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Magnesium Deficiency: Symptoms, Effects, and Treatments

Magnesium Deficiency: Symptoms, Effects, and Treatments

More than 75% of the American population is deficient in magnesium and they have no idea. We’ve all heard about iron deficiency and most people know the symptoms of it, but the average person doesn’t know what magnesium is, what it does or how to get it in their diet. This is incredibly unfortunate because it is a vital mineral that your body needs to perform many of its necessary functions.

The human body uses a plethora of enzyme systems to do everything from synthesize protein, regulate blood glucose and blood pressure, regulate nerve and muscle function, produce energy, the antioxidant glutathione and maintain healthy strong bones. Magnesium is a co-factor in all those functions and over 300 more. It is extremely important to your body’s health.


The difficulty in diagnosing a magnesium deficiency is that the early symptoms are common and found in many other illnesses. They include headache, nausea, and loss of appetite, weakness and fatigue. Left untreated these mild symptoms can become more serious. A prolonged lack of magnesium can trigger or cause a number of more serious conditions such as:

  • Depression, anxiety and panic attacks
  • Osteoporosis and tooth decay
  • Asthma
  • Hypertension, heart disease and blood clots and abnormal heart rhythms
  • Kidney and liver disease
  • Migraines
  • Insomnia
  • Cystitis
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Seizures
  • Nerve issues and restless leg syndrome

It’s not difficult to get magnesium through foods or supplements. The problem lies in the fact that people don’t know how to monitor the levels and many people have unhealthy diet habits that may be making it harder for their bodies to retain the proper levels.

What Should You limit?

Three things that have been shown to be a factor in low magnesium levels are the consumption of Soda, particularly the ones containing caffeine, alcohol and sugar. Caffeine is a diuretic which may cause your body to flush out magnesium. Alcohol can negatively impact your ability to absorb Vitamin D which helps the body absorb magnesium. Generally if you are low in Vitamin D you are also low in magnesium. Sugar can cause magnesium to be excreted through the kidneys.

Foods High in Magnesium

If you are concerned about your magnesium levels you can make sure your diet contains plenty of the foods that are high in magnesium such as tofu, legumes, green leafy vegetables, almonds and other nuts, whole grains, pumpkin and squash seeds, bananas, oatmeal and cocoa powder. You can also add the spices dill, basil, cumin, poppy seed, tarragon and sage to your foods. But diet alone may not be enough to replenish your magnesium stores in your body if you have been deficient for a long period of time. That’s where nutritional supplements can be beneficial.


If you decide to take a magnesium supplement make sure you are getting Magnesium Glycinate or Magnesium Oxide which are the most absorbable. Magnesium Citrate is quite common but is a larger molecule and therefore not as absorbable and it most often used as a laxative. If you are taking too much of any kind of magnesium it can have a laxative effect so that is a good way to judge your intake levels.

With so many health issues associated with magnesium deficiency it’s a good idea to look into what your levels are an think about adding it to your diet.


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