Gluten-Free Diets and Magnesium Deficiency

How to prevent magnesium deficiency on a gluten-free diet

Gluten-Free Buckwheat Crepes Recipe Image Teri Gruss
Gluten-Free Buckwheat Crepes.

The Spruce / Teri Lee Gruss

According to the National Institutes of Health, "Individuals with chronic malabsorptive problems such as Crohn's disease, gluten sensitive enteropathy, regional enteritis, and intestinal surgery may lose magnesium through diarrhea and fat malabsorption." Diabetics, alcoholics and the elderly are also at increased risk for magnesium deficiency.

This means that people with Celiac disease and non-Celiac gluten sensitivity need to make sure that their gluten-free diets supply an optimal amount of this very important mineral.

Magnesium is used in at least 300 enzyme systems in the human body, it's essential to energy metabolism, bone mineralization, glucose metabolism, the synthesis of proteins and fats and healthy muscle contractions, blood clotting, blood pressure, tooth enamel and immune function. As you can see, maintaining healthy magnesium levels is vital to good health!

Magnesium is absorbed through the small intestines. People with Celiac disease, especially those just diagnosed may not be able to absorb adequate amounts of magnesium through their diet due to intestinal cellular damage.

Once on a gluten-free diet people at risk for magnesium deficiency face another obstacle - the refined grains and starches used in so many gluten-free recipes and products are low in magnesium because the mineral-rich bran and germ have been removed. Therefore, to prevent a deficiency of this very important mineral, it's essential to add foods high in magnesium to your diet.

The goods news—there are lots of delicious gluten-free foods, including grains that are high in magnesium, including gluten-free buckwheat, oatmeal, and millet. Nutritious foods including halibut, spinach, potatoes, bananas and almonds are also excellent sources of magnesium.

Use the following lists of food sources of magnesium and magnesium-rich gluten-free recipes to make sure you are getting enough magnesium in your gluten-free diet!

Foods High in Magnesium:

  • 1/2 cup buckwheat whole groat flour - 150 milligrams
  • 1/2 cup gluten-free oats - 138 milligrams
  • 3 ounces of halibut - 90 milligrams
  • 1 ounce of dry roasted almonds - 80 milligrams
  • 1/2 cup cooked spinach - 75 milligrams
  • 1 medium baked potato with skin - 50 milligrams
  • 1/2 cup cooked millet - 50 milligrams
  • 1/2 cup cooked black-eyed peas - 45 milligrams
  • 8 ounces plain skim milk yogurt - 45 milligrams
  • 1 medium banana - about 30 milligrams

Magnesium-Rich Gluten-Free Recipes:

RDAs for Magnesium

  • Infants...0-6 months...30 mg/day (AI)
  • Infants...7-12 months...75 mg/day (AI)
  • Children...1-3 years...80 mg/day
  • Children...4-8 years...130 mg/day
  • Children...9-13 years...240 mg/day
  • Adolescents...14-18 years...Males 410 mg/day...Females 360 mg/day
  • Adults...19-30...Males...400 mg/day...Females...310 mg/day
  • Adults...31 and older...Males...420 mg/day...Females 320 mg/day
  • Pregnancy...18 and younger...400 mg/day
  • Pregnancy...19-30...350 mg/day
  • Pregnancy...31 and older...360 mg/day
  • Breast-feeding...18 and younger...360 mg/day
  • Breast-feeding...19-30...310 mg/day
  • Breast-feeding...13 and older...320 mg/day

AI= adequate intake
mg= milligrams

USDA Standard Reference Release 24 - Buckwheat Whole Groat Flour

USDA Standard Reference Release 24 - Oats