Magnesium (from red algae [Lithothamnium spp.])

Magnesium is a mineral necessary for human life. Magnesium is essential to all living cells, but nearly 50% is found within the bones, where it plays a major role in bone and mineral homeostasis. Magnesium is also important for many cellular reactions, such as energy generation, cell membrane stabilization and protein activation. Food sources of magnesium include green leafy vegetables, nuts, meat, starches and milk1,2. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has established a Reference Daily Intake (RDI) of 400 mg magnesium for adults and children 4 or more years of age. RDIs, which are a set of dietary references for essential vitamins and minerals that are considered amounts sufficient to meet the daily requirements of healthy individuals, serve as the basis for calculating the percent daily value (%DV) amounts found on dietary supplement and food labels. When ingested as a naturally occurring substance in foods, magnesium has not been demonstrated to exert any adverse effects. However, mild gastrointestinal disturbances have been observed with excess magnesium intake from nonfood sources 2.

Red algae (Lithothamnium spp.) are species of algae that accumulate minerals in their leaves (fronds) throughout their lifespan. When harvested, Lithothamnium spp. fronds are rich natural sources of the essential minerals calcium and magnesium, and measurable levels of 72 other trace minerals. Intake of a calcium and magnesium-rich supplement from Lithothamnium spp. has been shown to support bone health 3.

This ingredient can be found in the following products in United States:


  1. Ensminger AH, Ensminger ME, Konlande JE, Robson JRK. The Concise Encyclopedia of Foods and Nutrition. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press, 1995.
  2. Institute of Medicine. Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Vitamin D, and Fluoride. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 1997.
  3. Aslam MN, Kreider JM, Paruchuri T et al. A mineral-rich extract from the red marine algae Lithothamnion calcareum preserves bone structure and function in female mice on a Western-style diet. Calcif Tissue Int. 2010;86:313-24.