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. Supplementation with magnesium is appropriate for many, as more than half of the U.S. population consumes less than 245 mg/day. 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.


  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.