Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

Magnesium is an important nutrient in our diet

Magnesium is an important nutrient in our diet
beginning of content


1 min read

Magnesium is an essential mineral. It is obtained from food, absorbed in the gut and used in almost all tissues of the body, especially nerves. Illnesses involving magnesium are uncommon, and usually diagnosed by a blood test.

Magnesium rich foods

Most people get all the magnesium they need from food.

The best sources of magnesium are leafy green vegetables, pulses (lentils, soybeans, chickpeas), nuts, seeds and whole grains, spinach and potatoes.

If you have a high fat diet, you might absorb less magnesium from your food.

Magnesium is absorbed through the bowel, then stored mainly in bone and soft tissues. It is used by almost every cell in the body.

What causes magnesium deficiency?

Magnesium deficiency is rare but it can be caused by:

  • a poor diet
  • some health conditions such as type 2 diabetes or digestive problems
  • some medications (for example, fluid tablets and medicines for ulcers or reflux) can cause low magnesium levels if taken for long periods
  • alcoholism.

Magnesium deficiency in healthy people is uncommon, but it may occur in people with diabetes or with other illnesses.

Magnesium deficiency symptoms

Magnesium deficiency can cause:

  • loss of appetite
  • nausea and vomiting
  • fatigue and weakness
  • hyperexcitability
  • sleepiness
  • abnormal heart rhythms

It might be involved in:

Sometimes, people can take in too much magnesium in antacids or laxatives, but this is rare. If you have concerns about this, check with your pharmacist or doctor.

Last reviewed: April 2017

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Found 259 results

Children and vitamins

There are lots of vitamin and mineral supplements available for children, but are they necessary? Very few kids actually need to take supplements and get everything they need from a balanced diet.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

Vitamins and nutrition in pregnancy

Information on pregnancy vitamins and minerals including iron, folate, iodine, zinc, vitamin D and C, supplements, plus links to trusted resources.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

Kids' Health - Topics - Vitamins and minerals

Vitamins are substances that your body needs so that it can work properly.There are two types of vitamins.

Read more on Women's and Children's Health Network website

Vitamins - common misconceptions

There are many misconceptions about vitamins and the health benefits they offer. Vitamins play an important role in keeping the body healthy. However, taking large doses of certain vitamins can actually be harmful. For most people, it is best to get the vitamins our bodies need from eating a variety of healthy, unprocessed foods rather than by taking supplements.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Calcium and Phosphate Balance

Phosphate is a mineral which combines with calcium to form the hard structure of your bones and teeth. It comes from the food that you eat.

Read more on Kidney Health Australia website

Daily energy requirements calculator

In Australia, Energy is not a nutrient but it is something which is released from food to fuel our body. Tthe energy we get from food to fuel our body, is measured in kilojoules.

Read more on NHMRC – National Health and Medical Research Council website

Can I eat eggs if I want to be healthy? Dietitians Association of Australia

Can I eat eggs if I want to be healthy? Eggsare an economical and nutrient rich food withgood quality protein along with other vitamins and minerals

Read more on Dietitians Association of Australia website


Eggs are a good source of vitamins and minerals but like many other foods they can be contaminated with bacteria. It is important you handle and prepare eggs safely to reduce the risk of food poisoning.

Read more on WA Health website

Vitamin D - Lab Tests Online AU

Your doctor may request a vitamin D measurement as part of a general check-up because vitamin D deficiency appears to be very common in Australia

Read more on Lab Tests Online website

Nutrition in Pregnancy | myVMC

Nutrient requirements change during pregnancy. Additional energy, vitamins and minerals are necessary and foods containing harmful pathogens, alcohol and caffeine should be avoided.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice and information you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo