About 60% of adults in the United States do not consume the estimated average requirement for magnesium, but widespread pathological conditions attributed to magnesium deficiency have not been reported. Nevertheless, low magnesium status has been associated with numerous pathological conditions characterized as having a chronic inflammatory stress component. In humans, deficient magnesium intakes are mostly marginal to moderate (approximately 50% to <100% of the recommended dietary allowance). Animal experiments indicate that signs of marginal-to-moderate magnesium deficiency can be compensated or exacerbated by other factors influencing inflammatory and oxidative stress; recent studies suggest a similar happening in humans. This suggestion may have significance in obesity, which is characterized as having a chronic low-grade inflammation component and an increased incidence of a low magnesium status. Marginal-to-moderate magnesium deficiency through exacerbating chronic inflammatory stress may be contributing significantly to the occurrence of chronic diseases such as atherosclerosis, hypertension, osteoporosis, diabetes mellitus, and cancer.