September 19, 2020

18 magnesium deficiency signs

It’s not the simplest task to make sure you get a sufficient intake of every beneficial mineral and vitamin out there. Even if you try and diversify your diet by eating from several different food groups, it’s still tricky to avoid deficiencies. One of the minerals people generally tend to miss out on is magnesium, potentially leading to several health issues in the long run.

What is magnesium?

Magnesium is found in over 300 of the body’s enzymes, and it’s essential for maintaining a healthy bone structure. It also helps regulate several important body functions, including muscle contractions and energy production. Additionally, magnesium plays a vital role in maintaining your heart health.

Most people have a much lower daily intake of magnesium than they need. Some experts even claim that magnesium deficiency happens to be the biggest general widespread health issue of today.

The amount of required magnesium varies from person to person, with some needing more or less than others. It depends on different factors such as gender, age, and lifestyle. The best way to get your magnesium is through natural food sources, but you may go down the supplement route if you need to.

18 Signs of magnesium deficiency

1. Constipation

If you’re having issues with going to the toilet regularly, that’s constipation. It often suggests that you should increase your magnesium intake, due to the mineral’s laxative effect. Magnesium can help draw water into stools, softening them and easing their passage through the tracts. So, if you’ve been having trouble sustaining regular bowel movement, make sure you have enough magnesium-rich foods in your diet.

2. Increased stress levels

Low levels of GABA can lead to increased stress levels

Another important role of magnesium is to help with cortisol regulation, boosting the body’s ability to respond to danger and stress. It also allows for a more balanced production of hormones. Moreover, magnesium increases gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), improving your sleep quality and helping you relax. Without sufficient magnesium intake, you’re constantly at the risk of having low GABA levels, leading to higher stress.

3. Anxiety and depression

Just like stress, magnesium also helps with other mental health problems like anxiety and depression. It plays a vital role in neurotransmitter regulation, a process responsible for communication between the body and brain. Experiencing feelings of depression and anxiety become more likely when neurotransmitters aren’t regulated. Many anxiety patients use magnesium supplements to solely help with their condition.

4. Weakened bones

dietary magnesium can increase bone mineral density

We all know the importance of calcium for maintaining strong and healthy bones. Magnesium is an essential mineral when it comes to the body’s calcium absorption. Making sure you’re getting enough magnesium through your everyday diet can help increase the mineral density of your bones, reducing the risk of bone health problems such as weakened bones, osteoporosis, and fractures.

5. Poor sleep quality

As mentioned above, the neurotransmitter GABA plays an essential role in regulating your sleep. The brain’s GABA receptors need magnesium to properly function. Without sufficient magnesium supply, you may experience issues with getting enough deep sleep. Hence, simply upping your intake of magnesium can have a great natural impact on the quality of your sleep cycles.

6. Unhealthy skin

Fun fact: the skin is the body’s largest organ. Many different factors determine how healthy your skin is, and one of them is your magnesium intake. If your body lacks the mineral, you may run into skin problems like acne, psoriasis, and so on.

As magnesium lowers your cortisol levels and helps correct hormonal imbalances, it improves the skin’s appearance by preventing various skin disorders. The mineral even improves the processes that your skin cells naturally carry out to ensure optimal skin health.

Acne and other skin diseases can be caused by lack in magnesium

7. Poor cognitive function

Magnesium is vital for the regulation of receptors in the brain that help us retain and learn memories. Thus, taking magnesium supplements has shown to help clear brain fog. It also allows the brain to heal and adapt throughout your lifespan. Getting sufficient quantities of magnesium is also thought to slow down, or even reverse the cognitive decline that comes with ageing. Speaking of which…

8. Early ageing        

Magnesium deficiency can lead to reduced lifespans of fibroblasts and endothelial cells, which help with the production of collagen. Collagen is needed to keep the skin supple and wrinkle-free. Lower levels of magnesium in the body can give rise to skin diseases the relate to early ageing, such as dry skin or benign skin growths. Since the mineral acts as an antioxidant countering the damage caused to the mitochondria by free radicals, increasing your magnesium intake can help keep ageing signs away from your skin.

18 signs you're magnesium deficient

9. Muscle cramping and spasms

Normal muscle contraction requires magnesium, so a deficiency of the mineral makes muscle spasms and cramps much more likely and frequent. This is because magnesium helps in transporting potassium and calcium ions across the cells, both of which are required for normal muscle contraction and nerve impulses. According to several studies, magnesium has shown to be effective in the treatment of leg cramps, especially in pregnant ladies who tend to encounter them more often.

