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What Happens if You Have a Magnesium Deficiency?

magnesium deficiency

Did you know the fourth most common mineral in your body is magnesium?

It is vital for over 600 different cell reactions within your body. It helps with everything from making DNA to making your muscles contract. Despite this, most Americans don’t get the daily recommended amount.

With so many functions depending on magnesium, you put your body in a state of chaos without enough. Don’t let this happen to you and your family.

We are going to help you determine if you have a magnesium deficiency. If you do, there are certain foods and supplements you can take to fix it.

How Much Magnesium Should I Take?

A general guideline for daily intake is 360-420 mg for men. For women, the daily intake amount is 310-400 mg.

If you are 19 to 30 years of age aim for the lower end of the scale. If you are over 30 you should aim for the higher end of the scale.

What Does Magnesium Do in the Body?

Your body uses magnesium for energy production and nerve function. Your bone and teeth structure also depends on it.

RNA and protein synthesis depends on magnesium. DNA replication also uses magnesium.

How Do I Know If I Have a Magnesium Deficiency?

There is a wide range of symptoms that you can experience as a result of magnesium. We are going to cover the 7 most common here.

1. Muscle Twitching and Cramping

Your muscles will twitch, tremor, and cramp from a magnesium deficiency. Too much calcium goes to the nerve cells when there is not enough magnesium.

The nerves in your muscles get overexcited. The hyperstimulated nerves cause your muscles to move too much.

2. Mental Disorders

Those who lack magnesium exhibit signs of apathy and depression. Scientists have also researched magnesium’s ability to help those with certain anxiety disorders.

3. Osteoporosis

There is a connection between reduced magnesium levels resulting in reduced calcium levels in the blood. This source of calcium is what builds strong bones.

When your magnesium intake is too low, it results in low bone mineral density. This loss gets compounded by old age and lack of exercise.

4. Fatigue or Weak Muscles

Another muscle issue is a loss of strength in your muscles. This symptom usually does not signal magnesium deficiency on its own.

Muscle loss known as myasthenia is a sign of a deficiency. Doctors believe that this loss in strength is from a lack of potassium. Low levels of potassium often go with low magnesium levels.

5. High Blood Pressure

Proper magnesium levels help maintain low blood pressure. If left unchecked high blood pressure can result in heart disease.

6. Asthma

Those with asthma tend to have low levels of magnesium. Doctors think this is from the excess buildup of calcium on the lining of the lungs.

Those with mild symptoms will get an inhaler with magnesium sulfate to help relax the lungs. For those with severe symptoms, injections are the preferred method of treatment.

7.Irregular Heartbeat

This symptom is the most dangerous. Most people do not have symptoms of irregular heartbeat or palpitations.

If you do have symptoms they would be lightheadedness, chest pain, trouble breathing, or fainting. Scientists believe that these issues come from a potassium imbalance.

The lack of potassium in and out of the heart causes an imbalance in the cells. As with other symptoms, this comes from a magnesium deficiency.

Blood Test

If you are experiencing these symptoms you should consult your doctor. Your doctor will run a blood test.

This is the most common way to tell if you have a deficiency. You may hear the term “total serum magnesium test”.

Long-Term Effects of Magnesium Deficiency

If you ignore a magnesium deficiency for the long term you risk heart disease and high blood pressure. Over time your bones and teeth will begin to weaken.

You will experience bad headaches more often and feel nervous. As the weakened bones imply, you will experience low levels of calcium and potassium. If you or a loved one experience these symptoms you should consult a doctor.

How to Get More Magnesium

You can get your daily recommended amount by eating magnesium foods. You will notice that many of these foods are recommended for senior to maintain brain health. If this doesn’t work for you, try taking magnesium supplements.


Nuts have the highest amount of magnesium. This is especially true for almonds, cashews, and peanuts.

Spinach has the next highest amount of magnesium. Edamame, black beans, and avocados are all great sources of magnesium.

Increase Absorption by the Body

Help your body to absorb magnesium by avoiding calcium-rich foods for the two hours before you eat magnesium-rich foods. Avoid zinc supplements.

Make sure you are not deficient in vitamin D. Finally, eat your vegetables raw instead of cooked.


Supplements help if your body struggles to absorb magnesium or you have another medical condition. Doctors will recommend people over 60 take a supplement.

The body’s ability to absorb magnesium decreases with age. You should always consult a doctor before taking a supplement.

Supplement Formulations

There are three different formulations available for supplements. Oxide, citrate, and chloride are available.

Magnesium citrate is a salt bond. The body can easily absorb this formulation.

Magnesium oxide is an inorganic compound that naturally occurs. This compound is most commonly used as an antacid.

Magnesium citrate is is a salt bond with citric acid. This form is also easily absorbed by the body.

Monitor Your Health

You should aim to meet the daily recommended amount of magnesium. This will help your body maintain normal functions.

You can get the recommended amount with a proper diet rich in nuts spinach, and legumes. If you find that you struggle to achieve proper levels through food, take a supplement.

If you have tremors, muscle weakness, depression, or high blood pressure you may have a deficiency. Those with asthma should be vigilant as they are most likely to have a deficiency.

If you think you have a magnesium deficiency you should consult your doctor. They will perform a blood test to confirm.

Looking for more nutrition tips? These tips will help with memory and cognitive issues.