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Magnesium & Energy

By Shamala Pulugurtha

Occasional fatigue, or lack of energy, commonly occurs in most adults and children at some point in their lives. However, constant fatigue can affect lifestyle and impact everyday activities. The condition is often indicative of an underlying problem such as insomnia, poor nutrition, stress, infection or even diabetes and cancer. Treating the underlying cause along with a healthy diet and exercise often helps boost energy levels. Certain supplements such as magnesium may also benefit individuals with low energy levels.


Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body and is required for the proper functioning of the heart, muscles and kidneys. It also activates several enzymes in the body and plays an important role in energy metabolism. Your body needs 80 to 420 mg of magnesium per day, depending on your age and overall health, says the National Institute of Health’s Office of Dietary Supplements. You can obtain it from foods such as nuts, green leafy vegetables, legumes and whole grains. Your doctor may also recommend magnesium supplements to overcome the deficiency of the mineral and to treat high blood pressure, migraine headaches, arrhythmia, osteoporosis and premenstrual syndrome.

Low Energy levels

Individuals with low levels of magnesium in the muscles use up more energy even during moderate physical activity and, therefore, tire easily, according to a study conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The researchers of the study suggest that low dietary intake of magnesium reduces the level of the mineral in the blood and muscles and can lead to poor athletic performance. Another study, published in the March 2001 issue of the journal “Brain Research Bulletin,” reveals that low levels of magnesium ions in brain tissue lead to reduced production of energy and may cause the headaches associated with migraines. Some animal studies, such as the one published in the March 2009 issue of the journal “Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism,” reaffirm that magnesium supplements may improve blood energy metabolism and exercise performance.

Side Effects

There are no side effects associated with magnesium obtained from dietary sources. However, high doses of magnesium supplements may lead to nausea, vomiting, upset stomach, diarrhea, low blood pressure and reduced heart rate. Confusion, coma and death may occur in rare cases. Magnesium supplements also interfere with certain blood pressure, diuretic and diabetes medications and with antibiotics such as tetracycline.


You may find over-the-counter magnesium supplements at most pharmacies, but you should talk to a doctor before using them to avoid complications. Discuss the effect magnesium supplements may have on your pre-existing condition and other medications you might be taking. Your doctor may also help determine a dose that is right for you.

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