Magnesium: 9 Signs That You're Deficient and How to Replenish
by Dr. Eric Snow on Jun 20, 2022
It's difficult to understate the importance of magnesium. This mineral is involved in over 300 biochemical reactions in the body, including helping to maintain normal muscle and nerve function, keeping heart rhythm steady, supporting a healthy immune system, and keeping bones strong.
A magnesium deficiency can lead to a number of health problems. Unfortunately, many are not aware of this and suffer because of it.
This article discusses magnesium, how to tell if you're deficient, and then ways you can replenish your magnesium levels.
Causes of Magnesium Deficiency
There are several reasons why someone might be magnesium deficient. Poor diet, certain medications, and chronic stress can all lead to lower magnesium levels.
Certain medical conditions can also lead to magnesium deficiency. These include gastrointestinal disorders like celiac disease and Crohn's disease and type 2 diabetes.
Another cause of magnesium deficiency today is due to the depletion of minerals in the soil used to grow our food. Due to the usage of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) chemicals, much of our soil is no longer as nutrient-dense as it once was. Since soil to plant transfer is one of the main ways magnesium is introduced into our bodies, this has caused many to be lacking in magnesium without even knowing it.
As we age, mineral absorption decreases. This is not just an issue for magnesium but any vital nutrient and mineral. With these issues, it’s not hard to see why chronic disease and medication use are at all-time highs, especially among older adults.
The Keto diet is especially known to cause a lack of magnesium and also a lack in potassium and/or sodium. Due to the nature of the diet, people lose a lot of their water weight, which flushes essential electrolytes out of their system. Digesting bone broth, which is rich in magnesium, can help.
Whichever diet you follow, be sure to talk to your doctor about possible side effects and look for opportunities to re-introduce vital nutrients and minerals back into your body when you can. For many, this includes adding supplements to their nutrition plan.
It is approximated that 80% of people are magnesium-deficient, and many are wholly unaware.
9 Signs of Magnesium Deficiency
But, all is not lost! There are some signs and symptoms we can look for to determine whether or not we are among that 80%.
1. Leg Cramps
Leg cramps affect nearly everyone, especially those who are physically active. Magnesium deficiency could be the cause of leg cramps. Restless leg syndrome is another indication that you may be magnesium deficient. You'll want to boost your intake of both magnesium and potassium to overcome both leg cramps and restless leg syndrome.
Magnesium inadequacy has been linked to a variety of sleep issues, including anxiety, hyperactivity, and restlessness. It's been proposed that this is because magnesium is required for GABA activity, an inhibitory neurotransmitter understood to "calm" the brain and promote calmness.
Magnesium is best absorbed when taken during the night or with food. 400 mg of magnesium should be consumed before bedtime, either alone or as a supplement. Magnesium-rich foods like nutrition-packed spinach may also aid in its absorption.
3. Muscle Pain / Fibromyalgia
Low magnesium levels have been linked to fibromyalgia pain, tenderness, and tiredness. A study published in Magnesium Research investigated the impact of magnesium on fibromyalgia symptoms, and it found that increasing magnesium intake reduced pain and soreness while also boosting immune blood markers.
This study should encourage people with fibromyalgia since it demonstrates the systemic importance of magnesium supplements on the body.
Magnesium insufficiency may cause irritability and anxiety, among other things, as it affects the central nervous system and specifically the GABA cycle in the body. When magnesium levels fall below normal, severe anxiety and depression can develop, as well as hallucinations.
Magnesium has been found to aid in relaxing the body, muscles, and mood. Magnesium is essential for virtually every cell function, and it's no surprise that it affects so many systems.
5. High Blood Pressure
Magnesium is important for blood pressure regulation and heart health. When you are magnesium-deficient, you are also likely to be calcium-deficient, and your blood pressure rises.
A diet high in magnesium-rich foods was linked to a stroke prevention rate of 8% in a study involving 241,378 participants published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. This is significant given that hypertension causes half of all ischemic strokes in the world.
6. Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is one of the four primary causes of magnesium deficiency, but it's also a frequent symptom. For example, researchers at the University of Keele in the United Kingdom discovered that low magnesium levels were ten times more common among individuals who had just been diagnosed with diabetes than among those without diabetes.
According to this data, magnesium appears to be a good cure for type 2 diabetes. Magnesium's role in sugar metabolism explains why diets high in magnesium are found to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes substantially. According to other research, the simple addition of magnesium supplementation (100 milligrams/day) reduced the chance of diabetes by 15 percent.
Magnesium insufficiency is a widespread problem that affects the nervous system. Low energy, exhaustion, and tiredness are all signs of magnesium insufficiency. The University of Maryland Medical Center claims that 300 to 1,000 milligrams of magnesium per day can help chronic fatigue syndrome patients. However, you should be cautious since too much magnesium might cause diarrhea.
You can alleviate this adverse effect by simply lowering your dosage until the side effect subsides.
8. Migraine Headaches
Magnesium deficiency has been linked to migraine pain as a result of its function in regulating neurotransmitters in the body. Magnesium doses of 360-600 milligrams daily have been found in double-blind, placebo-controlled research to lower the incidence of migraine symptoms by up to 42%.
The National Institute of Health informs us that, "The average person has about 25 grams of magnesium in his or her body," and "half of the magnesium in the bones." It's crucial to recognize this, especially for persons over 65 who are susceptible to bone weakening.
Fortunately, there's hope! After just 30 days, including magnesium in the diet reduced "significantly" the development of osteoporosis, according to a study published in Biology Trace Element Research. You'll also want to consider increasing your vitamin D3 and K2 intake to help you naturally strengthen your bones.
Are You at Risk?
So, who is most vulnerable to magnesium deficiency? According to the National Institute of Health, not everyone metabolizes and absorbs magnesium at equal rates. In fact, certain people are more vulnerable to developing a magnesium deficit than others.
Magnesium insufficiency is often hereditary and is caused by a lack of ability to absorb this essential mineral. A diet devoid of high-magnesium foods or even emotional or job strain can also deplete magnesium from the body.
There are four groups most likely to be at risk:
- People with gastrointestinal issues
- People with type 2 diabetes
- The elderly
- People who struggle with alcohol dependence
How to Get More Magnesium Into Your Body
Besides eating more foods with magnesium, supplements are a great source for adding more magnesium to your diet.
Here is a list of the best magnesium supplements:
- Magnesium Chelate – One of the most common forms of magnesium found in nature is citrate. This form, which bonds to numerous amino acids and is in the same state as our food, is highly absorbable by the body.
- Magnesium Citrate – Magnesium citrate is a laxative that is often used to treat constipation.
- Magnesium Glycinate – this is a chelated form of magnesium that is easy to absorb and helps correct a magnesium deficiency.
- Magnesium Threonate – is a newer type of magnesium supplement called mitochondrial membrane permeable magnesium, it is said to be especially beneficial because it can better penetrate the mitochondria. This may make it one of the best options on the market.
- Magnesium Chloride Oil – This form of magnesium is in oil form. It can enter the body through the skin. This is a good choice for people who have problems absorbing magnesium through their digestive system.
- Magnesium from Coral – is magnesium naturally occurring with calcium and is often taken for boosting the immune system and relaxation.
Be Aware of Magnesium Side Effects
As a reminder, 20% of people who take magnesium supplements may experience diarrhea when taking 600 mg or more of magnesium. We recommend staying in the 300-400 milligrams range and consulting your natural health practitioner if you notice any problems in your digestive system.
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