There are many Health Benefits of Magnesium as it is an essential mineral that helps maintain healthy muscle and bones. Here are 7 huge magnesium deficiency symptoms you should be looking for when evaluating your health.
7 Huge 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.
What is the first sign of Low Magnesium?
According to Healthline, early magnesium deficiency symptoms include nausea, vomiting, 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.
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.”
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. Low magnesium is thought to contribute to headaches and migraines because of its role in supporting healthy neurological function and neurotransmitter production.
Experts think magnesium may help reduce pain during a migraine by blocking pain-transmitting chemicals in the brain.
“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.
3. Constipation is a sign of magnesium deficiency
Low magnesium levels can often lead to bouts of constipation. Magnesium 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:
- 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)
4. Muscle Cramps and Spasms
As 30-40 percent of the body’s magnesium is found in the muscles and soft tissues, it plays a huge role supporting your muscles. Not having enough magnesium can lead to painful leg cramps and spasms. Your muscles work by contracting and relaxing.
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 from lack of magnesium
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.
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.
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.
More Helpful Magnesium Posts
- Using Magnesium as a Sleep Aid
- Magnesium for Leg Cramps
- The Best Foods High in Magnesium
- What are the Different Types of Magnesium?
- 11 Warning Signs of Magnesium Deficiency
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.
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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.
Read more about Magnesium-Rich Foods.
Can you take magnesium every day?
Yes, it is generally recommended to take a magnesium supplement in the evening with food every day.
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