Magnesium Genetics

Magnesium plays a role in many processes throughout the human body. Mg acts as a as a “co-factor” and/or “activator” in many chemical reactions. We need magnesium to produce ATP, and in the construction and regulation of DNA, RNA, and proteins. Magnesium also acts on nerves and muscles, plays a role in insulin-mediated glucose movement into cells, and influences metabolism. It can affect our heart rhythm and blood pressure, as well as boost bone health by increasing calcium absorption [1, 2, 3].

There are several genes that are related to the processing and handling of Mg in the human body.  Many people have variations in these genes which can cause decreased magnesium levels. In the past, one theory that has been proposed for the probability of an increased chance of an adverse event to the fluoroquinolones is having the SNP’s that would code for lower levels of intracellular magnesium.  Unfortunately, as of the writing of this article, most doctors do not adequately investigate magnesium before prescribing fluoroquinolones.


  • The TRPM6 gene is a critical gene that makes a protein that is responsible for the absorption of magnesium in the gut. Gene variants for the rs11144134 SNP have been associated with decreased magnesium levels [4].  If your  genotype would be (TT) for the SNP rs11144134  it would be associated with decreased activity of the TRPM6 gene and lower levels of magnesium in the body. (See the tips and tricks section below for info on how to increase this gene’s activity).

  • The MUC1 gene creates a cell surface protein that is involved in magnesium absorption and specific genetic variations for the rs4072037 SNP have been associated with decreased magnesium levels [4].

  • The ATP2B1 gene indirectly affects magnesium levels by helping move calcium out of cells. People with gene variants for the SNP rs7965584 have lower levels of magnesium [4].

  • The mechanism by which five other genes SHROOM3, HOXD9, DCDC5, MDS1, LUZP2 affect magnesium in the body is less known. Genetic variations for five respective SNPs rs13146355, rs2592394, rs3925584, rs448378, and rs4561213 cause decreased levels of magnesium [5, 6, 7].

Magnesium Related SNPs

Tips and Tricks About Magnesium

  • Eat more foods high in magnesium such as nuts, leafy greens, fruits, and meats. See our Essential Minerals Wellness Food List for a complete list of foods that contain magnesium.

  • Consider a magnesium supplement if you don’t get enough magnesium from your diet, frequently exercise, or take high-dose Vitamin D, calcium, or phosphorus supplements (these can deplete magnesium). Water-soluble forms, such as magnesium citrate, aspartate, and glycinate are more easily absorbed than magnesium oxide and sulfate. In addition, effervescent magnesium oxide is more easily absorbed than capsule forms of magnesium If you do decide to take a magnesium supplement, take it with a meal, as this increases absorption [8, 9, 10, 11].

  • Boron and probiotics, specifically S. cerevisiae, can also increase the absorption of magnesium [12, 13].

  • Zinc competes with magnesium in the gut and may reduce the amount of magnesium you absorb. If you use both, take zinc in the morning and magnesium in the afternoon/evening [14].

  • Chronic alcohol consumption can lower magnesium levels, so be sure to watch your alcohol intake [15].

  • Chronic stress can lower your magnesium Try meditation, yoga, and/or exercising more [16, 17, 18].

  • Phytates, found in whole grains and legumes, can also inhibit magnesium absorption. Limit your intake or eat these foods with a meal containing sources of magnesium, which will reduce the effect phytates on its absorption. Alternatively, soaking foods, fermentation, and germination are all ways to reduce the phytate content of foods [19, 20].

  • Avoid black tea and foods that have/contain high amounts of oxalate/oxalic acid (spinach, collard greens, sweet potatoes, rhubarb, and beets), which can bind magnesium and reduce the amount that can be absorbed [21, 22].

  • Some medications can decrease magnesium levels, including diuretics: furosemide (Lasix), bumetanide (Bumex), and hydrochlorothiazide (Aquazide, Microzide), and proton pump inhibitors: esomeprazole (Nexium), lansoprazole (Prevacid), omeprazole (Prilosec), rabeprazole (Aciphex), and pantoprazole (Protonix) [23].

  • The prebiotic inulin has been shown to increase TRPM6 and increase magnesium levels [24, 25, 26]. Prebiotics support good bacteria in your gut and can be found naturally in foods such as asparagus, onions, garlic, chicory, leeks, and Jerusalem artichokes [27]. Supplements that contain varying amounts of inulin are also available in both capsule and powder forms.

For more information on Magnesium in general this SelfHacked page has great information written by Biljana Novkovic PhD.