The anticonvulsive and antihypertensive values of magnesium (Mg) in eclampsia, and its antiarrhythmic applications in a variety of cardiac diseases, have caused Mg to be considered only for parenteral administration by many physicians. In contrast, nutritionists have long recognized Mg as an essential nutrient, because severe deficiencies elicit neuromuscular manifestations similar to those justifying its use in eclampsia. More recently, this element has been used to favorably influence latent tetany with and without thrombotic complications, to delay preterm birth, to influence premenstrual syndrome, and to ameliorate migraine headaches. Most of these disorders exclusively or largely afflict women. The lesions of arteries and heart caused by experimental Mg deficiency have been well documented and may contribute to human cardiovascular disease. Estrogen's enhancement of Mg utilization and uptake by soft tissues and bone may explain resistance of young women to heart disease and osteoporosis, as well as increased prevalence of these diseases when estrogen secretion ceases. However, estrogen-induced shifts of Mg can be deleterious when estrogen levels are high and Mg intake is suboptimal. The resultant lowering of blood Mg can increase the Ca/Mg ratio, thus favoring coagulation. With Ca supplementation in the face of commonly low Mg intake, risk of thrombosis increases.