Mar 21, 2018

Why and When Should You Track Your Magnesium Biomarker?

Did you know that around half of the US population consumes less than the daily recommended amount of magnesium? This happens due to an excessive intake of processed foods over natural non-processed foods.

Magnesium is an electrolyte which is of utmost importance to maintain strong bones, regulate blood pressure, regulate blood sugar levels, ensure adequate muscle and nerve function, maintain the heart rhythm, and energy production.

What Happens if You Do Not Consume Enough Magnesium?

Magnesium deficiency is also known as hypomagnesemia. This can occur if your dietary intake is deficient of magnesium. Hypomagnesemia can produce a wide variety of symptoms such as weakness, fatigue, loss of appetite, muscle cramps, nausea, and even seizures and cardiac arrhythmias. However when the deficiency is mild or moderate, there may be no symptoms present, and the only way to know, is through a screening blood test.

Hypomagnesemia is also associated with other conditions such as depression, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and migraine headaches.

What Conditions or Diseases can Cause Abnormal Magnesium Levels?

Hypomagnesemia (low magnesium levels) may result from inadequate intake of dietary magnesium, or from conditions like chronic diarrhoea, malabsorption, alcoholism, or chronic stress.

Hypermagnesemia (high magnesium levels) is something that happens very rarely because the kidney usually eliminates the excess of this electrolyte. Nevertheless, it can occur due to excessive ingestion of magnesium-rich antacids, and in cases where pregnant women with preeclampsia or eclampsia (a life-threatening condition that can happen during the last months of pregnancy) are receiving intravenous magnesium sulfate to prevent convulsions.

Ensure adequate magnesium in your diet

Magnesium can be widely found in many foods, such as green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, fruit, meat, fish, whole grains, and even in some fortified foods like breakfast cereals. Beverages like milk, tap water, mineral water, and bottled water, also contain magnesium, even though its concentrations can vary depending on the brand. Usually, deionized bottled water does not contain magnesium.

The daily recommended magnesium dietary intake is 400mg for healthy adult men, and 320mg for healthy adult women. If you do suffer from chronic renal disease, diabetes, chronic diarrhoea or any condition that can lead to malabsorption (heavy alcohol intake), seek medical and dietetic advice as to how much daily magnesium you need.

Keep in mind that processed foods, and vegetables or fruits that have been treated with fertilisers, may not contain enough magnesium for you to reach the daily recommended dose. Magnesium supplements can be taken orally, seek medical guidance. Intravenous magnesium sulfate is used under strict medical vigilance when treating particular conditions such as severe hypomagnesemia and preeclampsia or eclampsia.

How and When to Track This Magnesium Biomarker?

Since it is not a usual part of a routine blood panel, your doctor will determine that you need to get tested for your magnesium levels when there are any signs or symptoms that suggest magnesium imbalance, or if you have chronic conditions such as uncontrolled diabetes or renal failure.

Since only 1% of our total body magnesium content is in the blood, your blood magnesium biomarker is not a very accurate measurement of the body magnesium level, but it is the best tool available. And occasionally your doctor may also order a 24-hour urine magnesium test.

Blood magnesium levels must be correlated with physical examination findings and other electrolytes such as potassium, calcium, and sodium. Usually, hypomagnesemia is associated with abnormality of other electrolytes.


This magnesium biomarker, along with the other key electrolytes, is a simple blood test which can say a lot about your health status, and it can be useful even if you do not have symptoms. If you already suffer from associated diseases or have any of the non-specific symptoms mentioned above, then you should track your magnesium level.

Just like many of your other biomarkers, disease can be detected in your blood test long before your body warns you that something is wrong. Being proactive about your health and tracking these biomarkers can lead to early detection and treatment or preventative measures taken, alleviating health consequences!

If you’re interested in learning more about the importance of tracking your magnesium levels, read on more about it in our biomarker post here!


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