Interesting Facts About Magnesium

Learn More About the Ninth-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. It's essential for animal and plant nutrition and is found in a variety of 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 the 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 necessary for hundreds of biochemical reactions in the body. The average person requires 250 to 350 mg of magnesium each day or about 100 grams of magnesium annually.
  • About 60% of the magnesium in the human body is found in the skeleton, 39% in the muscle tissue, with 1% being 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% of the world's supply.
  • Magnesium may be prepared from the electrolysis of fused magnesium chloride, most commonly obtained from seawater.
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Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Interesting Facts About Magnesium." ThoughtCo, Aug. 28, 2020, thoughtco.com/interesting-magnesium-element-facts-603362. Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. (2020, August 28). Interesting Facts About Magnesium. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/interesting-magnesium-element-facts-603362 Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Interesting Facts About Magnesium." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/interesting-magnesium-element-facts-603362 (accessed December 6, 2021).