What is it? Magnesium is a macromineral, which means that relative to other nutrients, we need to get fairly large amounts of it each day from the foods we eat.

Why do we need it? Magnesium is a multi-tasking mineral, helping out in every organ and in many tissues. Working together with fellow macromineral calcium, magnesium protects our nerves and helps our muscles to properly contract and relax, including the muscles of our heart and cardiovascular system. The mineral also assists in the building of proteins and in the production and transport of energy throughout the body.

How much do we need? A person's daily needs for magnesium are designated in milligrams (mg) and will depend on age and gender:


  • 0 to 6 months of age: 30 mg
  • 7 to 12 months of age: 75 mg
  • 1 to 3 years of age: 80 mg
  • 4 to 8 years of age: 130 mg
  • 9 to 13 years of age: 240 mg


  • 14 to 18 years of age: 360 mg
  • 19 to 30 years of age: 310 mg
  • 31 years of age and older: 320 mg

Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding may require more magnesium.


  • 14 to 18 years of age: 410 mg
  • 19 to 30 years of age: 400 mg
  • 31 years of age and older: 420 mg

Where is it found?

Meats and other animal products

  • halibut
  • salmon

Grains, seeds, legumes

  • black beans
  • buckwheat
  • flaxseeds
  • pumpkin seeds
  • quinoa
  • sesame seeds

Fruits and vegetables

  • avocado broccoli
  • banana
  • cucumber
  • sea kelp
  • spinach
  • summer squash
  • swiss chard

Amy Toffelmire