Magnesium is a key mineral in bone structure.

How does magnesium affect your bones?

Magnesium activates an enzyme needed to convert Vitamin D into its most active form, increasing our ability to absorb calcium. The bones themselves contain about two-thirds of the body’s magnesium.

My magnesium story

When I was twenty-two years old, I was advised to take magnesium with calcium to help me sleep. Over the years, I have experimented with various forms and amounts of magnesium and ratios of calcium to magnesium.

Today, I rely on the RBC (red blood cell) magnesium lab test to determine if I’m consuming the proper amount. I also adjust my intake if I experience symptoms of deficiency or excess.

Which foods are rich in magnesium?

Many foods contain magnesium. The chart below includes several foods that are rich in magnesium and available in the United States.  The amounts of magnesium in a particular food may be higher or lower than shown in the chart below, due to variations in soil composition and growing conditions. Use the chart to give you an approximate amount of magnesium in a specific food. You can check the USDA FoodData Central for the magnesium content of your favorite foods.

Beans (black, cacao)
Nuts (almonds, Brazil, cashew, coconut, hazelnuts or filberts, macadamia, pecans, pine, pistachio, walnuts
Seafood (wild salmon)
Seeds (pumpkin, squash, sesame, sunflower, watermelon)
Other (blackstrap molasses, kelp)

How much magnesium do you need?

According to the Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) at the Institute of Medicine, the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for magnesium is 400-420 milligrams (mg) per day for adult men, 310-320 mg for adult women. RDA is the amount of a nutrient the FNB estimates is required to meet the nutritional needs of nearly all healthy people.

Your dietary requirements are unique. Please consult your healthcare provider for advice on your particular needs.

Which magnesium foods do you like?

Let me know your favorites in the comments below – I’d love to hear from you.


For more information:

Your Bones: How you can prevent osteoporosis & have strong bones for life
By Lara Pizzorno with Jonathan V. Wright

Vitamin and Mineral Supplement Fact Sheets