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11 Warning Signs of Magnesium Deficiency

11 Warning Signs of Magnesium Deficiency
Shweta Chaubey

5 Key Takeaways

  • Magnesium is a crucial mineral that performs several bodily functions, including muscle function, blood sugar regulation, and nerve transmission.
  • Magnesium deficiency is a common health issue that can produce various symptoms, such as muscle pain, fatigue, constipation, and anxiety.
  • Magnesium-rich foods include leafy green vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.
  • People who have a magnesium deficiency can benefit from magnesium supplements.
  • If you suspect that you have a magnesium deficiency, it is essential to consult your doctor.

 

Many people may not realize that magnesium deficiency is a common health issue. When you don't have enough magnesium in your body, it can cause a variety of physical and mental symptoms. Although some estimates suggest that up to 15% of Americans may experience low magnesium levels, the problem is even more common among people with certain health conditions, such as celiac disease, diabetes, and chronic diarrhea, as well as those who drink alcohol excessively. Unfortunately, it is often difficult to identify the signs and symptoms of magnesium deficiency until it becomes very severe, especially because the symptoms may not be obvious at first.

What does magnesium do for your body?

Magnesium is a mineral important for our bodies. It helps with many different functions by working together with other important parts of our body. It's especially important for our muscles and our hearts. Over 300 different processes in our body need magnesium to work properly. Therefore, your body must get enough of it. If you have ever wondered if your magnesium is low, here are 11 warning signs of magnesium deficiency. 

11 Warning Signs of Magnesium Deficiency

1. Muscle pain

If you experience muscle pain or weakness, it could be due to a lack of magnesium in your body. Magnesium is an important mineral that helps your muscles work properly in different ways: 

  • It helps your body produce energy, which is needed for your muscles to function
  • It helps control the balance of calcium in your muscles, which is necessary for your muscles to contract and relax properly.
  • It helps blood flow better to your muscles, which is important for delivering oxygen and nutrients to them.

When your body doesn't have enough magnesium, your muscles might not work as well as they should, which can cause discomfort and weakness. A recent study looked at the effect of magnesium supplements on professional cyclists. The study found that cyclists who had lower levels of magnesium in their red blood cells had less muscle damage. Taking magnesium supplements could help keep muscles healthier by reducing the amount of magnesium released from red blood cells.

2. Osteoporosis

Did you know that magnesium is important for your bones? It's true! Magnesium helps your body build and maintain strong bones. When you don't get enough magnesium, you might be at a higher risk for developing osteoporosis, which is when your bones become weak and break easily.

Studies have found that people with low magnesium levels tend to have weaker bones. However, taking magnesium supplements or eating foods that are high in magnesium may help prevent bone loss and keep your bones healthy. Make sure to eat foods that are rich in magnesium, such as leafy green vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains, or consider taking a magnesium supplement if you need more through your diet.

3. Anxiety and Depression

Research shows that low levels of magnesium in your body can make you more vulnerable to anxiety and depression. This is because magnesium is important for some of the body's most critical processes, including how your brain communicates with you. One of the things magnesium does is help regulate the chemicals in your brain that are responsible for your mood, like serotonin. It also helps your body respond to stress. When you don't have enough magnesium, it can lead to inflammation and problems with energy, both of which can make you more likely to feel depressed or anxious. While taking magnesium supplements can be helpful if you have a deficiency, it's important to work with a doctor or mental health professional to create a comprehensive treatment plan that's right for you. 

4. Constipation

Magnesium deficiency is often attributed to constipation. It helps the stomach and intestines muscles move food and waste through our digestive system. If there's not enough magnesium, these muscles can't work as well, leading to troubles in passing stool, which can lead to constipation. It's important to keep in mind that other things besides low magnesium levels can cause constipation, like not drinking enough water, not eating enough fiber, not getting enough exercise, or having a medical condition.

5. Gastrointestinal Diseases

A lack of magnesium-rich foods in healthy individuals does not usually cause magnesium deficiency. Rather, it is more commonly found in patients who receive magnesium-free intravenous fluids or total parenteral nutrition, especially those who have initially low levels of magnesium in their blood.

Certain gastrointestinal problems like Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, coeliac disease, Whipple's disease, and short bowel syndrome can lead to magnesium deficiency due to excessive fat in stools (steatorrhea) or chronic diarrhea. The severity of magnesium depletion in these cases is linked to the intensity of diarrhea, fat content in the stool, and fecal magnesium concentration.  A low-fat diet can help restore magnesium balance in these patients.

