Chicken and spinach curry- a source of magnesium in a bowl
Nutrition, Science, Ingredients

The Importance Of Magnesium

Written by: Swisse Wellness
Swisse Wellness

You may have heard about magnesium, but did you know this mineral is important for so many different areas of our body? Getting enough of it in your diet is key to maintaining your overall health and wellbeing1. Let’s take a closer look at this key mineral.

Why magnesium is important for your wellbeing

There are three main minerals; calcium, phosphorus and magnesium which account for 98% of the body’s mineral content by weight.

Magnesium is an important part of your bones and helps keep your muscles and nerves healthy. It plays a role in over 300 metabolic reactions in your body, helping with everything from muscle function to supporting your immune system2. For healthy muscles, nerves, bones and blood sugar levels, magnesium plays a pivotal role. We can’t live without it.

When it comes to the benefits of getting enough magnesium in your diet, the list is extensive. From bone health to cardiovascular health and even improving anxiety3, it also helps with muscle recovery and may even help boost your exercise performance4. These are just some of the reasons why magnesium is important, with magnesium needed for a range of processes in the body.  

How much magnesium do I need daily

With its importance in mind, you may be asking exactly how much magnesium you need a day. Keep in mind that magnesium levels are most commonly measured with a blood test. In healthy adults, normal magnesium blood serum levels range from 0.75 – 0.95 millimol/L. The recommended dietary intake (RDI) for adults over 31 years per day according to the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) is 420 milligrams for males and 320 milligrams for females. Males and females under the age of 31, but over the age of 18 will typically need a little less5

How to include magnesium in your diet

Magnesium is found in many foods, mostly plant based. Some foods that are higher in magnesium include:  

  • Wholegrains (brown rice, grainy bread, barley, wholegrain breakfast cereals) 
  • Spinach 
  • Avocado 
  • Bananas 
  • Potatoes (cooked, skin on) 
  • Seeds 
  • Legumes 
  • Tofu 
  • Nuts
  • Fish

Meat and poultry contain very little magnesium. This is why it’s good to still keep up your plant-based food intake including vegetables and a handful of nuts and/or seeds each day.  

When it comes to getting enough magnesium, here are some quick and easy tips to get you started:  

  • Choose a wholegrain cereal for breakfast 
  • Opt for a small portion of seeds and nuts for a mid-afternoon snack 
  • Leave the skin on potatoes when cooking 
  • Include more legumes into your diet - add a can of kidney beans into casseroles, curries, soups and pasta sauce or include a cup of chickpeas or other beans to salads 
  • Add a handful of fresh spinach into your salad or sandwich or with your poached eggs

What causes low magnesium?

Low magnesium in the body can be caused by a range of factors. From lifestyle to health issues, there are plenty of reasons why you may not be getting enough magnesium. The most obvious factor is that you’re not eating enough magnesium-rich foods. However, here are some common causes of low magnesium6: 

  • Alcohol use 
  • Excessive sweating 
  • Certain medications 
  • Your diet  
  • Stress  
  • Medical conditions

Certain groups of people may be more at risk of magnesium deficiency. This includes people with gastrointestinal diseases, type 2 diabetes and older adults6.  

If you think that you’re not getting enough magnesium in your diet, it’s always best to speak to your health practitioner such as a GP or accredited practicing dietitian. Keep in mind that it is possible to get too much magnesium, so speak to your healthcare professional before changing your diet or adding supplements. They can give you tailored advice to suit your specific situation.  

What happens if I don’t get enough magnesium?

With magnesium being an essential mineral for healthy muscles, bones and blood sugar levels, it’s no surprise that you’ll start to notice if you’re not getting enough of it. Low magnesium levels due to low dietary intake may contribute to several health challenges, including: 

  • Muscle cramps and spasms 
  • Mood changes like higher levels of anxiety or depression 
  • General fatigue 
  • Sleep problems including staying asleep  
  • Impaired cognitive function 

If you include regular sources of magnesium in your diet you should be getting an adequate amount. There are also other alternatives like a magnesium supplement to help fill nutritional gaps. However, it’s always best to speak to your GP or healthcare practitioner if you’re worried about getting enough magnesium in your diet.

Keen to find out more about Magnesium? Check out our Wellness Hub for more information about magnesium including its benefits, how it aids muscle recovery and what it does for the body. You’ll also find a range of other wellness tips and tricks.


  1. Schwalfenberg GK, Genuis SJ. The Importance of Magnesium in Clinical Healthcare. Scientifica [Internet]. 2017 Sep 28;2017:1–14. Available from: 
  2. Ware M. Magnesium: Health benefits, deficiency, sources, and risks [Internet]. 2020. Available from: 
  4. Zhang Y, Xun P, Wang R, Mao L, He K. Can Magnesium Enhance Exercise Performance? Nutrients [Internet]. 2017 Aug 28;9(9):946. Available from: 
  5. Medline plus. Magnesium deficiency: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia [Internet]. 2018. Available from: 
  6. National Institutes of Health. Office of Dietary Supplements - Magnesium [Internet]. National Institutes of Health. 2016. Available from: 
Swisse Wellness

Swisse Wellness - Swisse Wellness

The copywriting team at Swisse Wellness plan, research and generate blog content with inputs from multiple teams across the business. With access to our industry-leading Science team, Product Development team, Customer Service team as well as informative Brand Managers, we have the contacts to deliver a well-rounded suite of blogs tailored to an array of wellness interests....

Nutrition, Science, Ingredients