7 Huge Magnesium Deficiency Symptoms

Magnesium Deficiency Symptoms vary from person to person, but can include fatigue, muscle cramps or twitches, irregular heartbeat, anxiety and depression. Other signs of a magnesium deficiency include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting and weakness. Some people may also experience numbness and tingling in the hands and feet. If the deficiency is severe, symptoms can include seizures and personality changes. To help prevent any serious health issues, if you think you might have a magnesium deficiency, it’s important to talk to your doctor as soon as possible. With the right lifestyle changes and dietary modifications, you can get back on track to optimal health.

Magnesium Deficiency is an incredibly common issue that many people face, yet are unaware of its causes or symptoms. It is responsible for a wide range of maladies, such as muscle cramps, difficulty sleeping, decreased appetite, weak bones and fatigue. Recognizing magnesium deficiency in its early stages can go a long way toward treating and preventing it in the future. Luckily, magnesium supplementation is a simple remedy that can quickly promote physiological and psychological health.

magnesium deficiency symptoms

Magnesium is a mineral and important nutrient that your body needs to function. It is responsible for helping with over 300 processes within the body. Magnesium helps muscles and nerves work efficiently, helps to regulate blood sugar levels, assists in keeping bones strong and helps your body maintain a steady heart rate. It is known for having a calming and relaxing effect on body systems.

You can get magnesium through eating foods rich in the nutrient or dietary magnesium supplements. Foods rich in magnesium include green leafy vegetables, nuts, avocados, pumpkin seeds, salmon, grass-fed dairy and dark chocolate. Below are some common signs of magnesium deficiency symptoms.

Did you know the average recommended amount
of magnesium is around 400-420 mg per day for men
and 310-320 mg per day for women?

What is the First Sign of Magnesium Deficiency?

According to Healthline, some common symptoms of true magnesium deficiency include nausea, vomiting, muscle weakness and loss of appetite. Low levels of magnesium can contribute to abnormal heart rhythms and increase your blood pressure both of which can put you at risk for heart disease.

A really interesting way to explain the role of magnesium and heart disease is from Carolyn Dean, MD, ND, a medical advisory board member for the Nutritional Magnesium Association. She says, “The highest levels of magnesium in the whole body are in the heart, specifically in the left ventricle, which does the most work.

Magnesium is the gatekeeper for calcium being allowed into muscle cells to cause contraction. Then magnesium ushers the calcium out of the cell. Without magnesium to guard the channel, calcium floods the cell and leads to hypercontraction of the muscle cells, which translates into angina and even heart attack.”

Poor diet creates a path for health problems including low magnesium but anyone with celiac disease has an added risk factor for magnesium deficiency without the intake of whole grains.

magnesium supplement tablets

1. Problems with Cognition

A deficiency in magnesium in older adults can result in a number of cognitive difficulties, such as brain fog, memory problems and difficulty concentrating. This is because magnesium plays a vital role in helping your mitochondria function. Mitochondria are structures within the body’s cells that are responsible for producing energy.

Without enough magnesium, the mitochondria in brain cells have difficulty producing enough energy to power thinking processes.

MIT researchers found that magnesium plays a pivotal role in regulating brain receptors needed for learning and memory function, and that supplementing with magnesium helped clear so-called “brain fog.”

People who are stressed will normally have low magnesium levels and the low magnesium levels themselves can even increase susceptibility to stress.

A study found that those with higher magnesium levels did better on tests of cognitive functions like attention and memory and had lower risks of developing cognitive impairment than those with lower magnesium levels.

In the brain, magnesium plays a crucial role in preventing anxiety and stress by maintaining normal levels of GABA, a neurotransmitter that regulates many processes throughout the nervous system. In addition to its calming effects on sleep and relaxation, GABA also helps regulate muscle tone, heart rate, breathing, and digestion.

Magnesium is essential for brain function because it also aids in regulating the glutamate neurotransmitter. Glutamate is necessary for learning, memory, and concentration. It’s also the brain’s most abundant neurotransmitter. Many of us have an excess of glutamate in our brains, leading to issues. Magnesium helps to keep your brain healthy and happy by balancing glutamate levels.

man with headache

2. Headaches and Migraines

If you suffer from chronic headaches or migraines, low magnesium may be playing a role in keeping your head pounding. Some studies have shown that people who get migraines tend to have lower levels of magnesium in their bodies. According to the National Institutes of Health, low magnesium is thought to contribute to headaches and migraines because of its role in supporting healthy neurological function and neurotransmitter production.

Health professionals think magnesium may help reduce pain during a migraine by blocking pain-transmitting chemicals in the brain and relaxing the neurological system and muscles. Magnesium oxide is the most commonly utilized type of magnesium in pill form to prevent migraine, usually at a dose of 400-600 mg per day.

