What Are The Symptoms Of Magnesium Deficiency? Science AnswersMagnesium deficiency is a common condition that affects many people worldwide. So, questions like what are the symptoms of a magnesium deficiency have become quite common, and we aim to answer that today. Hypomagnesemia occurs when the body does not receive enough magnesium, an essential mineral that plays a vital role in various bodily functions. Understanding the symptoms of magnesium deficiency is crucial for early identification and intervention. In this article, we will delve into the symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatment options related to magnesium deficiency. Let’s get started.

So, what are the symptoms of a Magnesium deficiency?

Before we dive into magnesium deficiency symptoms, it’s crucial to understand Magnesium and its importance. ​Research shows that magnesium is a mineral that is essential for the proper functioning of numerous bodily processes, including muscle contractions, nerve function, and energy production. ​Studies also show that magnesium is involved in the synthesis of DNA and proteins, making it crucial for overall health and well-being. ​A study published in the Clinical Kidney Journal shows that when it comes to muscle contractions, magnesium plays a vital role. It helps regulate the flow of calcium in and out of cells, which is necessary for muscle relaxation and contraction. ​Another study published in 2019 claims that without adequate magnesium levels, muscles may experience spasms, cramps, and even tremors. ​A study published in the journal Scientifica shows that in terms of nerve function, magnesium acts as a natural relaxant. It helps calm the nerves and promotes a sense of relaxation and calmness. This is why magnesium is often recommended as a natural remedy for anxiety and stress. Additionally, a study published in the journal Translational Research & Clinical Interventions shows that magnesium is involved in the production and release of neurotransmitters, which are essential for proper brain function and mood regulation. Magnesium is not only important for muscles and nerves but also for maintaining healthy blood pressure levels. It helps relax and dilate blood vessels, allowing for better blood flow. By supporting healthy blood pressure, magnesium reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and strokes.

Identifying Magnesium Deficiency

Hypomagnesemia can occur when the body does not receive enough magnesium through the diet or when there is impaired absorption or excessive loss of magnesium. Identifying the symptoms of magnesium deficiency is vital for early intervention and treatment. When it comes to magnesium deficiency, recognizing the signs and symptoms is crucial. By being aware of the common and severe symptoms, individuals can take the necessary steps to address the issue and prevent further complications.

Common Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency

According to a study published in The Clinical Biochemist Reviews, some of the most common symptoms of hypomagnesemia include: Muscle cramps and spasms are often the first signs of magnesium deficiency. These involuntary contractions can occur in various parts of the body, such as the legs, arms, or even the face. They can be painful and disruptive, affecting daily activities and overall well-being. Weakness and fatigue are also common symptoms of magnesium deficiency. When the body lacks magnesium, it can lead to decreased energy levels and a general feeling of tiredness. This can impact productivity and quality of life. Irritability and mood swings are often overlooked symptoms of magnesium deficiency. Studies show that magnesium plays a vital role in regulating neurotransmitters, which are responsible for mood and emotions. When magnesium levels are low, individuals may experience irritability, mood swings, and even symptoms of depression. Difficulty sleeping is another indicator of magnesium deficiency. Research shows that magnesium is involved in the production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep. Insufficient magnesium levels can disrupt the sleep-wake cycle, leading to insomnia or poor quality sleep. Poor memory and cognitive function can also be linked to magnesium deficiency. A study published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences shows that magnesium is essential for brain health and plays a role in neurotransmitter function. Inadequate magnesium levels may result in difficulties with concentration, memory, and overall cognitive performance. Irregular heartbeat, also known as arrhythmia, is a serious symptom of magnesium deficiency. A study published in the journal Open Heart suggests that magnesium is involved in maintaining a normal heart rhythm, and when levels are low, it can lead to palpitations, rapid heartbeat, or irregular heartbeats. It is important to note that these symptoms can vary from person to person, and some individuals may experience more severe symptoms.

