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Important Warning Signs of Magnesium Deficiency


The signs and symptoms of magnesium deficiency are vast. Some are subtle, while others can cause serious health problems. Many people who have a deficiency don’t even know it, and a lot of health issues are blamed on something else or remain unexplained if a potential magnesium deficiency is overlooked.

You can have a magnesium deficiency if you don’t consume enough of the nutrient in your diet or if your body doesn’t absorb enough when it goes through your system. Other things, like consuming too much alcohol and certain medication can also deplete your body’s magnesium. Magnesium plays an integral role in your body’s ability to keep your heart, kidneys, and muscles healthy. It also regulates nutrient levels, and keeps bones strong. Since this mineral is so important, it’s best to stay on top of these 15 warning signs of magnesium deficiency…

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1. Fatigue

Being tired and feeling lethargic is not uncommon, and it can be easy to blame fatigue on several factors–from stress at work or a busy schedule to not sleeping well or running around with your kids. But one of the most common and early symptoms of a magnesium deficiency is fatigue. Because just about everyone feels tired at some point and the cause could be from so many different things, it’s difficult to come to the correct diagnosis. A magnesium deficiency likely isn’t the first thing your doctor is going to check. And unfortunately, the fatigue won’t go away until your body gets the right amount of magnesium in its system.

Since magnesium helps produce and transport energy, an insufficient level can easily result in feeling tired and weak. To keep your energy levels where they should be, you need to be getting enough magnesium. If you aren’t low in magnesium but experience fatigue often, sometimes magnesium supplements can be used to relieve fatigue. Talk to your doctor before starting any new supplements.

2. Muscle Spasms and Cramps

Muscle spasms and cramping can not only be uncomfortable, but also quite painful. They’re uncontrollable and unpredictable, and they’re not something you can simply ignore and get on with your day. While athletes often suffer from muscle cramps due to inadequate stretching, dehydration, over-exertion, and lack of proper diet, many other people suffer from them and it can be hard to figure out why and how to prevent them. When a magnesium deficiency worsens, muscle spasms and cramping can be a sign of the lacking nutrient. So if you suffer from regular cramping and spasms, this could be a warning sign of low magnesium levels.

While getting your magnesium levels to where they should be will likely ease your symptoms, you can try to get short-term relief by stretching and massaging the affected muscles. Vitamins D, E and B complex also play a role in preventing muscle cramps, so make sure you get your daily recommended dose of these vitamins to help ward off cramping.

3. Arrhythmia

Magnesium plays a vital role in overall heart health. It’s vital for proper muscle contraction, and a low level can affect your body’s most important muscle – your heart. Arrhythmia is an irregular heartbeat, and magnesium directly helps you maintain a normal heart rhythm. Some studies have shown that maintaining a regular level of magnesium may even prevent some heart problems and diseases, including arrhythmia. In fact, magnesium is often used in medical settings when managing patients with arrhythmia.

There have been a lot of studies focused on how magnesium affects your heart, specifically if it can prevent heart disease or lower the risk of heart attack. While nothing is guaranteed and no heart is the same, some of these studies have shown a positive effect on heart health and prevention of heart disease with an increased magnesium intake. Some doctors even prescribe magnesium for patients who are at risk of cardiac arrhythmia.

4. Dizziness

Sometimes dizziness hits you when you stand up too fast and it quickly goes away, but it could be due to a magnesium deficiency. If this is the case, unfortunately it won’t disappear on it’s own and can last all day without relief. Similar to fatigue, it can be hard for your doctor to diagnose because so many things can cause dizziness. As a result, magnesium deficiency is often overlooked when trying to diagnose and fix the problem. Low magnesium levels can give you similar feelings as vertigo, making you feel not only dizzy, but completely off balance. If you’re experiencing dizziness, it could be a warning sign of magnesium deficiency.

As a magnesium deficiency worsens, so do the symptoms. You could experience light and manageable dizziness in the beginning, but it can fully transform into vertigo if your levels continue to decline. Vertigo can completely alter your life. It could make you unable to do regular day to day activities and miss work when it’s at its worst. If you’re experiencing dizziness, it’s worth a visit to your doctor.

5. Nausea and Vomiting

Similar to vertigo, if you have a low magnesium level, you may experience nausea, and even vomiting. Although these symptoms are considered an early warning sign, they are not necessarily a severe symptom of magnesium deficiency. Constantly feeling nauseous and vomiting is quite simply unpleasant – even if they aren’t considered severe symptoms – and can greatly impact your routine. For those who suffer from regular nausea and/or vomiting, it’s worth asking your doctor about other potential causes, such as magnesium deficiency. Like many other symptoms, there can be a variety of causes and your magnesium level may be overlooked.

Another possible cause of nausea and vomiting, which is related to magnesium, is that you could experience nausea if your magnesium levels are too high. Other supplements and certain types of medication could cause your magnesium levels to spike if you’re taking a magnesium supplement.

6. Numbness

Magnesium is one of the most abundant and important minerals in your body. It’s responsible for over 300 biochemical reactions, so it’s not hard to believe that having a deficiency can greatly impact your overall health. Since magnesium impacts your nervous system, tingling and numbness can be a warning sign of a deficiency, particularly as it worsens. Without sufficient magnesium in the body, it can prevent nerve and muscle functions to act and react properly. A lack of magnesium can also prevent your body from sending the proper signals, resulting in numbness and tingling. It’s common to feel these symptoms in your face, feet and hands.

