Magnesium is involved in hundreds of reactions in the body, which explains the wide use of the micronutrient. Magnesium is often found in plant foods such as seeds or nuts. A deficiency can lead to cramps, muscle tremors or cardiac arrhythmias. 

Magnesium functions

  • Energy metabolism
    ATP (adenosine triphosphate) is the storage form of energy in cells. Magnesium forms a stable complex with ATP in the cells. It is therefore involved in every reaction that has to do with the provision of energy. Too little magnesium therefore leads to a reduced availability of energy in the cells, which impairs many metabolic reactions.
  • Muscle function
    Magnesium regulates the influx of calcium at the cell membrane. This controls the contraction or slackening of the muscles. This has an influence on heart muscle function, blood circulation and skeletal muscles.
  • Hormones/Nervous System
    Magnesium regulates the release of hormones, for example insulin or testosterone. It also regulates signal transmission in the nervous system.

Furthermore, magnesium is involved in pH regulation, inflammation, the synthesis of vitamin D, and the formation of bones and teeth.

How do I know if I have a magnesium deficiency?

  • Unstable bones
  • Increased oxidative stress and inflammation
  • Muscle cramps/tremors, circulatory disorders
  • Lack of sheep, over excitability, difficulty concentrating
  • Nausea
  • Cardiac arrhythmias
  • Disturbance of the immune system

What to look for in magnesium supplementation

Magnesium is found in many plant foods. Animal sources also contain magnesium, but tend to do so in smaller quantities. The absorption of magnesium is attenuated by various dietary components, e.g., fatty acids, zinc, oxalate, or dietary fiber - but not, as long assumed, by calcium.

There are different magnesium compounds available for magnesium supplementation. It should be noted that organic magnesium compounds such as citrate, bisglycinate, orotate, etc. are used. These have less of a laxative effect than inorganic compounds (oxide, sulfate, chloride). Exception: magnesium is used specifically for constipation; in this case, an inorganic magnesium compound may make sense. To reduce side effects, magnesium should be taken in two doses.

Due to the sometimes poor tolerability of magnesium supplementation, magnesium oils also exist. In this way, the gastrointestinal tract is bypassed and the magnesium is absorbed through the skin. However, the magnesium chloride often contained therein cannot be absorbed by the skin layer. The sweat glands, which account for only 0.1-1 % of the skin surface, also absorb magnesium only insufficiently.

What happens if I take too much magnesium?

Magnesium is relatively non-toxic and magnesium excess is rarely encountered. High magnesium doses have a laxative effect and can therefore lead to diarrhea.

Magnesium in food

100 g contain:

pumpkin seeds      530 mg            wheat bran     480 mg
quinoa   280 mg   almonds   280 mg
legumes   130 mg      


Good to know about magnesium

  • The daily requirement is between 300 and 400 mg 
  • The body contains about 20-30 g of magnesium
  • Magnesium is always found where calcium is also needed (bones, connective tissue, liver, muscles)
  • Organic magnesium compounds have a less laxative effect

Fields of application of magnesium

  • Migraine
    Acute migraine attacks can be treated with magnesium sulfate infusions. This can relieve symptoms within as little as 15-45 minutes. Oral supplementation may reduce the frequency of migraine attacks.
    Dosage (oral): 350-400 mg/day for at least 3 months.
  • Hypertension
    Magnesium has a relaxing effect on the vascular muscles. This can successfully lower blood pressure.
    Dosage: 300-450 mg/day  
  • Stress/sleep disorders
    The need for magnesium is increased during physical or psychological stress. Supplementation with magnesium can improve sleep as well as compensate for the increased need.
    Dosage: 500 mg/day 
  • Cardiovascular diseases (prevention)
    Adequate magnesium intake reduces the risk of heart failure and stroke. It can also reduce cardiac arrhythmias.
    Dosage: 350-500 mg/day

Drug interactions

Certain drugs can cause disturbances in the magnesium balance: Draining drugs (diuretics) lead to increased excretion of magnesium in the urine.

Stomach protectors reduce the absorption of magnesium. In the case of taking stomach protectors, the use of organic compounds is therefore recommended, as these are also soluble in a less acidic milieu. 

Who has an additional need for magnesium?

During pregnancy there is an increased need for magnesium, which can be balanced by supplementation. The use of magnesium is also useful for calf cramps.

If sports are played frequently, magnesium losses through sweat are increased, which results in an increased need. A deficiency can manifest itself in cramps and thus in lower performance.

Products with magnesium...