Magnesium: The Unsung Hero of Human Health

Magnesium: The Unsung Hero of Human Health

By Nicholas Zemp 


Magnesium is the 7th most abundant element in the earth’s crust and is vitally important in human health. In the human body magnesium is the 2nd most abundant mineral in the intracellular matrix,1 found mostly in the bones and muscles,2 and is involved in over 300 enzymatic reactions that regulate a diverse array of physiological systems including protein synthesis, DNA and RNA synthesis, nerve and muscle function, and regulating blood pressure and heart rhythm.3,4 With so many physiological processes relying on magnesium it should come as no surprise that having adequate amounts of magnesium would affect many aspects of our health.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and data from the NHANES study more than half of adult Americans don’t consume enough magnesium in a day from their food.5,6 Only 1% of magnesium in the body circulates in the serum making it difficult to adequately assess whether someone has proper levels.1 Hypomagnesemia is a common occurrence, and with very few clinicians able to identify the signs and symptoms of subclinical magnesium deficiency and the hugely important role of magnesium in human health, an important goal of any health regimen should be increasing one’s daily intake of magnesium.4,7

As an ion, magnesium doesn’t exist in nature in its pure elemental form; therefore, it is always bound to another molecule. Magnesium complexes can broadly be divided into two categories: organic and inorganic salts. Magnesium oxide is a common inorganic salt, and while it is a high potency form of elemental magnesium, it commonly causes gastrointestinal upset. Magnesium chelates on the other hand, e.g. glycinate, citrate, taurate, etc., are forms of organic magnesium salts and are general better absorbed and well-tolerated.8

KAL’s Magnesium Glycinate 350 is a fully chelated magnesium bis-glycinate, providing 11% elemental magnesium. It has been newly reformulated with Bioperine™ to enhance absorption and also meets the NIH’s Upper Tolerable Intake of 350 mg per serving for magnesium.6 A single serving of KAL’s Magnesium Glycinate provides 83% of the DV of magnesium and glycine, an amino acid with healthy sleep promoting effects,9,10 along with 5 mg of Bioperine™, a black pepper extract that has been shown to increase the bioavailability of hard to absorb nutrients and minerals,11 without significantly changing the pharmacokinetics of pharmaceutical drugs.12 In conclusion, magnesium is vitally important for maintaining one’s health and with over half the adult population under-consuming this important mineral it is necessary to supplement our diets with a high-quality, easily digested and highly bioavailable form of magnesium.  


1. Elin RJ. Magnesium: the fifth but forgotten electrolyte. American journal of clinical pathology. 1994;102(5):616-622.
2. Vormann J. Magnesium: nutrition and metabolism. Molecular aspects of medicine. 2003;24(1-3):27-37.
3. Rude R. Magnesium. In: Ross AC, Caballero BH, Cousins RJ, Tucker KL, Ziegler TR, eds. Modern nutrition in health and disease. 11th ed. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2012:159-175.
4. DiNicolantonio JJ, O’Keefe JH, Wilson W. Subclinical magnesium deficiency: a principal driver of cardiovascular disease and a public health crisis. Open heart. 2018;5(1):e000668.
5. USDA. Data from: Usual Nutrient Intake from Food and Beverages, by Gender and Age, What We Eat in America. NHANES 2013-2016. 2019.
6. Supplements OoD. Magnesium. US Dept. of Health and Human Services. Updated August 11, 2021. Accessed Feb 11, 2022.
7. Ford ES, Mokdad AH. Dietary magnesium intake in a national sample of US adults. The Journal of nutrition. 2003;133(9):2879-2882.
8. Ranade V, Somberg J. Bioavailability and pharmacokinetics of magnesium after administration of magnesium salts to humans. American journal of therapeutics. 2001;8(5):345-357.
9. Inagawa K, Hiraoka T, Kohda T, Yamadera W, Takahashi M. Subjective effects of glycine ingestion before bedtime on sleep quality. Sleep and Biological Rhythms. 2006;4(1):75-77.
10. Yamadera W, Inagawa K, Chiba S, Bannai M, Takahashi M, Nakayama K. Glycine ingestion improves subjective sleep quality in human volunteers, correlating with polysomnographic changes. Sleep and Biological Rhythms. 2007;5(2):126-131.
11. Badmaev V, Majeed M, Norkus EP. Piperine, an alkaloid derived from black pepper increases serum response of beta-carotene during 14-days of oral beta-carotene supplementation. Nutrition Research. 1999;19(3):381-388.
12. Volak LP, Hanley MJ, Masse G, et al. Effect of a herbal extract containing curcumin and piperine on midazolam, flurbiprofen and paracetamol (acetaminophen) pharmacokinetics in healthy volunteers. Br J Clin Pharmacol. Feb 2013;75(2):450-62. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2125.2012.04364.x
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