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Magnesium Deficiency

Magnesium deficiency is one of the leading nutrient deficiencies in adults, with an estimated 80 percent being deficient in this vital.

What is Magnesium?

  • Magnesium, an abundant mineral found in the body, is naturally present in many foods, added to other food products, available as a dietary supplement, and present in some medicines (such as antacids and laxatives).

  • Magnesium is a cofactor in more than 300 enzyme systems that regulate diverse biochemical reactions in the body, including protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control, and blood pressure regulation.

  • Magnesium is required for energy production, oxidative phosphorylation, and glycolysis. It contributes to the structural development of bone and is required for the synthesis of DNA, RNA, and the antioxidant glutathione.

  • Magnesium also plays a role in the active transport of calcium and potassium ions across cell membranes, a process that is important to nerve impulse conduction, muscle contraction, and normal heart rhythm.

Magnesium Deficiency

Magnesium deficiency is one of the leading nutrient deficiencies in adults, with an estimated 80 percent being deficient in this vital.

A magnesium deficiency can cause significant symptoms. Some of the most prominent include:

  • Hypertension and cardiovascular disease

  • Kidney and liver damage

  • Peroxynitrite damage that can lead to migraine headaches, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma or Alzhemier's disease

  • Nutrient deficiencies including vitamin K, vitamin B1, calcium and potassiumrestless leg syndrome

  • Worsened PMS symptoms

  • Behavioral disorders and mood swings

  • Insomnia and trouble sleeping

  • Osteoporosis

  • Recurrent bacterial or fungal infections due to low levels of nitric oxide or a depressed immune system

  • Tooth cavities

  • Muscle weakness and cramps

  • Impotence

Why is magnesium deficiency so common?

  • Soil depletion that lowers the amount of magnesium present in crops; digestive disorders that lead to malabsorption of magnesium and other minerals in the gut;

  • High rates of prescription medication and antibiotic use that damages the digestive tract to the point that magnesium cannot be absorbed and properly utilized from foods.

  • The body loses stores of magnesium every day from normal functions such as muscle movement, heartbeat and hormone production.

  • Stress and anxiety can cause a magnesium deficiency in the body and have negative effects on your body and mind.

  • Certain birth control pills may also reduce the effectiveness of magnesium.

  • Carbonated beverages work against magnesium because they bind the mineral to the digestive tract and flush it out of your system before your body has the opportunity to reap its benefits.

  • Cakes, candies, and pastries should also be avoided to gain the most benefits from magnesium.

  • Sugar is an anti-nutrient in most cases and may actually consume healthy vitamins and minerals before your body can.

Although we only need small amounts of magnesium relative to other nutrients, we must regularly replenish our stores either from foods or magnesium supplements in order to prevent deficiency symptoms.

What are the signs of magnesium deficiency?

Knowing the signs early will allow you to combat any inadequacies by introducing more magnesium-rich foods into your diet or by taking a supplement.

Here are some common symptoms of magnesium deficiency:

§ Respiratory issues

§ Fatigue

§ Calcium deficiency

§ Nausea, dizziness, and fatigue

§ Type 2 diabetes

§ Poor memory functions or confusion

§ Anxiety

§ Muscle cramping

§ Irregular heartbeat

§ Involuntary eye movements or tremors

§ Irritability

§ Loss of appetite

§ Panic attacks

§ Heart disease

§ Bowel disease

§ Blood clots

§ Asthma

Health Benefits of Magnesium


If you are suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or constipation, you would do well to turn your attention to magnesium for help.

Getting the proper amount of magnesium helps negate the acids found within your stomach, thereby allowing digested food to run smoothly through your intestines.

This is a natural way to ease the suffering associated with digestive issues.

Magnesium and Bone Health

The bones are one of the main elements of your body that benefit most from magnesium.

Magnesium regulates the levels of calcium absorbed by your body, along with zinc, copper, and vitamin D.

Not only will these minerals help keep your bones healthy and strong, but they may also prevent or lower the chance of developing osteoporosis later in life.

Helps Treat Asthma

Those suffering from chronic asthma have benefited from using magnesium to treat their symptoms.

This is due to the fact that many who suffer from asthma are shown to have lower levels of magnesium than normal.

The intake of magnesium supplements may regulate breathing, ease wheezing, and relax the bronchial muscles to promote easier breathing.

