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10 Signs and Symptoms of a Magnesium Deficiency

8 minute read

Something just doesn’t feel right, but you can’t put your finger on it. Could it be that you’re suffering from magnesium deficiency?

Magnesium deficiency is a growing concern in the United States, as dietary surveys show that overall magnesium intakes are lower than recommended amounts according to the National Institutes of Health. The recommended amounts are currently 320 milligrams per day for women and 420 milligrams for men daily.

Not only can there be ramifications from not having enough magnesium in your diet, but there might also be significant health benefits from adding more magnesium. So how can you boost your magnesium intake, and how will it affect you?

What Is Magnesium?

Magnesium is an essential mineral and an electrolyte. It’s vital to a healthy, well-functioning body and has a hand in producing energy, muscle and nerve function, DNA replication, RNA and protein synthesis, and bone and teeth structure.

The good news is magnesium makes an appearance in a lot of different foods. Some magnesium-rich foods include:

♦ Green leafy vegetables

♦ Figs

♦ Avocados

♦ Bananas

♦ Raspberries

♦ Nuts and seeds

♦ Legumes

♦ Peas

♦ Broccoli


♦ Green beans

♦ Artichokes

♦ Asparagus

♦ Brussels sprouts

♦ Brown rice

♦ Oats

Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and tuna

♦ Tofu

Dark chocolate

In addition to being found in many different foods, it’s also included in some medications and in multivitamins and supplements.

10 Signs of Magnesium Deficiency

If you’re wondering what’s causing you to feel out of sorts, the following magnesium deficiency signs can help you determine if it’s lack of magnesium that’s behind it all or something else.

1. Loss of appetite: You’re suddenly not as hungry as you used to and feel this way on a regular basis.

2. Nausea: Part of your appetite being absent might be because you feel nauseated quite frequently.

3. Vomiting: Taking it even further, your nausea turns into full-blown vomiting.

4. Fatigue: You chronically feel like you’re just not up to doing the things you used to.

5. Weakness: Your body feels tired all over and you have a notable lack of energy or strength.

6. Abnormal heart rhythms: Your heart no longer keeps a steady rhythm and you may suffer from skipped beats or a fluttery sensation.

7. Numbness or tingling: Your extremities have that pins and needles feeling or they just feel numb.

8. Muscle cramps: You get that charley horse or wicked cramp in your leg or other muscles.

9. Muscle contractions or twitches: Eye twitches can be a symptom of magnesium deficiency, or you may have twitches or contractions in other muscles.

10. Craving stimulants: A reaction to low energy and low magnesium is craving for caffeine or sugar.

Many of these symptoms work together and can be signs of other illnesses as well. It’s best to take note of the signs you’ve recognized and talk to your healthcare provider, just to rule out any more serious concerns.

Risk Factors for Magnesium Deficiency

The good news is the human body can retain good levels of magnesium, so it isn’t all that common for someone to experience the symptoms of a deficiency, provided you maintain good variety in your diet.

But there are things that could make you more prone to magnesium deficiency, such as lifestyle choices, chronic illnesses, and even some outside influences.

Your diet: If you’re a sugar addict, you avoid vegetables and leafy greens, you love sodas, and processed foods, then you’re just setting yourself up for a magnesium deficiency.

Digestive disorders: People with celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, and other digestive problems tend to have more issues with processing and using magnesium correctly.

Type 2 diabetes diagnosis: Type 2 diabetes and low magnesium tend to go hand-in-hand. It’s worth talking to your doctor about and considering supplements.

Too much conventional dairy or calcium supplements: Calcium and magnesium need to work together for optimum absorption and performance. Make sure you’re taking or eating compatible amounts of both.

| Related: Why Magnesium Deficiency May Create Low Vitamin D |

You take certain prescriptions: Some prescriptions can cause your body to develop a magnesium deficiency. These prescriptions include acid blockers, antacids, antibiotics, corticosteroids, diuretics, antivirals, hormone replacement therapy medications, and more.

If you’re concerned about your prescriptions and magnesium levels, it’s a good idea to speak with your doctor or pharmacist.

How to Reverse Magnesium Deficiency

Adding magnesium into your diet can reverse the symptoms and have you feeling great again. You can do this by changing your diet to include more magnesium-rich foods, adding a supplement, or a combination of the two options.

The magnesium that is naturally found in food is not harmful and you can have as much as you want. But if you’re going elsewhere and taking a dietary supplement, then you should speak with your healthcare provider. It is recommended that you not go above the upper limits of magnesium unless your doctor has prescribed it to manage a magnesium deficiency.

One thing to be aware of when you’re trying to add magnesium to your diet, whether organically or through supplements, is your alcohol consumption. Alcohol acts as a magnesium diuretic.

This means that when you pair magnesium with alcohol, the alcohol takes over and swiftly pushes the magnesium, along with other electrolytes and key minerals, out of the body through the urine. You’ve suddenly lost all the benefits you were hoping to achieve by consuming additional magnesium.

In heavy alcohol users, not only will the available magnesium be flushed, but it will eventually be leached from the body’s stores of it. This can cause even more damage to the body along with the effects of chronic alcohol use.

The Bottom Line

Luckily, it is very easy to add magnesium to your diet, as it naturally occurs in a wide variety of foods. You can eat as many foods of this type as you want since this natural version of magnesium is safe.

If you decide to go on a magnesium supplement, it’s best to discuss this option with your healthcare provider to make sure you have an adequate dosage. It’s also key that when you are adding magnesium, you limit your alcohol consumption to make the most of this essential mineral.

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