The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for magnesium is 6 mg per day per kilogram, which represents on average a daily requirement of 420 mg for men and 360 mg for women. According to the SUVIMAX study, 3 French people out of 4 consume below this RDA!
Yet magnesium plays an essential role in the functioning of the body. Hence the importance of making up this for this deficiency, via your daily diet, but also by taking supplements depending on individual needs.
Magnesium in the body and its roles
Magnesium is the fourth most common mineral in the body. More than half is found in the bones and teeth, a quarter in the muscles and the final quarter spread throughout the body. It helps to ensure the proper functioning of over 300 cellular biochemical reactions. When you realise that it is actively involved in theproper functioning of the muscles, nervous system, energy production, bone health and synthesis of proteins, DNA and glutathione, our cells' main detoxifier, you realise that any shortfall will leave us short of energy.
The body does not produce this trace element, but loses a large quantity through elimination with the urine via the kidneys. So you can understand the tiredness that overwhelms us when we do not have enough magnesium! And there are other consequences: low morale, mood disorders, sensitivity to stress, cramps, disturbed sleep, etc.
What are its actual effects?
Through its role at the level of the nervous system and notably on the release of serotonin, the "zen" hormone, it soothes irritability, impulsiveness and even depression1. In the event of stress and sleeping difficulties, as an activator of melatonin, the sleep hormone, it plays a key role. It supports mental functions such as learning and memory1.
It helps to combat fatigue, even muscular fatigue. It is in fact vital for the production and exploitation of energy reserves at the cellular level, especially in the face of various "stress inducers", such as temperature, toxins, intense physical exercise, and on the psyche. More of it is needed in the event of "overload". It is therefore particularly recommended for people suffering from stress as well as those with greater exposure to a deficiency: the elderly, active or menopausal women, etc.
In the muscles it is active in the production and release of energy and in muscle relaxation: a magnesium supplement taken by sports people aids endurance and helps to reduce stiffness and cramp2.
A major constituent of bone, it helps to maintain bone health in both adults and children3, just as much as calcium! In the event of a deficiency the body will eat into its reserves, weakening the bones. So it is vital to ensure that you take the correct amounts, especially during periods of growth and ageing.
Numerous studies show a correlation between magnesium deficiency and the occurrence of certain disorders. It therefore plays an important cardiovascular role in the event of diabetes, asthma and migraine4
1. EFSA Journal 2010;8(10):1807. 2. Consequences of Magnesium Deficiency on the Enhancement of Stress Reactions; Preventive and Therapeutic Implications (A Review). Mildred S. Seelig, MD, MPH, Master CAN. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, Vol. 13, No. 5, 429-446 (1994). 3. Magnesium, but Not Calcium Intake Is Significantly Association with Bone Mineral Status in 4 to 8 Year Old Children. Steven A. Abrams et al. Pediatrics/CNRC, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX. May 2013. 4. The multifaceted and widespread pathology of magnesium deficiency. Johnson S. Med Hypotheses. 2001 Feb; 56(2):163-70.
Virtually widespread deficiency
Most of the French have a magnesium deficiency. This is essentially caused by 3 inter-related factors:
An increasingly deficient dietunbalanced diets, refined foods, processed food, lower consumption of dried fruits and legumes,
An intestinal imbalance that leads to lower absorption and losses in the gastrointestinal tract.
Taking certain medications that increase the urinary elimination of magnesium.
Alcohol abuse that prevents the absorption of magnesium in the digestive tract.
Stress, which when it becomes chronic amplifies the urinary elimination of magnesium.Thus, the longer the stress lasts, the more the deficit is important and the more the fatigue, therefore the sensitivity to stress, is increased. Ultimately creating a vicious circle.
* INRA (French national institute of agronomic research). Study of the overall French diet: mycotoxins, vitamins and trace elements. 2004.
Certain people are therefore more exposed to a magnesium deficiency, namely those suffering from stress but also those who are undergoing a growth spurt, pregnant or breastfeeding women, the elderly, active women, menopausal women, etc.
A quick test to measure your deficiency levels
What form of magnesium?
To bolster magnesium reserves, yes, but which magnesium salt? Magnesium salts vary in magnesium element content via their bioavailability and digestive tolerance. No salt meets all the criteria. A combination may therefore be more effective. Overdosing does not present a threat except in the case of low kidney function.
Magnesium element content
Excellent thanks to aminocomplexes
Magnesium in your meals
Magnesium content (mg)
Seafood (winkles and whelks) 100 g
Up to 300 mg
1 banana ~ 150 g
Dark chocolate 30 g
Fresh walnuts 100g
Oil seeds (almonds, hazelnuts) 100 g
220 to 360 mg
Cooked spinach 100 g
Dry beans 100 g
Up to 160 mg
Cooked lentils 100 g
Whole wheat bread 2 slices 40 g
Brown rice 100g
Seeds (chia, poppy, sesame) 100 g
Up to 350 mg
Wholegrain cereals 100 g
50 to 100 mg
Mineral water with a high magnesium content 1 L
600 to 100 mg
To find out more
Table of magnesium-rich foods: www.ansespro.fr French national food safety agency