Increased muscle cramps from magnesium deficiency

10. Enlarged thyroid gland

A magnesium deficiency may also lead to an enlarged thyroid gland, causing difficulty swallowing and a cough. Other symptoms may include difficulty breathing or a tight throat. While it shouldn’t be taken lightly, it’s more annoying than dangerous to live with an enlarged thyroid gland. Boosting your daily magnesium intake should normally resolve the issue and shrink your thyroid gland size back to normal.

11. Insulin resistance

Increasing magnesium intake can improve insulin sensitivity

Over half of the US population is estimated to be dealing with some sort of resistance to insulin, which is most commonly linked to type 2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome. According to one study, people with higher magnesium intake levels saw significantly lower metabolic syndrome risk, which suggests that increased magnesium intake may help improve your insulin sensitivity. Some experts think that a magnesium deficiency can also increase triglyceride levels — which are fats in the blood linked to diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

12. Frequent migraines

Magnesium oxide, usually taken in pill form, works wonders in preventing migraines, as it can help avoid a brain signalling wave that creates the sensory and visual changes responsible for migraines in many cases. Magnesium can also help prevent blood vessel narrowing that serotonin causes, while also improving the functioning of platelets. It can even prevent pain transmitting chemicals from releasing in the brain. Thanks to this, you may notice a significant reduction in the severity and frequency of your migraines just by upping your magnesium intake.

Magnesium deficiency can lead to frequent headaches and migraines

13. Inflammation

Chronic inflammation may also be a result of a lack of magnesium, potentially leading to obesity, early ageing, and diseases like arthritis and heart health problems. Securing the recommended levels of magnesium has shown to help counter inflammation. The mineral does this by lowering an inflammatory marker known as C-reactive protein (CRP). It’s produced by the liver and gets released as an inflammatory response. Sometimes, CRP can be produced in higher quantities than needed, and having sufficient magnesium levels can prevent and counteract this issue.

14. Heart problems

Good levels of magnesium can help to maintain a regular heartbeat and normal blood pressure.

According to a recent study, magnesium deficiency is linked to a higher risk of developing coronary heart disease by about 50 to 80 per cent. This makes sense as the body requires magnesium to regulate heart muscle and coordinate nerves that get your heart to beat. With low levels of magnesium, you run a higher risk of heart palpitations and irregular heartbeats. Healthy levels of the mineral will help maintain normal blood pressure and regular heartbeat.

15. Asthma

Magnesium helps expand your airways by relaxing the bronchial muscles, which allows more air to flow through the lungs, keeping them healthy. According to several studies, insufficient levels of magnesium can lead to compromised lung function in the long run and a higher risk of wheezing. Some research also links the mineral’s low intake with respiratory diseases such as chronic obstructive airway disease and asthma.

16. Flu-like symptoms

Flu-like symptoms is a sign of magnesium deficiency

If you frequently experience flu-like symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, appetite loss, weakness, or fatigue, this may indicate a developing magnesium deficiency. They can also simply be signs of flu, so it’s best to just reconsider your diet to see if you’re getting enough magnesium every day. If you’re not eating enough magnesium-rich foods, try taking supplements of the mineral for a few days and see if there’s an improvement.

17. Unexplained seizures

Seizures that aren’t associated with a diagnosed disorder such as epilepsy can often point toward a severe lack of magnesium. Seizures are the body’s response to irregular electrical activity in the brain, which can often be due to magnesium deficiency. Moreover, some research suggests that magnesium supplements can even prevent seizures in epileptic patients. If you’ve had an unexplained seizure recently, visit your doctor as soon as possible.

18. Muscle fatigue and weakness

If your muscles often feel fatigued—a condition causing exhaustion—it might indicate a magnesium deficiency. We all experience fatigue from time to time as the body’s natural response to unusually tiring work, but severe or frequent fatigue may point toward something serious. It can be linked to several different health issues, but muscle weakness is one of the common signs of magnesium deficiency.

Scientists believe that this weakness in the muscles could be caused by a loss of potassium in the cells, which as we touched on above, can be due to a lack of magnesium. You should see improvements in muscle strength and movement upon increasing your magnesium intake, as well as better energy distribution throughout the body.

