People tend to forget about magnesium, but health experts increasingly recognize the key role it plays in boosting health. Magnesium is critical to muscle, nerve and heart function; blood glucose control; energy production; and bone structure.

While Americans rarely suffer from magnesium deficiency, some groups—older men, adolescent girls, and people with gastrointestinal disease, type 2 diabetes and alcohol dependence—are more likely to need higher levels in their diets. Not getting enough magnesium can contribute to high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, migraine headaches and possibly depression.

Federal nutrition guidelines suggest that adult women consume 310–320 milligrams of magnesium per day, while adult men should take in 400–420 mg per day.