Magnesium deficiency is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies in the United States, affecting up to 80 percent of Americans.
Magnesium is a mineral that’s involved in over 300 processes in the body. The National Institutes of Health recommends that adults get 420 milligrams of magnesium daily from food sources or supplements.
A recent study found that two out of three Americans are not getting enough magnesium in their diets. This is particularly true for those who eat processed foods or who avoid whole grains and leafy greens.
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Signs & Symptoms Of Magnesium Deficiency
Magnesium deficiency can be caused by stress, lack of exercise, alcohol consumption, certain medications such as diuretics, or even too much caffeine or sugar intake! To know if you have a deficiency, there are a few signs and symptoms you can look out for:
1. Sleeping problems
A lack of magnesium may be linked to anxiety and depression symptoms (1), which can make it difficult to sleep well.
Magnesium helps regulate serotonin levels and is involved in the production of melatonin (2). These are two hormones that play an important role in sleep regulation.
Magnesium supplements may help relieve the anxiety that interferes with sleep patterns.
Insufficient magnesium levels have also been linked with restless leg syndrome (3). This causes uncomfortable sensations in the legs or arms while trying to fall asleep or stay asleep at night.
In addition to these serious health problems, magnesium deficiency has been linked to sleep disorders such as rapid eye movement during sleep.
This condition causes people to act out their dreams while sleeping. They may thrash about or jump out of bed while they are dreaming. Rapid eye movement often develops after age 50 and can be triggered by physical or emotional stressors in the person’s life.
One study found that taking 200 milligrams of magnesium daily resulted in improved sleep quality compared with a placebo over 16 weeks.
2. Muscle spasms and cramps
The most common symptom of magnesium deficiency is muscle cramps. Muscle cramps are caused by a sudden movement of a muscle that stretches the muscle beyond its normal range of motion.
Magnesium deficiency can also cause low potassium levels which can lead to muscle weakness and fatigue.
In one study, researchers examined the relationship between magnesium levels and muscle cramps in patients who were taking diuretics for hypertension (4).
They found that patients with low magnesium levels were more likely to experience muscle spasms or cramps than those who had normal levels of this mineral. These findings suggest that magnesium supplementation may help prevent or relieve these symptoms.
3. Feeling tired constantly
The feeling of fatigue may occur due to many reasons such as lack of sleep or poor nutrition.
However, if you are experiencing chronic fatigue despite good sleep and proper diet then you may be suffering from magnesium deficiency.
Magnesium deficiency causes fatigue and weakness by slowing down the metabolism process. As a result, more time is needed to convert food into energy.
This can lead to low energy levels and exhaustion. Magnesium deficiency has also been linked with poor concentration levels, confusion, depression, and irritability.
4. Frequent migraines
In some people, magnesium deficiency may be linked to migraine headaches. It has been estimated that up to 30 percent of people with migraines are deficient in this mineral.
In fact, several studies have found that taking 200 mg of magnesium daily helped reduce the number and severity of migraines in these individuals.
However, other studies failed to find any beneficial effects of magnesium supplementation on migraine frequency or severity. The reason why some people experience relief from magnesium while others do not is unclear.
Some research has found that magnesium supplementation may reduce the frequency of migraine headaches by as much as 50%.
5. Twitching eyelids
If you have ever experienced twitching eyelids, then you know how irritating it can be. The condition usually occurs when the tiny muscles around your eyes contract involuntarily for no apparent reason.
The most common symptom of twitching eyelids is when one or both of your eyelids begin to twitch uncontrollably while you are awake. The twitches are usually very small at first but they may increase over time if you do not treat them properly.
This condition can be distressing and embarrassing as well.
A magnesium deficiency is one of the most common causes of this problem. Magnesium is a mineral that helps to relax the muscles in your body, including those surrounding your eyes.
When there is not enough magnesium in your body, these muscles become tense and begin to twitch uncontrollably.
In some cases, twitching eyelids may also result from an imbalance of other minerals such as calcium or potassium within your system.
Osteoporosis (5) is a disease that occurs when the bones become weak and porous. The bones become brittle and break easily, which can lead to other problems such as pain and deformity.
