9 Magnesium Deficiency Symptoms & How to Treat It

By: Chris Freytag, CPT // February 23, 2024

Spot the signs of magnesium deficiency and learn effective treatments to rebalance your wellbeing. Expert advice for boosting your magnesium levels.

Magnesium is a mineral that plays a crucial role in many bodily functions, from nerve and muscle function to heart health and bone strength. Inadequate magnesium levels can lead to various symptoms and affect your overall wellbeing.

Do you suffer from leg cramps, fatigue, migraines, sleep issues, anxiety, or high blood pressure? If you have one or more of these health conditions you could be one of many Americans that are deficient in magnesium.

And you wouldn’t be alone. According to Dr. Mark Hyman, the majority of Americans are deficient in this mineral and essential nutrient!

In this article I’m going to review the most common symptoms of magnesium deficiency, and explain how you can get more magnesium from dietary changes, supplements, or lifestyle adjustments.

First, let’s talk about the most common symptoms.


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    1. Muscle Cramps and Spasms

    One of the primary symptoms of magnesium deficiency is muscle muscle spasms and cramps. Magnesium helps regulate muscle contraction. When levels are low, it can result in involuntary muscle twitching or painful cramps.

    2. Fatigue and Weakness

    Feeling constantly tired or weak could be an indication of magnesium deficiency. Magnesium is involved in energy production and plays a significant role in the utilization of glucose. Without sufficient magnesium, your body may struggle to generate adequate energy.

    3. Irregular Heartbeat

    Magnesium is essential for maintaining a healthy heart rhythm. When levels are low, you may experience an irregular heartbeat, also known as arrhythmia. It is important to address this symptom promptly, as it can have serious implications for cardiovascular health.

    4. Poor Bone Health

    Magnesium is crucial for maintaining strong and healthy bones. When magnesium levels are deficient, it can affect calcium absorption and bone mineral density, leading to weakened bones and an increased risk of osteoporosis.

    5. Anxiety and Depression

    Magnesium plays a role in regulating neurotransmitters and mood. A deficiency in magnesium can contribute to anxiety and depression symptoms. Supplementing with magnesium may help alleviate these mental health concerns.

    6. Sleep Disturbances

    Low magnesium levels can disrupt sleep patterns and lead to insomnia or restless sleep. Magnesium promotes relaxation and helps regulate neurotransmitters involved in sleep regulation, making it an important mineral for a good night’s rest.

    7. Digestive Issues

    Magnesium is involved in various digestive processes, and a deficiency can lead to digestive issues such as constipation or an upset stomach. Ensuring adequate magnesium levels can support healthy digestion and bowel movements.

    8. Headaches and Migraines

    Magnesium deficiency has been linked to an increased risk of headaches and migraines. Supplementing with magnesium or maintaining sufficient levels may help reduce the frequency and intensity of these debilitating headaches.

    These are just a few of the common symptoms that may indicate magnesium deficiency. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis!

    Understanding Magnesium Deficiency

    Magnesium deficiency is a condition in which the body lacks an adequate amount of magnesium, an essential mineral responsible for numerous bodily functions. Magnesium plays a crucial role in maintaining overall health and well-being.

    It is involved in more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body, including energy production, protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, blood pressure regulation, and bone health.

    Insufficient magnesium levels can disrupt these processes and lead to various health issues.

    And magnesium isn’t the only supplement you should pay attention to. That’s why I broke down my picks for the best supplements during menopause.

    Potential Causes of Magnesium Deficiency

    There are several potential causes of magnesium deficiency, which include:

    • Inadequate dietary intake: Not consuming enough magnesium-rich foods, such as leafy green vegetables, legumes, nuts, and whole grains.
    • Malabsorption issues: Conditions like celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, and gastrointestinal disorders can hinder the absorption of magnesium from the diet.
    • Medications and medical treatments: Certain medications, such as diuretics and proton pump inhibitors, can increase the excretion of magnesium or interfere with absorption. Additionally, chemotherapy and radiation therapy can also affect magnesium levels.
    • Chronic conditions: Conditions like diabetes, kidney disease, and alcoholism can lead to magnesium deficiency as the body’s ability to properly regulate magnesium is compromised.
    • Stress: Prolonged stress can deplete magnesium levels in the body as the stress response increases the excretion of magnesium through urine.

    Dietary Sources of Magnesium

    grouping of foods helpful to eat for magnesium deficiency diet

    Incorporating foods rich in magnesium into your daily diet is an excellent way to ensure an adequate intake of this essential mineral. Here are some top dietary sources of magnesium that you can easily include in your meals:

    FoodMagnesium Serving (mg)
    Avocado1 cup cubed = 44 mg (explore more benefits of eating avocados!)
    Beans1 cup cooked = 120 mg
    Quinoa1 cup cooked = 118 mg
    Cashews1/4 cup = 116 mg
    Fish4 ounces of salmon = 138 mg
    Oatmeal1 cup cooked = 61 mg
    Broccoli1/2 cup cooked = 51 mg
    Bananas1 med size banana = 33 mg

    By incorporating a variety of magnesium-rich foods into your meals, you can ensure that your body receives the necessary amount of this vital mineral. Prioritize whole foods and limit processed ones to optimize your magnesium intake and support your overall well-being.

