Magnesium deficiency: Symptoms, signs and treatment

Magnesium Deficiency: Symptoms, Diagnosis and more

Magnesium accounts for about 25 grams of an adult’s body mass, with 50 to 60 % of it finding its way into bones, and the rest mostly gets absorbed through the soft tissues. Our bodies depend on it for a variety of processes. Despite this, it is one of the top deficiencies in the human body. Furthermore, magnesium is deficient in the average American diet, as research shows that almost half of Americans don’t get enough magnesium in their diet.

Magnesium is essential for the formation of bone, muscles, nerves, and blood cells. It’s also involved in many enzyme reactions, such as producing energy from food, muscle contraction, and nerve impulse conduction.

Furthermore, magnesium plays a vital role in over 300 enzymes, including the heart, muscles, and bones, to contract and relax. However, it’s essential to know what magnesium deficiency (hypomagnesemia) signs to look for so you can identify it in yourself.

Magnesium deficiency symptoms

Following are some signs of magnesium deficiency.

1. Fatigue and Lethargy

A magnesium deficiency can also cause you to feel sluggish, tired, and depressed. Magnesium helps regulate adrenaline levels in your body because it plays a crucial role in producing neurotransmitters in your brain.

When your magnesium levels are low, your body becomes less responsive to adrenaline, which leads to fatigue and lethargy. In the case of depression, you may also be deficient in zinc, contributing to your feeling of depression.

2. Insomnia

In the United States, magnesium deficiency has emerged as a significant contributor to sleep problems. A magnesium-deficient individual may have difficulty falling asleep, staying awake, and having frequent nightmares.

The person may experience a wide range of other symptoms, including restless sleep, high blood pressure, anxiety, and depression. The person may experience low libido or impotence. With appropriate magnesium supplementation, symptoms of magnesium deficiency can be relieved.

3. Nausea, Vomiting, and Diarrhea

Magnesium deficiency can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Nausea and vomiting are the most common signs of magnesium deficiency. When your stomach is acidic, it produces hydrochloric acid. When your stomach is too sour, you may experience nausea and vomiting.

There is a higher level of bile in the stomach when diarrhea occurs, and this bile helps break down fats and proteins in the digestive tract. If your stomach is acidic and your bitterness is too high, it will cause diarrhea.

4. Anxiety, Mood Swings, and Stress

Anxiety, mood swings, and stress are common symptoms of magnesium deficiency. Magnesium deficiency may cause anxiety, irritability, and even depression. Anxiety, mood swings, and stress can be so severe that impair functioning and cause social isolation.

Low magnesium levels may also be related to other mental health issues such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

5. Muscle Cramps

If you’re regularly suffering from muscle cramps, you may be deficient in magnesium. Cramps occur when the muscles are either too tight or too loose, and it is more common to experience muscle spasms during exercise that causes tight muscles.

An intense burning sensation often accompanies these. Loose muscles, on the other hand, are usually caused by magnesium deficiency.

Magnesium helps maintain the proper balance of calcium in your muscle cells, which allows the muscle fibers to relax. Your magnesium levels are low, your muscles are more prone to cramping, and you can feel it.

So, if you’re experiencing regular muscle cramps, you may want to consider increasing your intake of magnesium.

Diagnosis of Magnesium Deficiency

Symptoms, medical history, and a blood test will help your doctor diagnose hypomagnesemia. Magnesium levels in your blood do not reveal how much magnesium your body stores in your bones and muscles.

However, it still provides valuable information regarding hypomagnesemia. You will also likely undergo tests for calcium and potassium.

When to See a Doctor

Severe magnesium deficiency can lead to chronic diseases, such as the following:

  • heart disease
  • high blood pressure
  • type 2 diabetes
  • osteoporosis

It is advisable for any individual experiencing any of the above symptoms to see a doctor determine the cause.


Magnesium is involved in one of the most elementary chemical reactions known as energy production. Without magnesium, your body stops producing its energy, and your muscles no longer work.

Non-stop thinking, listless behavior, frequent headaches, throbbing leg cramps, feelings of weakness all indicate you need to increase your magnesium intake. The best way to get your magnesium is by eating magnesium-rich foods.