20 Magnesium Benefits + Side Effects, Dosing, Sources

Magnesium is an essential nutrient that helps improve gut health, prevent eclampsia, and potentially improve a wide variety of health conditions. Is there enough in your diet? Find out here.

What is Magnesium?

Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral found in our body [1]. It is essential to all living cells and vital for numerous physiological functions [2].

Magnesium is required for the production of ATP (the main source of energy in our cells) [3], and the production of DNA, RNA, and proteins [4].

Magnesium plays an important role in cell-to-cell communication [5].

Over 300 enzymes require the presence of magnesium to function properly [3].

Because of its positive charge, magnesium stabilizes the cellular membranes [2].

Magnesium is important for:

Magnesium Deficiency

Magnesium deficiency is rare. Early signs include nausea, vomiting, and weakness; chronic deficiency may have long-term complications [9].


Nutritional magnesium deficiency increases the susceptibility of the pancreas towards disease, by elevating calcium concentrations. Elevated calcium is an established risk factor for pancreatic inflammation (pancreatitis).

Magnesium administration reduced pancreatic enzyme activities, tissue swelling and death, and inflammation during pancreatitis in rats [10].

Kidney Decline

Low magnesium is associated with increased risk of death and kidney function decline in chronic kidney disease patients as well as mortality in dialysis patients [3].

Cisplatin, a commonly used chemotherapeutic for ovarian and other cancers, reduces magnesium levels in most patients and causes acute kidney injury in 25-30% of patients.

Magnesium supplementation during cisplatin treatment protects against cisplatin-mediated acute kidney injury in mice [11].

Additionally, magnesium supplement therapy was significantly associated with both reduced frequency and reduced severity of kidney toxicity in patients receiving cisplatin [12].