    Need some recipe ideas? Try these magnesium-rich ideas:

    Supplements for Magnesium Deficiency

    When addressing magnesium deficiency, supplements can play a vital role in replenishing your magnesium levels. They provide a convenient and effective way to ensure you meet your daily recommended intake.

    However, before you start taking magnesium supplements, it’s important to understand the different kinds and what they are used for.

    Types of Magnesium Supplements

    There are several types of magnesium supplements, each with its own unique properties and advantages:

    Magnesium TypeBenefit
    Magnesium GlycinateThis is what I personally take every night. Magnesium glycinate is popular for its calming effects on the nervous system. It may help alleviate anxiety, promote relaxation, and improve sleep quality. This form is also less likely to cause digestive discomfort.
    Magnesium CitrateKnown for its high bioavailability, magnesium citrate is easily absorbed by the body. It is often used to support digestive health (these foods for digestion might help that too!) and relieve constipation. Additionally, it may contribute to overall muscle and nerve function.
    Magnesium OxideWhile it has a lower absorption rate compared to other forms, magnesium oxide is commonly used as a laxative. Like Citrate, it may help relieve constipation but is not typically recommended for long-term magnesium supplementation due to its lower bioavailability.
    Magnesium L-ThreonateRecognized for its ability to cross the blood-brain barrier, magnesium L-threonate is thought to enhance cognitive function. It may support brain health, improve memory, and contribute to overall neurological well-being.
    Magnesium MalateThis form is often recommended for individuals with fatigue or muscle-related issues. Magnesium malate may help in reducing muscle pain and fatigue, making it beneficial for those with conditions such as fibromyalgia.
    Magnesium TaurateMagnesium taurate is known for its cardiovascular benefits. Taurine, an amino acid, has a calming effect on the heart, making this form of magnesium suitable for supporting heart health and regulating blood pressure.

    It is important to choose the appropriate magnesium supplement based on your individual needs and preferences. Consulting with a healthcare professional is recommended to determine the most suitable option for you.

    The Benefits of Magnesium Supplements

    Magnesium supplements offer numerous potential benefits in addressing magnesium deficiency and promoting overall health:

    Improved Energy Levels

    Adequate magnesium levels are essential for energy production in the body. Supplementing with magnesium can help combat fatigue and increase vitality.

    Muscle Relaxation

    Magnesium is crucial for muscle function and relaxation. Taking magnesium supplements may help alleviate muscle cramps, spasms, and tension.

    Better Sleep

    Evidence suggests that magnesium can contribute to healthy sleep patterns by promoting relaxation and reducing insomnia or restless leg syndrome symptoms.

    Enhanced Mood

    Magnesium plays a role in neurotransmitter regulation, impacting mood and emotional well-being. Supplementation may help support a positive mood and alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression.

    Remember, while supplements can be beneficial, they should not replace a balanced diet. It’s important to maintain a healthy lifestyle and consume magnesium-rich foods alongside supplements to ensure optimal magnesium levels in the body.

    Lifestyle Changes to Boost Magnesium Levels

    In addition to dietary sources and supplements, making certain lifestyle changes can significantly improve magnesium levels in the body. By incorporating these changes into your daily routine, you can enhance magnesium absorption and promote overall wellbeing.

    Relaxation Techniques

    Stress is known to deplete magnesium levels in the body. Incorporating relaxation techniques into your lifestyle can help reduce stress and improve magnesium absorption. Consider practicing mindfulness meditation, deep breathing exercises, or this simple daily yoga practice to promote relaxation and enhance magnesium uptake.

    Regular Exercise

    Engaging in regular exercise not only benefits your physical health but can also boost magnesium levels. Both cardiovascular exercise and strength training have been shown to increase magnesium absorption and utilization in the body. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, such as brisk walking or cycling, most days of the week.

    You can even incorporate a walking pad machine into your workday to get your steps in at your desk!

    Optimizing Sleep

    Adequate sleep is crucial for maintaining optimal magnesium levels. Lack of sleep can disrupt hormone balance and negatively impact magnesium absorption. To improve sleep quality, establish a consistent sleep schedule, create a relaxing bedtime routine, and ensure your sleep environment is cool, quiet, and dark.

    These are my favorite science-backed tips for getting better sleep!

    Reducing Alcohol and Caffeine Intake

    Alcohol and caffeine can interfere with magnesium absorption and increase magnesium excretion in the urine. Limiting alcohol consumption and moderating caffeine intake can help prevent magnesium depletion. Instead, opt for hydrating alternatives such as herbal tea or infused water.

    Managing Chronic Conditions

    Chronic conditions such as diabetes, gastrointestinal disorders, and kidney disease can contribute to magnesium deficiency. It’s essential to work closely with your healthcare provider to effectively manage these conditions and monitor magnesium levels. Following a balanced diet, taking prescribed medications, and attending regular check-ups can aid in maintaining optimal magnesium levels.

    Start incorporating more magnesium into your daily routine to help maintain your overall health!

    Food, Healthy Living, Lifestyle, Nutrition, Supplements, Women's Health

    Printed from GetHealthyU.com

    1 Comment

    on Reply

    Thank you for these great recipe ideas! I take magnesium daily to avoid migraines, but getting your Mg from nutritious food is best. Thanks for the ideas!

    (This will help us personalize your experience so that you can get the best advice possible from us!)
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