Severe Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency

According to a study published in the Journal of Intensive Care Medicine, in severe cases of hypomagnesemia, individuals may experience more pronounced symptoms, including: When magnesium deficiency reaches a severe stage, it can have a significant impact on the body. Numbness and tingling in the extremities, such as the hands and feet, can occur due to nerve dysfunction caused by low magnesium levels. Muscle contractions and stiffness can become more frequent and intense in severe magnesium deficiency. These symptoms can affect mobility and daily activities, leading to discomfort and reduced quality of life. ​A study published in the journal Child Neurology Open claims that seizures are a serious manifestation of magnesium deficiency. When magnesium levels are critically low, the electrical activity in the brain can become disrupted, resulting in seizures. Prompt medical attention is essential in these cases. ​Another study published in the journal Biomedicines shows that abnormal heart rhythms, also known as cardiac arrhythmias, can occur when magnesium deficiency becomes severe. These irregularities can pose a significant risk to cardiovascular health and require immediate medical intervention. In a study published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Metabolism, researchers found that hypocalcemia, or low blood calcium levels, can be a consequence of severe magnesium deficiency. Magnesium and calcium work together in the body, and imbalances in magnesium can impact calcium regulation. Hypocalcemia can lead to muscle spasms, numbness, and other complications. If you experience any of these severe symptoms, it is crucial to seek medical attention immediately. Magnesium deficiency should not be taken lightly, as it can have serious consequences on various bodily functions.

Causes of Magnesium Deficiency

There are several factors that can contribute to magnesium deficiency. Understanding these causes can help in determining the underlying reason for the deficiency and guide appropriate treatment. Magnesium is an essential mineral that plays a crucial role in various bodily functions. It is involved in over 300 enzymatic reactions, including energy production, protein synthesis, and muscle and nerve function. When the body does not get enough magnesium, it can lead to a deficiency, which can have detrimental effects on overall health.

Dietary Factors Leading to Magnesium Deficiency

One of the most common causes of magnesium deficiency is a diet lacking in magnesium-rich foods. Magnesium can be found in abundance in foods, such as leafy green vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. However, in today’s modern diet, processed foods, refined grains, and sugary drinks tend to be low in magnesium content. Furthermore, certain dietary factors can interfere with magnesium absorption and increase urinary excretion of magnesium. Excessive alcohol consumption, for example, can disrupt the body’s ability to absorb magnesium efficiently. A study published in the journal Alcohol Health and Research World claims that alcohol can also act as a diuretic, causing increased urination and subsequent loss of magnesium through urine. Moreover, a study published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences suggests that certain medications, such as diuretics and proton pump inhibitors, can deplete magnesium levels in the body. These medications are commonly prescribed for conditions like high blood pressure and acid reflux, respectively.

Health Conditions That Can Cause Magnesium Deficiency

Various health conditions can contribute to magnesium deficiency. A study published in the journal Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry suggests that gastrointestinal diseases, such as Crohn’s disease and celiac disease, can impair the absorption of magnesium in the intestines. Inflammation and damage to the intestinal lining can disrupt the normal absorption process, leading to reduced magnesium levels. Additionally, conditions like diabetes and chronic kidney disease can lead to excessive urinary excretion of magnesium, resulting in deficiency. In diabetes, high blood sugar levels can cause increased urination, leading to magnesium loss. Similarly, chronic kidney disease can impair the kidneys’ ability to retain magnesium, causing it to be excreted in urine. Furthermore, individuals who undergo certain medical procedures, such as gastric bypass surgery, may be at an increased risk of magnesium deficiency. The surgery alters the digestive system, affecting the absorption of various nutrients, including magnesium. It is important to note that magnesium deficiency can also be influenced by individual factors, such as age and gender. Older adults and pregnant women, for instance, may have higher magnesium requirements and may be more susceptible to deficiency if their intake is inadequate. In conclusion, magnesium deficiency can arise from various causes, including dietary factors and underlying health conditions. It is essential to maintain a balanced diet rich in magnesium and address any underlying medical conditions to prevent or treat magnesium deficiency.