Although severe symptoms like numbness are rare, experiencing it can be quite scary. Numbness is not something to take lightly and there are a number of reasons it could be happening, all of which go way beyond a simple magnesium deficiency. It is important to see your doctor and figure out the cause.

7. Personality Changes

It might seem bizarre and definitely not the first cause you’d jump to, but believe it or not, personality changes are a warning sign of a magnesium deficiency. Significant personality changes, including abnormal amounts of confusion and irritability, can seem to come out of nowhere. Simple things can seem overwhelming and make you feel out of sorts. You’ll likely be able to notice the change, but are unsure of how to fix it. Since many things can cause symptoms like this, a magnesium deficiency is often not considered when trying to diagnose the change in personality.

On top of these personality changes and periodical mood swings, the lack of sleep discussed earlier could cause a mood change if it happens often, ultimately affecting both your personal and professional relationships. Since sleep is vital for your mental, physical and emotional health, so if a magnesium deficiency is what’s keeping you up at night it’s important you get your magnesium up to a sufficient and healthy level.

8. Anxiety and Panic Attacks

Everyone experiences a bout of anxiety or panic once in a while, but if you’re experiencing it regularly, it could be due to a magnesium deficiency. You may be quick to blame everyday stress, but you should also consider the role a magnesium deficiency has in causing anxiety and panic attacks, especially if you aren’t typically prone to panic and anxiety. Unfortunately, if you’re suffering from anxiety, the stress can dwindle your magnesium levels, making it a vicious cycle. Low magnesium causes anxiety and depletes your magnesium reserves during the attack.

There are a lot of different symptoms of a panic attack, some of which include difficulty breathing, a racing heart, chest pains, an intense rush of fear or dread, tingling in your limbs and trembling, among other uncomfortable and terrible feelings. Although they typically only last a few minutes, each second can feel like a lifetime and you end up feeling completely emotionally drained. They typically only last a few minutes but each second can feel like a lifetime. Talk to your doctor if you experience these symptoms, especially if they happen often.

9. Insomnia

Having a magnesium deficiency can cause insomnia in several different ways. As we mentioned earlier in this article, low levels of magnesium can result in muscle spasms. This is because the body needs a sufficient amount of magnesium in order to control electrical conduction in the neurons in the muscles which will then lead to a prolonged opening of calcium channels and increasing muscular activity. This causes restless leg syndrome, a condition that causes the legs to move involuntarily during the night.

This form of insomnia caused by a magnesium deficiency in indirectly related, but a lack of magnesium is also known to directly cause insomnia as well.

10. High Blood Pressure

A study published in the American Journal of Hypertension conducted an experiment where the correlation between level of blood pressure and levels of magnesium intake were analyzed. The results were that the individuals with the healthiest the blood pressure, had the highest levels of magnesium. As a result, those with low levels of magnesium had high blood pressure.

A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that eating magnesium rich foods and approximately 100 mg a day, would decrease the risk of having a stroke by 8 percent.

11. Type II Diabetes

This symptom sounds strange, but when explained it actually makes a lot of sense. A study published in the Journal of Internal Medicine found that magnesium plays a significant role in metabolising sugar, and since type II diabetes is something that develops based on an individual’s diet, a lack of magnesium could play an important role in the development of this condition.

It should be noted that low levels of magnesium are found in pre-existing diabetic, but low levels of magnesium are 10 times higher in individuals that are newly diagnosed with type II diabetes. Eating a magnesium rich diet consisting of nuts, whole grains, leafy vegetables and beans could prevent any potential risk of type II diabetes.

12. Osteoporosis

A deficiency in magnesium can also increase your risk of developing bone problems like osteoporosis, “a disease characterized by low bone mass and deterioration of bone tissue, which can lead to increased risk of fracture,” defines Osteoporosis Canada.

There are a couple of reasons for this, the first of which is that the bones store large amounts of magnesium, so when levels of the mineral are low for a prolonged period of time it can lead to bone loss. Another reason is that a magnesium deficiency can lower the level of calcium in the blood, and calcium is essential to the maintenance of strong bones.

13. Migraines

It’s normal for most anyone to have headaches on occasion. But if you find yourself suffering from them on a regular basis, however, consider bypassing the painkillers and visiting your doctor about a possible magnesium deficiency.

Livestrong.com explains that a magnesium deficiency can cause headaches “due to the dilation of blood vessels” and that “nearly half of the people suffering from migraine headaches show to have a low amount of ionized magnesium in their blood.” A blood test will be conducted to confirm the cause and ensure appropriate treatment options are recommended.

14. Constipation

There are a wide variety of reasons you may be experiencing constipation, from stress to inadequate fiber intake or consuming too much dairy. Certainly having a magnesium deficiency isn’t the first culprit to come to mind, but it may very well be why you’re having trouble passing bowel movements.

Magnesium has a relaxing effect on many parts of the body, including the digestive tract. So if you’re not getting enough of the mineral, these muscles contract more, making it difficult for waste to move through the system, thus resulting in constipation.

15. Acid Reflux

As previously mentioned, magnesium plays a key role in muscle relaxation throughout the body. This includes the valves at the top and bottom of the stomach, which allow food to move through the body, as it should.

If you have a magnesium deficiency, however, NaturalLife.org says these sphincters “cannot properly contain the food,” thus allowing food and stomach acid to backflow into the esophagus. This results in a burning sensation that we call acid reflux or heartburn. Unfortunately, if the cause of your acid reflux is a magnesium deficiency, the source indicates that most over-the-counter medications can actually worsen these symptoms. So be sure to speak with your physician before self-medicating to remedy the problem.

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