Previously, I posted on the signs and symptoms of magnesium deficiency, why you need magnesium, and which foods are high in magnesium. Today, I want to briefly discuss the 10 Persons at Risk for Magnesium Deficiency.

The Elderly

One reason the elderly are at risk is that older adults tend to consume less magnesium in their diet. Also, as people age, their body is less able to absorb the magnesium in the food they eat.

Another potential cause is high intake of medicines. As people age, the amount of prescription drugs tends to increase. Many of these medications interfere with magnesium absorption.

Magnesium deficiencies are associated with several diseases, including Alzheimer’s. Unfortunately, multivitamins do not contain 100% of the US Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of magnesium. So, a magnesium supplement may be necessary to prevent deficiency in the elderly.

Children with Autism

Children with autism often have sensory processing and motor issues that affect their choice of food. The diet is often severely limited. What is known as the “white diet” is common. For example, macaroni and cheese, chicken nuggets, apple juice, crackers are common favorites. A diet limited to only white foods is going to be deficient in many nutrients, including magnesium.

If a child is severely limiting their food intake, a multivitamin with minerals is recommended. A magnesium supplement may be necessary as well. Check with your doctor before supplementing with magnesium. Every child’s nutrition needs are unique, and too much of one nutrient can negatively affect the status of another nutrient in the body.

People who Restrict Carbohydrates

Many of the foods high in carbohydrates are also high in magnesium. For example, whole grain breads and cereals, beans and peas, and leafy green vegetables are high in magnesium. In contrast, foods that are low in carbohydrates also tend to be low in magnesium. For example, meat and cheese. Thus, if you are on a low carb or ketogenic diet, it may be necessary to supplement your diet with magnesium.

People who Consume Certain Types of Antacids

Two types of antacids, known as Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPI) and H2 inhibitors, interfere with magnesium absorption. These are medications that reduce the amount of acid produced in the stomach. Reducing acid production increases the pH of the stomach. This in turn decreases the ability of stomach to break down magnesium into a form the body can use. As a result, people taking these types of antacids are at increased risk of magnesium deficiency.

Below are the most common PPIs and H2s.

PPIs include

Esomeprazole (Nexium)
Lansoprazole (Prevacid 24HR)
Omeprazole (Losec, Omesec, Prilosec OTC)
Omeprazole with sodium bicarbonate (Zegerid)

H2 Inhibitors include

Cimetidine (Tagamet HB)
Famotidine (Calmicid, Fluxid, Pepcid AC)
Nizatidine (Axid, Axid AR)
Ranitidine (Tritec, Wal-Zan, Zantac 25, Zantac 75, Zantac 150)

People with Diabetes

People who are diabetic are at risk for magnesium deficiency. In diabetes, blood sugars run high. In an attempt to flush out the extra sugars, the kidneys increase urine production. As a result, there will be an increased loss of important nutrients including magnesium.


People with Crohn’s Disease

Crohn’s disease causes many digestive issues including frequent bouts of diarrhea. As a result, magnesium is lost. Crohn’s disease also interferes with absorption of magnesium.

People with Intestinal Removal

The intestines are where the majority of nutrient absorption occurs. When part of the intestines are removed, or not functioning properly, magnesium absorption is decreased.

People Who are Alcohol Dependent

People who are alcohol dependent don’t usually eat a diet sufficient in nutrients. Also, what they do eat gets excreted through the urine. Thus, people who are alcohol dependent are at risk for magnesium deficiency.

People Who Take Thiazide Diuretics

All diuretics cause increased urination in order to prevent water retention. Thiazide diuretics are used to treat blood pressure. Unfortunately, a side effect is increased loss of important nutrients including magnesium.

Below are the Most Common Generic Names of Thiazide Diuretics:


People Eating the American Diet

The American diet is high in processed foods and refined breads and cereals. It is also high in meat and cheese, and low in whole grains, vegetables and fruit. The result is inadequate intake of many nutrients, including magnesium.

The Effect of The Refining Process

When whole grain breads are refined to make white bread, the outer bran and germ are removed. The same thing happens when brown rice is refined to make white rice. The majority of vitamins, minerals and fiber are located in the bran and the germ. Thus, most of the nutrients are removed during the refining process.

There is virtually no magnesium, vitamin E, vitamin B6, thiamin, niacin, or folate remaining in the refined product before fortification.

In 1941, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stated that all “fortified” or “enriched” labeled breads, cereals, and rice must include iron, riboflavin, thiamin, and niacin. The folate requirement was added later. Thus, all “fortified” and “enriched” breads are good sources of iron, riboflavin, thiamin, niacin, and folate.

They are NOT, however, good sources of magnesium, vitamin E, or vitamin B6. Thus, the American diet is severely lacking in many nutrients, including magnesium.

Here is a table with Magnesium Requirements By Age


 What Causes Magnesium Deficiency?

Magnesium Requirements By Age



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