All the secrets of magnesium: its role and what foods contain it?

  • 08/08/2019
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Known for its positive effects on stress and irritability, magnesium also plays an important role in nerve transmissions and muscle relaxation.

But how is magnesium obtained through food and how can a potential deficiency be detected?

The fourth most common mineral in the body, magnesium is involved in hundreds of reactions in the human body.

The human body contains about 25 g of magnesium distributed as follows:

– 55% in bone tissue (bone, teeth) or about 14g

– 27% in muscle tissue (muscles) or about 7g

– 18% in vital organs (liver) or about 4.5g

The body does not have the capacity to store excess magnesium, so any excess will be eliminated by the kidneys.


The assimilation of magnesium obtained through food will be more effective in the presence of vitamin B6.


Where to find it in our diet?

Foods rich in magnesium can be of animal or plant origin.

When a food contains more than 50mg/100g, it is considered to be rich in magnesium.


Cocoa – 520mg
Flaxseed – 372mg
Sunflower seed – 364mg
Molluscs – 130mg
Dark chocolate – 110mg
Wholemeal bread – 80mg
Dried fruit – 55mg
Whole grain rice – 43mg
Banana, avocado – 30mg


Magnesium has many benefits:

Neuromuscular excitability: magnesium will release serotonin, a stress-reducing and soothing molecule, which not only reduces stress but also irritability. Consuming enough magnesium by maintaining a balanced diet therefore helps to calm sleeping disorders, for example.

Muscular contraction: magnesium is known to be a muscle relaxant, in fact, it is necessary for muscle contraction and relaxation. It also helps to limit muscle cramps, spasms and muscle tetany. It is therefore essential when you practice a high-endurance sport. It also regulates the heart rate.

Bone mineralization: half of the magnesium in the body is found in bone tissue (bones and teeth). It allows a good fixation of calcium which guarantees the strength of the bones.

Blood coagulation: a magnesium deficiency can lead to the formation of blood platelets and therefore thrombus or clot.

Immune system: in addition to participating in the formation of antibodies and thus strengthening the immune system, magnesium has an anti-inflammatory and antiallergic role.

Magnesium also plays a role in lipid metabolism, protein synthesis and glucose degradation.

The ANSES recommends a daily magnesium intake of 420 mg for men and 360 mg for women.

Feed. meals provide you with 33% of your recommended daily magnesium intake.


Today, many people live with a magnesium deficiency (also called hypomagnesemia) without even knowing it.

Elderly people are particularly affected due to lower dietary magnesium absorption and age-related kidney (urinary) losses.

For women, oral contraception can lead to magnesium deficiency. Often, this deficiency is responsible for vomiting in the early stages of pregnancy or painful contractions in the uterus.

The symptoms of a deficit are:

Nervous disorders: severe fatigue, headaches, dizziness, hyperemotivism, insomnia, tremors

Peripheral disorders: spasmophilia attacks, cramps, tetany attacks, tingling, tingling

Other: fragility of nails, hair and teeth

If the adoption of a balanced diet is not enough to meet your daily magnesium needs, dietary supplements are many and varied. Consult your doctor to find an appropriate supplement.

There are several forms of magnesium-rich dietary supplements such as:

Inorganic magnesium salts: oxide, hydroxide and magnesium chloride

Organic magnesium salts: gluconate, lactate, aspartate and magnesium citrate

Organic salt complexes: magnesium bisglycinate

However, these supplements are contraindicated for people with kidney disease.

Be careful not to exceed the daily dose prescribed by your doctor in order to avoid certain side effects that could affect your nervous system.


Magnesium is an essential mineral that plays a role in neuromuscular excitability, muscle contraction, bone mineralization, blood coagulation and the proper functioning of the immune system.The ANSES recommends a daily intake of 420 mg for men and 360 mg for women.

Magnesium is mainly present in cocoa, oilseeds, dark chocolate, whole meal bread, and dried fruits but also molluscs.

Deficiencies are quite frequent and are responsible for nervous disorders and peripheral disorders but also for the fragility of nails, hair and teeth.

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