Signs and Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency
Magnesium deficiency, also known as hypomagnesemia, is an often-overlooked health problem.
In some cases, deficiency may be underdiagnosed since the obvious signs commonly don’t appear until your levels become severely low.
The causes of magnesium deficiency vary and can include:
- certain medications, such as chemotherapy drugs and proton pump inhibitors
- acute or chronic diarrhoea
- “hungry bone syndrome” after parathyroid or thyroid surgery
- gastric bypass surgery
Health conditions such as diabetes, poor absorption, chronic diarrhoea, and celiac disease are associated with magnesium loss. People with alcohol use disorder are also at an increased risk of deficiency. This article lists 7 symptoms of magnesium deficiency.
- Muscle twitches and cramps
Twitches, tremors, and muscle cramps are signs of magnesium deficiency. In worst-case scenarios, deficiency may even cause seizures or convulsions. However, supplements are unlikely to reduce these symptoms in older adults or people who aren’t deficient in magnesium.
- Mental health conditions
Magnesium deficiency may cause a lack of emotion, delirium, and even coma. Scientists have suggested that deficiency may also cause anxiety, but no strong evidence supports this idea.
Osteoporosis is a disorder characterized by weak bones and an increased risk of bone fractures. Numerous factors influence the risk of developing osteoporosis, including:
- lack of exercise
- poor dietary intake of vitamins D and K
Magnesium deficiency may be one of the risk factors for osteoporosis and bone fractures, though many factors influence this risk.
- Fatigue and muscle weakness
Fatigue, a condition characterized by physical or mental exhaustion or weakness, is another symptom of magnesium deficiency. Keep in mind that everyone becomes fatigued from time to time. Typically, it simply means you need to rest. However, severe or persistent fatigue may be a sign of a health problem. However, these are not specific signs of a deficiency unless they are accompanied by other symptoms.
- High blood pressure
Evidence suggests magnesium deficiency may raise blood pressure. Additionally, supplements may benefit people with high blood pressure.
Magnesium deficiency is sometimes seen in people with severe asthma. Additionally, magnesium levels tend to be lower in individuals with asthma than in people who do not have this condition. However, its role in the development of asthma is not entirely understood.
- Irregular heartbeat
Heart arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat, is among the most serious possible effects of magnesium deficiency. Scientists believe that an imbalance of potassium levels inside and outside of heart muscle cells — a condition associated with magnesium deficiency — may be to blame. Some people with congestive heart failure and arrhythmia have been shown to have lower magnesium levels than people who don’t have heart failure.
The bottom line
The symptoms of magnesium deficiency are usually subtle unless your levels become severely low.
Deficiency may cause:
- muscle cramps
- mental health conditions
- irregular heartbeat
If you believe you may have a magnesium deficiency, you should speak with your doctor.
Testing for magnesium levels can be challenging because magnesium tends to collect in tissue and bone, not blood.
An RBC blood test, which measures magnesium levels in the red blood cells themselves, is more sensitive and accurate than the more commonly ordered serum magnesium blood test.
Whatever the outcome, try to regularly eat plenty of magnesium-rich whole foods, such as nuts, seeds, grains, and beans.
These foods are also high in other healthy nutrients. Including them in your diet not only lowers your risk for magnesium deficiency but also supports your overall health.