Magnesium Supplement Information and Benefits

Magnesium is an essential mineral not only to the human body, but also to a variety of important biological functions. In fact, magnesium is involved in well over 300 metabolic processes. It is required for every major biological process, including the production of cellular energy and the synthesis of nucleic acids and proteins. It is also important for the electrical stability of human and animal cells, the support of cell membrane integrity, muscle contraction, nerve conduction, and the maintenance of vascular tone.

The total amount of magnesium found in an adult human is approximately 25 grams. About 50-60 of this amount is found in the body's bones. Magnesium is the second most abundant intracellular substance; potassium is the most abundant extra cellular. Only about 1 of the body's magnesium is found extracellularly.

It is also important to know that magnesium is intimately interlocked biologically with calcium. Magnesium and calcium cooperate in the production of adenosine triphosphate, or ATP. Conversely, in many metabolic processes, such as the synthesis of nucleic acids and protein, calcium and magnesium are antagonistic in nature. Magnesium is necessary for these processes, while calcium can inhibit them. Magnesium has been called by many the nature's physiological calcium channel blocker since it appears to regulate the intracellular flow of calcium ions.

Medicinal Indication and Health Benefits of Magnesium

As magnesium required for so many metabolic processes in the body, the exact reasons for some of its effects are not fully understood. For example, analysis of the results of preliminary research indicates that magnesium may reduce hyperactivity in children. In one trial, 50 ADHD children with low magnesium (as determined by red blood cell, hair, and serum levels of magnesium) were given 200 mg of magnesium a day for nearly six months. When compared with 25 other magnesium-deficient ADHD children, those that were given magnesium supplementation appeared to experience a decrease in hyperactive behavior.

Magnesium supplementation has also been reported to improve symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) in some individuals, although intravenous injections of magnesium were necessary. However, other trials provided no compelling evidence of magnesium's ability to improve symptoms of people suffering from CFS.

Diabetics tend to have lower than normal magnesium levels. Supplementation with magnesium may help diabetics to maintain adequate magnesium levels as well as improve glucose tolerance.

Dosage and Administration

Magnesium supplementation is usually recommended in small doses, taken regularly each day, with a full glass of water to avoid diarrhea. We recommend always checking with a doctor before starting magnesium supplementation as magnesium may cause complications for individuals suffering from certain conditions.

It is also recommended to take a B vitamin complex or a multivitamin containing B vitamins in conjunction with magnesium supplementation, since the level of vitamin B6 in body affects how much magnesium will be absorbed into the cells.

Below is a list of recommendations for adequate daily magnesium intake from the diet established by the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine in 1997:

  • Infants birth to 6 months: 30 mg
  • Infants 6 months to 1 year: 75 mg
  • Children 1 to 3 years: 80 mg
  • Children 4 to 8 years: 130 mg
  • Children 9 to 13 years: 240 mg
  • Adolescent males 14 to 18 years: 410 mg
  • Adolescent females 14 to 18 years: 360 mg
  • Males 19 to 30 years: 400 mg
  • Females 19 to 30 years: 310 mg
  • Males 31 years and older: 420 mg
  • Females 31 years and older: 320 mg
  • Pregnant females under 18 years: 400 mg
  • Pregnant females 19 to 30 years: 350 mg
  • Pregnant females 31 to 50 years: 360 mg
  • Breastfeeding females under 18 years: 360 mg
  • Breastfeeding females 19 to 30 years: 310 mg
  • Breastfeeding females 31 to 50 years: 320 mg
Magnesium requirements may increase during times of high protein synthesis, such as pregnancy, recovering from certain illnesses, and athletic training.