Magnesium and oxidative status were investigated in young volunteers exposed to chronic stress (political intolerance, awareness of potential military attacks, permanent stand-by duty and reduced holidays more than 10 years) or subchronic stress consisting of everyday mortal danger in military actions lasting more than 3 months. Significant decreases in plasma ionized Mg2+, total Mg and ionized Ca2+ concentrations were found in both groups. Similarly, both study groups exhibited oxidative stress as assessed by increased plasma superoxide anions and malondialdehyde and modified antioxidant defense. There were no significant differences between the two stress groups. A negative correlation between magnesium balance and oxidative stress was observed suggesting that the same etiological factor (chronic stress) initiate decreases in both free and total magnesium concentrations and simultaneously increase oxidative stress intensity. These findings support the need for magnesium supplementation with antioxidant vitamins for people living in conditions of chronic stress.