10 Signs of Magnesium Deficiency

We do not argue over the fact that vitamins and minerals are required in trace amounts in meals, but at the same time, we cannot deny… Melisa Silver - May 4, 2016

We do not argue over the fact that vitamins and minerals are required in trace amounts in meals, but at the same time, we cannot deny their role in regulating body functions. For example, without the presence of adequate levels of vitamin A in your blood, night vision loss can occur. Moreover, your skin texture changes and your hair health deteriorates. The case is similar with vitamin C, because deficient states of this vitamin can create blockages in the pathway of inflammatory regulators. This can lead to disruption in the formation of blood clotting factors.

Similarly, you cannot expect your body to work well in the absence of minerals, such as calcium, phosphate, magnesium, sulfate, iron and iodine. Almost every dairy product is loaded with minerals, and obtaining them through your meals is not a big deal. Moreover, several such mineral-based supplements have also been formulated for regular use by prescribed patients.

Take the example of pregnancy, for instance. Iron and folic acid are required in extra amounts by a pregnant lady, even if she consumes a balanced diet; hence, it is a regular practice to prescribe iron and folic acid supplements to expecting women during their first trimester.

Magnesium is an equally important mineral, which takes part in several enzymatic and cellular activities. The deficiency of this mineral may either result from inadequate intake or improper absorption. In the latter case, prompt and adequate medical evaluation is required.

It has been found that less than 30 percent of the adult population of the U.S. consumes magnesium in quantities that have been stated in the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of magnesium. About 20 percent of the population receives merely half the quantity of the recommended daily intake of magnesium. Here are some ways to tell if you may have a magnesium deficiency.

Magnesium Deficiency hearing loss

1. Hearing Loss

The link between magnesium and the function of hearing is closely linked. You may not find an instant reduction in hearing loss. The disability develops over months in response to a prolonged state of deficient magnesium levels in blood. For this reason, many people may not even realize their hearing has been compromised.

Magnesium is known to produce certain protective effects on the ears against noise-induced hearing damage. These days, owing to the increasing use of motor vehicles, those of which transmit unbearably high noises, the prevention of noise-induced hearing loss is almost impossible. With time, people may notice some sort of impairment in their ability to hear or comprehend what other people are saying.

Hearing loss is a normal part of the aging process, but you don’t want to face this disease in your early years owing to nutritional deficiencies. Young people should be careful about the volume levels they use when listening to music, especially while wearing headphones or earbuds.

Getting more magnesium is an easy way to preserve your hearing. It is also a smart thing to ask your doctor to check your magnesium levels when you have your next checkup.

Tinnitus may be the earliest sign your body may exhibit to warn you about the declining levels of magnesium in your blood. However, the same consequence may be met by patients facing depleting levels of blood potassium. A person with ringing ears may respond well to the administration of magnesium, if its deficiency is the primary reason.

One way to keep your magnesium levels in check is by eating specific foods. Certain magnesium-containing foods, such as avocados, bananas, and green leafy vegetables like romaine lettuce, kale and spinach, as well as mushrooms make healthy choices to regulate the levels of this mineral in your body. By maintaining a balanced diet, you can preserve your hearing function from the hazardous effects of ever-rising noise pollution.

Magnesium Deficiency unexplained exhaustion

2. Unexplained Exhaustion

To this day, there has been no test invented by conventional medicine that can explain unnecessary and idiopathic fatigue. Tiredness and easy exhaustion after a regular routine is a symptoms quite common to several diseases, including diabetes, heart disease and Hashimoto’s disease. However, there is evidence presented that links this troubling symptom to depleting levels of vitamins and minerals in the blood, which may occur in any medical condition, or simply out of inadequate nutrition.

Minerals like magnesium enhance the efficiency of the working of your body enzymes, most of which are conserved for energy-producing purposes. For this reason, easy fatigue in magnesium deficiency is quite a common symptom.

If you talk to your doctor about your symptoms, they will order baseline tests for you, which may include a special one that measures the electrolyte levels present in your blood. In case you are found to be magnesium-deficient, you may be prescribed a supplement, or advised to make some dietary changes, depending upon the severity of your condition.

Magnesium and other mineral deficiencies have a special feature about fatigue because the symptoms are more likely to be chronic in nature. This may be due to the fact that, since our bodies require trace amounts of these minerals, the development of the deficient state requires years. This means it will take even more time to exhibit the signs and the progression of symptoms.

