Magnesium is a mineral which is involved in many metabolic processes in the body. More than 300 kinds of enzymes are spurred to action by magnesium. It is used in bone formation, protein synthesis, body temperature, and blood pressure regulation and it plays a role in maintaining calcium and potassium balances in the blood and cells. The present U.S. Recommended Dietary Allowance for magnesium is 280 mg for adult women and 350 for adult men.

Generally, individuals who eat a well-balanced diet including whole grains, legumes, green leafy vegetables, and nuts consume healthy amounts of magnesium.

Diets high in unrefined grains and vegetables offer the greatest quantities of magnesium. Some examples of foods rich in magnesium are: ½ cup of cooked broccoli has 47 mg, 1 baked potato with the skin has 55 mg of magnesium, 1 oz. of dry roasted almonds has 86 mg, and 1 cup of black beans contains a whopping 91 mg.

While many Americans eat diets with low intakes of magnesium, magnesium deficiency is rare. Deficiency is usually associated with a serious illness, alcoholism, or prolonged vomiting and diarrhea.

At the other extreme, excessive intakes of magnesium is not known to be harmful except in individuals with impaired kidney function or who ingest excessive amounts of magnesium-containing medications. It is our recommendation that if you are not able to consume generous quantities of foods that contain magnesium, that you may want to consider one multiple vitamin with minerals per day to ensure that intake of all nutrients are adequate, particularly if meeting one’s RDAs in the daily diet is a challenge, as it is for many Americans.

Adapted from the Calcium Information Center.