11 Warning Signs and Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency

Hypomagnesemia is the term that denotes a magnesium deficiency. Studies currently suggest that up to 75 percent of Americans are not meeting their recommended intake (although only 2 percent are actually deficient in the mineral). Because health problems can result from magnesium loss, it’s important to be on alert for what magnesium deficiency could look like in your body. Here are the signs of magnesium deficiency as well as the symptoms of magnesium deficiency that you could experience if you’re not consuming enough in daily life.

Signs of Magnesium Deficiency 

Headaches

11 Warning Signs of Magnesium Deficiency man wearing white shirt rubbing temples with a headache

Headaches – anything from lighter tension headaches to intense migraines – can be a symptom of magnesium deficiency. This occurs because magnesium is essential for muscle relaxation and cellular function. Magnesium also helps regulate calcium levels within nerve cells, and without it, you can experience discomfort like headaches. 

Muscle Pain 

Muscle pain can happen for a variety of reasons. Often, potassium deficiency is initially thought to be responsible for any muscle cramping or pain. However, magnesium deficiency can also contribute, especially if muscle pain occurs during sleep. Women may also experience worsening menstrual cramping as a symptom of magnesium deficiency.  Magnesium is a common supplement used for pain relief and is often taken or used topically to treat a wide range of pains, from the side effects of chemotherapy and arthritis to postmenstrual pains and migraines. Some research has been done on the possible connection between Fibromyalgia symptoms and low magnesium levels.

Fatigue

Because magnesium supports the powerhouse of the cell called the mitochondria – which produces energy – a lack of magnesium can cause fatigue. If you’re experience fatigue along with some of the other symptoms of magnesium deficiency on this list, then it’s worth talking to your doctor about whether you may not be getting enough magnesium!

Stomach Problems

11 Warning Signs and Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency woman with stomachache holding stomach sitting on bed

This isn’t a symptom of magnesium of deficiency as much as it is a sign that you could have it. Digestive issues like IBS, Crohn’s Disease, and Celiac can prevent you from absorbing all the nutrients your body needs. This includes magnesium. If you have digestive problems along with other issues on this list (fatigue, headaches, muscle pain, etc.), then reach out to your healthcare provider to see what they recommend.

Osteoporosis

This one may surprise you. You’ve been told your whole life that you need to drink milk and consume calcium to have strong bones and teeth. However, calcium is greatly impacted by magnesium. Magnesium helps your body absorb calcium, so if your body isn’t getting enough magnesium, then you won’t be strengthening your bones, teeth, or muscles after all. If you have osteoporosis, magnesium and calcium are both equally important.

High Blood Pressure

Did you know magnesium can elevate the blood pressure in animals? Although there hasn’t been direct evidence that low magnesium prompts high blood pressure in humans, research has shown that magnesium supplements can lower blood pressure in adults. High blood pressure increases the risk of heart disease, and thus, it’s important to monitor this closely. Magnesium supplements may benefit people with high blood pressure, so talk to your doctor about this as a potential treatment!

Asthma

Magnesium deficiency and asthma often go hand in hand. Magnesium levels tend to be lower in individuals with asthma, and researchers believe that a lack of magnesium may cause a buildup of calcium in the muscle lining of the airways of the lungs. This buildup causes the airways to constrict, which ultimately makes breathing more difficult. As a result, an inhaler with magnesium sulfate is sometimes prescribed to people with asthma. Although it’s unclear whether a dietary supplement of magnesium would help individuals suffering from asthma, it is still believed to be a sign of magnesium deficiency.

Irregular Heartbeat

Irregular heartbeat is also called heart arrhythmia, and this can be one of the most serious symptoms of magnesium deficiency. However, arrhythmia itself often has no symptoms at all, except mild heart palpitations. In some cases, you may experience lightheadedness, shortness of breath, chest pain, or fainting. At worst, you may experience the risk of stroke or heart failure. For this reason, it’s important to monitor.

A condition associated with magnesium deficiency is often linked to an irregular heartbeat. Research indicates that an imbalance of potassium levels inside and outside of the heart may cause it. Thus, addressing the root cause of magnesium deficiency can help alleviate the worst of the symptoms.

Insomnia

11 Warning Signs and Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency woman holding pillow over head insomnia

Poor sleep quality can often be a symptom of magnesium deficiency. You may have insomnia, anxiety, hyperactivity, or restlessness. Talk to your doctor about taking magnesium before bed for improved sleep quality.

Diabetes

Magnesium is an essential mineral that helps to optimize glucose absorption. As such, imbalanced blood sugar or diabetes itself may be tied to low magnesium. While magnesium deficiency can occur in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, it appears to be more prevalent with type 2 diabetics. Low levels of magnesium are often associated with insulin resistance.

Anxiety and Depression

GABA is a neurotransmitter that blocks impulses between nerve cells in the brain. Low levels of GABA have been linked to mood disorders and imbalances. Some research has pointed to how magnesium may be involved in these mood disorders as well because magnesium is an overall body relaxer (including for your brain). A lack of magnesium can impact your mental health as well as your physical health.

Final Thoughts 

Because magnesium is a crucial mineral with over 300 different functions within your body, it’s essential that you make sure you get enough. If you believe you’re experiencing any of the warning signs of magnesium deficiency, talk to your doctor. They can have you take a blood test and recommend suitable treatment.