Why magnesium is important for good health

Did you know magnesium is an essential mineral; playing a role in more than 300 enzyme reactions in our body? Some of these include muscle and nerve function, regulating blood pressure and supporting the immune system.

Magnesium is one of seven essential macro-minerals that we need to consume in large amounts each day to help sustain overall good health. Particularly, magnesium can help prevent chronic diseases like Alzheimer’s disease, bone health, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, anxiety and migraines.

Magnesium and cardiovascular health

Our bodies depend on magnesium for good muscle health and research found that magnesium also supports heart health. In a study conducted in 2018 and published by the British Medical Journal found that magnesium deficiency can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease due to its role on a cellular level. It has also been shown that patients who receive magnesium soon after a heart attack have lower risk of mortality.

In another study published in 2019 by the US National Institutes of Health, titled “The effect of magnesium intake on stroke incidence: a systematic review and meta-analysis with trail sequential analysis“, found that getting the daily allowance of magnesium lowers the risk of stroke.


“Related to a 100mg/day increase in magnesium intake, for total stroke… Overall, increase magnesium intake had a beneficial effect on these risk reductions.”

US National Institutes of Health

Recommended daily intake

According to MedicalNewsToday the following is the recommended daily intake by age and sex.

AgeMaleFemale
1-3 years80mg80mg
4-8 years130mg130mg
9-13 years240mg240mg
14-18 years410mg360mg
19-30 years400mg310mg
31-50 years420mg320mg
51+420mg320mg

Nutritional sources of magnesium

There are many food choices for your daily intake of magnesium.

SourcePer ServingPercentage of daily value
Almonds (1 oz)80mg20%
Spinach (half cup)78mg20%
Roasted cashews (1 oz)74mg19%
Roasted peanuts (1/4 cup)63mg16%
Soy milk (1 cup)61mg15%
Cooked black beans (half cup)60mg15%
Cooked edamame (half cup)50mg13%
Peanut butter (2 tbsp)49mg12%
Whole wheat bread (2 slices)46mg12%
Avocado (1 cup)44mg11%
Potato with skin (3.5 oz)43mg11%
Cooked brown rice42mg11%
Low fat yogurt (8 oz)42mg11
Fortified breakfast cereals40-50mg10-15%
Oatmeal36mg9%
Kidney beans (half cup)35mg9%
Banana (medium)32mg8%

Important take away

Since magnesium plays such an important role in overall health it is important that we strive to get the daily recommended intake. If you are unable to get the recommended daily allowance, it can lead to a range of health issues like muscle cramps, numbness, tingling, and potential cardiovascular problems, among others. As always, please talk with your doctor about this or any health questions or concerns you may have.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, York Cardiology

The following video is presented by Dr. Gupta, Consulting Cardiologist at York Cardiology. He discusses the importance of magnesium, inflammation and its effect on the arteries and heart, along with the role magnesium plays. He doesn’t use a lot medical jargon, he explains it very well and I’m sure you’ll find this very helpful.

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