In ‘The Foundation Series’ thus far, we have focussed on the macronutrients; namely protein, carbohydrates, fat and fibre. It is now time for a change; an inside look into the major nutrients we require on a daily basis. All of these nutrients (read: vitamins and minerals) are important in their own way, and each week we will investigate a new one.

First up is magnesium, I have no shame, I’m a total nutrition nerd. Magnesium is my favourite nutrient all the way!

I take it every day, and if I miss a day, I really do notice the difference. I find that this mineral helps everyone I prescribe it to.

What is magnesium?

Magnesium is a mineral, a chemical element and all round hero! It is characterised by the chemical symbol ‘Mg’ and the atomic number of 12 on the periodic table. It is present in many forms, but is traditionally a shiny grey solid.

Why do we need it?

We need magnesium because it is required for the efficient functioning of 300 enzymes within the body. Still need more excuses…it is involved in glucose/fat metabolism, energy production, muscle relaxation, formation of bones/teeth, the absorption of calcium, potassium and Vitamin C, cardiovascular health and nerve function. It also reduces symptoms of PMS, constipation and muscle cramping and exerts anti-inflammatory benefits. Magnesium is useful in cases of migraines, diabetes, hypertension, heart failure, constipation, mental health, insomnia or irregular sleep patterns and asthma.

Deficiency signs.

Deficiency signs include nausea, weight loss, muscle cramping/spasms, diarrhoea, vomiting, irritability, tremors, confusion and loss of co-ordination.

Best food sources. 

  • Nuts and seeds
  • Wholegrains
  • Dark chocolate
  • Dark leafy green vegetables
  • Tofu
  • Avocado
  • Banana
  • Fish

How much do we need?

The Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) for magnesium is 300-400mcg/day.

High sugar diets, diabetes, high alcohol consumption and some medications can affect magnesium levels in the body, increasing levels of magnesium in urine output.

**I always recommend checking in with your healthcare practitioner and/or nutritionist if you feel like you before purchasing any supplements and/or if you feel like you would benefit from supplemental help. They can also guide you on how best to reach your RDI.


Check out the following editions of ‘The Foundation Series’ for more information.

The Foundation Series – Protein: The 411

The Foundation Series – Protein: Sources

The Foundation Series – Protein: Plant Protein Cheat Sheet

The Foundation Series – Carbohydrates: The 411

The Foundation Series – Fibre: The 411

The Foundation Series – Fat: The 411