magnesium food sources for vegans
Medically reviewed by Sara Osman,RD,PT

Introduction

Magnesium is the fourth most common mineral in the human body after calcium, sodium, and potassium and it is involved in more than 300 enzymatic processes in the body[1,2,6].

It also plays a role in the maintenance of intracellular levels of potassium and calcium[1,2,5].

Research indicates that newborns have 760mg of magnesium at birth, about 5g at 4-5 months and 25g when adult[2].

  • Magnesium is absorbed along the entire intestinal tract, with maximal absorption occurring at the distal jejunum and ileum [3].
  • Approximately 30-40% of the magnesium consumed from food is absorbed by the body[1,3].
  • Magnesium absorption is inversely proportional to the amount of magnesium consumed[3].
  • Ageing reduces absorption by 30% or so[6].
  • The total magnesium content in a healthy individual is estimated to be around 20-28g [7].
  • Almost 50-60% of the magnesium in the human body is stored in the bones and the rest is in soft tissues and muscles. [1,6]
  • Less than 1% is in blood serum and these levels are kept under tight control and the biological half-life of magnesium in the body is about 1000 hours (42 days) [1,6].
  • The kidney regulates the magnesium content in the body and limits urinary excretion in case of deficient levels. [1]
  • Approximately, 12o mg of magnesium is excreted every day [1]
  • Also, smoking cigarettes reduces plasma magnesium concentration [6].

Body Functions

Recommended Daily Intake

how much magnesium is recommended daily
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Deficiency Symptoms

Magnesium Food Sources

foods high in magnesium
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Excessive Intake/ Toxicity Side Effects

Groups At Risk of Magnesium Deficiency

Magnesium Interaction With Other Nutrients

  • ProteinMagnesium absorption is lower when protein intake is less than 30g/day [3,4]. A higher protein intake may increase renal magnesium excretion, perhaps because an increased acid load increases urinary magnesium excretion[3].
  • Zinc – High intakes of zinc (142 mg/day) in supplemental form may decrease magnesium absorption[2,4].
  • Vitamin D The active form of vitamin D appears to enhance intestinal magnesium absorption, to a small extent[3,4].
  • Phosphorus Phosphorus may decrease magnesium absorption, phosphate binding to magnesium may explain decreases in intestinal magnesium absorption [3].
  • Calcium and Sodium – High calcium intakes (2600 mg/day) accompanied with high sodium intakes may contribute towards negative magnesium balance increasing its urinary output [2,3].
  • Fibre and Phytic acid – High intakes of dietary fibre (40–50 g/day)which contains phytic acid lowers magnesium absorption probably due to bindings of phosphate groups on phytic acid [2,3,4].

Nutrient Profiles For Food Groups

Fruits ( i )

Raw or frozen – 14.89 mg
Canned – 11.06 mg
Dried 12.52 mg
Juice – 13.54 mg

Legumes ( i )

Flour – 226 mg
Dry – 172.47 mg
Raw- 116.06 mg
Cooked – 58.23 mg
Canned – 33.78 mg

Nuts & Seeds ( i )

Nuts – 134.45 mg
Seeds – 187.56 mg

Veggies ( i )

Dried – 65.84 mg
Raw or frozen – 35.03 mg
Cooked – 40.63 mg
Canned – 35.15 mg

Cereal grains & Flour ( i )

Flour – 88.41 mg
Raw grains – 130.60 mg
Cooked – 32.67 mg

Oils ( i )

Cooking oil – 0.31 mg
Other edible oils – 0.38 mg

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Medically reviewed by Sara Osman,RD,PT

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