Hol3 Explained: Magnesium

By: Charlotte Miller

Magnesium’s role in the body and magnesium-rich foods 

Magnesium is a more well-known mineral substance that has come up in dietary conversations lately because of the apparent effects it has on digestion. Let’s investigate this theory and examine magnesium further. I often wonder if I am getting enough magnesium, as it is a major mineral (with a recommended intake at ~300mg/day), and deficiencies are common in the U.S. due to the high consumption of processed foods (Sizer, Whitney, & Piche, 2020). Unprocessed and organic foods are great sources of magnesium, and drinking around 8 glasses of water accounts for 10% of daily magnesium consumption (Jahnen-Dechent & Ketteler, 2012).

In Sizer, Whitney, & Piché’s nutrition book, they review magnesium’s functions and good sources of the mineral:  

  • Major Roles of Magnesium 
    • Prevents tooth decay
      •  Holds calcium in teeth
    • Immune  system function 
    • Essential for muscle contraction/relaxation
      • Heartbeat 
    • Nerve transmission 
      • Sends signals throughout the body
    • Essential for protein production 
    • Cofactor for enzymatic reactions
  • Foods Rich in Magnesium
    • Spinach (and all green veggies)
    • Yogurt
    • Sunflower seeds
    • Bran/unprocessed cereal 
    • Organic and unprocessed foods are KEY sources

Fact vs. Fiction:

  • Are magnesium supplements needed?
    • CONFLICTING: If your diet does not consist of magnesium-rich foods, oral magnesium supplements are beneficial; however, they do not guarantee absorption of magnesium. Magnesium supplements over 300mg are not recommended  (Blancquaert, Vervaet, & Derave, 2019). 
  • Magnesium helps you poop.
    • FACT: A form of magnesium salt is often used in laxatives (Jahnen-Dechent & Ketteler, 2012).
  • Magnesium helps with digestion.
    • FACT: A form of magnesium salt is often used as an antacid for indigestion or a stomach ache (Jahnen-Dechent & Ketteler, 2012).

Reference List:

Blancquaert, L., Vervaet, C., & Derave, W. (2019). Predicting and Testing Bioavailability of Magnesium Supplements. Nutrients, 11(7), 1663–. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11071663

Jahnen-Dechent, W., & Ketteler, M. (2012). Magnesium basics. Clinical Kidney Journal, 5(Suppl 1), i3–i14. https://doi.org/10.1093/ndtplus/sfr163

Sizer, F. S., Whitney, E. N., & Piché, L. A. (2020). Nutrition: Concepts and controversies (15th ed.). Toronto, Ontario: Nelson.

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