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Interpreting Results

Overview of Mg

What is Mg?

Magnesium (Mg2+) is both a mineral and an electrolyte which plays essential roles in metabolism, nerve and muscle functioning, and maintenance of healthy bones. The Magnesium Test is performed to measure the concentration of magnesium in blood and to indicate a deficiency of other electrolytes if any.

Why is Mg done?

The Magnesium Test is performed:

·     As a part of regular health checkups to measure magnesium levels in the blood

·    Upon the appearance of symptoms indicating magnesium deficiency like muscular weakness, muscle twitch or cramps, irregular heartbeats or cardiac arrhythmia, seizures, etc.

·       To monitor treatment efficacy of magnesium supplements at regular intervals

·     As a part of checkups for evaluating kidney diseases, malnutrition, diarrhea, and alcoholism

What does Mg Measure?

Magnesium is a mineral micronutrient which plays essential roles in body processes including enzyme functions, energy production by metabolism, contraction of muscles, and nerve functioning. It also helps in the metabolism of calcium and hence helps in the maintenance of healthy bones. Magnesium is supplied to the body from dietary sources and is absorbed in the small intestines and colon. It is subsequently absorbed into the bones and tissues. Only about 1% of the total amount of magnesium absorbed remains in the blood within a narrow normal range. The normal range of magnesium concentration is maintained mainly by regulation of the amount absorbed from food and excreted in urine.

Deviation from the normal range of magnesium concentration causes Hypomagnesia (shortage of magnesium), or Hypermagnesia (excess of magnesium). Both these conditions impact normal body processes in the short term and may give rise to other conditions in the long term.

Preparation for Mg

  • Do not eat or drink anything other than water for 8-12 hours before the test.

Sample Type for Mg

The sample type collected for Magnesium is: Blood

Interpreting Mg results


Normal range: 0.85 to 1.10 mmol/L (1.7 to 2.2 mg/dL approx.)

Hypomagnesia: Below 0.85 mmol/L (Less than 1.7 mg/dL approx.)

Hypermagnesia: Above 1.10 mmol/L (Above 2.2 mg/dL approx.)

Magnesium concentration in the body is maintained within a narrow normal range between 0.85 mmol/L and 1.10 mmol/L.

Hypomagnesia or low blood magnesium is indicated if magnesium concentration lies below the normal range.

Hypermagnesia or high blood magnesium is indicated if magnesium concentration lies above the normal range.

Answers to Patient Concerns & Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Mg

Frequently Asked Questions about Magnesium

Q. How is this test performed?
This test is performed on a blood sample. A syringe with a fine needle is used to withdraw blood sample from a blood vessel in your arm generally from the inner side of the elbow area. The doctor, nurse or the phlebotomist will tie an elastic band around your arm which will help the blood vessels to swell with blood. This makes it easier to withdraw blood. You may be asked to tightly clench your fist. Once the veins are clearly visible, the area is cleaned with an antiseptic solution and then the needle is inserted into the blood vessel to collect the sample. You may feel a tiny pinprick during the procedure. Blood sample once collected is then sent to the laboratory.
Q. Is there any risk associated with this test?
There is no risk associated with the test. However, since this test involves a needle prick to withdraw the blood sample, in very rare cases, a patient may experience increased bleeding, hematoma formation (blood collection under the skin), bruising or infection at the site of needle prick.
Q. What is Hypomagnesia?
Hypomagnesia is a condition where the blood magnesium levels are below the normal range. This may occur due to: · Low dietary consumption of magnesium, commonly seen in the elderly, malnutrition, or chronic alcoholism · Digestive disorders like Crohn’s Disease · Chronic diarrhea · Severe burns resulting in extensive tissue damage · Insulin treatment especially in uncontrolled diabetes · Hypoparathyroidism or low secretion of parathyroid hormone · Hyperaldosteronism or excessive secretion of hormone aldosterone · Liver cirrhosis · Hemodialysis · Inflammation of the pancreas gland or pancreatitis · Long term diuretic treatment · Inflammation of the intestinal lining · Pre-eclampsia in pregnant women
Q. What are the symptoms of Hypomagnesia?
Symptoms of chronic Hypomagnesia include: · Nausea · Appetite loss · Weakness and fatigue · Calcium deficiency · Confusion and dizziness · Muscle twitches and cramps · Tingling sensation or feeling of numbness · Abnormal heartbeat or cardiac arrhythmia · Seizures Short term or mild deficiency of magnesium usually produces very little symptoms. This happens because the body can augment mild magnesium deficiency by releasing magnesium stored in bones and tissues. Symptoms appear in case of chronic or long term deficiency of magnesium.
Q. What is Hypermagnesia?
Hypermagnesia is the condition where blood magnesium levels rise higher than the normal range. This may occur due to: · Loss of kidney functioning or complete renal failure in End-stage Renal Disease (ESRD) · Hyperparathyroidism or excess secretion of parathyroid hormone · Hypoaldosteronism or low secretion of hormone aldosterone as in Addison’s Disease · Hypothyroidism or low secretion of the hormones of thyroid gland · Overuse of antacids and laxatives containing magnesium · Dehydration · Diabetic ketoacidosis
Q. What are the symptoms of Hypermagnesia?
Symptoms of Hypermagnesia are non-specific and similar to Hypomagnesia, which includes: · Nausea and vomiting · Muscular weakness and fatigue · Appetite loss · Irregular heart rate or cardiac arrhythmia
Q. Is there any preparation required before the Magnesium test?
An overnight period of fasting is required before the blood sample is collected for the test. Inform the doctor about any medications you may be taking. Medicines containing magnesium like antacids (that contain magnesium), laxatives (such as milk of magnesia or Epsom salts), magnesium supplements, and some diuretics should not be taken for at least 3 days before this test. No other preparations are required unless specified by your doctor.
Q. When can false results appear in the Magnesium Test?
False results may appear in the Magnesium test in case of mild deficiency or in the early stages of deficiency as the body tries to bring magnesium levels to normal by releasing magnesium stored in bones and tissues into the blood. Magnesium levels are also generally reduced in the second and third trimester of pregnancy. Some medications can elevate or lower blood magnesium levels.
Q. What other tests can be prescribed by your doctor in case of abnormal Magnesium test result?
Others tests that may be prescribed upon appearance of an abnormal result in the blood magnesium test include: Urine Magnesium Test Electrolyte Panel Test Kidney Function Test Blood Phosphate Test Blood Calcium Test
Q. Which food items are good source of magnesium?
Dietary sources form the principal source of magnesium. Some very commonly available food items rich in magnesium are: · Green leafy vegetables like spinach · Fruits like bananas · Legumes like beans, chickpeas · Cabbage · Broccoli · Seafood · Whole grains
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