98 Symptoms and Health Risks of Magnesium Deficiency

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People maybe less aware with this magnesium but this mineral is same important as other mineral such as calcium. Magnesium, along with other minerals including calcium, sodium, potassium, phosphorus, sulfur and chlorine are belong to macronutrient, which means our body needs them in relatively large amount. Magnesium is mostly found in bones and teeth around 60 – 65 % and the remaining 35 – 40 % is housed in the body parts including organs, muscle, tissue cells and body fluid. Magnesium is also vital component of more that 325 enzyme reactions according to the explanation by Carolyn Dean M.D N.D which published in her book The Miracle of Magnesium.

Health Benefits of Magnesium play crucial role in many body’s function. All cells need magnesium to do their job, including muscle and nerve function. Magnesium primarily required in energy production. Without the existence of magnesium our body cant break the food and produce ATP (Adenosyn Tryphosphate) which is simplest from of energy. So no magnesium means no energy, no movement and of course no life. Magnesium is also required in cholesterol production, fat break down and DNA forming based on the explanation of Dr Mildred Seelig, M.D M.P.H in his book “The Magnesium Factor”

People are pay attention for their calcium intake but less to get adequate amount of magnesium. Many studies have been including the research of Carolyn Dean M.D N.D in the National academy of science found that mostly adults, teen and children getting lack magnesium in their diet. Almost 80 % of them don’t reach the standard of Recommended daily allowance (RDA) of magnesium. So the case of magnesium deficiency will be an issue to be concerned by many people.

What’s the health risk of magnesium deficiency ?

Magnesium deficiency could lead to several health problem and it may be serious. Here you can read the risk of several health problem that may be caused by lack of magnesium intake :

      1. Anxiety and stress

Magnesium deficiency may lead you to experience of anxiety, panic and stress. Magnesium is vital for brain function so lack of magnesium on diet may affect to your mind and higher the risk of anxiety and accumulating stress. Provides adequate amount of magnesium may secure your body from anxiety and stress. Low level of magnesium trigger the adrenal glands to respond and increase the level of NA/K ion which may cause more stress response.

         2. Asthma

A study by Russian researcher found that low level of magnesium and higher amount of calcium may responsible in bronchial hyperactivity and asthma modulator. Magnesium also play important role in blocking calcium from entering lung which can cause bronchial smooth-muscle contraction. Deficiency of magnesium may cause lung complication. Researchers also conducted that the low level of magnesium in white blood cells has a vital effect on the pathogenesis of asthma

         3. Blood clots

Low level of magnesium may promotes the formation of blood clot or thrombosis on a the blood vessel or body organ. Normally blood clot happen when the body expose to wound or injury and stop the blood flowing out of the body but blood clot which cause by low level magnesium can cause serious problem and damaging the tissue of body and the most fatal, it can cause death.

         4. Atherosclerosis

Studies have found that low magnesium level can cause arteries hardening. It is known that magnesium is play important role in blocking the fat accumulation in blood vessel which can cause atheroskelorosis. Lack of magnesium intake let your body to store more lipid on your body and vessels which can be dangerous.

         5. Heart attacks

The previous explanation of formation of blood clotting and arteries hardening are some cause of strokes and heart attack. Magnesium is important to maintain cardiovascular health. Make sure you take adequate amount of magnesium to prevent heart disease.

         6. Bowel disease induced by constipation

Low level of magnesium is associated with irritable bowel syndrome and constipation. A study in Japan during 2006 found that there is relationship between constipation and magnesium intake to the body. Magnesium also help to control digestive muscle function and without the presence of magnesium it may trigger constipation.

         7. Cystitis and bladder spasms

Cystitis is inflammation which occur in the bladder. Women are likely to suffer cystitis and bladder problem more than men. Lack of magnesium intake can increase the severity of cystitis and making the body harder to heal the inflammation on bladder.

         8. Depression

Without magnesium, body can’t alleviate stress and it will cause depression. Body can cure depression by the presence of serotonin hormone which can bring good mood. The production and secretion of melatonin also depend on the level of magnesium inside the body.

         9. Diabetes

Magnesium deficiency is one of the risk factor of diabetes. Without adequate amount of magnesium, the body can’t secret and release insulin which important in glucose transportation. This condition may cause the accumulation of sugar in blood and causing tissue damage. You should be aware of health benefits of selenium to prevent diabetes diseases.

        10. Fatigue

Fatigue usually happen by the accumulation of lactic acid or other component. The body heal from fatigue by breaking down such substances with the help of hormones and metabolism. Since magnesium is important in more than 300 hormonal reaction in the body, low intake of magnesium cant help the body to bring its function and the fatigue will remain.

