Overdose
  6. Deficiency
  7. Foods
  8. Vegan
  9. Food supplement

Notice: This article is not a substitute for medical advice, but merely provides general information about magnesium. Please consult your doctor if you feel unwell or want to prevent health problems with medical care.

Magnesium PROFILE at a glance

Assignment: Set element, alkaline earth metal category
Important for: Energy and vitamin D metabolism, enzyme cofactor, nerve and muscle function, bone formation.
Daily requirement: 300-420 mg/day depending on age and sex1,2,3
Recording: through dietary intake or supplementation
Overdose: Overprovision possible
Deficiency symptoms: including neuromuscular hyperexcitability, vomiting, nausea, confusion and apathy
Food: Cocoa powder, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, pulses, millet
Food supplement: various magnesium compounds as capsules, tablets or powder

Optimize magnesium intake

Magnesium is also found in cocoa

Magnesium is one of the essential quantity elements. This means that the body must absorb this micronutrient through food and cannot synthesize it itself. The human body contains an average of around 25 g of magnesium, two thirds of which is found in the skeleton and around one third in soft body tissues.

The average bioavailability is 20-30 percent and is influenced by various factors. One Sufficient potassium intake promotes magnesium absorption.

Notice: You can find out which foods are good sources of potassium in the separate article on Potassium.

Resorption inhibiting factors are in any case Phytic and oxalic acid and dietary fiber. To optimize your magnesium intake, you can reduce the phytic acid content of foods by fermenting, soaking or sprouting them. The oxalic acid content can be reduced by soaking or cooking, as oxalic acid is water-soluble. In this case, it is better not to use the cooking water.

Although dietary fiber binds polyvalent cations and magnesium, it is also beneficial to health. A high-fiber diet is usually also very nutritious, which increases the magnesium content and compensates for the reduced intake.

Optimize recordingsufficient potassium supply, reduction of phytic and oxalic acid by soaking, sprouting, fermenting or heating.

How much magnesium do you need?

The reference values for magnesium differ more or less depending on the organization. Basically, a distinction is made between age and gender. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) recommends a daily intake of 350 mg for men and 300 mg for women.2 The Office of Dietary Supplements recommends an intake of 400-420 mg for men, depending on age. The recommendation for women varies from 310-360 mg depending on age.3

The following table shows the recommended reference values for magnesium intake in mg according to the German Nutrition Society (DGE).

1 to under 4 years8080
4 to under 7 years120120
7 to under 10 years170170
10 to under 13 years230250
13 to under 15 years310310
15 to under 19 years400350
19 to under 25 years400310
25 years and older350300
Reference values for magnesium intake in mg according to DGE1

In other studies, the magnesium requirement was calculated per kg of body weight, so that it is more adapted to the individuality of each person. A requirement of approximately 3-4.5 mg/kg body weight was determined.4

Under certain circumstances, the magnesium requirement may increase. These include heavy sweating, competitive sports, pregnancy and breastfeeding, stressful situations, diabetes, kidney disease, anorexia or exposure to aluminum.5

What do we need magnesium for?

One of the most important functions of magnesium is its participation in the Energy metabolism. Magnesium enables the conversion of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is the immediately available energy carrier in the cells. Magnesium makes a significant contribution to the Vitamin D metabolism with. The essential nutrient activates transport molecules for vitamin D, as well as metabolic enzymes and ensures a healthy parathyroid hormone level, which in turn supports the metabolism. Vitamin D-metabolism is regulated.6

Magnesium is also an important Co-factor for approx. 300 further enzymeswhich influence the metabolism. The Nerve- and Muscle function, the Bone grafting and the Stability of the DNA are supported by magnesium. Furthermore, the important nutrient anti-inflammatory and relaxes the muscles of the Blood vessel walls.

Clear presentation of the functions of magnesium:

  • Supports energy metabolism
  • Essential factor for vitamin D metabolism
  • Co-factor of approx. 300 enzymes
  • Important for nerve and muscle function
  • Promotes bone formation
  • Involved in genome stability
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Good for the cardiovascular system

Can there be an oversupply?

The Office of Dietary Supplements and the DGE have not established a Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL). The EFSA has also not set an official UL, but has only set an intake limit for food supplements. This limit is 250 mg/day, which is taken via a supplement in addition to the magnesium intake from food.7

The limit of 250 mg/day for food supplements is also referred to as NOAEL: no adverse effect level. This means that from the limit of 250 mg/day health disadvantages can occur, but do not have to. Since the study did not measure magnesium intake from food, I find it rather less meaningful and you can listen to your body when supplementing magnesium.

An oversupply of magnesium usually manifests itself in very soft stools and even diarrhea. So if you notice that your stool becomes very soft or even runny, you should reduce your magnesium intake. In extreme cases, this can lead to disorders of the central nervous system or cardiac arrhythmia.

Tip: How you generally Prevent heart disease you can find out in the linked article.

