Magnesium deficiency, known as hypomagnesemia, may not show symptoms until magnesium levels are critically low.
Specific populations are at an increased risk of magnesium deficiency, including those with diabetes and alcoholism. Whoever you are, it’s important to maintain magnesium levels to avoid the problematic, and sometimes dangerous, symptoms that are associated with deficiency.
How much magnesium do I need?
According to the NHS, adult men should aim for 300mg, and women for 270mg of magnesium per day. However, avoid taking more than 400mg of magnesium per day, which can cause diarrhoea.
What is the role of magnesium?
Magnesium acts as both a mineral and electrolyte in the body and is involved in numerous bodily processes.
- Replicating DNA
- Synthesising proteins and RNA and protein
- Maintaining healthy brain function
- Maintaining bone and tooth health
- Regulating muscle and nerve functions
Signs of magnesium deficiency
While it is among the most severe magnesium deficiency symptoms, heart arrhythmia can occur in people with extremely low magnesium levels.
Characterised by an irregular heartbeat, arrhythmia in magnesium deficiency patients is generally mind and may only manifest in minor heart palpitations. However, research suggests that magnesium supplements can help reduce symptoms in people experiencing heart arrhythmia.
More severe symptoms of arrhythmia include chest pain, fainting and difficulty breathing. Left untreated, arrhythmia can make you more vulnerable to heart failure and strokes.
Muscle twitches are symptoms of lifestyle and medical causes such as overconsumption of caffeine or neurological conditions such as motor neuron disease. However, they can also be a symptom of magnesium deficiency.
Magnesium is naturally in competition with calcium in the body, acting as a ‘gatekeeper’. However, when we are low in magnesium, calcium has more access to muscle nerves.
When these nerve cells become overstimulated by calcium, it can result in twitches and cramps. In severe cases of magnesium deficiency, seizures or convulsions may result.
Mental health symptoms
Research suggests magnesium deficiency could lead to mental health problems.
Read more: Supplements For Depression: Three Nutrients To Look For
Studies show that lower magnesium levels are associated with an increased risk of depression. Therefore, maintaining adequate magnesium levels may provide some protection against developing depression.
Read more: 7 Top Tips To Naturally Boost Your Brain Health
Furthermore, a medical review found that magnesium supplements could help those suffering from anxiety and stress conditions such as Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD).
At Authentic Biotics, we talk a lot about the importance of bone health and how we can prevent bone diseases such as osteoporosis.
Read more: What Every Woman Needs To Know About Bone Health￼
Osteoporosis causes fragile bones, making them more likely to break. Heavy drinking, smoking, and lack of exercise are well-known predictors of osteoporosis, but magnesium may also have a role to play.
Most of us are aware that calcium is the primary bone-building mineral, but being deficient in magnesium can reduce the amount of calcium in the blood.
Rodent studies have observed lower bone mass in rats with reduced magnesium levels. Similarly, human studies have noted that being deficient in magnesium may increase the risk of low none density.
Fatigue and weakness
Being deficient in magnesium is one of many possible causes of muscle weakness and fatigue.
Fatigue is characterised by persistent tiredness and sleepiness and is often paired with muscle aches and weakness. While we all feel tired occasionally, if you constantly experience fatigue, you may be deficient in magnesium.
This fatigue and weakness are due to reduced potassium within muscles, which can be caused by magnesium deficiency.
Magnesium deficiency can increase blood pressure, which can increase the risk of heart disease.
Fortunately, research suggests that magnesium supplements can help lower blood pressure -particularly for those already with high blood pressure.
How can I increase magnesium levels?
The best ways to increase your magnesium levels include eating lots of magnesium-rich foods and incorporating a magnesium supplement into your diet.
Read more: Why do I need supplements if I have a healthy diet?
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Foods high in magnesium include dark leafy greens, nuts and seeds, tofu and bananas.
You must not rely on the information on this blog as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or therapist. If you have any specific concerns about your mental or physical health, you should consult your doctor and you should not delay seeking medical advice, or treatment for your mental health, because of the information on this blog.