Diagnosing Magnesium Deficiency

Diagnosing magnesium deficiency involves a combination of assessing symptoms, reviewing medical history, and conducting laboratory tests. When it comes to diagnosing magnesium deficiency, healthcare professionals employ a comprehensive approach that takes into account various factors. It begins with a thorough evaluation of the patient’s symptoms, which can include muscle cramps, weakness, fatigue, and abnormal heart rhythms. These symptoms, although not exclusive to magnesium deficiency, can provide valuable insights into the possibility of a deficiency. Alongside symptom assessment, a detailed review of the patient’s medical history is conducted. This step helps identify any underlying conditions or factors that may contribute to magnesium deficiency. For instance, individuals with gastrointestinal disorders, such as Crohn’s disease or celiac disease, are at a higher risk of magnesium deficiency due to impaired absorption in the intestines.

Medical Tests for Magnesium Deficiency

Several tests can help identify magnesium deficiency. These include blood tests, urine tests, and tests to measure magnesium levels in the hair or nails. Blood tests are the most commonly used method for diagnosing magnesium deficiency. They involve measuring the amount of magnesium present in the blood. However, it’s important to note that blood tests may not always provide a complete picture of magnesium levels in the body. This is because only a small fraction of the body’s total magnesium is found in the blood. Nonetheless, blood tests remain a valuable tool in the diagnostic process. In addition to blood tests, urine tests can also be utilized to assess magnesium levels. These tests measure the amount of magnesium excreted in the urine, providing insights into the body’s magnesium balance. Furthermore, tests that analyze magnesium levels in the hair or nails can offer a long-term perspective on magnesium status, as these tissues accumulate magnesium over time.

Interpreting Test Results

Interpreting test results for magnesium deficiency can be complex, as magnesium levels need to be assessed in relation to other factors, such as calcium and potassium levels. Healthcare professionals take into account various factors when interpreting test results for magnesium deficiency. One crucial consideration is the balance between magnesium and other minerals, particularly calcium and potassium. These minerals work in harmony within the body, and imbalances can have significant implications for overall health. Therefore, a comprehensive analysis of all relevant mineral levels is necessary to accurately diagnose magnesium deficiency. It is important to note that self-diagnosis based solely on test results is not recommended. Consulting with a healthcare professional is essential for accurate interpretation and diagnosis. They have the expertise to evaluate the results in the context of the patient’s overall health and provide appropriate recommendations for treatment and prevention.

Treating Magnesium Deficiency

The treatment of magnesium deficiency typically involves a combination of dietary changes and, if necessary, magnesium supplements.

Dietary Changes to Increase Magnesium Intake

If magnesium deficiency is mild or moderate, increasing the consumption of magnesium-rich foods can help restore optimal levels. Foods that are excellent sources of magnesium include leafy green vegetables, nuts and seeds, whole grains, legumes, and fish.

Magnesium Supplements and Their Effectiveness

In some cases, magnesium supplements may be recommended to achieve optimal magnesium levels. These supplements are available in various forms, including magnesium citrate, magnesium oxide, and magnesium glycinate. However, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any supplementation regimen.

Daily Recommended Intake of Magnesium

The daily recommended intake of magnesium varies depending on age, sex, and life stage. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for magnesium is: It’s important to note that these recommendations may vary depending on individual health conditions and specific needs. It is always best to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the appropriate magnesium intake for your unique circumstances. Ensuring an adequate intake of magnesium through a balanced diet or supplementation can help support optimal bodily functions and promote a healthier lifestyle.

In conclusion

Magnesium deficiency is a prevalent condition that can lead to various symptoms and impact overall health and well-being. Identifying the symptoms, understanding the causes, and obtaining an accurate diagnosis are crucial steps in managing magnesium deficiency. With appropriate treatment, individuals with magnesium deficiency can restore optimal magnesium levels and improve their overall health. If you are interested in finding the best supplement, check out the full-spectrum magnesium supplement here.

Magnesium deficiency is linked to stress, diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, anxiety, trouble sleeping, sore muscles, migraines, and many more debilitating health conditions.

