Magnesium: A mineral of life

Magnesium is incredibly important for our lives. Its effects go beyond preventing muscle cramps. In this article I try to explain everything important about magnesium. Among other things you will learn why the magnesium blood level is not meaningful. But also which symptoms a magnesium deficiency causes. How you can best replenish a deficiency. Why the recommended daily intake does not apply to you. And of course much more. Why don’t we start with the most important things?

How much magnesium do you really need per day?

Definitely 300 to 400 milligrams a day. As recommended by the DGE. Subject closed! Or is it?

The DGE recommends a specific amount for everyone. So it doesn’t matter how much you weigh. Whether you weigh 50 kg or 150 kg, so your magnesium requirement is the same? Of course not.

The individual need for magnesium varies considerably from person to person. You have to consider your living conditions and your genetics.

It is better to see your magnesium requirement on a spectrum. The spectrum goes from sitting and doing nothing to stress without end plus an ultra marathon. Therefore you need about 5 to 10 mg of magnesium per kilogram of body weight per day.

But what makes you need more magnesium?

You need about 5 to 10 mg magnesium per kg body weight.

Magnesium requirement calculator

What causes an increased magnesium requirement?

There are some magnesium robbers. Some of them come into your life by themselves, some you cause yourself. But let’s just clarify what makes you need more magnesium.

Maybe you want to supplement your electrolytes without having to take supplements. Avoid the bad magnesium burners.


Stress depletes magnesium and magnesium reduces stress. This works in different ways.

Magnesium is needed for the formation of various neurotransmitters. This also applies to the formation of neurotransmitters that are released during stress.

The muscles tense up under stress. In order to loosen them again, the body uses magnesium.

All in all, stress is one of the biggest magnesium predators. So stress down, magnesium up.

Sun and vitamin D

Vitamin D production requires some magnesium

So here it is difficult to speak of a robber, but vitamin D consumes magnesium. This is because magnesium is needed to convert the vitamin D produced by the sun into active vitamin D. Once it is used up, it can no longer be used.

We also need vitamin D to be able to absorb magnesium in the intestines. Because vitamin D is involved in the absorption of calcium and magnesium.

Without vitamin D there is less magnesium absorption in the intestines and with a lot of vitamin D there is a higher consumption.

So if you go out in the sun a lot, you’d better take a little more magnesium.


If a nutrient is something that gives you something, an antinutrient is something that takes something away from you. There are some antinutrients and they are only present in plants. Among other things they serve as repellents against insects. In our body they cause a number of problems. The most famous antinutrient is probably gluten. But here I want to mention two that mainly disturb the magnesium intake.

Phytic acid is a phosphorus store in the plant. It combines with minerals in your intestine and ensures that you can no longer absorb the minerals. It is found in cereals, legumes, pseudo-cereals, nuts and seeds.

Oxalic acid is mainly found in leafy vegetables. It mainly causes kidney stones. In the intestines it binds to calcium, magnesium and iron. Thus our body absorbs less.

Remember next time you read, almonds contain 170 mg of magnesium per 100 g. But they also contain between 0.35 and 9.42 g of phytic acid per 100 g.

The more antinutrients they contain, the more they bind to the valuable minerals. It can even happen that if you eat almonds with other foods, the phytic acid binds the minerals of the other foods as well.

Magnesium distribution in the body and why a blood test doesn’t tell much

Only 1% of our magnesium is in our blood

We have about 0.3 g of magnesium per kilogram of body weight in our body. For a person of 70 kg that would be about 21 g of magnesium. But where is it?

99% of the magnesium is in the body cells and about 1% is in the blood. Now you will probably realize yourself that it may not make much sense to examine the blood value.

A blood test would only show a very serious deficiency. Because our body maintains the magnesium level for a very long time. Only when the body’s cells can no longer spare anything the blood level starts to drop.

You can still get deficiency symptoms. Even before it is visible in the blood. Therefore pay attention to the next section.

Symptoms of magnesium deficiency

Now the blood test still says nothing. But you could have a subclinical deficiency. The following symptoms may help you determine that.

  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • Osteopenia
  • Osteoporosis
  • Muscular weakness
  • quick fatigue
  • Muscle twitching
  • Cramps
  • Back Pain
  • Morning stiffness
  • restless legs syndrome
  • High blood pressure
  • Angina
  • Arteriosclerosis
  • calcification in connective tissue
  • Kidney stone formation
  • Spur formations
  • Nervousness
  • Tiredness
  • Quickly irritated
  • Insomnia
  • Learning difficulties
  • Lack of concentration
  • Memory disorders
  • Cardiac arrhythmia
  • Extra Systoles
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Tachycardia
  • Heart stumbling
  • Blockages
  • Migraine
  • Ear noises
  • Elevated blood sugar
  • Inflammations
  • PMS
  • severe menstrual cramps

How long does it take to replenish a magnesium deficiency

Now you have been found to have a deficiency in your blood. This means your body has a very strong need. How fast can you fill this gap?

Unfortunately it will not be done with 2 tablets. You can count on several weeks to months. If you try to do it faster, you will end up with diarrhea on the toilet. This also depends on the magnesium form you choose.

The quickest way is with supplements, whereby real food should be preferred.

Magnesium food table

Pumpkin seeds are a magnesium-rich food

In order to supply oneself with magnesium and other nutrients, real food is preferable to food supplements. Even if you cannot say how much of the nutrients are really contained. This is due to the monoculture in agriculture and the resulting mineral poverty of the soil.

