Magnesium Deficiency - Are You Getting Enough?


Magnesium Basics

How much is Really Enough?

Below are the Canadian government’s official recommendations for daily Magnesium Intake. The U.S. government’s are simmilar.

A chart of Canada's official recommendations for daily magnesium intake for all age groups and sexes.

There are many Doctors who specialise in magnesium who agree that these are far too low.

For instance, Dr. Carolyn Dean MD, who is an expert on magnesium and its nutritional benefits, maintains that even healthy individuals need to consume at least 300 milligrams of magnesium each day in order to replenish losses due to normal bodily processes like metabolism and excretion. This figure represents almost the entire Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for magnesium and does not include any additional losses due to stress or exercise. 

The Real Vitamin & Mineral Book further reinforces this view with its recommendation of a daily intake of 500-750 milligrams of magnesium for adults. This emphasis on proactive health rather than the bare minimums designed to prevent deficiency indicates that higher doses are likely necessary for optimal wellbeing. Moreover, Dr. Mark Sircus wrote in his book Transdermal Magnesium Therapy that males who weigh approximately 200 pounds should receive 600-800 milligrams a day whereas 150 pound females should get 450-600 milligrams a day. 

It is clear from the work done by these experts that far more than the RDA’s recommended allowance is required in order for humans to achieve optimal health and wellbeing. Furthermore, their research provides further insight into how much magnesium each person needs depending on their individual weight, since our bodies vary significantly in size and composition. Ultimately, it appears as though consuming much higher levels of this essential mineral than those suggested by DRIs can improve overall bodily functioning and support better long-term health outcomes.

Why? Because Official Recommendations have not changed to reflect the drastically different human environments of today.

For an accurate assessment of our daily magnesium needs, there are three factors that need to be taken into consideration.

1. Daily Magnesium Loss

Firstly, we must understand how much magnesium the human body uses and loses each day - from excretion through sweat, urine and feces, as well as through internal processes such as cell production and transportation. To get an accurate understanding of how much we need to consume in order to maintain adequate levels of magnesium intake, we must factor in these losses. Most importantly, we need to consider that the body’s stress response system (which includes the hypothalamus, pituitary and adrenals organs) is magnesium dependent. This means that LITERALLY ALL STRESS depolets magnesium. Why is this important? Because the amount of environmental stress in our daily environments is MUCH HIGHER than it was when the official recommendations for daily magnesium intake were last updated.

2. Daily Magnesium Absorption

Secondly, our ability to absorb magnesium needs to be taken into account when establishing an appropriate daily requirement. This varies depending on the form it’s ingested in; its absorption rate can be affected by other nutrients present in the same meal or snack, or by any medications or supplements being taken at that time. Furthermore, different forms of magnesium can have varying absorption rates according to an individual's digestive system health – a healthy gut microbiome means better absorption whereas damage or disruption may reduce absorption rates significantly. Gut health is a much bigger issue now - and growing - than it was when the magnesium recommendations were set.

3. Magnesium in Food Supply 

Finally, the third factor that should be evaluated when setting an daily magnesium requirement is the level of magnesium present in our current food supply; modern farming techniques can and have depleted soil minerals such as magnesium since these magnesium requirements were initially set. 

Times Have Changed and Experts Agree

On all three aforementioned factors that impact our bodies’ magnesium levels, things have changed dramatically since the daily requirements were set:

  1. Our daily magnesium loss has dramatically increased because are modern environments and lifestyles include far more stress then ever before. this stress can range from psychological stress to constant exposure and overstimulation from digital technology.
  2. Our ability to absorb magnesium from our diets has also been impaired largely because gut health has continued to decline over the years and is in worse shape than when the daily magnesium intake requirements were set.
  3. The amount of magnesium in our modern food supply has also dropped noticeably do to Modern farming practices and other issues.

Unfortunately the daily recommended intake set by our governments for magnesium have not been changed and updated to reflect these critical issues. This is exactly why medical experts that have additional expertise in magnesium's roles in the human body are all sounding the alarms that we need to intake more magnesium than what the official recommendations are telling us. If you want to learn more about the statistics of magnesium deficiency and whether or not you are deficient in magnesium please read our next article titled magnesium deficiency am I deficient?

Posted By

Janelle Van Driesen

Janelle is one of our passionate writers that loves helping people understand health and nutrition.