Magnesium deficiency is believed to affect less than 2% of Americans, however, it is significantly more common among hospital and ICU patients, as well as persons with diabetes or an alcohol addict.  Hypomagnesemia, or magnesium shortage, is a condition that sometimes goes unrecognized. Magnesium deficiency can cause a wide variety of symptoms. Both mental and bodily forms are possible. Due to the delayed onset of symptoms until levels drop dangerously low, deficiencies are sometimes misdiagnosed. Magnesium loss is linked to diseases like diabetes, poor digestion, persistent diarrhea, and celiac disease. Deficits are also more common in people who have alcohol use disorders.

Magnesium shortage symptoms, however, are extremely uncommon because the body can store substantial amounts of the mineral. Yet, some things can make you more likely to experience the symptoms of magnesium insufficiency. Consistently consuming a low-magnesium diet, GI disorders like Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, or regional enteritis, too much magnesium loss via urine and sweat because of familial disorders or excessive alcohol intake, pregnancy, lactation, hospitalization, parathyroid disorders, hyperaldosteronism, type 2 diabetes, and advanced age. Bone density decline can be a cause for alarm. Magnesium insufficiency may impede bone development in children and young adults. As a child’s bones are still growing and developing, magnesium intake is very important. Magnesium insufficiency has been linked to an increased incidence of osteoporosis and fractures in the elderly population.

In the end, ensuring that your body receives an adequate amount of magnesium not only contributes to your excellent health in general, but it also has the potential to assist you in the management of stress, migraines, or muscle pains and discomforts.

What are the symptoms of magnesium deficiency?

Magnesium intake among the general population is far lower than what is suggested. Yet, according to medical professionals, experiencing symptoms that are related to magnesium deficiency is not as common. So, it is possible that you do not even notice that you have a magnesium deficiency. Magnesium deficits can be challenging to detect, in part because the clinical signs could be indicative of a broad range of other medical problems. It’s possible that some folks won’t have any symptoms at all. Things have the potential to become even direr if a magnesium deficit is not treated. Convulsions, irregular heart rhythms, behavioral issues, sensations of numbness, and tingling can all be symptoms of magnesium deficiency that have reached a severe enough level. If you recognize any of the symptoms of magnesium shortage, it is essential to consult a physician as soon as possible.

Your healthcare provider may perform a blood test on you or examine your levels of calcium and potassium to assist in the diagnosis of the issue. You may be at a greater risk of magnesium deficiency if you take certain medications or have certain diseases. When you don’t obtain the required quantity of magnesium in your body, but you’re also not quite at the point where you have a magnesium deficit, this condition is referred to as subclinical magnesium deficiency. Magnesium deficiency is also more common in individuals who are above the age of 60. As we get older, our body’s ability to absorb magnesium decreases significantly. Magnesium absorption by the body might also be inhibited by the use of certain drugs. To alleviate the symptoms of magnesium shortage, increasing the amount of magnesium in one’s diet is an excellent first step that should be taken.

Following are the symptoms of magnesium deficiency

Muscular spasms and twitching

Magnesium insufficiency manifests itself clinically as twitches, shakes, and muscle cramps. Convulsions are a possible complication of insufficiency. Increased calcium entry into nerve cells is blamed by researchers as the root cause of these symptoms, as it overexcites or hyperstimulates the nerves that supply the muscles. One analysis found that magnesium tablets are not an appropriate cure for muscle cramps in senior citizens, while they may help reduce twitches and cramps in individuals with a deficit. Further research is needed with different populations. It’s important to remember that there are numerous potential reasons for muscle contractions. Muscle spasms that don’t have a conscious trigger could be brought on by things like stress or too much caffeine. They can also occur as a negative drug reaction or signal a neuromuscular disorder such as muscular dystrophy. Although twitching here and there is normal if your symptoms continue you must seek medical attention.

Disorders of the mind

Magnesium insufficiency may also lead to issues with mental health. Apathy, characterized by an inability to feel anything, is one such condition. Delirium and coma are possible outcomes of severe insufficiency. Depression has been linked to reduced magnesium levels in both experimental and clinical investigations. Magnesium insufficiency has been linked by some researchers to increased anxiety, however, definitive proof of this is absent. Magnesium supplements may help some patients with anxiety problems, according to one analysis, although the evidence isn’t very strong. Better research is required before any decisions are made. In conclusion, it appears that magnesium deficiency may lead to nerve malfunction and exacerbate mental health issues in some persons.


Fractures are more likely to occur with osteoporosis, a condition marked by bone fragility. Osteoporosis risk increases with age, inactivity, and inadequate vitamin D and vitamin K consumption. Paradoxically, a lack of magnesium might also increase your risk of developing osteoporosis. The fundamental building element of bones, calcium, is depleted in the blood when there is a deficiency, which might damage the bones directly. Bone loss from a dietary magnesium deficit has been confirmed in rat examinations. There are links between low magnesium consumption and decreased bone mineral density, however, no clinical investigations have specifically examined this.

