Thirty mildly hypertensive patients and 27 patients with severe essential hypertension and high levels of aldosterone were selected for a study of the relationship between plasma aldosterone and magnesium in essential arterial hypertension; levels of calcium and potassium were also studied. Thirty-six individuals were used as a control group. Our findings indicate that as plasma aldosterone levels increase, serum magnesium levels decrease correspondingly: in mild hypertensives with low levels of plasma aldosterone p less than 0.05 and in the most severely hypertensive patients with high levels of plasma aldosterone p less than 0.001. In this latter group we also found an inverse correlation between serum magnesium and systolic arterial pressure (p less than 0.001) and diastolic pressure (p less than 0.01). In these patients a significant increase in urinary excretion of magnesium was found, with levels 3 times higher than in the control group. These findings suggest a close relationship between changes in plasma aldosterone and magnesium. Possibly the aldosterone contributes through this mechanism to maintaining the hypertensive state in essential arterial hypertension. This action is exercised directly through the kidney, leading to a small but constant urinary loss of magnesium. This in turn leads to a chronic depletion of magnesium in hypertensives who have high levels of plasma renin activity and highly elevated plasma aldosterone.