Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in your body. It is used by virtually every organ, but is particularly important to your heart, muscles and kidneys. A variety of plant or animal-based foods contain magnesium and you can get your daily recommended intake from a well-balanced diet.
Recommended Dose and Limits
The daily recommended intake of magnesium for adult males between the ages of 19 to 30 is 400 mg and for their female counterparts, it's 310 mg. Adult men over age 31 need 420 mg, while females over age 31 need 320 mg daily. During pregnancy and lactation adult females are require 310 to 360 mg. Dietary consumption of magnesium exceeding the recommended intake has not been associated with adverse effects. However, excess use of supplemental magnesium may cause adverse effects. The tolerable upper intake level for all adults should not exceed 350 mg per day. Consult your physician before taking supplements to determine safety and dosing recommendations.
Increased Deficiency Risk
Healthy adults who eat a well-balanced diet do not commonly experience magnesium deficiency. However, some medical conditions can result in magnesium deficiency. If you have a digestive disease, like Crohn's or celiac disease, you may not absorb nutrients properly and magnesium depletion can occur. Kidney disease and poorly-controlled diabetes may also increase your risk of excess urinary loss of magnesium. The elderly and chronic alcohol drinkers have an increased risk of magnesium deficiency due to gastric complications, malnourishment or poor nutrient absorption. If you experience any of these conditions, consult your physician for magnesium dosing recommendations.
A varied diet that includes fish, lean meat, low-fat dairy products, fruits, vegetables -- particularly, leafy green vegetables -- and whole grains provides plenty of magnesium. Fish, yogurt, and milk yield 24 to 90 mg of magnesium per serving size. Spinach has 75 mg per 1/2 cup serving and okra, potatoes and bean varieties yield 35 to 57 mg per serving. Bananas, almonds, peanuts and cashews have 35 to 80 mg per serving. Whole grains including wheat bread, brown rice, bran cereal and oats have 35 to 55 mg.
If you exceed the upper limit for magnesium from supplements, you may experience acute effects like diarrhea. However, chronic excess intake of magnesium may result in confusion, abnormal cardiac rhythm and kidney function deterioration. Magnesium supplements may also interact with heart medications, antibiotics and medications for osteoporosis. Supplemental magnesium may come in the form of magnesium citrate, gluconate or lactate, which absorbs readily into your body. You should consult your physician before adding magnesium supplements to your diet.