Interesting Facts About Magnesium

It's the 9th most abundant element in the universe

Molten magnesium is poured out of a crucible and into a mold
Bloomberg Creative Photos / Getty Images

Magnesium is an important alkaline earth metal that is essential for animal and plant nutrition. The element is found in foods we eat and many everyday products. Here are some interesting facts about magnesium:

Magnesium Facts

  • Magnesium is the metal ion found at the center of every chlorophyll molecule. It's an essential element for photosynthesis.
  • Magnesium ions taste sour. A small amount of magnesium imparts a slightly tart flavor to mineral water.
  • Adding water to a magnesium fire produces hydrogen gas, which can cause the fire to burn more fiercely.
  • Magnesium is a silvery-white alkaline earth metal.
  • Magnesium is named for the Greek city of Magnesia, a source of calcium oxide, which is called magnesia.
  • Magnesium is the ninth most abundant element in the universe.
  • Magnesium forms in large stars as a result of fusion of helium with neon. In supernovas, the element is built from the addition of three helium nuclei to one carbon.
  • Magnesium is the 11th most abundant element in the human body, by mass. Magnesium ions are found in every cell in the body.
  • Magnesium is needed for hundreds of biochemical reactions in the body. The average person needs 250 to 350 mg of magnesium each day or about 100 grams of magnesium per year.
  • About 60 percent of the magnesium in the human body is found in the skeleton, 39 percent in the muscle tissue, and 1 percent is extracellular.
  • Low magnesium intake or absorption is associated with diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, sleep disturbances, and metabolic syndrome.
  • Magnesium is the eighth most abundant element in the Earth's crust.
  • Magnesium was first recognized as an element in 1755 by Joseph Black. However, it wasn't isolated until 1808, by Sir Humphry Davy.
  • The most common commercial use of magnesium metal is as an alloying agent with aluminum. The resulting alloy is lighter, stronger, and easier to work than pure aluminum.
  • China is the leading producer of magnesium, responsible for about 80 percent of the world's supply.
  • Magnesium may be prepared from electrolysis of fused magnesium chloride, most commonly obtained from seawater.
  • Learn More About Magnesium.