“Migraine is widely thought of as a disorder of brain excitability,” Richard Lipton, M.D. neurologist with the American Migraine Foundation. He goes on to say, “The thought is that when levels of magnesium are low, that makes nerve cells more prone to release these excitatory chemicals like glutamate and that might contribute to the state of brain excitability in general,” says Lipton. So if the brain is excitable, then a migraine attack is more likely to happen.

The American Migraine Foundation suggests taking a 400–500 milligram (mg) supplement of magnesium oxide daily to prevent migraines. They also say that daily oral magnesium has also been shown to be effective in preventing menstrually related migraine, especially in those with premenstrual migraine.

Research on magnesium has found it to be a well-tolerated, safe and inexpensive option for migraine prevention, while it may also be effective as an acute treatment option for headaches including migraines, tension-type headaches and cluster headaches.

If you experience frequent migraine headaches, your doctor may recommend magnesium. Studies show that migraine sufferers have lower magnesium levels in the blood and brain than people who do not experience migraines.

3. Constipation

Low magnesium levels can often lead to bouts of constipation. Magnesium citrate works to keep you regular in a couple of ways. By helping to draw water into the intestines, magnesium plays a role in keeping stools soft for more efficient elimination. It also helps by keeping the muscle contractions of the intestinal track regulated and working optimally.

We don’t eat enough magnesium-rich foods here in the United States. Plus things like chronic stress, too much caffeine and sugar and toxic overload often deplete magnesium levels and can make you constipated. Here are some magnesium-rich foods that can also help with constipation and are also a good source of magnesium:

  • almonds (80 mg of magnesium per ounce)
  • cashews (75 mg of magnesium per ounce)
  • cooked spinach (75 mg of magnesium per 1/2 cup)
  • shredded wheat cereal (55 mg of magnesium in two rectangular biscuits)
  • fortified instant oatmeal prepared with water (55 mg of magnesium per cup)
  • baked potato with skin (50 mg of magnesium in one medium potato)
  • peanuts (50 mg of magnesium per ounce)
  • cooked lentils (35 mg of magnesium per 1/2 cup)
  • smooth peanut butter (25 mg of magnesium per tablespoon)
muscle cramp in leg magnesium

4. Muscle Cramps and Spasms

Magnesium is essential for good muscle function and relieves tight, cramped muscles. It also relaxes the muscles and can be vital in the treatment of back pain and cramps by calming back muscles, kidney stress and muscular tension.

30-40 percent of your body’s magnesium is found in the muscles and soft tissues
When your body is deficient, it can lead to painful leg cramps and spasms

Without enough magnesium, the muscle contraction and relaxation can become difficult and uncoordinated. Muscle spasms and cramps are often early signs of magnesium deficiency. Muscle spasms due to low magnesium are often felt in the feet and legs.

According to this 1996 study, magnesium deficiency should always be included in the diagnosis of patients who present with persistent or severe muscle pain.

5. Anxiety and Stress

Because of its important role in the production of neurotransmitters, low magnesium can leave you feeling anxious, stressed and irritable. Neurotransmitters are chemicals found in the brain that help your nerves communicate with each other so anxiety is one of the biggest big magnesium deficiency symptoms.

They help your body regulate a variety of behaviors, such as sleep, thought patterns, moods and more. Low magnesium can result in a variety of mood disorders, including anxiety, depression, irritability and confusion.

Magnesium can help improve your mood by reducing stress and anxiety!

Magnesium increases serotonin and dopamine and pumps up your energy level. Having low magnesium levels can result in fatigue and tiredness.

It’s believed that low magnesium levels disrupt the production and function of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, which regulate moods and emotions. A 2011 study found that magnesium supplementation can increase serotonin production by 30 percent or more, which may lift depression symptoms quickly. Low magnesium levels have also been connected to low histamine levels in the brain — histamine is another neurotransmitter that regulates sleep cycles and feelings.

woman with insomnia

6. Insomnia

If you suffer from sleepless nights, you may be low in magnesium. The neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) plays a role in helping the body to relax. GABA is the neurotransmitter responsible for quieting down nerve activity and magnesium plays an important role in helping GABA production in the brain.

Being low in magnesium can lead to low GABA production. And, without proper amounts of GABA, getting a good night’s sleep can be difficult. By helping to quiet the nervous system and promote GABA production, magnesium may help prepare your body and mind for sleep.

Taking magnesium citrate two hours before sleeping may help you get good and efficient sleep. Magnesium citrate has been shown to relieve leg cramps and calm the nerves. This helps calm your nerves making you relax and have better sleep. 

Lack of sleep may also be a result of stress, so submerging yourself in a bath mixed with magnesium sulfate (epsom salts) may relieve your nerves and make you calm and give you a good night’s sleep.

7. Osteoporosis

Magnesium contributes to increased bone density and helps prevent bone loss. If you aren’t eating magnesium-rich foods and eating large amounts of processed foods in which much of the magnesium is removed, then you are at risk of osteoporosis.

