How to interpret your magnesium result, common questions, and next steps to take

Magnesium is one of the most important minerals in the body. It is essential for energy production and important for your brain and bone health, blood glucose control, DNA and genetic material, blood pressure, detoxification processes, and for helping to activate vitamin D in your body. In fact, low magnesium can prevent vitamin D levels from increasing with supplementation and can alter the effects of vitamin D on health outcomes.

It’s believed that about 80% of Americans don’t get enough magnesium, and as you age, your body becomes less efficient at absorbing magnesium. The whole blood magnesium test offered by GrassrootsHealth includes the amount of magnesium in your blood cells as well as the plasma/serum, which is a better indicator of magnesium status than the serum magnesium test offered by most doctor’s offices and hospitals.

How to read your results

You can access your Magnesium results by clicking on the “Mg + Elements” tab at the top of your “my Test Results” page.

The results page will look as follows, with your current value indicated at the top of the results table below the graph, and all results plotted by time in the graph above the results table.

NOTE: The image below is for demonstration only and does not reflect your personal results.

What magnesium level do you want to aim for?

The reference range for magnesium (range of the average population the lab serves, does not necessarily indicate optimal range for health) is 29 – 51 mg/L. Aiming for the higher end of this range is likely a good target to help ensure you are getting enough magnesium and to avoid magnesium deficiency.

Up to 60% of the US population is estimated to be deficient in magnesium. Deficient magnesium levels can be due to insufficient magnesium in the diet, as well as problems with kidney function, alcoholism, and the use of diuretics and proton pump inhibitors. Foods high in magnesium include kelp, nuts, green vegetables, and whole grains.

What can cause a low magnesium level?

Magnesium deficiency may present as asymptomatic, or may lead to symptoms such as muscle cramps, anxiety, depression, tremors, irregular heartbeat, and others. Besides low magnesium intake, there are several causes of magnesium deficiency, including gastrointestinal and kidney disorders, the use of certain medications (such as diuretics and proton pump inhibitors), excessive sweating, high intake of caffeine and alcohol, prolonged stress, depleted soils, and processed food diets which lack magnesium.

Learn more about what could be contributing to a lower-than-expected magnesium level here.

How can you choose the right magnesium supplement for you?

Magnesium supplements come in many different compounds, forms, and types… learn about some key items to consider when choosing a magnesium supplement for your health here.

Can taking Epsom salt baths and applying magnesium solutions to your skin increase magnesium levels in the body? Learn more here.

Learn more about variability among magnesium supplement products here.

Check out some high quality magnesium supplements from our Trusted Brands here.

What health conditions could be related to low magnesium levels?

An estimated 42% of young adults have chronic, ongoing magnesium deficiency, which could lead to several health complaints.

Magnesium is needed for hundreds of enzymatic reactions in the body. Magnesium plays a significant role in cellular metabolism and protein synthesis, and when deficient, can lead to problems with muscle, bone, nerve, and heart health. The effects of low magnesium can include everything from fatigue and loss of appetite to tremors and muscle cramps. Severe deficiency can cause cardiac arrhythmias. The combination of a healthy diet with supplementation can alleviate and, in some cases, eradicate most health issues related to low magnesium levels.

A summary of symptoms, signs, and health conditions that low magnesium intake and levels may contribute to, based on a review by Schwalfenberg and Genius, can be found here.

What is the best way to determine if you are getting enough magnesium?

One of the best ways to tell if you are getting enough magnesium is to track your symptoms. Some of the first symptoms that have been shown to improve upon supplementation with magnesium include better sleep, less muscle cramping, stabilization of blood pressure, an increased sense of calm, improved energy and focus, fewer heart palpitations, better joint mobility, and less pain. Identify your major one or two symptoms and track them using the myTrackers in your personal GrassrootsHealth account.

Symptom tracking done in combination with tracking magnesium intake and magnesium blood testing is the most comprehensive way to make sure you are getting enough magnesium. And while the absolute best measurement of magnesium in the body is an Ionized Magnesium Blood Test, it is not widely used and is difficult to access.

GrassrootsHealth offers the whole blood magnesium test, which is a better indicator of magnesium status than the serum magnesium test offered by most doctor’s offices and hospitals.

Learn more about the different types of magnesium tests available here.

What are the magnesium levels of other participants?

As of the date of our latest analysis, 2,516 participants had tested their magnesium levels at least once, and 486 participants had tested their magnesium level two or more times. The chart below shows the most recent test result among participants who have measured their Magnesium levels.

The average magnesium level among participants was 45 mg/L, which is on the higher end of the lab reference range. The reference range of the whole blood magnesium test is 29-51 mg/L, which is the range of the average population the lab serves and does not necessarily indicate the optimal range for health.

Additionally, 486 participants have completed at least two magnesium tests. Among these participants, 67% improved their magnesium status after their first test. This indicates that when individuals are provided with a measurement about their health (in this case, their magnesium level), they are empowered to make changes and to take charge of their own health (by taking steps to improve that measurement).


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