SaleBestseller No. 1
Magnesium by Nature’s Bounty, 500mg Magnesium Tablets for Bone & Muscle Health, 200 Tablets
  • Contains (1) bottle of 200 coated tablets of Nature's Bounty 500 milligram Magnesium mineral supplements. Tablets are coated for easy swallowing and support bone and muscle health, maintaining bone mineralization. No artificial flavors or sweeteners. Gluten free
  • Nature's Bounty High Potency Magnesium helps optimal bone support and muscle health. Magnesium aids in protein formation and nerve impulses. Since Magnesium absorption can decrease in older adults, taking a magnesium supplement may be especially important
  • Quality, consistency and scientific research has resulted in vitamins and nutritional supplements of unrivaled excellence. Using the latest breakthroughs in nutritional science & the finest ingredients, we provide supplements of unsurpassed quality and value
  • Every Nature’s Bounty product is subjected to numerous quality tests throughout the manufacturing process to verify purity and potency. The active ingredients & final product are tested in our microbiological laboratory to make certain that the product is pure
SaleBestseller No. 2
Doctor's Best High Absorption Magnesium Glycinate Lysinate, 100% Chelated, Non-GMO, Vegan, Gluten & Soy Free, 100 mg, 240 Tablets
  • High absorption magnesium glycinate: High Absorption Magnesium uses a patented, organic, chelated delivery form of magnesium to optimize bioavailability and GI tolerance. It is not buffered and is more absorbable than magnesium oxide.*
  • Better absorbability: Magnesium Glycinate - 2.3x greater than magnesium carbonate, 3.6x greater than magnesium sulfate, 6.0x greater than magnesium oxide, Chelated magnesium is absorbed faster and at a higher rate than ionic salts. Helps promote high magnesium retention in the body. Better tolerated, minimizes laxative effect -- even at therapeutic doses. TRAACS (The Real Amino Acid Chelate System), not a synthetic chelate. Water soluble.*
  • Magnesium health benefits: An essential dietary mineral, magnesium plays many important roles, including: helps increase energy levels, helps relax nerves and tension, helps maintain a normal, regular heartbeat, supports bone density, helps maintain muscle mass, muscle power and physical performance, helps digestion tract. Helps promote calmness allowing better sleep and reduced insomnia, helps prevent muscle cramps, tightness, and soreness, helps stop headaches. Inadequate magnesium not only affects the heart, blood vessels, and bones, but may also impact blood sugar balance as well. *
  • Not all "Amino acid chelates" are true chelates : High Absorption Magnesium is made with Albion minerals TRAACS, 100% not buffered. Albion unique chelated mineral, scientific process turns elemental minerals form into an absorbed nutrient that’s gentle on your stomach with no laxative effects.
Bestseller No. 3
Sundown Magnesium Supplement, Non-GMOˆ, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Vegetarian, 500mg Coated Caplets, 180 Count, 6 Month Supply
  • MUSCLE AND NERVE HEALTH - Magnesium supports hundreds of important chemical reactions in your body, especially ones important to nerve and muscle health(3)
  • BONE AND JOINT HEALTH - Magnesium promotes healthy bone density and strength(3)
  • CALM AND RELAXATION - Magnesium helps regulate chemicals in your body to calm your nervous system; helps alleviates occasional stress, anxiety, and headaches(3)
  • ENERGY PRODUCTION - Magnesium helps your body turn food into energy; may improve exercise recovery, reduce muscle fatigue; get relief from muscle cramps so you can enjoy your active lifestyle. Adequate magnesium intake is needed to support the contraction and relaxation of muscles and helps with leg cramps.(4) Leg cramps can occur occasionally among adults with inadequate intake. (4)
SaleBestseller No. 4
Nature Made Extra Strength Magnesium Oxide 400 mg, Dietary Supplement for Muscle Support, 110 Softgels, 110 Day Supply
  • Muscle support supplement: contains one 110 count bottle of Nature Made Extra Strength Magnesium 400 mg Softgels for a 110-day supply
  • Nature Made Magnesium Oxide 400 mg is a dietary supplement that helps support nerve health, muscle health and heart health
  • This Nature Made Magnesium Oxide supplement also supports healthy bones and teeth and helps convert the food you eat into cellular energy
  • Adults take one of these Magnesium Softgels 400 mg daily with water and a meal. Contains: soy. Caution: Do not exceed one softgel daily or take with other products that contain magnesium, unless recommended by your physician. Product may cause gastrointestinal disturbance, including diarrhea. Consult your physician before use if you have kidney disease or are taking medication

Naturally increasing your magnesium intake

Include magnesium rich food in your diet like avocado

Increasing your magnesium intake naturally is fairly simple, as it only requires certain additions or changes to your regular diet. Include more magnesium-rich foods in your daily diet, especially breakfast. Add foods like almonds, spinach, peanut butter, avocado, tofu, bananas, and whole wheat bread to your diet.

Supplements are another way to conveniently secure your daily magnesium intake. They’re easily available in powder or tablet form, requiring you to take a recommended standard dose at a specific time every day. However, before you start supplementing your body with magnesium, consult your doctor to obtain a professional opinion.


Most people don’t understand the importance of magnesium in helping us maintain our overall well-being. Over time, unaddressed magnesium deficiency can lead to serious health problems, such as seizures, abnormal heart rhythm, or even personality changes. If you find yourself portraying one or more of these signs, it’s important to get it checked up and address it immediately.

About the author

Rachel Perono

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

You might also like