        11. Hypertension

It has been mentioned before that magnesium deficiency can trigger fat and cholesterol accumulation in blood vessel and cause the arteries thickening. Later the thicker blood pressure you get, the higher blood pressure you have.

         12. Heart disease

Magnesium deficiency usually found in people who suffer from heart disease. Again this condition may caused by the imbalance level of calcium-magnesium. Excessive calcium which accumulate in the cells will disrupt the function of heart then causing angina, myocardial infection and cardiac arrhythmia. Without adequate magnesium, your body is hard to balancing the level of calcium.

         13. Hypoglycemia.

Hypoglycemia is a condition where the blood sugar level is too low and may cause weakness and even fainting. Magnesium help in control the blood sugar level on its normal level and without magnesium this function will be disturbed and resulting in hypoglycemia.

         14. Insomnia

Insomnia is one of sleep disorder that may be experienced by some people. Research found that magnesium deficiency may interrupt with the secretion of sleep hormone, melatonin.

         15. Kidney disease

Some researches have found that low level of magnesium is linked to the increasing risk of kidney disease development. Calcium can bind to oxalate and forming crystal which can cause kidney stone. Magnesium can reduce the formation of this crystal and without magnesium the body has higher risk to develop kidney stone which later can cause more severe kidney disease.

      16. Fibrositis or Fibromyalgia and muscle spasms

Patient who suffer from fibrositis or fibromyalgia usually has low level of magnesium. Fibrositis is an inflammation of white fibrous tissue of the muscle sheaths which causing pain and muscle stiff.

     17. Eye twitches

Eyes has lots of muscles and cells that contribute to build the vision. Low intake of magnesium can effect their function and causing eyes twitches.

     18. Chronic neck and back pain

Magnesium has responsibility to remove fatigue and pain in certain area. Low level of magnesium will make your body hard to heal muscle injury and increase the severity of neck and back pain.

      19. Migraines

Low level of magnesium can cause severe headache or migraine problem. Migraine happen when the blood vessels in the brain spasm and constrict and induce severe pain. Research disclose that magnesium play important role in alleviate migraine by relaxing blood vessels, preventing the lactic acid formation and block certain inflammatory molecule which can trigger migraine.

      20. Gastrointestinal spasms

People know it more as stomach cramp. It is a painful cramping sensation of stomach which can cause severe problem. Low intake of magnesium also has responsibility of developing GI spasm.

      21. Restless leg syndrome

Low magnesium level may indicates and causing calf muscle and toe crampings when you sleep. Magnesium is important in controlling muscle and nerve contraction. Make sure your body to consume enough magnesium to prevent you awake at night and bother your sleep.

      22. Vertigo

Vertigo is a condition when you feel dizzy, loss balance and even may cause faintness. Low level of magnesium can cause vertigo since magnesium play important role in the transfer and secreting neurotransmitter and chemical in brain.

      23. Confusion

It has been known that magnesium has significant role in healthy. Low level of magnesium can affect the brain cells and controlling nerves and neurotransmitter function which may lead to low state of mind and confusion.

     24. Premenstrual Syndrome and dysmenorrhea

Magnesium is play important role in treatment of premenstrual syndrome and cramping during menstruation period. Low level of magnesium may cause severe pain and cramping. Make sure you consume adequate magnesium when you are in period.

     25. Infertility

Since magnesium is important in the secretion and hormones function include sexual hormones, lack of magnesium intake may causing dis function of sexual hormone which may lead to infertility.

      26. Premature contractions, preeclampsia; and eclampsia in pregnancy

During pregnancy, women should watch their magnesium intake. Preclamsia and eclamsia is dangerous life-threatening disorder which usually happen during pregnancy and may cause high blood pressure and stroke. Low level magnesium make the body difficult to control blood pressure and increase the risk of premature contractions, preeclampsia, and eclampsia during pregnancy

       27. Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a condition where bones lose its mass and become easily to be broken. Women have higher chance of getting osteoporosis. Magnesium deficiency higher the risk of postmenopausal osteoporosis. Low level of magnesium has negative impact in calcium metabolism and some regulating hormones which can develop osteoporosis. People usually take high intake of calcium to prevent osteoporosis but the truth is excessive calcium level without intake of sufficient magnesium or this imbalance actually may cause osteoporosis.

      28. Raynaud’s syndrome

Raynaud’s syndrome is a condition which the body respond to cold temperature or stress by slightly reduce the blood flow and cause discoloration of the fingers and toe. Magnesium deficiency can lead to severity of raynaud’s syndrome by contributes to muscle spasm and vascular contraction as the response to stress and cold.

