Magnesium as Mineral – Rich Food Sources, Functions, Deficiency & Daily Requirements for Children, Men & Women


Magnesium is found both in intracellular and extracellular fluids. Total body magnesium is about 20 g, 75% of which is complexed with calcium in bone.


  • Green vegetables, potatoes, almond, cheese, cereals, beans and almost all animal tissues.

Daily requirement:

  • Adults : 350 mg
  • Pregnant women : 450 mg
  • Children: 150 mg. Serum level 0.7-1.0mmol/L.


  • Absorption of magnesium takes place primarily in the small bowel by a specific carrier mechanism.
  • Factors which increase the absorption of magnesium are vitamin D, PTH, high-protein intake, neomycin therapy.
  • Factors which decrease the absorption are increased calcium intake, fatty acids, phytates and phosphate.


  • Involved in enzyme action. Magnesium is the cofactor of many enzymes requiring ATP. Alkaline phosphatase, hexokinase, fructokinase, adenylate cyclase, cAMP-dependent kinase need magnesium. Magnesium forms ATP-Mg2+ complexes and binds to the enzymes.
  • Required in neuromuscular activity.
  • An important constituent of bone and teeth
  • Normal serum blood level is 2-3 mg/ dl (1-1.5mmol/l).

Clinical manifestations:

  • Deficiency of magnesium causes muscular tremor, confusion, vasodilation and hyperirritability.

Hypermagnesaemia is observed in:

  • Hypothyroidism
  • Diabetic mellitus
  • Acute renal failure

Hypomagnesaemia is seen in:

  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Chronic alcoholism
  • Malnutrition
  • Prolonged use of diuretics
  • Portal cirrhosis   

Toxicity due to the increased use of magnesium-containing laxatives and antacids has been reported in the elderly. The chief symptoms are drowsiness, lethargy and weakness. 

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