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7 Serious Health Issues Linked to Magnesium Deficiency (+ How to Tell If You’re Magnesium Deficient)

Quick… what do stress, diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, chronic fatigue syndrome, trouble sleeping, depression, and anxiety all have in common? If you answered, “conditions or diseases caused by magnesium deficiency,” you would be correct. And these seven health problems are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the importance of consuming enough magnesium. Today we’re bringing you up to speed on magnesium deficiency causes, how to tell if you are magnesium deficient, and the best testing methods.

What Is Magnesium and Why Is It So Important?

Magnesium is an essential micronutrient for life and the 4th most abundant mineral in the human body. Within your cells, it’s the second-most abundant mineral after potassium and both are vital for a wide range of biochemical functions.

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A 70kg (154 lb) adult has around 24 grams of magnesium (the same weight as a AA battery) in their body. A little more than half is found in bones, with the rest present in soft tissues. Less than 1% of the body’s total magnesium is present in the blood serum (the liquid component of blood) and in red blood cells [1,2], which makes accurate testing for magnesium deficiency challenging (more on that later).

Magnesium is required by your body to carry out hundreds of cellular processes [3]. Some of the most important include:


What Causes Magnesium Deficiency? 10 Key Reasons Your Body Might Be Low in Magnesium

There can be many reasons for magnesium deficiency. Unless you’re growing your own foods in enriched soil and eating an impeccable diet, chances are your magnesium levels are being negatively impacted by one or more of these common causes:

#1. Most Americans simply don’t eat enough leafy greens and other magnesium-containing foods. Based on data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), an estimated 79% of US adults do not consume the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for magnesium [10, 11].

#2. Even if you do eat plenty of magnesium-rich foods, modern agricultural practices have created soil that is deficient in minerals. If a mineral isn’t present in the ground, the plants that grow in that soil can’t uptake the mineral and it won’t be present in your food [12].

#3. Love your sweets? You’re not alone. Western diets contain an abundance of sugar, which requires more magnesium in order to be processed by the body.


#4. Processed and refined foods are another culprit as they have a much lower magnesium content than their unrefined counterparts. For example, it’s estimated that less than 20% of magnesium originally present in whole wheat remains in refined flour.

#5. Alcohol and consumption of green coffee lead to more magnesium excretion.

#6. Boiling and consumption of de-mineralized soft water eliminate another source of magnesium from the diet.

#7. As you age, your body becomes less efficient at absorbing the magnesium from your food in general. Even under normal (ideal) circumstances, only about 24–76% of the total dietary magnesium consumed is absorbed by the gut, while the rest is eliminated [13].

#8. For some people, certain conditions also reduce or impair magnesium absorption. For example, leaky gut (intestinal permeability) and certain medications that interfere with absorption.

#9. Health conditions that cause chronic diarrhea can also lead to excessive magnesium elimination from the body [14].

#10. Increased magnesium elimination leading to deficiency is sometimes seen in medical conditions such as diabetes, kidney disorders, hypercalcemia, and hyperthyroidism.

An Important Note About Hypomagnesemia (Low Magnesium in the Blood) in ICU Patients


Magnesium deficiency is typically seen in patients with malignant tumors, cirrhosis, or cerebrovascular disease [15]. In general, patients in intensive care units (ICUs) tend to have lower than normal magnesium levels.

This is extremely serious as postoperative patients in the ICU with severe hypomagnesemia (extremely low serum magnesium levels) were three times as likely to die than patients with normal levels [16].

How to Tell If You Are Magnesium Deficient

How do you know if you have a magnesium deficiency? Unfortunately, it’s not easy to diagnose, because many of its initial symptoms could also be symptomatic of other health issues. Typical magnesium deficiency symptoms include:

Then there is the wide array of diseases and health conditions that are often improved or eliminated by correcting a magnesium deficiency.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Sudden Death, Infections & Migraines Linked to Low Magnesium

Chronic fatigue syndrome, characterized by flu-like symptoms and months or even years of lethargy, along with mood alterations, has been linked with low magnesium levels [17].

Sudden deaths in athletes may also be due to magnesium deficiency. Magnesium deficiency is also thought to increase the risk of susceptibility to infections and migraines [18].

