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10 Signs You're Suffering From Magnesium Deficiency

Magnesium is a crucial mineral that the body uses in abundance for healthy function. Magnesium is the 4th most abundant mineral in the human body and is involved in over 600 cellular reactions, ranging from DNA production, heart contraction, ATP (energy) production etc. Due to our highly stressful lives and food soil depletion, we are using more magnesium than we have available/are consuming. It is therefore crucial that we all increase our magnesium intake via food or supplementation. If we are using up too much magnesium and not consuming enough, magnesium deficiency will arise and lead to a wide range of symptoms.

  1. Muscle Cramps and Twitching - Magnesium is a relaxant and has profound effects on the nervous system. When deficient, muscles do not effectively relax and may lead to twitching and involuntary spasms. Furthermore, having a magnesium deficiency lowers the electrical threshold at which nerve cells become depolarised, making them hyper-excitable and causing muscle spasms. Additionally, calcification can cause stiffening of muscle tissue and result in muscle cramps.

  2. Blood Sugar Imbalance - Magnesium helps regulate insulin and move sugar out of the blood, into cells for storage. Human cells all contain insulin receptors, which require magnesium to effectively function. If a magnesium deficiency is present, your cells do not use insulin effectively and blood sugar levels may rapidly increase. A recent study (Song et al. 2006) performed in type 2 diabetic individuals showed the rapid decline of fasting glucose levels upon magnesium supplementation!

  3. High Blood Pressure - Considering magnesium is a relaxant, it makes sense that magnesium deficiency would contribute to high blood pressure! A recent study (Zhang et al. 2016) has shown that supplementing 450mg of magnesium per day can lead to a decrease in the systolic and diastolic blood pressure of an individual with high blood pressure. These results have been significantly supported by other studies!

  4. Irregular Heartbeat - Magnesium is crucial for maintaining a healthy heartbeat. Naturally it competes with calcium, which is essential for heart contractions. Calcium enters the cells in your heart and stimulates the muscle fibres to contract. Countering this effect, magnesium relaxes the cells. If magnesium levels drop, calcium may overstimulate your heart muscle cells, causing irregular heartbeats and palpitations. Additionally, the sodium-potassium pump requires magnesium for optimal function. With magnesium deficiency, electrical impulses may be irregular and affect your heartbeat. This is a life-threatening symptom which must be checked out by your nearest doctor.

  5. Poor Sleep - Magnesium binds to gamma-aminobutyric (GABA) receptors. GABA is a hormone produced in the brain that helps relax nerve activity. When we do not have enough GABA or magnesium, we may feel over stimulated at night, resulting in poor sleep. Additionally, the relaxant magnesium increases our parasympathetic response, helping us switch into a state of relaxation instead of fight or flight.

  6. Chronic Anxiety and Depression - Magnesium helps to regulate brain function and mood. Individuals with low magnesium, high calcium and high glutamate may have deregulated synaptic function and resulting depression. Neuronal damage and resulting depression may result from magnesium deficiency and neuronal requirements not being met. A recent study (Eby et al. 2006) showed significant mental health improvement following magnesium supplementation. These results are significantly supported with additional studies.

  7. Osteoporosis - According to a recent analysis (Castiglioni et al. 2013), magnesium deficiency may directly weaken the bones. Poor magnesium levels may also lead to low blood levels of calcium (the main building block of bones), thus resulting in osteoporosis.

  8. Asthma - A recent analysis (Blitz et al. 2005) suggested that low magnesium levels contribute to calcium buildup in the muscles, which line the airways of the lungs. The result is airway constriction and breathing difficulty. Scientists believe that those with asthma tend to have lower magnesium levels than those without this condition (Britton et al. 1994).

  9. Numbness and Tingling - Due to magnesiums role in nerve impulses, deficiency can lead to tingling sensations and numbness. This usually affects the extremities such as fingers and toes, but often can be felt in arms, legs etc. A recent study (Zhang et al. 2021) found magnesium to be affective at promoting regeneration of peripheral nerves and reducing symptoms such as tingling and numbness.

  10. Stiffness - By loosening tight muscles, magnesium contributes to flexibility and injury prevention. With low magnesium levels, your muscles may overly contract and lead to symptoms such as muscle stiffness, pain, cramps and spasms. Furthermore, poor magnesium levels can contribute to excessive lactic acid buildup and muscle soreness/stiffness post exercise.

References

  1. Blitz, M. Blitz, S. Hughes, R. et al. (2005). 'Aerosolized Magnesium Sulfate for Acute Asthma: A Systematic Review', Chest Journal, 128 (1), pp.337-344.

  2. Britton, J. Pavord, I. Richards, K. et al. (1994). 'Dietary Magnesium, Lung Function, Wheezing, and Airways Hyperreactivity in a Random Adult Population Sample', The Lancet, 344 (8919), pp.357-362.

  3. Song, Y. He, K. Levitan, E.B. et al. (2006). 'Effects of Oral Magnesium Supplementation on Glycaemic Control in Type 2 Diabetes: A Meta-analysis of Randomized Bouble-Blind Controlled Trials', Diabetic Medicine, 23 (10), pp.1050-1056.

  4. Eby, G.A. & EBY, K.L. (2006). 'Rapid Recovery from Major Depression Using Magnesium Treatment', Medical Hypothesis, 67 (2), pp.362-370.

  5. Song, Y. He, K. Levitan, E.B. et al. (2006). 'Effects of Oral Magnesium Supplementation on Glycaemic Control in Type 2 Diabetes: A Meta-analysis of Randomized Double-blind Controlled Trials', Diabetic Medicine, 23 (10), pp.1050-1056.

  6. Zhang, J. Zhang, B. Zhang, S. (2021). 'Magnesium Promotes the Regeneration of the Peripheral Nerves', Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology, 9 (1), pp1-25.

  7. Zhang, X. Li, Y. Gobbo, L.C. et al. (2016). 'Effects of Magnesium Supplementation on Blood Pressure: A Meta-analysis of Randomized Double-blind Placebo-controlled Trials', Hypertension, 68 (2), pp.324-333.

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