By Chris D. Meletis, N.D.
Magnesium is a critical mineral involved in many aspects of health. It was once thought to be a cofactor for about 300 regulatory enzymes in the body, but current data list 600 enzymes for which magnesium is needed.1
Sadly, an estimated 68% of Americans are not getting the recommended daily intake of magnesium (420 mg for men, 320 mg for women) from their diets.2 What’s worse is that 19% of US adults ate less than half of the recommended daily allowance (RDA).2 People who weren’t getting enough magnesium also had higher levels of C-reactive protein, an inflammatory marker linked to cardiovascular disease.2
Causes of Magnesium Deficiency
The most common causes of magnesium deficiency include not getting enough of this critical mineral in your diet, as well as taking medications that deplete magnesium levels. Medications that lower magnesium levels include the following:1
- Proton pump inhibitors
- H2 blockers
- Antiepileptic drugs
A low magnesium diet is one of the primary culprits behind magnesium deficiency. A typical American diet contains very few green vegetables and whole grains. Instead, this type of diet focuses on refined foods that are deficient in magnesium. The refining process destroys most or all of the magnesium that was in the food before processing.3
Even non-organic vegetables can be low in magnesium due to the use of herbicides like glyphosate, which reduces levels of minerals like magnesium in the crops.4
Magnesium Deficiency in Aging
As we get older, magnesium deficiency becomes even more of a problem. According to the NHANES III study, magnesium intake decreases with age.5 One study found that older people eat only half of the recommended daily allowance of magnesium.6
What’s more, animal research indicates that as people age, they don’t absorb as much magnesium from the intestines.7 Age-related diseases can also increase the risk of magnesium deficiency, especially when combined with one or more magnesium-depleting medications.
Magnesium and Blood Pressure
We need magnesium for many areas of health—especially to support healthy blood pressure levels. Researchers have found higher levels of magnesium in people with healthy blood pressure, and the higher the intracellular magnesium, the lower the blood pressure.8
Most studies have observed that a high intake of dietary magnesium is associated with healthy blood pressure, while fewer studies have found negative or inconclusive results. A review of the medical literature reported that a 100 mg/day increase of magnesium in dietary intake significantly supported healthy blood pressure.9 Likewise, three reviews of 11, 34, and 28 randomized controlled trials observed that supplementation with oral magnesium was also associated with healthy blood pressure.10-12
The most effective approach may be to use a combination of magnesium and potassium while lowering levels of sodium in the diet.13
Why Does Magnesium Support Blood Pressure?
There are a number of mechanisms by which magnesium is involved in blood pressure support. Magnesium promotes increases in nitric oxide, a molecule that plays a role in keeping the lining of blood vessels healthy and supporting healthy blood pressure levels. Magnesium also reduces vascular calcification and maintains a healthy inflammatory response. In addition, this mineral helps the body metabolize glucose. All of these factors can influence blood pressure.
The Bottom Line on Magnesium
Magnesium plays a number of critical roles in the body, yet many of us are not eating enough of it in our diets. Trace Minerals Research offers many different magnesium supplements to nourish your body including Magnesium Tablets, Ionic Magnesium (which also includes potassium), and Liquid Magnesium, an ideal choice for people who have a hard time swallowing pills.
- Dominguez L, Veronese N, Barbagallo M. Magnesium and Hypertension in Old Age. Nutrients. 2020;13(1).
- King DE, Mainous AG, 3rd, Geesey ME, Woolson RF. Dietary magnesium and C-reactive protein levels. J Am Coll Nutr. 2005;24(3):166-171.
- Koiwai K, Takemi Y, Hayashi F, et al. Consumption of ultra-processed foods decreases the quality of the overall diet of middle-aged Japanese adults. Public Health Nutr. 2019;22(16):2999-3008.
- Cakmak I. Glyphosate reduced seed and leaf concentrations of calcium, manganese, magnesium, and iron in non-glyphosate resistant soybean. European Journal of Agronomy. 2009;31(3):114-119.
- Ford ES, Mokdad AH. Dietary magnesium intake in a national sample of US adults. J Nutr. 2003;133(9):2879-2882.
- Thomas AJ, Bunker VW, Sodha N, Clayton BE. Calcium, magnesium and phosphorus status of elderly inpatients: dietary intake, metabolic balance studies and biochemical status. Br J Nutr. 1989;62(1):211-219.
- Coudray C, Feillet-Coudray C, Rambeau M, et al. The effect of aging on intestinal absorption and status of calcium, magnesium, zinc, and copper in rats: a stable isotope study. J Trace Elem Med Biol. 2006;20(2):73-81.
- Resnick LM, Gupta RK, Laragh JH. Intracellular free magnesium in erythrocytes of essential hypertension: relation to blood pressure and serum divalent cations. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1984;81(20):6511-6515.
- Han H, Fang X, Wei X, et al. Dose-response relationship between dietary magnesium intake, serum magnesium concentration and risk of hypertension: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. Nutr J. 2017;16(1):26.
- Dibaba DT, Xun P, Song Y, Rosanoff A, Shechter M, He K. The effect of magnesium supplementation on blood pressure in individuals with insulin resistance, prediabetes, or noncommunicable chronic diseases: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Am J Clin Nutr. 2017;106(3):921-929.
- Zhang X, Li Y, Del Gobbo LC, et al. Effects of Magnesium Supplementation on Blood Pressure: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Trials. Hypertension. 2016;68(2):324-333.
- Verma H, Garg R. Effect of magnesium supplementation on type 2 diabetes associated cardiovascular risk factors: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Hum Nutr Diet. 2017;30(5):621-633.
- Houston M. The role of magnesium in hypertension and cardiovascular disease. J Clin Hypertens (Greenwich). 2011;13(11):843-847.