Getting enough magnesium through diet alone is challenging at any age. Soil depletion in farming has resulted in a steady decline of magnesium in the foods we eat. And food processing results in a loss of the mineral as well, according to a review in the journal Nutrients. These days, over 40% of people in the United States don't get the recommended daily amount of magnesium through foods.
So what does aging have to do with it? "As a person ages, a big factor in their magnesium decline is that their appetite and [nutrition] intake also decline," explains Christina Fitzgerald, M.S., R.D., a registered dietitian and sports nutrition expert. "So they're taking in much less dietary magnesium."
Plus, aging involves a lot of changes within the body that can simultaneously (negatively) affect magnesium levels: According to functional registered dietitian Alex D'Elia, R.D., changes in urination, intestinal absorption, and bone health status are "three of the most common reasons magnesium insufficiency is seen in the aging population."