Fatigue and weakened muscles

Magnesium shortage can also manifest as fatigue, which is marked by feelings of physical or mental depletion or weakness. Bear in mind that it is normal for human beings to have periods of exhaustion. That usually just implies you need to get some sleep. Extreme or ongoing tiredness, though, may indicate a more serious health issue. Fatigue is a generic symptom, therefore its cause cannot be determined without the presence of additional symptoms. Muscle weakness, which could be due to myasthenia gravis, is a further specific indication of magnesium shortage. Researchers have determined that a magnesium deficit, which is coupled with a reduction of potassium in muscle cells, is to blame for the resulting weakness. As a result, magnesium shortage might contribute to low energy levels.

High blood Pressure

High blood pressure is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, and animal research suggests that magnesium shortage may contribute to and even cause hypertension. Many clinical studies imply that low magnesium levels or poor food consumption may increase blood pressure, although there is a lack of direct proof in humans. Observational trials provide the clearest sign of magnesium’s advantages. Magnesium supplements may reduce blood pressure, particularly in individuals with high blood pressure, according to the findings of several reviews. Simply put, a lack of magnesium can raise blood pressure, which raises the risk of cardiovascular disease. Still, further research is required before its function can be grasped entirely.


Those with severe asthma are occasionally magnesium deficient.  Those with asthma also have lower magnesium levels than the general population.  Calcium deposits in the smooth muscles that line the airways of the lungs have been linked to magnesium deficiency. This leads to the narrowing of the airways, which makes it harder to breathe. Magnesium sulfate is an interesting choice because it can be used in an inhaler to assist calm and widening the airways in people who have serious asthma. Injections are the chosen method of administration for patients with possibly serious symptoms. Magnesium supplements in the diet have been shown to help some people with asthma, although the data is mixed.  Magnesium insufficiency has been related to severe asthma in some patients, but further research is needed to confirm this association.

Supplemental Magnesium

Those who have poor magnesium diffusion may prevent from getting an adequate amount of magnesium through their diet and may be given magnesium supplements by their physician. Because of the natural decline in absorption that occurs with advancing age, medical professionals may advise patients over the age of 60 to consider a magnesium supplement. Anyone who is thinking about taking a supplement should first consult a medical professional. A person’s medical practitioner is the best person to ask about whether or not they require magnesium supplementation. According to the findings of a few pieces of research, taking micronutrient supplements when it’s not necessary might not have any benefit at all, and it might even be hazardous. Magnesium is frequently fortified into morning cereals.

Magnesium supplements can be found in a wide variety of different forms and formats. When compared to the oxide form, the citrate and chloride forms of magnesium allow for more efficient absorption of the mineral into the body. Magnesium can produce cramps, diarrhea, and nausea when taken in doses that are higher than what is suggested. Magnesium poisoning is more likely to occur in infants and older individuals. Although a lot of individuals don’t get the recommended daily allowance for magnesium, there are a lot of foods that are high in magnesium that you can choose from. If you have a medical condition, such as diabetes, that enables your body to lack magnesium, you must consume a large quantity of magnesium-rich foods. Discuss with your primary care provider the possibility of developing a strategy to boost your magnesium consumption.

The Bottom Line

Although some older data implies that 48 percent of Americans are not receiving sufficient magnesium, real magnesium shortage is not extremely frequent; based on one estimate, it occurs in fewer than 2 percent of the population. Until your quantities of magnesium drop to dangerously low levels, the signs of magnesium shortage are typically very mild. Tiredness, body cramps, disorders of the mind, increased heart rate, and osteoporosis are some of the potential side effects of a deficiency. See your primary care provider if you have any concerns that you may be suffering from a magnesium shortage. It might be difficult to determine the magnesium levels in a person’s body since magnesium typically accumulates in bone and tissue rather than in the blood. A serum magnesium blood test is the most common type of magnesium blood test that is requested. This is important regardless of the outcome.

However, an RBC blood test, which examines magnesium concentrations in the red blood cells itself, is more precise and efficient. Make an effort to consume a lot of magnesium-rich whole foods regularly, such as nuts, seeds, grains, and beans. These meals also include a high concentration of other beneficial elements. Consuming them as part of your diet not only reduces the likelihood that you may suffer from magnesium insufficiency, but it also bolsters your general health. The diets of many individuals do not provide them with an adequate amount of magnesium. On the other hand, experiencing symptoms of magnesium insufficiency in people who do not have an existing health issue is extremely uncommon. The magnesium levels of the vast majority of individuals can be raised simply by increasing their consumption of foods rich in magnesium. Anyone who is suffering the signs of a deficiency should consult with a physician.


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