Magnesium is an essential mineral for human nutrition.
Magnesium in the body serves several important functions:
Most dietary magnesium comes from vegetables, such as dark green, leafy vegetables. Other foods that are good sources of magnesium:
Side effects from increased magnesium intake are not common because the body removes excess amounts. Magnesium excess almost always occurs only when magnesium is supplemented as a medication.
Lack of magnesium (deficiency) is rare. The symptoms include:
Deficiency of magnesium can occur in people who abuse alcohol or in those who absorb less magnesium due to:
Symptoms due to a lack of magnesium have three categories.
Moderate deficiency symptoms:
These are the recommended daily requirements of magnesium:
Diet - magnesium
Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine. DRI Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Vitamin D, and Fluoride. Washington, DC: National Academy Press; 1997.
Yu ASL. Disorders of magnesium and phosphorus. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 120.
Rakel D, ed. Integrative Medicine. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007.
Updated by: Alison Evert, MS, RD, CDE, Nutritionist, University of Washington Medical Center Diabetes Care Center, Seattle, Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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