Resorting to a diet that is rich in magnesium can help you recover from your symptoms and restore your magnesium levels. This is why most people who are followers of a healthy eating pattern that revolves around eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables appear to be more fit and active.

Some additional foods that contain magnesium include quinoa, edamame, tofu, black beans and nuts like almonds, cashews and peanuts. When choosing breads and baked items, always go for the 100-percent whole wheat offerings. Whole wheat is an excellent source of magnesium, and it is easy to add to your daily menu.

Magnesium Deficiency muscle cramps

3. Eye Twitches and Muscle Cramps

Your muscles require magnesium all the time, as well as calcium, potassium and glucose. Muscle symptoms may occur early in the course of deficiency, or even later, in some cases. You have two main sets of muscles in your body: voluntary and involuntary muscles. You can move the voluntary group of muscles with your will, but the involuntary ones are functioned under supervision of your higher nervous centers.

Both of these muscle groups require magnesium for proper functioning. Muscle cells contract with the help of minerals that act as signals and stimulators. Have you ever experienced those times when your eye muscles started twitching for no reason and it continued all day long? It may have gone on so long that you got extremely annoyed at the end of the day.

Like many people, you may have woken up to those excruciatingly and agonizingly painful calf muscle cramps that appear out of nowhere, even in the absence of any sort of athletic activity.

Why does this happen?

You may have faced these situations many times a day recently, but what you may not have realized is that magnesium deficiency could be the reason behind all these temporary, yet troubling muscle conditions.

In addition, the tingling and numbness of your fingers, toes, or even whole limb is also a symptom of depleting magnesium levels in your blood. All of these are relatively early signs, but they may provide you with a warning much sooner than the occurrence of grave consequences of magnesium deficiency. Some health problems that can occur due to a lack of magnesium include diabetes, kidney disease and irritable bowel syndrome.

Aside from getting a diet rich in this mineral, you may want to avoid the excessive use of caffeine or alcohol, which can reduce your magnesium levels. Again, a healthy lifestyle is key to keeping your magnesium levels at a normal level.

Magnesium Deficiency migraines

4. Migraines

As most people know, migraines can be the most functionally debilitating of all headache conditions. No conventional treatment has yet been formulated that precisely targets migraines in a patient, besides prescriptions, which come with risky side effects. Most doctors recommend rest whenever the condition arises, which not only doesn’t always work but disrupts your entire day, too.

A classic migraine comes with several symptoms, and not everyone who develops this condition goes through the same ones. Nausea, photophobia and irritation occur early in the course. The next phase may be followed by severe bouts of a thumping sort of headache that may occupy one side of your head.

Auras around lights may also occur simultaneously in some people, whereas in many cases, it occurs without other symptoms. During migraines, you run away from light as if you have been a vampire all through these days.

It is important to note that a migraine is a common symptom of several nutritional deficiencies, including minerals like magnesium. Other symptoms you may have due to a lack of magnesium include gastrointestinal issues like celiac disease and frequent stomach problems like diarrhea and vomiting.

Research studies have found that magnesium deficiencies and migraines are interlinked. This is because many magnesium-depleted individuals frequently complain of migraine symptoms. On the other hand, studies claim that migraine-affected people have been found to possess a decreased ability to absorb magnesium from foods, which may be attributed to their genetic incapability or renal issues.

Studies have also led to the discovery that treating migraine patients with magnesium can bring about a considerable reduction in their migraine conditions. All it takes is a simple blood test to determine if a drop in magnesium is the problem. More research is necessary, but it appears that this mineral is much more deficient in the migraine-influenced population compared to the healthy population.

weak bones

5. Weak Bones

Since it is a mineral, your body absorbs some magnesium into your bones. If it wasn’t for minerals like magnesium and calcium, your skeletal system would be as fragile as glass. Magnesium is the second most abundant intracellular mineral component of your body. Most of it is recruited by the bone-forming cells.

If you are magnesium deficient, you will face compromised bone strength, which may manifest in various forms such as bone aches, joint aches and frequent fractures. If you find that you tend to break your bones in response to the most minor falls, you need to realize that is not normal at all. Be sure to see your doctor and ask to have your mineral levels checked. Your doctor may even order a bone scan to check for osteoporosis.

Many of us hold calcium deficiency to be responsible for most bone diseases. While it is true for being the primary mineral of bones, calcium is more frequently encountered in clinical settings. However, seldom do we pay heed to magnesium levels in the bones and blood.

These days, company-based formulated milk products have included magnesium besides calcium in their dairy products because they work together in your body to form strong bones.

