Elderly people in the United States represent an emerging high risk group for nutritional deficiencies. A magnesium deficit in the elderly can occur due to inadequate nutrient intakes, multiple drug use, or altered gastrointestinal function. Magnesium has been targeted as a risk factor for elderly people and has been implicated in the aging process. Data presented in this review confirm decreased availability of magnesium in the food supply, lower intakes of magnesium by elderly people, and widespread supplementation practices. Conflicting data exist regarding levels of magnesium in the blood and magnesium status in the elderly. It is not known to what extent suboptimal intakes may affect the aging process; however, magnesium-deficient conditions have been associated with neuromuscular and cardiovascular disorders, endocrine disturbances, insulin resistance and Alzheimer's disease.