Magnesium Deficiency and Stress: A Vicious Cycle

Stress is defined as a complex biochemical, physiological, and psychological response of our body, triggered by an external event that is interpreted by our brain as being harmful to us. Magnesium levels have been closely linked to stress levels [19].


For instance, magnesium has been shown to affect a number of neurotransmitter systems and hormones that coordinate our body’s responses to stress. [Note: Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers in our nervous system that transmit signals across a physical gap between nerve cells].

Low magnesium levels have been linked to many typical symptoms of stress such as:

Acute stress has been shown to lead to more magnesium in the blood and more excretion via urine. This shift of magnesium from red blood cells into blood and eventually out of the body is initially helpful, reducing the harmful effects of stress. However, chronic, ongoing stress and the ensuing continuous magnesium depletion is harmful to your health [21].

In other words, stress of any kind, whether physical or emotional, increases your body’s need for magnesium. The greater the levels of stress you’re exposed to, the greater the loss of magnesium. And the lower your initial magnesium levels are, the more reactive to stress you tend to be and the more depleted you get, creating a vicious downward spiral.

We’ve all seen how people respond to stress differently. Genetic differences between how individuals manage magnesium levels in their body may be one reason for the difference in responses to stress.

Magnesium Deficiency May Contribute to Osteoporosis

Magnesium is essential for bone formation and maintenance. As noted earlier, slightly more than half (50-60%) of our body’s total magnesium is stored in our bones [22]. Magnesium also regulates the body’s levels of parathyroid hormone and the active form of vitamin D, both of which work to maintain bone structure and integrity.


Research shows that magnesium consumption aids in maintaining bone mineral density and preventing osteoporosis in both men and women [23]. Women with osteoporosis tend to have lower serum magnesium levels [24]. These and other findings indicate that magnesium deficiency is a risk factor for osteoporosis [25].

Promisingly, increasing magnesium intake from food and/or supplements appears to help increase bone mineral density. For example, one short-term study found that daily supplementation with magnesium citrate for 30 days in 20 postmenopausal women with osteoporosis suppressed bone loss [26]. Along with taking magnesium supplements, it’s advisable to supplement with vitamin D3 and K2 to naturally build bone density [27].

The Damaging Effect of Magnesium Deficiency on the Heart

Magnesium is an essential cofactor for enzymes in our body that help to manage blood pressure within normal levels and maintain a steady heartbeat [28,29]. Not surprisingly, magnesium deficiency is a risk factor for atrial fibrillation, which is an irregular, usually rapid heart rate that causes poor blood flow and is associated with an increased risk of stroke and heart failure [30].

The Framingham Offspring Study followed 3,530 participants (originally without any sign of atrial fibrillation or cardiovascular disease) for up to 20 years [31]. Participants with serum magnesium levels less than 1.8 mg/dL were approximately 50% more likely to develop atrial fibrillation compared to those with levels at 2.0 mg/dL or higher.

Similarly, a 2007 meta-analysis examined the efficacy of magnesium given intravenously for the acute treatment of rapid atrial fibrillation [32]. Magnesium administration was seen to be significantly quicker and more effective in achieving rate and rhythm control compared to control groups.

Magnesium Deficiency Is Both Caused by and Contributes to Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is one of the main causes of magnesium deficiency – and it’s also a common symptom of this illness. Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes are the commonest causes of magnesium deficiency, with 25-39% of patients being affected [33]. In fact, magnesium depletion may underlie some of the symptoms and pathologies of type 1 and 2 diabetes.


Magnesium is also involved in many of the enzyme systems regulating glucose homeostasis. Magnesium deficiency changes glucose metabolism. Magnesium plays a role in insulin sensitivity, and magnesium deficiency is associated with insulin resistance.

Exacerbating the problem is that insulin resistance has been linked to lower serum magnesium levels. Magnesium supplementation has been shown to reduce insulin requirement and improve glucose management in diabetic patients [34]. In a study of over 1400 participants, mean magnesium levels were seen to be lower among those with diabetes, relative to participants who did not have diabetes [35].

