Magnesium Lab Values | Uses, Normal Levels

Magnesium Lab Values – Overview

Magnesium, along with sodium, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, and chloride, is one of six essential minerals for the human body. Therefore, these minerals are required in a significant amount of your body.

Magnesium is involved in more than 300 enzyme reactions. As a result, it can help with muscle activity, blood pressure regulation, bone formation, energy production, and nerve transmission.

Magnesium is essential for the metabolism of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. It can also maintain the balance of blood sugar levels.

Average Magnesium Level in Blood

The magnesium level in the blood is generally expressed in mg/dl. The normal magnesium level in the blood for adults is generally considered to be 1.7 to 2.2 mg/dL. The range may vary slightly for children, but typically, it falls within or close to the adult range.

Magnesium levels can also be expressed in mEq/L, where the normal range for adults is approximately 0.85 to 1.1 mEq/L.

In the SI unit or International System of Units, the magnesium level in the blood is measured in mmol/L.

The normal magnesium levels in mmol/L for adults are accurately 0.7 to 1.0 mmol/L. Children’s normal ranges generally align with those of adults but should be verified with pediatric reference ranges.

Why Does This Normal Level Differ?

Normal ranges for magnesium levels in the blood may vary slightly among different laboratories due to variations in measurement techniques. These ranges can differ based on the local population, the accuracy of the measurement, and the technology used for measurements.

Factors like gender, age, ethnic origin, diet, geographic region, and other relevant status are responsible for these differences.

While studying the results, a doctor must consider your medical records, physical condition, screenings, and other relevant information about your health.

What Does Magnesium Do?

  • Magnesium is an essential electrolyte for intermediary metabolism and neuromuscular function.
  • Magnesium can establish a strong relationship with the human immune system.
  • It can activate different enzymes in your body and take part in different metabolic processes.
  • The biological activity of adenosine triphosphate or ATP cannot be complete without magnesium. It is also important to maintain the electrical potential of cell membranes and nervous tissues.
  • Approximately 60% of the total magnesium in the body is stored in the bones, and much of the remainder is found within cells of body tissues and organs. The bones contain another 60% of it. Organs like the heart, teeth, arteries, and nerves also contain a certain amount of magnesium.
  • Blood also contains less than 1% magnesium. It can be bound to amino acids or proteins or found for free. Calcium and magnesium are necessary for cardiac activity and adequate neuromuscular activity.
  • Magnesium levels in the blood can remain within the normal range until significant depletion occurs, as the body regulates these levels by shifting magnesium stores from bones and tissues.
  • Dietary intake is the primary source of magnesium, and excess magnesium is excreted by the kidneys through urine, with some additional losses in feces.

Uses of Magnesium Blood Test

Magnesium Lab Values

Magnesium Lab Values – Uses of magnesium blood test

The magnesium blood test report can help you to understand:

  • If you are unable to absorb enough magnesium from your diet
  • If your kidneys are working properly
  • If your cardiac activity and muscle are correct

One can perform magnesium blood tests, phosphorous, potassium, calcium, and a parathyroid hormone test. A person with a lower magnesium level may also have potassium and calcium deficiency.

What Does It Mean if Your Magnesium Level is Too High

A high level of magnesium in the blood is referred to as hypermagnesemia.

Possible causes of hypermagnesemia or higher magnesium levels in your blood-

  • Adrenal disorders like Addison’s disease
  • Consumption of magnesium-containing antacids
  • Kidney failure
  • Overuse of magnesium-containing supplements or medications
  • Dehydration
  • Electrolyte imbalance caused by chemotherapy
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Hyperthyroidism

What Does It Mean if Your Magnesium Level is Low

A low level of magnesium in the blood is referred to as hypomagnesemia.

Possible causes hypomagnesemia or lower magnesium level in your blood-

  • Inability to absorb magnesium from different food items
  • Renal losses
  • Gastrointestinal losses
  • Insulin resistance or Diabetes
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Excessive urination
  • Excessive sweating
  • Chronic stress
  • Stress due to any physical injury or surgery
  • Including the excessive amount of saturated fats or highly refined sugars in your diet
  • Different GI disorders like Celiac, Crohn’s, and inflammatory bowel diseases
  • High calcium level in your body
  • Low consumption of magnesium
  • High intake of sodas, tea, or coffee
  • Prolonged diarrhea
  • Weight gain
  • The use of certain medications

You may develop another condition called arrhythmias from magnesium deficiency in your blood.


Magnesium is one of the six minerals your body requires. It has multiple functions. Magnesium lab tests can help you understand the magnesium level in your blood. Higher magnesium levels or magnesium deficiency may have numerous consequences and cause severe damage.

See Also

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Calcium Lab Values

Potassium Lab Values

Metabolic Acidosis Lab Values

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What are the Normal Lab Values

Current Version
October 13, 2022
Written By
Shubham Grover
March 18, 2024
Updated By
Franco Cuevas, MD

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