Drinking coffee or cola after eating legumes – Isn’t it a shame on the magnesium absorption?

Drinking coffee or cola after eating legumes – Isn’t it a shame on the magnesium absorption?

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Magnesium is considered the second most important mineral for the human body after potassium and is responsible, among other things, for heart and muscle function. Most of us may suffer from a lack of it. The National Dietitian of the General Hospitals details why it is important, when a deficiency may be dangerous, and the best magnesium sources.

Magnesium is one of the most important minerals for our health, but almost everyone seems to be severely deficient in it. It helps about 300 essential enzymatic processes in the body exist, helps the proper functioning of the nervous system and muscles (and thereby also prevents constipation and muscle contractions in the legs), and helps the metabolism of the heart muscle. It also prevents calcium accumulation and the death of heart muscle cells.

 In addition, it improves the tonus (strength) of the blood vessels, the resistance, and thus the blood flow and output of the heart. It also improves the metabolism of lipids, reduces damage from oxygen free radicals, improves the endothelium's function (the inner surface of the blood vessel), and reduces the overactivity of blood platelets, which can lead to excessive clotting.

 Where is it in the body?

Magnesium is the second most important intracellular mineral after potassium. In an adult, its amount in the body is about 25 grams, 53% is in bones, 27% in muscles, 19% in soft tissues, 0.5% in red blood cells and 0.3% in serum. Normal blood concentration is 2.4-1.7mg/dl.

 The body balances magnesium between the kidneys, the small intestine, and the bones. If there is too little of it in the blood, less will be excreted in the urine and less will be absorbed into the bones, maintaining a constant and normal level in the blood. The absorption of magnesium occurs from the intestine into the blood; 2.4 grams of magnesium is filtered daily by the kidneys, and about 1.2 grams (5%) is excreted in the urine.

 What are the sources of magnesium in the diet?

20% of the sources of magnesium in the human body are drinking water, but desalinated water contains a low amount of magnesium. The recommended amounts of magnesium are about 400 mg per day for men and about 320 mg per day for women. As you age, the absorption capacity of magnesium decreases.

The main dietary sources of magnesium are green leafy vegetables (mainly spinach), legumes (peas, beans, soybeans), nuts, seeds and whole grains.


The foods that interfere with the absorption of magnesium are dairy products and products rich in calcium (it is advisable to consume dairy products separately from foods rich in magnesium), beet leaves and cocoa products, caffeine found in coffee, tea (including green tea), cola and energy drinks.

 Why does magnesium deficiency occur?

There are several reasons for this, among others, alcoholism, obesity, taking diuretics, taking antibiotics, taking antacids, inflammatory diseases (especially Crohn's), diabetes, chemotherapy treatments, and taking anti-rejection drugs.

Studies have shown that people with low magnesium levels had high levels of inflammatory markers. These indicators are directly related to an increase in insulin resistance, blood glucose levels, and type 2 diabetes. Studies examining children with low magnesium intake also found high inflammation indicators in the blood.


 On the other hand, even a high level of magnesium may be dangerous, as it was found that a high consumption of magnesium in the menu is associated with an increased risk of stroke and heart disease in men and women.

When is magnesium deficiency dangerous?

Low levels of magnesium can cause, among others, conditions such as type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, hypertension, sudden cardiac death, osteoporosis, migraines, bowel cancer and asthma.

 In addition, magnesium deficiency may cause various symptoms, such as fatigue, lack of appetite, nausea, and vomiting. In severe cases, contractions in the muscles of the limbs and face and disturbances in mood and concentration may appear.

 Do those involved in sports need to take magnesium?

Magnesium is also excreted from the body through sweat. During regular sports efforts, the magnesium level in the blood will decrease due to its secretion through sweat. Since magnesium plays a significant role in controlling and relaxing muscle innervation, an athlete with magnesium deficiency may suffer muscle cramps and difficulty recovering from training. Another reason for maintaining normal magnesium levels in an athlete is its central role in energy production in cells in general and muscle cells in particular.

The author is a national dietitian of the hospitals of the General Hospital.


This article was written by Dr. Siegel Frishman


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