Magnesium is a mineral that supports muscle and nerve function and energy levels. If your magnesium levels drop too low, you’re at risk for heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and osteoporosis. It’s easy to overlook the early symptoms of low magnesium. But it’s worth paying attention if you notice any of these five signs because they could indicate a magnesium deficiency.
Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in your body. It activates approximately 600 enzymes and affects your body’s calcium levels. Without it, your body couldn’t maintain cellular functions that combine DNA and RNA, and maintain your antioxidant levels in your cells. Additionally, it helps your body metabolize energy. Magnesium is in your bones, teeth, and cells.
Five signs you might have a magnesium deficiency
Magnesium deficiency is difficult to diagnose because many of these types of deficiency symptoms mimic other health problems. Here are the most common signs of a magnesium deficiency.
1 – Magnesium deficiency may cause a loss of your appetite
Loss of appetite is often the first symptom of low magnesium. Along with your lack of hunger, you may lose weight without trying. Food doesn’t appeal to you. Low appetite also causes you not to eat enough magnesium-rich foods. Here are twenty foods high in magnesium that, when added to your daily diet, can help your magnesium levels go up.
|Shredded wheat||Black beans|
|Baked potato||Brown rice|
So if you recently lost your appetite, load up on some of these foods. You might see if your appetite improves and you feel better.
2 – Muscle spasms may come with a magnesium deficiency
If you work out, you may feel occasional muscle aches and spasms. But if the muscle cramps continue, it could signal you’re low in magnesium. This mineral helps your muscles relax and contract properly. As you age, this cramping is common. Some people have tried magnesium supplements to eliminate muscle cramps and twitches. Magnesium deficiency also causes low calcium, contributing to muscle spasms and cramps.
3 – Irregular heartbeat and high blood pressure
Irregular heartbeat and high blood pressure are two common signs of low magnesium. Low magnesium causes you to be at risk for developing heart disease. This mineral is critical for your heart’s rhythm because it helps move the electrolytes, calcium, and potassium to your cells. Electrolytes help the function of your nerves and muscle contractions for a normal heartbeat. Magnesium offsets calcium in your heart muscle so it can relax instead of contracting too much.
4 – Nausea and vomiting
If you’re nauseous, you may assume you have a stomach bug. If your nausea persists, it could signify that you’re low in magnesium. Keep an eye on how long your sickness lasts, especially if you have vomiting with it. Vomiting can lead to dehydration. This adds to your loss of magnesium since vomiting throws off your electrolytes. Be sure to contact your healthcare provider if your symptoms last more than a week. They can do blood tests to identify low magnesium or other conditions.
5 – Magnesium deficiency can cause fatigue
Fatigue hits everyone once in a while. If you’ve had a busy season of life, you may not pay much attention to your fatigue. It’s easy to assume you’ll feel better once life slows down. But if your fatigue continues for several weeks, it could signify a magnesium deficiency. Don’t ignore fatigue. It’s a sign of low magnesium and also other health problems. Be sure to tell your healthcare provider about what you’re observing, so they can run blood tests to see what’s happening.
What are some other symptoms of a magnesium deficiency?
Although these five symptoms are often the first ones you may notice, you may have different symptoms. Never ignore these symptoms or talk yourself out of getting medical help. These symptoms will progress and can lead to more severe health problems. Other symptoms of low magnesium include these:
- changes in personality
- Irregular heartbeat
- High blood pressure
- Poor coordination
What causes magnesium deficiency?
Low magnesium can be a severe condition. It can be a result of several things, such as the following:
- Poor diet: If you’re not eating whole grains and other natural foods high in magnesium, you can develop a deficiency.
- Alcoholism: Drinking too much alcohol depletes your body of magnesium.
- Diarrhea: If you’re prone to diarrhea, watch for signs of magnesium deficiency. Magnesium is one mineral that affects your electrolytes that keep your body hydrated. There are unique waters that contain magnesium that can help boost your electrolytes and increase the magnesium in your body.
- Certain medication: Some medications reduce this mineral from your body. For example, diuretics undermine your magnesium levels.
Who is most at risk for magnesium deficiency?
Specific individuals are at risk for magnesium deficiency. This is usually because they don’t consume enough magnesium-rich foods, have a medical condition, or take medication that prevents magnesium absorption.
- People with digestive illnesses-Digestive diseases like Chrohn’s disease, irritable bowel disease, and celiac disease can lead to low magnesium.
- People with Type 2 diabetes-Individuals who are insulin resistant or have type 2 diabetes have low magnesium due to increased urinary excretion. They also have more glucose in their kidneys because of increased urine.
- Older adults-Once you reach a certain age, you’re more prone to magnesium deficiency. This is because older adults eat fewer magnesium-rich foods. Plus, older adults often take medication that interferes with magnesium absorption.
How much magnesium do you need per day?
Depending upon your age, gender, whether you’re pregnant or nursing, the daily requirements for magnesium change. Here is a list of magnesium requirements.
|birth to 6 months||30mg||30mg|
|7 to 12 months||75mg||75mg|
What is the best treatment for low magnesium?
If your health care provider determines you’re low in magnesium, they may prescribe oral magnesium supplements. You’ll get an intravenous magnesium infusion for quick absorption when you’re extremely low in this mineral. You may also need an intravenous potassium infusion since low magnesium and potassium go hand in hand. Low magnesium is common for individuals staying in the hospital.
Magnesium supplements include magnesium citrate, magnesium glycinate, magnesium threonate, magnesium threonine, or magnesium malate.
You may have side effects such as diarrhea from taking oral magnesium supplements. Magnesium oil rubbed into your skin helps you avoid these side effects. In fact, studies found that when you apply magnesium to the skin, it is absorbed through your sweat glands. Ask your doctor if it’s possible to get a prescription for topical magnesium rather than oral supplements to avoid side effects.
Also, be sure to discuss these supplements with a pharmacist or doctor before you start taking them.
Over-the-counter magnesium drugs
Over-the-counter medications such as Epsom salts can boost your magnesium levels. Be careful to follow the guidelines on the package since taking too much can lead to complications.
Another over-the-counter drug to discuss with your doctor is Phillips Milk of Magnesia. It’s a magnesium-based laxative that provides 500 mg magnesium per tablespoon. This is a high dose of magnesium, but your body won’t absorb all the minerals because it’s a laxative. Also, other over-the-counter medications for heartburn or upset stomach have some magnesium.
So be aware of getting too high of a dose of magnesium from these medications. They can cause side effects such as stomach cramps, diarrhea, or nausea.
Final thoughts on overcoming a magnesium deficiency
Low magnesium is difficult to diagnose because many symptoms mimic other health problems. Because this deficiency isn’t easy to spot, it’s important to note these five signs. So if you’re experiencing fatigue, loss of appetite, muscle spasms, irregular heartbeat, or nausea, be sure to talk with your healthcare provider. Resist the urge to explain away your symptoms and assume everything is okay. No one else will watch over your health, so be proactive in discovering why you have these symptoms.