The Magnesium Story - How Much Should One Consume Daily?

Posted On Nov 6, 2019 by Dr. Max MacCloud DO, ND, PhD

Magnesium is one of, if not the most important, substances in the body. It is involved in an estimated 500 different enzymatic reactions, far more than any other mineral.

There is no specific 'Magnesium Special Interest Group' as exists for numerous other nutrients like Calcium. There is no primary industry that benefits from the promotion of Magnesium as the Dairy Industry does from Calcium. In spite of this, Magnesium is one of the most important substances required for optimum health on the planet and most people are not even aware of it.

Interestingly, every large-scale study performed shows that well over half of the population, and likely a much higher percentage, does not even consume the RDA amounts each day. When one considers that the RDA amounts are likely to be far below optimum levels, we can begin to understand the extent of the problem.

How Much Magnesium Should A Person Consume Each Day?

One of the problems is that there is no truly accurate test of magnesium status currently available. Less than 1% of total body magnesium is in the blood serum. Concentration in various cells and tissues varies greatly making interpretation very difficult.

The RDA is 320mg for women and 420mg for men, however, anyone that has studied the RDAs, knows that they are grossly inadequate and were never intended to provide levels for optimum health.

More Optimal Levels: The top researchers in the field, including Dr. Mildred Seelig, Ph.D. (now deceased), studied this extensively. She came up with a recommendation based on a person's weight (7-10mg/Kg as the base amount, and 2X that depending on various circumstances. This approach makes more sense than a one-size-fits-all level. For simplicity, this translates to a minimum of 450mg per 100lbs. of body weight under 'normal' conditions. For those under significant amounts of stress (which is everyone), double that amount daily.

So, if you're 'stressed' physically, chemically, or mentally, shoot for 900mg per 100lbs. of body weight, per day.

Why Is Magnesium Deficiency So Common?

In addition to most people simply not consuming enough of this vital mineral, there are additional factors that contribute to this problem and all of the negative health outcomes associated with it.

1. Increased magnesium requirements are one of the major reasons for widespread magnesium deficiency.

Here are some of the documented factors that increase magnesium needs and/or losses:

  1. Pregnancy
  2. Prenatal stress
  3. Psychological stress
  4. Physical stress
  5. Environmental stress
  6. Exercise
  7. Sweating
  8. Anabolic activity (building muscle, recovering from illness or injury, etc.)

2. Soil Depletion: Our soil is depleted of minerals and has been for several decades. Soil mineral depletion has been well documented for over 70 years. It is due to our 'modern' approach to farming and lack of comprehensive soil rebuilding programs.

With the advent of 'modern farming' practices, beginning as far back as the early 1900s, as the nascent fertilizer industry was being developed, it was demonstrated that only three substances were required for plants to grow: Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium. What they didn't tell the farmers (their potential customers) was that plants absorb over two dozen minerals from the soil if those minerals are present in the soil AND, even though not needed to grow, those nutrients must be in the soil for the plants to convert them into essential nutrients for humans and livestock.

The fertilizer companies were only interested in selling fertilizer and making a profit. They clearly didn't give a rat's ass about the health of the foods grown on this artificially supplemented soil. Their sales pitch was simple: 'Invest in our fertilizers and it will increase your crop yields and therefore your profits.' It's very difficult to know how many farmers bought into this, not realizing the long-term negative health effects on the final consumer, however, the impact has been devastating to the health of our nation.

This was the beginning of what could become the end of health & civilization as we know it. It takes a few generations for the full impact of nutritional deficiencies and imbalances to take effect. See the works of Weston Price, DDS, and Francis Pottenger, MD, to learn more.

Magnesium is one of the many minerals that has not been put back in our devitalized soil.

3. Food Processing: While there are a number of plants that 'on paper' contain significant amounts of Mg (such as anything green, as it is part of the chlorophyll molecule), poor soil quality, together with excessive processing, strips many vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients from the final 'food-like' product. The textbooks and food charts do not reflect these losses.

Around the same time as, if not a bit before, the fertilizer industry got going, the burgeoning food-processing industry began ramping up. Over the course of a few decades, we went from consuming mostly whole, real foods, to consuming processed, fractionated foods.

What ultimately became the current 'Big Food Giants,' was the result of taking real foods and processing them in various ways to create 'value-added,' processed foods that offered various convenience factors. These processed foods were heavily advertised as being superior to the real, whole foods they were replacing and I must admit that the companies did a fabulous job of creating brands that sucked people into their fabricated benefits and the enhanced social status associated with consuming these products. Basically, Americans got suckered in.

I'm not saying that all food processing is bad, there are legitimate reasons for some processing. The problems arise from over-processing and processing nutrients out of our foods. Basically, this was an uncontrolled experiment using the entire population as guinea pigs. As could have been expected, the deleterious effects took some time to show up, especially since no one appears to have been monitoring for this potential negative impact.

4. Excessive Calcium intake also depletes &/or increases magnesium requirements. Calcium competes with Magnesium for absorption, thereby suppressing the amount of Mg that is absorbed and dramatically increasing the amount needed to stay in equilibrium. The Dairy Industry is huge and spends billions on lobbying & advertising to promote their products as good sources of calcium. They have trained the public to seek high amounts of calcium to create demand for their products. There is no large, organized 'green-leafy vegetable' or Magnesium lobbying or advertising group to counter the largely false and misleading advertising of the dairy industry.

5. High levels of 'Stress': All types of stress cause the body to use more, and/or lose magnesium. Mg is also lost in sweat, thereby further depleting stores and increasing the need for those who sweat and engage in sweat-producing activities regularly (like exercise).

6. Alcohol consumption also causes increased losses of Mg.

7. Medications: There's a huge list of drugs that deplete Mg levels. They fall into the following categories: Acid blockers, Antacids, Antibiotics, Antiviral agents, Blood Pressure Medications, Central Nervous System (CNS) Stimulants, Cholesterol agents, Corticosteroids, Hormone replacement therapy, Oral contraceptives, Immunosuppressants, Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), Aromatase inhibitors, Osteoporosis agents, SERMS (Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators), & Sulfonamides.

8. Miscellaneous: There are also a handful of other things that interfere with Mg including calcium supplements, coffee, estrogen dominance, high cortisol levels, high sugar diet, malabsorption of any sort, and mineral oil.

For all of the above reasons, it is imperative to aggressively and consistently consume magnesium-rich foods and to supplement appropriately to achieve magnesium balance at an optimum level.

We have developed some of the best & most innovative Magnesium support products available. They are just now in the process of being released. To learn more, go to or contact us. We'll do our best to add them to our offerings in the Fall of 2019.