Magnesium Deficiency Symptoms: What You Need to Know

· October 20, 2014
Magnesium deficiency is something that is often very hard to spot, and in today's article we'll show you what to look out for.

This problem is not usually evident, because magnesium doesn’t tend to appear in blood tests. Only 1% of magnesium is stored in the blood stream. Also, the majority of doctors don’t even include its analysis in their tests, and that’s why magnesium deficiency symptoms are hard to spot. 

They say that most people in industrialized countries like the United States are lacking magnesium, but very few know it. It’s important to know about it, as many illnesses can stem from this deficiency.

Magnesium deficiency symptoms: what to know

Magnesium is one of the most important minerals in your body after water, oxygen, and other basic nutrients. It is vital to your development and is more relevant than calcium, sodium, and potassium because it is in charge of regulating all three.

One of the most common magnesium deficiency symptoms is being very thirsty and needing to drink a lot of water or liquids every day. This is because you aren’t receiving the necessary nutrients from food and your body expresses it by needing to be hydrated continually.

Water running from an outside tap.

Magnesium deficiency can disrupt your sleep cycles, increase stress, or reduce a person’s athletic abilities. It is most noticeable in the quality of life more than anything else. The first symptoms are very subtle and almost imperceptible, and then they become more noticeable, with leg cramps, feet pain, or “twinges” in your muscles without having exercised, for example.

Read more: Home Remedies to Soothe Sore Muscles

Once the symptoms worsen, you will experience numbness, convulsions, frequent tingling, and in intense cases, coronary spasms, personality changes, and abnormal heartbeats.

Magnesium deficiency can affect all of your body’s organs, especially your muscles, which is why you may experience a lot of pain, tension, cramping, or spasms. Disorders in the jaw joint, headaches, or chest tightness can also occur.

Man suffering from a headache.

It also contracts your muscles, which causes can constipation, menstrual cramps, spasms when urinating, and difficulty swallowing. In addition to that you can suffer from high sensitivity to noise, an affected nervous system, insomnia, anxiety, panic attacks, hyperactivity, agoraphobia, PMS, tingling feelings, numbness, or instability.

In regards to your cardiovascular system, magnesium deficiency symptoms can include arrhythmia, palpitations, chest pain (angina), spasms in your arteries, hypertension, and mitral valve prolapse.

Read more: How to Treat Constipation Without Laxatives

Why is magnesium so important?

Your body basically needs it for all of its functions. Cells live thanks to magnesium. It is vital for enzymes to work properly, and it synthesizes proteins, carbohydrates, and fat. It is also essential in energy production. In short, a deficiency in magnesium affects all the systems in the body. Water that contains a lot of magnesium can prevent this deficiency.

It is also claimed that deficiency in this mineral can trigger diabetes. According to some studies, patients that suffer from magnesium deficiency were more vulnerable to suffer from problems in blood sugar production.

Magnesium deficiency symptoms include tiredness.

How can I add magnesium to my daily diet?

The recommended amount of magnesium is 300 milligrams for men and 280 for women. Pregnant women should consume 350. Magnesium is found mainly in nuts (like almonds, cashew, or walnuts) and in legumes (like peas).

Here’s an example of a diet rich in magnesium:

  • Breakfast: tea with low fat milk and two whole wheat slices of toast
  • Mid-morning: 10 nuts or 10 almonds
  • Lunch: a cup of raw spinach, 120 grams of natural tuna and 1 cup of whole grain cooked rice. For a dessert, a light flan with two chopped up walnuts.
  • Snack: low fat milk with cereal and an apple
  • Mid-afternoon: 2 rice or oatmeal cookies with a handful of raisins
  • Dinner: chicken breast with chard pudding and a tomato and cucumber salad. A half cup of strawberries for dessert.

A bowl of assorted nuts.

Images courtesy of Iain Buchanan, IUCN Web, Christopher, Eunice, Steve Parker

Swaminathan, R. (2003). Magnesium Metabolism and its Disorders. Clinical Biochemistry Review. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-323-04883-5.50036-2