Is supplementary magnesium necessary? Dismal statistics say yes

Is supplementary magnesium necessary? How can that be when we’ve been told that we can get more than enough magnesium from our diet?

One hundred years ago when we had rich, fertile soil, ate simple whole foods and had no processed foods, that was true. But things have changed since then.

The magnesium content in common vegetables has declined at a rate of 25-80 percent since the 1950s, and modern grain processing removes 80-95 percent of whatever magnesium remains.

Whole grains were once a primary source of magnesium and many other essential vitamins and minerals. Down through history many people have been sustained by whole grain bread, which was why the term, “bread of life” came into being.

There are three basic reasons for the severe reduction of nutrients in our vegetables-from grains to broccoli and carrots.

  1. Reduced levels of nutrients in depleted monocultured and chemicalized soil.
  2. Reduced levels of magnesium due to food processing and gene-altering ingredients.
  3. Changes in eating habits.

On top of all that our bodies rebel against the many factors that interfere with magnesium absorption and bioavailability. Those include prescription drugs, processed foods, pesticides, age and genetic factors.

(Pesticides destroy organisms that provide nutrients to plants and modern processing destroys most nutrients that remain.)

Nutritional experts list over-use of processed foods as the primary risk factor that has led to the high levels of magnesium deficiency that exist today. In addition, stress, lack of sleep, prescription drugs and excessive alcohol consumption exacerbate the problem.

So, is supplementary magnesium necessary? For people who take several drugs and eat a lot of processed food, it most certainly is, though they probably don’t know it.

In fact, according to, using info gleaned from the USDA, magnesium deficiency is present in 68% of the U.S. population

For people who eat abundant magnesium-containing food such as dark, leafy greens, the broccoli family, beans, nuts, seeds, avocadoes, fatty, wild-caught fish and other whole foods, more magnesium is still likely needed because of the reasons listed above.

Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body. Researchers have identified 3,750 magnesium-binding sites on human proteins. Three hundred human enzymes rely on magnesium.

Magnesium stimulates our biochemical processes and functions as an electrolyte, which is crucial for all electrical activity in the body.

Early signs of magnesium deficiency include “Charlie horses,” muscle spasms when we stretch our legs, headaches/migraines, fatigue/weakness, nausea and vomiting.

More chronic deficiency can lead to very serious symptoms such as abnormal heart rhythm, coronary spasms, numbness and tingling, seizures and changes in personality and behavior.

The bottom line is-it is impossible for our body to function properly without sufficient magnesium intake.

It’s important to note that magnesium deficiency cannot be detected by normal blood tests. The magnesium your body needs resides in your bones and organs. Only one percent is in the blood.

Keep in mind that deficiency is common today and that there are thousands of sites that will tell you how important magnesium is to your health.

You can help your health by  consuming nutritious whole foods that contain magnesium, but you may still ask yourself, “Is supplementary magnesium necessary?”

Finally, research the importance of balancing magnesium intake with calcium, vitamin D and K2, as advocated by many nutritional experts.

So make sure you choose only quality, body-friendly whole food supplements.

Sources include:,,