        29. Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)

Sudden infant death syndrome usually happen when motehr develop stress during pregnancy and affecting the fetus. Magnesium which play control in managing stress may reduce the risk of SIDS but a sthe opposite, low intake of magnesium may cause fatal problem including death baby during delivery.

         30. Tooth decay

Tooth decay is also categorized of inflammation which caused by bacteria infection. Magnesium is important in keeping healthy tooth and even it is more vital than calcium. A study reported that lack of magnesium intake can increase the risk of periodontal disease including tooth decay.

Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency

Please consider with more than 10 symptoms of magnesium deficiency in some side of your body.


  1. Irritability and anxiety
  2. Behavioral disturbances
  3. Impaired memory and cognitive function
  4. Lethargy
  5. Anorexia or loss of appetite
  6. Seizures
  7. Nausea and vomiting

Among children:

  1. Growth retardation or “failure to thrive”


  1. Weakness
  2. Tics
  3. Muscle spasms (tetany)
  4. Hyperactive reflexes
  5. Muscle cramps
  6. Impaired muscle coordination (ataxia)
  7. Involuntary eye movements and vertigo
  8. Tremors
  9. Difficulty swallowing


  1. Increased intracellular calcium
  2. Calcium deficiency
  3. Hyperglycemia
  4. Potassium deficiency


  1. Irregular or rapid heartbeat
  2. Coronary spasms

Who needs more magnesium ?

There are some conditions which your body will need more intake of magnesium. Below are the list of symptoms and condition that indicate you may experience low magnesium level. If you feel or experince with one or several symptoms which mentioned in the list below you better consult the doctor to get suggestion about magnesium intake or if you need any supplement. These list of symptoms are based on the book “The Miracle of Magnesium “ which written by Dr Carolyn Dean MD, ND.

  1. Alcohol intake, If you drink more than seven drinks per week
  2. Anger
  3. Angina
  4. Anxiety
  5. Apathy
  6. Arrhythmia of the heart
  7. Asthma
  8. Blood tests showing the following:
    • Low calcium
    • Low potassium
    • Low magnesium
  9. Bowel problems
    • Undigested fat in stool
    • Constipation
    • Diarrhea
    • Alternating constipation and diarrhea
    • IBS
    • Crohn’s
    • Colitis
  10.  Brain trauma
  11. Bronchitis, chronic
  12. Caffeine—more than three servings of coffee, tea, or chocolate per day
  13. Chronic fatigue syndrome
  14. Cold extremities
  15. Concentration difficulties
  16. Confusion
  17. Convulsions
  18. Depression
  19. Diabetes (Type 1 and 2 )
  20. Fibromyalgia
  21. Food intake imbalances
    • Limited in green leafy vegetables, seeds, and fresh fruit
    • High protein
  22. Food cravings
    • Carbohydrates
    • Chocolate
    • Salt
    • Junk food
  1. Hyperactivity
  2. Hyperventilation
  3. Infertility
  4. Insomnia
  5. Irritability
  6. Kidney stones
  7. Medications
    • Digitalis
    • Diuretics
    • Antibiotics
    • Steroids
    • Oral contraceptives
    • Indomethacin
    • Cisplatin
    • Amphotericin B
    • Cholestyramine
    • Synthetic estrogens
  8.  Memory impairment
  9. Mercury amalgams
  10. Menstrual pain and cramps
  11. Migraines
  12. Mineral supplements
    • Taking calcium without magnesium
    • Taking zinc without magnesium
    • Taking iron without magnesium
  13. Mitral valve prolapse
  14. Muscle cramps or spasms
  15. Muscle twitching or tics
  16.  Muscle weakness
  17. Numbness of hands or feet
  18.  Osteoporosis
  19.  Paranoia
  20. Parathyroid hyperactivity
  21. PMS
  22. Polycystic ovarian disease
  1. Pregnancy
    • Currently pregnant
    • Pregnant within one year
    • History of preeclampsia or eclampsia
    • Postpartum depression
    • Have a child with cerebral palsia
  2. Radiation therapy, recent
  3. Raynaud’s syndrome
  4. Restlessness
  5. Sexual energy diminished
  6. Shortness of breath
  7. Smoking
  8. Startled easily by noise
  9. Stressful life or circumstances
  10. Stroke
  11. Sugar, high intake daily
  12.  Syndrome X
  13. Thyroid hyperactivity
  14. Tingling of hands or feet
  15. Transplants
    • Kidney
    • Liver
  16. Tremor of the hands
  17. Water that contains the following
    • Fluoride
    • Chlorine
    • Calcium
  18. Wheezing
  19. Gagging or choking on food
  20. Headaches
  21. Heart disease
  22. Heart—rapid rate
  23. High blood pressure
  24. Homocystinuria (inherited disorder that affects the metabolism of the amino acid methionine.)