Protein Molecules and Enzymes

Enzymes, or protein molecules , work inside the body to stimulate chemical reactions.

Contributes to Muscle Building

Magnesium contributes to building muscle.

When it comes to toning and exercise, the body requires plenty of iron, zinc, calcium, chromium, and magnesium to to build muscle.

Research indicates that even minuscule magnesium deficiencies may hinder muscle growth and performance in athletes.

Magnesium also plays a vital role in your body’s energy production, or ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate).

Studies also show that proper magnesium intake for athletes results in increased peak oxygen intake.

Chronic Pain

A 2010 study done by the Journal of Physiology tested a theory that magnesium is found to reduce nerve pain in patients.

N-methyl-D-aspartate, or NMDA, is a brain chemical that triggers nerve pain when overstimulated.

Magnesium will help settle the NMDA and ease chronic pain.

Eases Muscle Pain

Proper magnesium intake is great for easing sore muscles.

Magnesium causes muscles to relax and can, therefore, decrease pain associated with overworked muscles.

Heart disease

A lack of adequate magnesium can lead to heart disease.

A study in the Circulation Journal tested the effectiveness of magnesium supplements on patients with heart disease and found that those who took the supplement twice a day for half a year had better physical stamina and improved blood vessels.

Insulin and Diabetes

Studies show that those suffering from a magnesium deficiency are more at risk of developing diabetes in the future.

On the other hand, those who are meeting the recommended daily intake of magnesium will have much healthier options ahead.

This is because magnesium aids in the activity and release of insulin and will get a better handle on maintaining a healthy blood glucose level.

While magnesium is said to be good for individuals with type-2 diabetes, it is always wise to consult your doctor before adding any supplements into your diet.

Keeps Your Teeth Healthy

Since the bones take in the majority of magnesium’s benefits, it’s no surprise that this mineral is fantastic for your teeth.

Magnesium helps your body better absorb calcium, which leads to strengthened bones and well-formed teeth.


Magnesium is essential for a baby’s growth and a healthy pregnancy.

Proper magnesium intake increases the pain threshold, reduces the risk of bone deficiencies, optimizes blood circulation, and may prevent eclampsia.

Magnesium also contributes to a baby’s nutrition while in-utero, as well as tissue recovery and growth.


Magnesium can operate as a muscle relaxant, making it an ideal mineral for those who suffer from migraines, muscle tension, or tension headaches.

Chronic migraine sufferers often have low levels of magnesium in the body – in fact, this is often one of the prominent symptoms of a magnesium deficiency.

Adding a magnesium supplement into your diet may reduce both the occurrence and severity of future migraines.

Premenstrual Syndrome

Due to the muscle relaxing qualities that magnesium has on the body, many women have been able to ease cramps and pains brought on by premenstrual syndrome, or PMS.

not only will magnesium help combat aching brought on by PMS, some studies even suggest that women can find relief in mood changes brought on by that time of the month.

Collagen Production

Collagen is beneficial for your whole body.

Not only does it keep your hair healthy and shiny, and your skin looking young and supple, it also aids in many other facets of bodily care.

For example, collagen helps balance hormones and benefits joint and bone health, and digestion. Magnesium helps aid the same proteins that turn into collagen.

Contributes to Bladder Control

People of all ages suffer from bladder control issues ranging from the frequent urge to urinate to problems spotting throughout the day.

Magnesium helps fight infections, interstitial cystitis, and nephritis, all of which can contribute to bladder control issues.

10 Foods Rich in Magnesium

1. Bananas – 32 mg per serving

2. Kidney Beans – 70 mg per 1 cup

3. Spinach – 157 mg per 1 cooked cup (Most leafy greens such as Kale or Swiss chard contain high levels of magnesium that are easy to add into your diet.)

4. Oatmeal – 57 mg per 1 cooked cup

5. Mackerel – 82 mg

6. Peas – 48 mg per 1 cup

7. Brown rice–84 mg per serving

8. Avocados – 58 mg per 1 avocado

9. Broccoli – 51 mg in 1/2 a cooked cup

10. Quinoa – 118 mg in 1/2 a cup

Magnesium Supplements

Adding new foods into your diet isn’t always easy or cost-effective.

If you’re struggling to get your recommended daily intake of magnesium, you may want to try taking supplements.

Check with your doctor before adding magnesium supplements into your diet.

By: Dr Sharifa Shahreen - SOL Integrative Doctor

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