Major Signs You Are Magnesium Deficient & What You Can Do About It

Magnesium is also found in more than 300 different enzymes in your body and plays a role in your body’s detoxification processes, making it important for helping to prevent damage from environmental chemicals, heavy metals, and other toxins. In addition, magnesium is necessary for:

  • Activating muscles and nerves
  • Creating energy in your body by activating adenosine triphosphate (ATP)
  • Helping digest proteins, carbohydrates, and fats
  • Serving as a building block for RNA and DNA synthesis
  • Acting as a precursor for neurotransmitters like serotonin

Dr. Dean has studied and written about magnesium for more than 15 years. The latest addition of her book, The Magnesium Miracle, came out in 2014 and in it you can learn about 22 medical areas that magnesium deficiency triggers or causes, all of which have all been scientifically proven. This includes:

Anxiety and panic attacks Asthma Blood clots
Bowel diseases Cystitis Depression
Detoxification Diabetes Fatigue
Heart disease Hypertension Hypoglycemia
Insomnia Kidney disease Liver disease
Migraine Musculoskeletal conditions (fibromyalgia, cramps, chronic back pain, etc.) Nerve problems
Obstetrics and gynecology (PMS, infertility, and preeclampsia) Osteoporosis Raynaud’s syndrome
Tooth decay

Early signs of magnesium deficiency include loss of appetite, headache, nausea, fatigue, and weakness. An ongoing magnesium deficiency can lead to more serious symptoms, including:

Numbness and tingling Muscle contractions and cramps Seizures
Personality changes Abnormal heart rhythms Coronary spasms

The Role of Magnesium in Diabetes, Cancer, and More

Most people do not think about magnesium when they think about how to prevent chronic disease, but it plays an essential role. For instance, there have been several significant studies about magnesium’s role in keeping your metabolism running efficiently—specifically in terms of insulin sensitivity, glucose regulation, and protection from type 2 diabetes.

Higher magnesium intake reduces risk of impaired glucose and insulin metabolism and slows progression from pre-diabetes to diabetes in middle-aged Americans. Researchers stated, “Magnesium intake may be particularly beneficial in offsetting your risk of developing diabetes, if you are high risk.”

Multiple studies have also shown that higher magnesium intake is associated with a higher bone mineral density in both men and women, and research from Norway has even found an association between magnesium in drinking water and a lower risk of hip fractures.

Magnesium may even help lower your risk of cancer, and a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutritionshowed that higher intakes of dietary magnesium were associated with a lower risk of colorectal tumors.

Results from the meta-analysis indicated that for every 100-mg increase in magnesium intake, the risk of colorectal tumor decreased by 13 percent, while the risk of colorectal cancer was lowered by 12 percent. The researchers noted magnesium’s anti-cancer effects may be related to its ability to reduce insulin resistance, which may positively affect the development of tumors.

Surprising Factors That Influence Your Magnesium Levels

Seaweed and green leafy vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard can be excellent sources of magnesium, as are some beans, nuts, and seeds, like pumpkin, sunflower, and sesame seeds. Avocados also contain magnesium. Juicing your vegetables is an excellent option to ensure you’re getting enough of them in your diet.

However, most foods grown today are deficient in magnesium and other minerals, so getting enough isn’t simply a matter of eating magnesium-rich foods (although this is important too). According to Dr. Dean:

“Magnesium is farmed out of the soil much more than calcium… A hundred years ago, we would get maybe 500 milligrams of magnesium in an ordinary diet. Now we’re lucky to get 200 milligrams.”

Herbicides, like glyphosate also act as chelators, effectively blocking the uptake and utilization of minerals in so many foods grown today. As a result, it can be quite difficult to find truly magnesium-rich foods. Cooking and processing further depletes magnesium.

Meanwhile, certain foods can actually influence your body’s absorption of magnesium. If you drink alcohol in excess, for instance, it may interfere with your body’s absorption of vitamin D, which in turn is helpful for magnesium absorption. If you eat a lot of sugar, this can also cause your body to excrete magnesium through your kidneys, “resulting in a net loss,” according to Dr. Danine Fruge, associate medical director at the Pritikin Longevity Center in Florida. The following factors are also associated with lower magnesium levels:

  • Excessive intake of soda or caffeine
  • Menopause
  • Older age (older adults are more likely to be magnesium deficient because absorption decreases with age and the elderly are more likely to take medications that can interfere with absorption)
  • Certain medications, including diuretics, certain antibiotics (such as gentamicin and tobramycin), corticosteroids (prednisone or Deltasone), antacids, and insulin
  • An unhealthy digestive system, which impairs your body’s ability to absorb magnesium (Crohn’s disease, leaky gut, etc.)

Calcium, Vitamin K2, and Vitamin D Must Be Balanced with Magnesium

It may seem like you could remedy the risks of low magnesium simply by taking a supplement, but it’s not quite that simple. When you’re taking magnesium, you need to consider calcium, vitamin D3 and vitamin K2 as well, since these all work synergistically with one another. Excessive amounts of calcium without the counterbalance of magnesium can lead to a heart attack and sudden death, for instance. Research on the Paleolithic or caveman diet has shown that the ratio of calcium to magnesium in the diet that our bodies evolved to eat is 1-to-1. Americans in general tend to have a higher calcium-to-magnesium ratio in their diet, averaging about 3.5-to-1.

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