Nevertheless, the advantage in food is that the nutrients come in a complex and are not concentrated individually. This way you avoid an imbalance of the individual nutrients.

Pay attention to the antinutrients in the food. Even though meat contains very little magnesium, it is absorbed much better than from vegetable sources.

Magnesium content per 100g of food:

FoodQuantity of Mg per 100g
Pumpkin seeds400
Sunflower seeds395
Flax seed350
Chia seeds335
Wheat sprouts250

Which magnesium is the best

You decided to try supplementation. But you do not know which product is suitable. On the packages in the drugstore or on Amazon you can find magnesium oxide, citrate, carbonate and many more. The prices are also completely different. To help you a little bit, I will show you now which magnesium compounds there are and what differences they have.

Magnesium forms

Magnesium oxideOne of the cheapest magnesium compounds
Bound to oxygen
Poor reception
Magnesium sulfateMostly used for baths
Very cheap
Strong laxative
Magneium carbonateOften used as a remedy for heartburn
Poor absorption
Very cheap
Magnesium glycinateBound to an amino acid
Excellent absorption
Has a very calming effect
Helps to fall asleep
Very well tolerated
Magnesium malatePerhaps the best absorption
Makes you awake
Helps with energy production
Very well tolerated
Magnesium chlorideDissolves very well in water
Good absorption
Helps the production of gastric acid
Nasty taste
Magnesium citrateGood absorption
Very soluble in water
Has a quick laxative effect
Magnesium orotateVery good absorption
Increases energy production
Very well tolerated
Magnesium treonateVery good absorption
Reaches the brain fastest of all compounds.
Can improve thinking performance
The most expensive compound
Magnesium taurateVery good absorption
Calms the nervous system
Well tolerated

Improve magnesium absorption

Now I want to help you get the most out of your magnesium intake. So that your intestine absorbs the maximum possible amount and you save time and money. Nevertheless, the following tips will not eliminate a magnesium deficiency overnight.

  1. Spread the intake over the day. The ability of the intestines is limited, above a certain amount they can no longer absorb magnesium. That is why you should spread the amount over several portions during the day.
  2. Go out into the sun more. Even though the conversion of vitamin D into its active form consumes magnesium, the active vitamin D helps to absorb more magnesium in the intestine.
  3. Make sure you have an acidic stomach. Because the more acidic the gastric fluid, the better all the nutrients can be processed. You can also help with chloride compounds, or with apple vinegar before meals.
  4. Avoid alcohol. Not only does alcohol impede the absorption of magnesium, it also ensures that the body burns a lot of it.
  5. Avoid foods containing phytic acid and oxalates. Or soak these foods for at least 24 hours in order to reduce the antinutrients. In any case, do not take a mineral supplement at meals with antinutrients.

Bottom line

Magnesium is an important mineral for our life. So important that a life without magnesium is not possible. I myself fought my deficiency with intramuscular injections and a combination of magnesium oxide, carbonate, glycinate and malate.

You have now learned how much magnesium you need, which robs you of this vital substance. You have learned what you can expect when you don’t have enough of it and how you can quickly fill a deficiency.

Now it is up to you to make something of it. Take your health into your own hands and awaken your primal giant.


Leistungsphysiologie: Lehrbuch für Sport- und Physiotherapeuten und Trainer von Dr. Josef Tomasits und Ao. Univ.-Prof. Dr. Paul Haber

Lehrbuch Histologie von Pref. Dr. med Dr. rer. nat. Ulrich Welsch und Prof. Dr. med. Thomas Deller

Basiswissen Biochemie mit Pathobiochemie von Professor Dr. Georg Löffler und Professor Dr. Jürgen Schölmerich

BASICS Endokrinologie von Clemens Marischler

BASICS Kardiologie von Hans Christian Lederhuber, Veronika Lange und PD Dr. med. Isabel Deisenhofer

BASICS Physiologie von Desiree-Yasmin Hamsch und Dr. Rüdiger Popp

Biochemie für Mediziner: Ein Lern- und Arbeitsbuch mit klinischem Bezug von Dr. med. Dipl. Bioch. Markus Linnemann und Prof. Dr. Michael Kühl

Erste Hilfe – Physik und Chemie für Mediziner von Dr. rer. nat. Jürgen Schatz und Dr. rer. nat. Robert Tammer

Das Erste – Kompendium Vorklinik von Jesko Priewe, Daniel Tümmers und PD. Dr. Dr. Oliver Friedrich

Gynäkologie und Geburtshilfe von Prof. Dr. med. Klaus Diedrich, Dr. med. Askan Schultze-Mosgau, Prof. Dr. med. Dr. h.c. mult. Wolfgang Holzgreve, Prof. Dr. med. Walter Jonat, Prof. Dr. med. Klaus-Theo M. Schneider und Prof. Dr. med. habil. Jürgen M. Weiss

Physiologie des Menschen mit Pathophysiologie von Univ.-Professor Dr. Dr. h.c. Robert F. Schmidt, Ph.D., Univ.-Professor Dr. Florian Lang und Univ.-Professor Dr. Manfred Heckmann

Urologie von Professor Dr. Dr. h.c. Richard Hautmann und Professor Dr. Hartwig Huland

Duale Reihe – Gynäkologie und Geburtshilfe von Manfred Stauber und Thomas Weyerstahl

Duale Reihe – Innere Medizin vom Thieme Verlag

Pharmakologie und Toxikologie von em. Prof. Dr. med. Heinz Lüllmann, Prof. Dr. Lutz Hein und Prof. Dr. med. Klaus Mohr

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