Magnesium deficiency is usually associated with muscle cramps because it is the most common symptom. Magnesium not only plays an important role in the muscles, but it is also important for the electrolyte balance and is involved in over 300 other metabolic processes in the body. For example, magnesium is also necessary for the absorption of vitamin D and its deficiency can lead to fatigue, exhaustion and lack of energy.

In total there are about 24 grams of magnesium in humans. About 60 percent is stored in the bones, 29 percent are stored in the muscles and organs and one percent circulates in the blood. Therefore, magnesium is especially important for bone density, stability of bones and teeth as well. It also contributes significantly to the performance of the heart muscle and is important for many nerve functions. In addition, magnesium activates about 300 enzymes in the human body and thus regulates the energy metabolism.

Magnesium Deficiency

If there is too little magnesium in the body, it is medically called hypomagnesaemia. It is usually associated with a disturbed levels of the electrolyte balance and a reduced magnesium concentration in the blood. Since the body can not produce magnesium itself, food or supplements must be added to the diet to fill the magnesium storage. Depending on the age of the person, the body requires different amounts of magnesium. Adults should daily take 300 milligrams to 400 milligrams of magnesium. Certain factors and lifestyles, such as pregnancy or exercise, can increase the magnesium requirement.

Older Magnesium requirement (mg / day)
0 to 4 months 24
4 to 12 months60
1 to 4 years80
4 to 7 years 120
7 to 10 years 170
10 to 13 years 230
13 to 15 years 310
15 to 25 years400 (M)/350 (F)
From 25 years 350 (M)/300 (F)
Pregnant Woman  310
Breastfeeding 390

Magnesium deficiency : Symptoms

The symptoms of a magnesium deficiency can be diverse, as the mineral is involved in numerous processes in the body. Most often, a deficiency manifests itself in muscle cramps and muscular tension. But also fatigue, digestive problems, headaches or numbness in the feet and legs are typical signs. It should be noted that the symptoms indicate a possible magnesium deficiency, but can also be symptoms of other disorders or diseases. Self-diagnosis is therefore dangerous and consulting a Doctor is therefore recommended.

Possible signs of magnesium deficiency

Magnesium symptoms
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1. Mood, Psychology and general well-being

FatigueLack Of ConcentrationLack Of Energy And Listlessness
General ExhaustionSleep DisordersDepressive Mood
NervousnessIncreased IrritabilityHeadache
Inner UnrestMigraineNoise And Light Sensitivity

2. Musculoskeletal System 

Muscle Cramps (Especially Leg Cramps)Back and Neck Pain
Muscle Twitching (Eyelid Fluttering)Cold Hands And Feet
Muscle Tension (Especially In The Neck And Shoulder Area)Numbness And Tingling In Arms And Legs

3. Cardiovascular System

Circulatory DisordersHigh Blood – Pressure
Cardiac Arrhythmia (Rapid Heartbeat, Irregular Heartbeat, Severe Palpitations)Dizziness

4. Digestion

ConstipationStomach Pain
NauseaStomach Cramps

5. Menstrual Disorders 

PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome)Severe Menstrual Pain
Heavy Menstrual BleedingWater Retention

Muscle cramps due to magnesium deficiency

Muscle cramp due to magnesium deficiency

Muscle cramps are the most common symptoms of magnesium deficiency. It happens because magnesium is an essential element for muscle relaxation. It is thus the enemy of calcium that causes the muscle contraction. In addition, a magnesium deficiency causes an increased excitability of the muscles.

People who are exposed to everyday stress are also more susceptible to magnesium deficiency. Stress hormones constrict the blood vessels, causing more magnesium to be released into the blood to relax the vessels. The excess is then eliminated via the kidneys.

Causes Of Magnesium Deficiency

Unbalanced DietExcessive Alcohol Consumption
Weight Loss DietsDiabetes
Eating Disorders (Anorexia, Bulimia)Medications (Such As Antibiotics, Laxatives)
StressDiseases Of The Intestine (Eg Crohn’s Disease)
Strong Sweating (Through Sports, Sauna, Fever)Kidney Disease
Malabsorption Of MagnesiumGastrointestinal Infection(Diarrhea And Vomiting)

Treatment For Magnesium Deficiency

In most cases, the symptoms of hypomagnesemia can be treated with magnesium diet . To remedy or prevent magnesium deficiency, the diet should contain high levels of magnesium. The following foods contain large quantities of the Magnesium.

Nuts And Seeds (Sunflower and Pumpkin Seeds, Walnuts, Cashews, Almonds, Peanuts)
Whole Grain Products (Wholemeal Bread, Wholemeal Pasta, Etc.)
Pulses (Peas, Beans, Lentils)
Wheat Bran
Green Vegetables (Eg Spinach, Broccoli)
Fruits (Raspberries, Bananas, Pineapple)

However, if the symptoms do not disappear despite sufficient magnesium intake, high-dose magnesium supplements come into question, which are available as over-the-counter tablets in the pharmacy. 

Even then, If the symptoms do not improve despite dietary changes and magnesium supplements, you should consult a doctor. He can find out whether a magnesium deficiency is the cause or a disease behind it. Usually, the body lacks other nutrients due to an unbalanced diet.  

Consequences of chronic magnesium deficiency

In the worst case, a chronic magnesium deficiency can cause muscle weakness called medically myasthenia. The heart muscle is also dependent on the mineral. Those who permanently ingesting too little magnesium risk cardiac arrhythmia, cardiovascular diseases or a stroke.

A magnesium deficiency should be controlled as quickly as possible, because magnesium is vital for many body functions. Without it, muscles, bones, nerves and enzymes can not function smoothly.

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