6. Diabetes

Blood sugar imbalance should not be taken lightly, especially if you have diabetes. Mid-day fatigue, adrenal fatigue, or a simple lack of energy may be attributed to low magnesium levels. Since magnesium is an essential mineral for glucose absorption, deficiency of it may lead to an imbalance in blood sugar levels.

However, studies have been conducted to see if taking magnesium supplements can help manage type 2 diabetes, but the results have been mixed. Some studies suggest that magnesium supplements can improve blood sugar control, while others show no effect. The American Diabetes Association says there isn't enough evidence to recommend magnesium supplements for people with diabetes. It emphasizes that vitamin and mineral supplements may not help people with diabetes who are already getting enough nutrients from their diet.

7. Hypertension

Low levels of magnesium in the body can also lead to high blood pressure. That is because magnesium does many important things in the body, one of which is to help blood vessels relax and prevent them from getting too narrow. It also helps keep calcium balanced in the body, which is important for healthy blood vessels. When there isn't enough magnesium, it can cause problems like inflammation, stress, and resistance in the blood vessels, all of which can increase the chances of high blood pressure. Magnesium also affects hormones that regulate blood pressure. However, just taking magnesium supplements may not be enough to lower high blood pressure. A healthy diet, exercise, and overall good health are also important. If you're worried about your magnesium levels and blood pressure, talk to your doctor for advice and testing.

8. Cardiovascular Diseases

Several studies have probed the connection between magnesium intake and heart disease. A large study with 14,000 people found that those with higher levels of magnesium in their blood had a 38% lower chance of sudden cardiac death over 12 years. However, eating more magnesium alone did not have the same effect. Other studies with big groups of people have also suggested that eating more magnesium could help lower the risk of heart disease.

A review of lots of studies showed that higher levels of magnesium in the blood are linked to a lower risk of heart disease. Eating up to about 250 mg of magnesium per day may also lower the risk of heart disease. Another review of lots of studies showed that having an extra 100 mg of magnesium per day could reduce the risk of stroke by 8%. But it's important to remember that these studies show a link between magnesium and heart health, and there may be other things that also affect the risk of heart disease and stroke.

9. Unintentional Weight Loss

Magnesium is a crucial element that plays a vital role in several metabolic processes within the body. It helps in breaking down glucose and fats to produce energy. Insufficient levels of magnesium may lead to impaired metabolic processes, which can result in inefficient energy production and utilization. This inefficiency can cause unintended weight loss, as the body starts breaking down muscle tissue and fat reserves to meet its energy demands. Moreover, low levels of magnesium can also affect appetite regulation and nutrient absorption, which can further contribute to weight loss.

10. Insomnia

Magnesium helps regulate neurotransmitters and the central nervous system's activity. Adequate levels of magnesium help promote the neurotransmitters that have a calming effect on the brain. When magnesium levels are low, it can disrupt the balance between excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters, leading to increased neural activity and difficulty in falling or staying asleep. This imbalance can result in insomnia and other sleep disturbances. Magnesium deficiency negatively impacts the normal sleep-wake cycle.

11. Hormonal Imbalance

Magnesium is an important mineral that helps to keep our bodies healthy. It helps play an integral part in the production and activity of many hormones, including those that control our blood sugar, metabolism, and reproductive health. When you don't get enough magnesium, it can lead to hormone imbalance, which can cause problems like irregular menstrual cycles and fertility issues in women. 

How much magnesium per day should you consume?

According to the fact sheet published by the National Institutes of Health, the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for Magnesium are as follows - 

Age Male Female Pregnancy Lactation
Birth to 6 months 30 mg* 30 mg*    
7–12 months 75 mg* 75 mg*    
1–3 years 80 mg 80 mg    
4–8 years 130 mg 130 mg    
9–13 years 240 mg 240 mg    
14–18 years 410 mg 360 mg 400 mg 360 mg
19–30 years 400 mg 310 mg 350 mg 310 mg
31–50 years 420 mg 320 mg 360 mg 320 mg
51+ years 420 mg 320 mg    

When to seek medical help?

If you believe you may have a magnesium deficiency, you should speak with your doctor.

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Reference

 

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HPFY Shweta Chaubey

Shweta Chaubey

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Shweta Chaubey, has been a Health Products For You contributor since 2021. An advocate-turned-writer, her desire to create meaningful and positive content has brought her to HPFY and what better than writing ...

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