A 2016 meta-analysis showed that every 100 mg/day increase in magnesium consumption was associated with a 19% reduction in type 2 diabetes risk [36]. Another meta-analysis showed that circulating levels of magnesium in the bloodstream were inversely associated with incidence of type 2 diabetes [37]. For this reason, researchers have recommended diets rich in magnesium to lower the risk for developing type 2 diabetes [38].

Magnesium Deficiency Can Lead to Depression and Anxiety

As we have already seen, magnesium acts as an essential cofactor for many enzymes that are essential for brain and nervous system function [39]. Nervous system dysfunction as a result of magnesium deficiency may contribute to depression and anxiety [40,41].

Rapid recovery from major depression has been seen with magnesium supplementation, which also benefited many related and accompanying mental health conditions. The possibility that depression, anxiety, and related issues such as IQ loss and addiction might be addressed via magnesium supplementation is enormously exciting [42].

How to Test for Magnesium Deficiency & Which Test Is the Most Reliable?

As mentioned early on, magnesium in the bloodstream represents less than 1% of the body’s total magnesium levels [43]. As a result, measuring the levels of this essential mineral inside cells is much more difficult than it is to test a blood sample.


The most commonly used and readily available method for assessing magnesium status is a measurement of serum magnesium levels, even though serum levels don’t correlate very well with total body magnesium levels or levels in specific tissues [44]. Other methods include:

Unfortunately, no single method is considered accurate enough.

Tolerance Test

Some experts (but not all) consider the tolerance test – in which urinary magnesium is measured after a direct magnesium injection – to be the best method of assessing magnesium status.

In this test, the percentage of magnesium retained after magnesium injection is measured. The percentage of magnesium retained is greater in people with magnesium deficiency [45].

RBC Blood Test

Other health experts recommend the RBC blood test, in which magnesium levels in red blood cells are measured [46,47]. This test is usually only carried out when an individual shows specific signs of magnesium deficiency, such as:

When a person becomes magnesium deficient, magnesium that is normally stored in their red blood cells is dumped into the bloodstream. In such a situation, a standard blood test may show their magnesium levels as being normal, even though magnesium stores in red blood cells and other body tissues are depleted. Therefore, the RBC blood test is likely to be a more accurate test for magnesium deficiency than a standard blood test, although the latter is quicker and less expensive.

For instance, the Vitamin D, Magnesium & Omega-3 Test combines an assessment of magnesium in red blood cells as well as in the bloodstream. This is likely to be a much better indicator of magnesium status than the standard serum test offered by most doctor’s offices and hospitals [48].

Natural Dietary Sources of Magnesium

If you determine with your healthcare provider that you are deficient in magnesium, the recommendation will usually be to increase magnesium consumption through diet and/or supplementation.

If you’re not currently lacking, you need to ensure you’re intaking sufficient magnesium regularly to prevent deficiency. The Institute of Medicine recommends a daily intake of [49]:

Some of the best dietary sources of magnesium include:


Finding the Best Magnesium Supplement

For all the reasons mentioned earlier (see the section on What Causes Magnesium Deficiency), it is difficult to get adequate magnesium through diet alone. For this reason, supplementation can be important – especially when trying to correct existing deficiencies.

If you and your doctor have determined that magnesium supplementation is appropriate for you, you’ll want to consider a highly bioavailable source of magnesium such as Magnesium 7 from Organixx.

Magnesium 7 is a premium, broad-spectrum magnesium supplement that includes equal amounts of seven of the most beneficial types of magnesium. In each 2-capsule serving of Magnesium 7, you get 500 mg of the highest-quality elemental magnesium in “chelated” (bonded) forms for optimal bioavailability.

Magnesium deficiency is linked to stress, diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, anxiety, trouble sleeping, sore muscles, migraines, and many more debilitating health conditions.

If your body needs magnesium, you want the most beneficial kind your body can actually absorb. Organixx Magnesium 7 gives you seven (7) of the very best, most bioavailable types of elemental magnesium available.

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