It is most common in women after menopause because estrogen (6) helps keep the bones strong. Osteoporosis is also more common in people who have taken certain medications or had rheumatoid arthritis for many years.
Magnesium deficiency can lead to osteoporosis because it interferes with calcium absorption and causes an imbalance between calcium and phosphorus in the body. The deficiency may also result in hypothyroidism (7), which is associated with osteoporosis.
Magnesium helps transport calcium from your intestines into your bloodstream so it can be absorbed into your bones where it belongs. A magnesium deficiency can also cause low levels of parathyroid hormone.
The parathyroid hormone (8) regulates calcium levels in your bloodstream by removing excess amounts of calcium from your bones when you need more in your bloodstream.
7. A decline in mental health
Magnesium is an essential nutrient for the brain. It plays an important role in brain function by helping cells in your body produce serotonin. This helps improve your mood, fight anxiety, and reduce depression symptoms.
Magnesium also supports GABA activity which reduces stress hormones like cortisol (9) and adrenaline which can increase feelings of anxiety.
Some studies have suggested that magnesium deficiency may be associated with schizophrenia and other mental disorders including ADHD, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia.
8. Hardening of the arteries
Atherosclerosis is a condition in which fatty substances and cholesterol build up inside the walls of arteries, causing them to narrow and harden.
As a result, your heart must pump harder to circulate blood throughout your body.
Magnesium deficiency causes hardening of the arteries because magnesium is needed to produce nitric oxide. This is a chemical that helps relax and widen blood vessels so that more blood can be pumped through them.
Magnesium also helps lower blood pressure by relaxing the muscles in the walls of blood vessels.
When it comes to magnesium deficiency, there are two main types: primary and secondary. Primary magnesium deficiency occurs when there’s not enough magnesium in the diet or when someone has a medical condition that affects how their body absorbs or uses magnesium.
Secondary magnesium deficiency develops when a person loses too much magnesium through frequent diarrhea or vomiting caused by another medical condition or medical side effect.
9. Blood sugar spikes
Magnesium deficiency can cause blood sugar levels to rise because it interferes with insulin production and action. When insulin can’t do its job effectively due to a lack of magnesium, the body produces more insulin or becomes resistant to its effects.
This may result in diabetic ketoacidosis (10). Diabetic ketoacidosis is a life-threatening complication that occurs when there is not enough insulin or when the body cannot use insulin properly.
People with diabetes have a higher risk of developing magnesium deficiency compared to people without diabetes. This could be due to increased loss of magnesium in urine.
10. High blood pressure
It’s estimated that at least one out of every three American adults has high blood pressure or prehypertension.
When these numbers continue to rise, they will increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and kidney failure.
Although many factors contribute to high blood pressure, such as age and genetics, magnesium deficiency can also play a role in this condition.
Magnesium deficiency causes high blood pressure by causing narrowing of the arteries. It also increases the amount of work that your heart has to do to pump blood throughout your body.
Magnesium deficiency causes asthma by affecting the nerves and muscles that control breathing. When you are deficient in magnesium, your body may not be able to relax your muscles as easily as it should.
This can make it difficult for you to take deep breaths or exhale carbon dioxide. In addition, magnesium deficiency also affects your nervous system, which controls breathing rate and rhythm.
If you have asthma and are deficient in magnesium, your doctor may recommend taking supplements or adding foods rich in magnesium to your diet.
Magnesium deficiency may also be associated with increased sensitivity to allergens and airway hyper-responsiveness.
Airway hyper-responsiveness is when a person’s airways tighten and swell when they are exposed to allergens or other triggers, such as cigarette smoke or exercise. This makes it harder for people to breathe normally.
If you are experiencing one or more of these 12 symptoms, ask your doctor about having a blood test to measure the level of magnesium in your body. This simple blood test may identify a deficiency and allow you to supplement accordingly.
Magnesium deficiency symptoms are very common in countries where there is limited access to magnesium-rich food sources such as vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds.
We can’t stress enough how important it is to boost your intake of this mineral. This is especially true if you’re experiencing symptoms like fatigue, insomnia, constipation, and other painful stomach issues.
Even if you don’t have these symptoms, it’s still a good idea to up your daily intake!