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Everything you need to know about magnesium at a glance

You often hear the term ‘magnesium deficiency’. But what exactly is magnesium? What is magnesium good for? What does magnesium do? And in which food do you find magnesium?

What exactly is magnesium?

There are 15 minerals in total that each have their own function in our body. Magnesium (Mg) is one of them. Minerals occur in nature and cannot be produced by the body itself. Plants and animals absorb minerals from nature, as a result of which they eventually end up in our food. So we have to get minerals through food. Magnesium is an important mineral that is involved in various processes in the body.

What does magnesium do to your body?

About 75% of all magnesium in our body is stored in our bones and muscles and contributes to its formation and functioning. It keeps your muscles strong and supple and helps them to relax. An adult has a magnesium supply of about 25 grams in the body. About half of this is stored in the enamel of your teeth, which helps to keep your teeth strong. It also acts as a building block for strong bones.

Magnesium also plays a role in the transmission of stimuli between our nerves and contributes to the proper functioning of our nervous system. Magnesium is also good for your state of mind and has a positive influence on your mental balance. Among other things, it contributes to our most important brain functions such as our ability to concentrate, alertness, productivity and memory.

The different forms of magnesium

There are different forms of magnesium. They are divided into two groups:

Organic compounds are compounds that occur naturally in the body and are therefore easily absorbed.Inorganically (not naturally) bound minerals are difficult for our body to absorb.

How much does your body need?

How much magnesium you need depends on whether you are a man or a woman and varies according to your age. The general daily amount:

For menFor women
300-350 mg per day250-300 mg per day
9-13 years old280
14-17 years old350
From 18 years of age350
9-13 years old280
14-17 years old280
From 18 years of age300

Did you know?

How much magnesium your body absorbs depends on how much is in the diet? The more magnesium there is in the diet, the lower the percentage your body absorbs.

Magnesium in food: what are sources of magnesium?

Magnesium is found in various foods.

  • Wholemeal cereal products (e.g. wholemeal bread)
  • Vegetables
  • Nuts
  • Milk and derivatives
  • Meat
  • Water

Cocoa, shellfish, soybeans and nuts contain more than 100 mg magnesium per 100 grams. Green vegetables such as spinach, whole grain cereals and bananas are also particularly rich in magnesium.

Below you get a few examples of magnesium amounts in some products to consume almost daily.

1 hand of unsalted peanuts (25 grams)54
1 large spoonful of boiled spinach (50 grams)39
1 large spoonful of boiled wholemeal paste (60 grams)28
1 piece of chicken breast (cooked, 70 grams)25
1 slice of wholemeal bread (35 grams)19
1 glass of semi-skimmed milk (150 ml)18
Goodmorning (310 ml)75

Tip: start your day with a healthy breakfast rich in magnesium. This way, you take a big step towards your daily goal.

In need of inspiration?

Discover 4 easy breakfast recipes for a delicious and healthy breakfast.

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80% of the population 
has a magnesium deficiency

The consequences of a magnesium deficiency

Although magnesium is abundant in our body, a deficiency can still occur if you don’t get enough of it from food. This is because magnesium is involved in hundreds of enzymatic reactions that play a major role in our body, such as the generation of energy.

Today’s performance and work pressure in our society is higher than ever, which means that more and more people are experiencing stress. When we experience stress, we consume more magnesium. This is one of the reasons why a growing proportion of the population is suffering from a magnesium deficiency. When our magnesium level drops, more adrenaline is released, which means that our body starts consuming more magnesium again. A vicious circle.

A deficiency causes all sorts of symptoms:

  • fatigue
  • muscle cramps
  • cold hands and feet
  • coping poorly with stress
  • shivering eyelids
  • Cardiac dysrhythmia (in extreme cases)

How do you recover from a magnesium deficiency?

Do you have any complaints that could indicate a magnesium deficiency? Take a critical look at your lifestyle and daily diet. A balanced lifestyle, a balanced diet and a healthy breakfast should be the primary source of your daily magnesium intake.

What does a healthy breakfast contain?

Read all about the fundamentals of a healthy breakfast.

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Unfortunately, we seldom make time to eat in a balanced way. Nutritional supplements can be a salvation to meet the need for magnesium. For example, athletes can take magnesium supplements to prevent muscle cramps. Pregnant women also need more magnesium.

Do you suspect you have one or more serious symptoms of deficiency? Then it is advisable to consult a doctor.

The consequences of too much magnesium

Having too much magnesium is also possible. An increased concentration of magnesium is rarely due to nutrition. Usually, increased magnesium levels are the result of excretion problems or artificial administration.

If you swallow too much, you often get diarrhoea. A prolonged large overdose can have serious consequences, for example:

  • kidney failure
  • dysfunctional thyroid gland
  • dehydration
  • Addison’s disease
  • Cardiac arrhythmias

So, when you start taking supplements or magnesium pills, always pay attention to the maximum safe dose of 250 milligrams per day. It is best to ask your doctor for advice before taking any tablets.

Use your common sense

Magnesium is an important mineral that our body needs enough to function properly. As with all things in life, too much of something is never good. So take care with supplements. A healthy magnesium intake is an extension of a balanced, active lifestyle with a balanced diet.

Exercise regularly (tip: why not exercise even in the morning?) and start your day with a healthy breakfast rich in magnesium to reduce the risk of deficiency. Supplemented with a balanced and healthy diet, you can rest assured that your body is getting enough magnesium to function optimally.