Treating osteoporosis with magnesium citrate effectively promotes bone density, bone mass, and strength. It prevents bone loss in people who have low bone mass or osteoporosis.

woman sleeping no clutter

How Can I Increase My Magnesium Levels Quickly?

You can raise your magnesium levels quickly by eating a diet rich in magnesium as well as taking a daily supplement.

Magnesium Resources

Nature Made Magnesium

Nature Made High Absorption Magnesium Citrate 200mg gummies to support muscle relaxation, heart, nerve, and bone health

Magnesium Spray on Amazon

You get 100% absorbable elemental magnesium delivered directly to cellular level through skin. Mined as a liquid in its ionic state, it requires no further processing by your body.

NOW Solutions Magnesium Flakes

NOW Solutions 100% Pure Magnesium Chloride Flakes are an ideal natural bath additive for softening skin. They improve skin hydration, and make a soothing addition to bath water and foot baths.

How Can You Get More Magnesium from Your Diet?

Magnesium is an essential mineral that performs a host of necessary functions. It helps your body utilize other minerals and vitamins and is vital for the right functioning of muscles and nerves, including the heart.

Studies show that people who live in areas with hard water have less cardiovascular disease, and hard water is the result of high levels of magnesium and calcium. It helps the body turn glucose into energy and helps regulate body temperature. Magnesium is used as a laxative, a sleep aid and an antacid.

About 50 percent of the magnesium people get in your diet is absorbed by the small intestine, and the rate goes up if you’re deficient in the mineral. Another good thing about magnesium is that it’s found in a variety of foods.

Can You Take Magnesium Every Day?

Yes, it is generally recommended to take a magnesium supplement in the evening with food every day. Please seek medical advice if you have severe deficiency symptoms.

Wooden massage roller 4 dice Maderoterapia Wood therapy
Wooden massage roller 4 dice Maderoterapia Wood therapy
Organic Magnesium Lotion Sore Muscles Growing Pains RLS
Organic Magnesium Lotion Sore Muscles Growing Pains RLS
Organic Magnesium Body Butter w Whipped Raw Shea and Moringa
Organic Magnesium Body Butter w Whipped Raw Shea and Moringa
Magnesium Oil Spray Lavender or Unscented Magnesium Spray
Magnesium Oil Spray Lavender or Unscented Magnesium Spray

More Information about Magnesium Deficiency

10 Different Types of Magnesium and Their Amazing Uses

11 Warning Signs of Magnesium Deficiency

9 Amazing Magnesium Benefits for Women

health benefits of magnesium
magnesium deficiency symptoms

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  1. This is a huge problem right now and many people are not diagnosed for it. My husband has dealt with this twice and both times had different symptoms. It turns out heart palpitations are another sign along with high blood pressure, which is has already, but has been able to control through diet and exercise. Followed you here from the share your style party, pinned.

    1. Wow Joyce that’s really interesting. I noticed a huge difference in my almost-daily headaches after adding the supplement to my nighttime routine.

  2. I have always been deficient in magnesium. I find when I stop taking supplements, my anxiety increases and so do my headaches/migraines, muscle cramps etc. I had no idea about the brain fog though. Definitely something that I need to maintain! Thanks for the info. Saving this for future reference x

  3. Great information! I’m definitely going to try increasing my magnesium since I struggle with several of the things that can be caused by a magnesium deficiency.
    Thank you

    1. You want to take 400mg a day and if you overtake it it will just come out through your kidneys with no danger you. I have consulted medical professionals and will be posting about this soon.

  4. Wow, I have every one of these symptoms and take a different medication for each -except the brain fog, which I have attributed to being dumb. I will start taking the supplement immediately! Thank you for the great article.

  5. Hi! I had been having extreme cramps and spasms in my left leg around calf. The pain was not constant, but would happen periodically. It was cryingly excruciating. I would beat my leg and cast out the devil, etc? I read about magnesium and learned about potential deficiency in adult diet. I noted my multiple vitamin had a trace amount of 25-35% DV. I decided to add magnesium as a supplement and advised my medical practicianers about them. So, they monitor me. And, I still pray to GOD! But, I can attest that since I’ve been ingesting NatureMade Magnesium- one in am and one in pm, I have not had any more cramp episodes . So, go figure!

  6. I’m a diabetic type 2 and have underative thyroids I have brain fog no energy can’t sleep sometimes will it help me I’m on snythriod 100 mg and metformin 1000 twice a day and a colestoral med also

  7. In the past couple of years I’ve been getting bouts of constipation, which previously was not my norm. I’m thinking I may be magnesium deficient. My question is, is there a different type of magnesium used for constipation?

  8. I never knew until I read this about magnesium. Thanks for the information. I will now be able to help my son who gets muscles cramps and spasms so frequently especially when exercising.

    1. @Galatia, be sure and check to see if your son gets enough potassium too. I always had weakness when I didn’t get enough. Eat lots of bananas and drink Orange Juice

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