As mentioned above, magnesium deficiency contributes to osteoporosis. To all those who assume bone loss occurs due to depleting calcium levels, you will also need to know how magnesium depletion influences your bone strength and can lead to osteoporosis. To such patients, either a magnesium-rich diet is recommended, or magnesium supplements along with the calcium ones are prescribed.

To keep your magnesium and calcium levels healthy, be sure to eat lots of green leafy vegetables and eat lots of dairy products for stronger bones. This includes dairy like milk, cheese and yogurt, as well as greens like bok choy, watercress and kale. You can also eat calcium-rich foods like broccoli and sardines.

Magnesium Deficiency tumor

6. Suspicious Tumors

As it has already been mentioned that magnesium is important in regulating several body functions at the cellular level. Hence, proper functioning of cells occurs in presence of adequate magnesium levels, or else, duties at the cellular level shall go astray.

If you keep a balance of all the essential minerals of your body, you are likely to repel tumors and cancer. Even cancer-affected patients who go for chemotherapy sessions are provided with magnesium supplements, as well as supplements of other vitamins and minerals for a better outcome, and for bearing the complications in a better way.

Adequate magnesium levels in your blood are necessary for the regulation of your bowel movements, and to avoid constipation. This adds to the regular cleaning of the colon, which reduces your risk of getting colon cancer. Magnesium has protective properties for your digestion, so if you have any longstanding digestion problems, be sure to bring this up with your doctor.

A study published in 2000 found that a majority of cancer-affected patients who were admitted to intensive care units had depleted levels of magnesium in their blood. Such a condition has also been observed to interfere with the working of anti-cancer therapies.

A mineral as efficient as magnesium casts a protective shield for your cells against certain carcinogenic agents, such as nickel, beryllium, aluminum, cadmium, mercury and lead. Not having enough magnesium in your body can leave you open to a host of devastating diseases.

The good news is, it is easy for you to increase your levels, just by eating a healthier diet that includes the rainbow. This means eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. You should also avoid unhealthy habits like smoking, drinking alcohol and eating fast foods.

Some surprising things that deplete magnesium from your body include painkillers, antibiotics, diuretics and cortisone. If you take any of these substances, ask your doctor if you need magnesium supplements, so you don’t end up with a deficiency.

Blood pressure measuring studio shot

7. Restless Leg Syndrome

Have you ever experienced your legs jumping on the bed when you are trying to get some sleep at night? If the answer is yes, then you might be facing a condition termed, restless leg syndrome (RLS). It is a disease that is attributed to disturbance of the nervous system working in the body. It exhibits symptoms of variating degrees.

Restless leg syndrome, as its name indicates, makes you feel restless, not just during the night time, but even throughout the day, depending upon the severity of your condition. In this disease, several uneasy sensations arise in the legs, which increases the urge to move them to get some relief. These sensations can be defined as creepy-crawly and can be anything from feelings of numbness and tingling, to itchy and pins and needle-like feelings.

Some evidence has been revealed by certain studies that indicate the link between restless leg syndrome and magnesium deficiency. Since RLS interferes with one’s sleep, so it is considered to be a sleep disorder. Research has found that magnesium improves insomnia in those lacking this mineral. Once the levels are restored, many patients find their RLS is relieved.

If a person develops RLS, they are tested for various neurological functions and psychological symptoms, as well as electrolyte imbalances, among which magnesium is a vital one. Glucose, vitamin B12, folic acid and iron are other things doctors will test for to see if their levels are normal in the blood when investigating RLS.

To avoid developing RLS, make sure you eat healthy and live a healthy lifestyle. If you start to experience any of the symptoms mentioned above, make an appointment to see your doctor for a full checkup. If you catch it early enough, you can find ways to relieve your RLS symptoms. More research is needed to treat RLS, but adding magnesium and other minerals is a smart start.

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8. Intense PMS Symptoms

Ask any woman about pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) and they will tell you it is uncomfortable and difficult to deal with each month. Women tend to experience the same annoying symptoms of bloating, headaches, photo phobias, mood swings, cravings and frustration when the time of their PMS arrives.

Did you know, by maintaining a healthy and balanced diet, you can make your PMS experience more tolerable? All of these symptoms are exaggerated in a woman who has certain micro-nutrient deficiencies like magnesium. Rising weakness is also a sign of this syndrome. All of these PMS consequences can be partly associated with magnesium deficiency.

Many women crave chocolate during their monthly PMS phase. If you are one of them, have you ever wondered why that happens? It is because chocolate has high amounts of magnesium, and if your body is deficient in this mineral, you will certainly crave it in different foods.

