New Research Reveals More Benefits for Magnesium


Two recent studies add to the ever-growing list of benefits attributed to greater magnesium intake and higher serum levels of this all-important mineral.

The first study [1], reported in the Journal of Affective Disorders, included over 17,500 female participants in the 2007—2014 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), and found that women who had a higher intake of magnesium had a lower risk of depression. To determine the presence and/or level of depression, researchers analyzed health questionnaires provided by the study participants, and their magnesium intake was calculated via a 24-hour dietary recall.

The women that were in the top 25% in terms of magnesium intake had an adjusted risk of depression that was 53% less than those who were among the lowest 25%.

In another study [2], published in the journal Atherosclerosis, researchers investigated whether serum magnesium levels were associated with peripheral artery disease (aka peripheral arterial disease, or PAD), which the Mayo Clinic defines as “a common circulatory problem in which narrowed arteries reduce blood flow to your limbs. When you develop peripheral artery disease (PAD), your extremities — usually your legs — don't receive enough blood flow to keep up with demand.”

To obtain their answer, researchers analyzed data from nearly 14,000 participants from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study (1985 – 2016) who did not have PAD at the beginning of the study. Study subjects had their serum magnesium levels measured at two different time periods—1987 to 1989, and 1990 to 1992, and after a follow-up period spanning over 24 years, 1,364 men and women were diagnosed with PAD.

The researchers concluded that there was an association with increased serum magnesium levels and decreased risk of PAD, nothing that those whose serum magnesium levels were among the lowest 20% of all the subjects had a 30% greater risk of PAD compared to study participants whose serum magnesium levels were in the top 20%.

Researcher Xiuting Sun states, “Previous randomized trials have shown that magnesium supplementation could improve endothelial function, lower blood pressure and reduce atherosclerosis. A meta-analysis, which included more than 1 million participants from forty prospective cohort studies [3], showed that a 100 mg/day increment in magnesium intake was associated with a 22% reduction in the risk of heart failure, a 7% reduction of stroke and a 10% reduction of all-cause mortality. Our findings suggest that low serum magnesium may be a new risk factor of PAD.”

These two new studies highlight the need for all of us to be cognizant of our magnesium intake. While there are a number of foods that contain this vitally important mineral [4], research suggests that only about one-third of the magnesium we consume from food is absorbed [5,6]. To obtain the amounts of magnesium we need for optimal health, supplementation is a necessity.

The government-set Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for magnesium is 420 mg a day for males and 320 mg a day for females. A more appropriate amount to aim for, however, is the Optimal Daily Intake (ODI) standard of 500-750 mg of magnesium. Dr. Shari Lieberman, who developed the ODIs, states: "In order to attain a state of optimum health and disease prevention, we must take into our bodies’ optimum—not minimum—amounts of vitamins and minerals.

Magnesium expert Mildred Seelig suggests even more precise dosages of 2.7 mg of magnesium per pound of body weight, with “those under severe chronic stress or engaged in strenuous work/athletic training” needing a dose of up to 4.5 mg of magnesium per pound of body weight. For a 165-pound person, this equates to 445.5 mg to 742.5 mg of magnesium a day.

Each capsule of Essential Mg supplies 100 mg of magnesium from five highly bioavailable sources. Along with your efforts to include magnesium-rich foods in your diet, daily supplementation with Essential Mg is highly recommended.

[4] (page 52)
[5] Rude RK. Magnesium. In: Coates PM, Betz JM, Blackman MR, Cragg GM, Levine M, Moss J, White JD, eds. Encyclopedia of Dietary Supplements. 2nd ed. New York, NY: Informa Healthcare; 2010:527-37.
[6] Fine KD, Santa Ana CA, Porter JL, Fordtran JS. Intestinal absorption of magnesium from food and supplements. J Clin Invest 1991;88:396-402.