Public Health Perspective on Magnesium

1 Lidija Šoher
1 Ines Banjari

1 Department of Food and Nutrition Research, Faculty of Food Technology, Josip Juraj Strossmayer University of Osijek, Croatia

Magnesium is a cofactor in more than 300 enzymes, it plays a vital role in energy metabolism, homeostasis of electrolites, and bone metabolism, and regulates a number of fundamental functions such as muscle contraction, neuromuscular conduction, glycemic control, and blood pressure. Magnesium deficiency has been associated with a wide range of diseases, from cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, diabetes, to anxiety and other mental disorders, migraine and osteoporosis, and especially worrying is subclinical form which is estimated to affect up to 30% of the population. Recommended dietary intake of magnesium is 300 mg and 350 mg per day for adult males and females, respectively. While highly abundant in a variety of foods, especially green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds, water is the main contributor to magnesium daily intake. Water has been the focus of a number of public health interventions aiming to improve magnesium status of populations, especially in Israel and Australia. Supplements are becoming a more important contributor to the total magnesium intake, especially among physically active individuals. Public awareness of the health benefits gained from physical activity is improving, and more individuals decide to engage in (recreational) physical activity. Even though physical activity increases the risk of magnesium deficiency, misuse of supplements due to lack of knowledge and misinformation shared on social networks can have a detrimental effect on individual’s health and physical performance.

Keywords: magnesium, deficiency, public health, water, physical activity