Still don’t believe it? Try replacing that chocolate during your cravings with other magnesium-rich foods, such as avocados, almonds or oatmeal. If you are magnesium deficient, these healthy food replacements will certainly satisfy your cravings. If you still need your chocolate, choose the dark type and not milk chocolate. You want to look for dark chocolate with at least 60 percent cacao content.

Magnesium generally relaxes the muscles, so, it will certainly function in relieving your painful menstrual cramps.

To your utmost astonishment, depleting levels of magnesium in your blood may also produce infertility. Since that consequence is a big deal because it can affect your entire life, you need to adjust your food intake so that it provides you with adequate mineral and vitamin components daily.

PMS symptoms may also arise due to vitamin B6 deficiency, and that can be greatly relieved by taking vitamin supplements. You can also eat foods rich in B6, like pistachios, fish, liver, turkey and rice bran.

Blood pressure measuring studio shot
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9. High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure or hypertension is the culprit behind several cardiovascular ailments. However, heart and vessel diseases can also produce high blood pressure conditions. Oftentimes, an increase in the baseline levels of systolic and diastolic pressure is idiopathic. Genetic mutations can be held responsible to some extent, though. However, there are also times when high blood pressure is simply a consequence of a disturbed electrolyte balance of the body, a condition which is possibly reversible.

In one research study, it was found that a magnesium deficiency led to arterial stiffening and an increase in blood pressure in lab rats. Whether or not the researchers found that the arterial stiffening could be attributed to hypertension remains an independent factor. However, the study focused on magnesium for adequate blood pressure levels.

A series of investigations are carried out soon after a person is diagnosed with an increase in blood pressure. Magnesium deficiency is rather an ignored aspect, as many would consider family history and prevalence of cardiovascular ailments in an individual with disturbed systolic and diastolic blood pressure ranges.

Whether or not you need magnesium supplements for your disease depends upon the severity of deficiency of this mineral in your blood, and upon the recommendations provided by your doctor. Self-medication is not at all advised under any circumstances, since it may worsen the condition instead of improving it.

If you suffer from hypertension, do not stop taking your medications while opting to eat magnesium-rich foods, instead. High blood pressure requires close monitoring, so talk to your doctor first. Get your magnesium levels checked first, and then work on the best treatment plan for your specific condition.

Your doctor should check all your mineral and vitamin levels, and then advise you on the best changes to make to your diet. They may even have you take a supplement for a while to boost them faster.

Magnesium Deficiency heart problems

10. Heart Problems

Your heart rhythm determines the quality and longevity of your life. A patient who is severely affected with dysrhythmia or arrhythmia cannot be expected to live long. Most patients with irregular heart rhythms have to rely upon the life-long use of anti-arrhythmia medications. Some patients don’t know they have an arrhythmia problem until they suffer their first heart attack.

This is why is it important to have regular checkups. Your doctor will listen to your heart rhythm carefully to determine if you have a problem. A magnesium deficiency is only one of the many reasons for an abnormal heart rhythm. Other causes include:

  • Drug, cigarette and alcohol use
  • Diabetes
  • Excessive caffeine consumption
  • High blood pressure and heart disease
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Certain diet and herbal supplements
  • Corticosteroids like prednisone and cortisone
  • NSAIDS like ibuprofen, aspirin and naproxen
  • Decongestants for colds, coughs and allergies
  • Some antidepressants like desipramine and amitriptyline
  • Migraine medications like zolmitriptan and ergotamine
  • Hormones for birth control and to reduce menopausal symptoms

Magnesium is known to influence the normal rhythm of your heart, so, individuals having a magnesium deficiency are more prone to the risk of developing arrhythmia.

Hypertension can be a consequence of lacking certain vitamins and minerals, like magnesium deficiency. High blood pressure can create morphological changes in your heart as it tries to work against the negative effects of the added pressure. These compensatory mechanisms can cause major damage to your heart as well as the walls of your arteries. A disturbed heart structure takes no time in developing a disturbed heart rhythm.

Symptoms of this mineral deficiency may range according to the severity, that is, they can be anywhere from tachycardia to fibrillation. To make a long story short, adapt to a healthy diet and lifestyle that leaves you with no mineral or vitamin deficiency, so that you can live a long and healthy life.

The next time you go for a checkup, be sure to ask for a blood test to check the levels of vitamins and minerals in your body. The results may surprise you, but most of all, they could save your life.