Symptoms of magnesium deficiency

According to the large-scale National Nutrition Survey II, 26 percent of men and 29 percent of women do not reach the recommended daily intake of magnesium.8 Most magnesium deficiencies are diet-induced and can therefore be reversed with a balanced, magnesium-rich diet.

However, there are also other causessuch as diabetes mellitus, kidney disease, frequent diarrhea or vomiting, alcoholism or the regular use of certain medications such as diuretics, corticoids or contraceptives.

Straight Diabetic should pay particular attention to their magnesium intake, as the mineral has a positive effect on the production of insulin and ensures that the blood sugar reaches the cells.9

A magnesium deficiency manifests itself in symptoms like one Calcium-magnesium ion imbalance, neuromuscular hyperexcitability, tingling, muscle cramps and even cardiac arrhythmia. Other symptoms are Vomiting, nausea, confusion and apathy.

Risk groups for a deficiency: Diabetics, people with kidney disease, people who regularly take diuretics, corticoids or contraceptives and alcoholics.

The best sources of magnesium among foods

To ensure your magnesium supply, you should not only take measures to promote absorption but also eat the right foods. In general, magnesium is mainly found in Plant sources such as pulses, cereal products, nuts and seeds.

The loss of magnesium is highest when white flour products are processed. This means that if, instead of white flour, you choose Wholemeal flour you can already do a lot for your magnesium supply. So next time, put the wholemeal spaghetti in your shopping basket instead of the white flour pasta.

An overview of the top sources of magnesium:

  • Cocoa powderheavily de-oiled (598 mg per 100 grams)
  • Pumpkin seeds (400 mg per 100 gram)
  • Sesame (350 mg per 100 gram)
  • Cashews (270 mg per 100 gram)
  • Pulses (120-190 mg per 100 gram)
  • Oatmeal (140 mg per 100 gram)
Legumes, nuts and seeds are particularly good sources of magnesium

Magnesium supply with a plant-based diet

The DGE has magnesium is not classified as a potentially critical nutrient in a vegan diet.10 This is mainly due to the fact that the best sources of magnesium are plant-based and dairy products and meat tend to contain less magnesium. A magnesium deficiency is therefore less likely with a vegan diet than with a vegetarian or mixed diet.

If you want to check your magnesium supply regularly, I recommend the To have magnesium levels measured in whole bloodinstead of simply determining the serum value. This is because the body tries to keep the magnesium content in the serum constant and therefore releases magnesium from the blood cells or stores it there.

Should magnesium be supplemented?

For most people, a magnesium deficiency is rather unlikely if they eat a wholesome diet. Especially the risk groups for a magnesium deficiency should check their magnesium levels regularly and take a dietary supplement if necessary.

Magnesium is always stored in a compound, i.e. together with another substance. As these substances all work differently, I recommend that you either take a combination preparation that combines different forms of magnesium or that you first find out about the individual forms and their exact modes of action.

Supply yourself with sufficient magnesium

There is probably no such thing as an absolutely perfect magnesium supply, as each person is individual. But everyone can get enough of this essential nutrient with a balanced diet of whole grain products, pulses, nuts and seeds. If you also pay attention to absorption-promoting measures from time to time, a magnesium deficiency is extremely unlikely.

Feel free to write me a comment if you have any questions or suggestions about this article on magnesium.

All the best,

Julian from CareElite

PS.: You want to know, why i live vegan? In the linked article you will find many good and logical motives for veganism. If you want to find out more about other nutrients, you can simply take a look at the Nutrient overview look.


1 German Society for Nutrition e. V.: Magnesium, [14.07.2021].

2 European Food Safety Authority: Scientific Opinion on Dietary Reference Values for Magnesium, [14.07.2021].

3 National Institutes of Health. Office of Dietary Supplements: Magnesium. Fact Sheet for Health Professionals, [14.07.2021].

4 H. K. Biesalski, P. Grimm & S. Nowitzki-Grimm (2017): Taschenatlas Ernährung, Thieme Georg Verlag, Stuttgart/New York. Online: [14.07.2021].

5 Zentrum der Gesundheit: The best magnesium supplements, [14.07.2021].

6 Zentrum der Gesundheit: Vitamin D remains without effect in magnesium deficiency, [14.07.2021].

7 European Food Safety Authority (2006): Tolerable Upper Intake Levels for Vitamins and Minerals, [14.07.2021].

8 Max Rubner Institute. J. Möhring, H. F. Erbersdobler (2008). Nationale Verzehrs Studie II - Ergebnisbericht Teil 2. In: Lebensmittel-Warenkunde Für Einsteiger, (Springer), pp. 121-146. Online: [14.07.2021].

9 Zentrum der Gesundheit: Magnesium: The most important mineral, [14.07.2021].

10 Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ernährung e. V.: Supplement to the position of the German Nutrition Society regarding population groups with special nutritional needs, [14.07.2021].

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Julian Hölzer

Julian Hölzer

Hi, my name is Julian and I am a trained vegan nutritionist. In 2016 I started to get involved with veganism and quickly learned how big an impact our diet has on the environment and how diverse plant-based diets can be. That's why I want to inspire you to get involved with veganism too.

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