Determination of red blood cell intracellular free magnesium by nuclear magnetic resonance as an assessment of magnesium depletion

Magnes Trace Elem. 1991;10(2-4):117-21.


Red blood (RBC) ionized magnesium (Mg2+) was determined by nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) in order to assess the usefulness of this technique as an index of magnesium depletion. Twenty-four normal subjects underwent a 3-week low-Mg diet. The RBC Mg2+ fell from 209 +/- 9.8 microM before diet to 162 +/- 9.3 microM at the end of the 3 weeks (p < 0.001). In patient populations, 22 hypomagnesemic hospitalized patients had a significantly lower RBC Mg than normal (146 +/- 7.1 microM, p < 0.002), and 37 outpatients with diabetes mellitus had a mean RBC Mg2+ of 172 +/- 7.1 microM which was also significantly lower than normal (p < 0.001). These data suggest that determination of RBC Mg2+ may be used to reflect intracellular Mg status.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Diabetes Mellitus / blood
  • Erythrocytes / chemistry*
  • Fasting / blood
  • Humans
  • Magnesium / blood*
  • Magnesium Deficiency / blood*
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy


  • Magnesium