Do You Have Magnesium Deficiency Symptoms?

Learn to identify magnesium deficiency symptoms yourself, and find out what you can do to correct this nutrient depletion.

Do You Have Magnesium Deficiency Symptoms?The shift toward the modern Western diet has caused an increase in cases of magnesium deficiency.[1] Most people meet only about 50 percent of the U.S. Recommended Dietary Allowance of magnesium (410 to 420 mg per day for men and 310 to 320 mg per day for women).[2] This can lead to a variety of magnesium deficiency symptoms and, in severe cases, contribute to chronic disease.[2]

What Causes Magnesium Deficiency?

Aside from low intake of magnesium, there are other factors that can contribute to magnesium deficiency by affecting excretion and absorption of this mineral, such as the following:

  • Excessive consumption of coffee, fats, and alcohol
  • Rapid or prolonged periods of weight loss
  • Too much calcium, either through diet or through excessive supplementation [3]
  • Medications such as diuretics and laxatives [1]

Magnesium Deficiency Symptoms

Magnesium is necessary for many cellular processes, and it is especially important in organs that require a lot of energy, like the brain, heart, and muscle. Deficiency can cause such symptoms as:

Role of Magnesium Depletion in Disease

Magnesium deficiency also can play a role in chronic disease. Deficiency can cause inflammation, which can contribute to many health conditions. Magnesium deficiency is associated with diabetes, thyroid and parathyroid diseases, gastrointestinal diseases, ADHD, and cardiovascular problems (such as hypertension, myocardial infarction, arrhythmia, angina, and abnormal lipid levels).[1,2,3]

Magnesium may even play a role in cancer. Low magnesium has inflammatory effects, and magnesium has protective role in DNA synthesis and repair. This combination makes magnesium deficiency a possibly carcinogenic condition.[3]

Increasing Your Magnesium Intake

There are many foods that are naturally rich in magnesium, and eating more of these foods can help to increase your consumption of this vital nutrient. In fact, magnesium is generally better absorbed as a component in food than as an oral supplement. Cocoa, nuts, whole seeds, legumes, and some grains are good sources of magnesium. Green, leafy vegetables are the best option, as the green parts of plants are particularly rich in magnesium.[3] However, you don’t absorb all the magnesium you ingest, so it can be difficult to eat enough to reach the recommended daily allowance.[1]

For most people, supplementation with about 300 mg of magnesium daily can help. Diarrhea and loose stools can be a problem for some with supplementation. If this occurs, lower the dose and increase it slowly.[1]

The Calcium-Magnesium Connection

Keep in mind that magnesium metabolism is related to calcium intake. If you are deficient in calcium and wish to take a calcium supplement, it should be taken with magnesium. Magnesium deficiency can interfere with the body’s ability to use and store calcium.[1] However, it is also important to not take too much calcium; magnesium is not absorbed well if there is too much calcium. A good rule of thumb is ingesting twice as much calcium as magnesium.[3]

Share Your Experience

Do you have any magnesium deficiency symptoms? Do you take a magnesium supplement, or do you eat magnesium-rich foods to increase your levels? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

[1] Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2004 Aug 1;61(15):1569-76.
[2] Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2014 Nov;17(6):525-30.
[3] Rocz Panstw Zakl Hig. 2013;64(3):165-71.

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UHN Staff

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  • I have symptoms of deficiency of magnesium. My blood calcium is high. at one E.R. Visit i was given a transfusion of magnesium. I will discuss with my Dr. At my way visit and look at supplemental magnesium. Than you. Iris L.

  • I suffer from chronic inflammation, insomnia and muscle spasms at night. I tried taking magnesium supplements, but every time I do, I get very painful leg cramps. Any thoughts?

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