How much magnesium we need ?

It is important to fulfil the daily intake of magnesium throughout every stage of life. Magnesium requirement are vary according to every stage of life. In children, magnesium together with calcium will be needed in the bones and teeth growth. Some studies also reported that magnesium give effect in the cognitive development. Adults, especially women need it most to prevent osteoporosis and maintain healthy pregnancy while older will required optimal amount of magnesium in order to control blood pressure and reduce the risk of many disease. Below are the list of magnesium amount which needed by every stage of life.

  • Children 1-3 years age need 80 mg a day
  • Children 4-8 years age need 130 mg a day
  • Children 9 to 13 years age need 240 mg a day

Life-Stage              Men                 Women                   Pregnancy                       Lactation

Ages 14 – 18       410 mg                360 mg                     400 mg                           360 mg
Ages 19 – 30      400 mg                310 mg                     350 mg                            310 mg
Ages 31 +           420 mg               320 mg                     380 mg                            320 mg

Why you get lack of magnesium ?

There are many factors which make your body doesn’t get the proper amount of magnesium. Below are some condition which may cause your body experience magnesium deficiency.

  • Food processing and cooking

Many kinds of food that you meet in market usually has been refined such as the wheat which processed to be flour will lose magnesium during the miling and other process until 80% of total amount. Cooking also play role in the removal certain number of magnesium. Blanching, boiling and the chemical which has been used in food may reduce the number of magnesium such as in the preparation of frozen food. Overcooking or boiling vegetable in longer time also responsible for the case of removing magnesium amount from food.

  • Eating too much fat and protein

Fat and protein can block the absorption of magnesium to the body while diet with high protein intake such as in Atkins diet will rise the requirement of magnesium.

  • Consuming alcohol, sodium and soda

Consuming such unhealthy stuffs is also affect the body to absorb magnesium. Children who consume coke will likely to have problem with teeth and bones development. Later found that soda also contain some amount of phospate which can bind the magnesium and block the body to absorb it.

  • Medication

People under medication need more magnesium and its rise the requirement amount of this mineral. Consuming medicine such as birth controls, insulin, and diuretic or antibiotic pills may increase the magnesium amount that you need. If you consume calcium supplement you ashould consider to take more magnesium since higher calcium intake may lower the magnesium level. We also lost some amount of magnesium during urine secretion which promoted by consuming diuretic pills.

  • Pregnancy

During pregnancy the body needs more amount of magnesium and it increase the requirement of magnesium. It also can cause the low level of magnesium whether you consume same amount of food.

How to get more magnesium intake ?

In order to fulfill the recommended daily allowance of magnesium, you may follow these tips :

  • Consuming food which are high in magnesium such as almond nuts, Brazilian nuts, cashew, meat, green leafy vegetable and etc. Must be noted that it is important to only consume fat from good source and low in saturated fat.
  • Having magnesium supplement twice a day is suggested to increase the magnesium level
  • Avoid to cook and process vegetable in long time if you want to keep the high level of magnesium
  • Try to remove your alcohol addiction and reduce or avoid soda with high level of sugar consumption
  • Prolonged stress may effect to magnesium level, so it is better to do some activities to relax your body and mind so your body can absorb more magnesium

Which food contain magnesium ?

Some food contain amounts of magnesium and it is suggested to consume to increase the level of magnesium in the body.

Food Group                         Examples                       Magnesium/3.5 oz (100 g) serving (mg)

Cereals (Dry)                          Bran (100%)                                                 473
Nuts (Raw)                        Almonds, cashews, peanuts                         180 – 296
Legumes                         Tofu, soybeans, butter beans                           86 – 103
Fruits (Raw)                        Dates, raisins,bananas                                 29 – 35
Vegetables (Raw)                  Corn, broccoli,peas                                     24 – 37
Meats                              Turkey, Fish, Pork, Chicken                             21 – 24
Dairy                                       Cheddar cheese                                          28
Beverages Whole                           milk, wine                                         10 -13

Those are some symptoms and health problem which may cause by magnesium deficiency. To avoid such problem in order to maintain your body health, make sure you keep your magnesium in your body in its normal level by having appropriate food ans supplement.. Stay healthy and happy