Magnesium Deficiency (Hypomagnesemia): Causes, Symptoms, Effects, and Treatment

Nowadays, some people practice a healthy lifestyle to ensure their body is in good shape. After all, having a healthy and fit body can significantly improve your overall wellbeing and outlook in life. For some individuals, eating a healthy diet and performing some form of physical activity is enough to keep their bodies in excellent condition. However, there may be instances when these practices aren’t enough to prevent any health complications from happening.



Some health problems may happen due to the habits you perform. For instance, if you avoid eating some foods or have pre-existing medical conditions, you may risk developing a nutrient deficiency. One common condition you should watch out for is magnesium deficiency. This condition may not seem like a severe complication, especially if you don’t feel any symptoms. However, ignoring the signs of this illness may lead to more severe problems in the long run.

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Importance Of Magnesium 

Magnesium is a naturally occurring chemical in your body. It’s primarily found in your bones, muscles, and blood. It plays a crucial role in various functions like energy conversion, neurotransmitter regulation, and muscle movement.

This nutrient is also responsible for some essential functions in your body, like regulating your heartbeat. Magnesium and calcium are primarily responsible for contracting and relaxing the movements of your heart. A balanced amount of these two nutrients in your system will help keep your heartbeat healthy.

Additionally, magnesium may also help people with type 2 diabetes manage their condition. The nutrient helps regulate the insulin and blood sugar levels in the body. Although magnesium is found in various foods like avocados, pumpkin seeds, and spinach, it’s not uncommon for some individuals to experience a deficiency. Here’s some information on magnesium deficiency to help you learn its causes, symptoms, and treatments.

What Causes Magnesium Deficiency?

Hypomagnesemia or magnesium deficiency is an electrolyte disturbance that can cause various problems in your body. It usually occurs when your magnesium levels are below the recommended allowance. According to the National Institutes of Health, the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for males aged 18 and above is between 410 to 420 milligrams (mg). On the other hand, a woman between 14 to 18 years old should consume at least 360 mg. The RDA of magnesium for women slightly decreases during their early twenties to thirties. They only need 310 mg to keep their body in good condition.

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Various reasons can cause low magnesium in the body. Your lifestyle, pre-existing health conditions, or medications can affect the amount of magnesium in your system. Here are some possible causes of nutrient deficiency:

  • Diet: Your primary source of magnesium is the products you eat. For example, consuming some of the best magnesium foods like nuts and greens will be enough to ensure your body won’t lack any essential nutrients. However, if you practice poor eating habits or don’t consume enough foods daily, you may risk developing a deficiency. Eating processed or packed food instead of fresh produce may also make it challenging for you to get your recommended magnesium allowance.
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases: Some illnesses, especially ones affecting your gastrointestinal system, may contribute to the levels of magnesium in your body. For instance, health complications like Celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, and chronic diarrhea may make it difficult for the body to absorb and utilize magnesium. This can be due to the excretion of essential nutrients through frequent urination or bowel movement.
  • Kidney Problems: If you’ve been experiencing kidney problems, you may be at risk of developing hypomagnesemia. Your kidneys help filter waste in your system and regulate various nutrients like potassium, magnesium, and calcium. If it’s not working well, the healthy substances that pass through the organ may end up getting excreted. The magnesium content of the products you consume may not be fully absorbed and lead to a deficiency.
  • Medications and Diuretics: Some drugs or products that cause your body to excrete more fluids may affect the amount of magnesium you have in your system. Your body won’t have enough time to process the nutrients you’re taking and it can lead to inadequate absorption if you urinate or have bowel movements

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Symptoms Of Low Magnesium Levels

It can be challenging to determine whether the symptoms you’re experiencing are due to the lack of magnesium in your body. However, if you think you’re prone to developing this condition, it’s helpful to watch out for the following symptoms:

  • Fatigue and Muscle Weakness: One of magnesium’s most essential functions in your body is muscle control and regulation. If you lack this nutrient, your muscle tissues may not function correctly and cause you to experience some weakness or fatigue. You may find it challenging to perform strenuous movements and also suffer from spasms or muscle cramps.
  • Nausea and Vomiting: If your body lacks magnesium, you may feel nauseous often and cause you to vomit or feel queasy. Hypomagnesemia may impact your daily life and make you feel uncomfortable every time you move or perform everyday activities. However, experiencing nausea and vomiting often may also be caused by other health complications. Thus, it’s best to consult a doctor to determine the root of your illness.
  • Numbness or Tingling: The minerals and nutrients in your system play a vital role in maintaining various reactions and processes in your body. For instance, magnesium aids more than 300 biochemical reactions, including ones happening in your nervous system. If you lack this nutrient, you can show symptoms related to your nerve functions. For example, numbness or tingling may occur in your hands, feet, or face if the signals sent by your brain to the different parts of your body are interrupted. It can be alarming to experience this symptom, especially if you don’t feel other complications. Hence, it’s crucial to visit your doctor to determine the cause of your condition.
  • Mental Health Problems: Some studies on mental health and its correlation to magnesium intake suggest that the lack of the nutrient may cause various illnesses like depression or anxiety. In addition, external factors that contribute to your mental health, like stress, may cause your magnesium levels to decline. This cycle can affect your mental wellbeing and also indicate a severe complication in your body.

Effects Of Magnesium Deficiency 

Besides experiencing various symptoms that affect your daily life, magnesium deficiency may also lead to more serious and long-term complications such as:

  • Increased risk of developing heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Migraine and headaches
  • Diabetes
  • Persistence of symptoms like numbness, nausea, and mental health complications

Although these illnesses can also be caused by other factors unrelated to magnesium deficiency, it’s helpful to consider it once you consult a physician to ensure you’ll find the correct diagnosis and treatment for your condition.

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How To Treat Magnesium Deficiency? 

There are several accessible remedies you can try to treat your hypomagnesemia. You can consult your physician to ensure the practices you’ll incorporate into your lifestyle will help ease your condition. For instance, you can try the following to increase your magnesium levels:

  • Eat A Diet Rich in Magnesium: One of the easiest ways to replenish your magnesium levels is by eating healthy products rich in vitamins and minerals. Foods like nuts, yogurt, beans, potatoes, and fish have high magnesium content, so incorporating them into your diet will help keep your physique healthy.
  • Take Medication or Dietary Supplements: It can be challenging to meet your daily recommended allowance of magnesium through your meals alone. If your lifestyle is physically demanding or you have certain food restrictions, your diet may not be enough to keep your magnesium levels within the normal range. Fortunately, you can take supplements to supply your body with the vital nutrients it needs to function properly. For instance, you can take magnesium citrate or magnesium chloride in tablet or IV form. Just be cautious with your daily intake since excessive magnesium intake may cause diarrhea or nausea.
  • Practice A Healthy Lifestyle: One of the most effective and easiest ways to keep your physique in excellent condition is by practicing a healthy lifestyle. The habits you perform daily can contribute to your body’s functions, so it’s best to prioritize healthy activities that won’t put your body’s condition at risk. For instance, you can try to avoid drinking alcoholic beverages to ensure your kidneys work properly. Additionally, you can try to be more active to help minimize some symptoms that low magnesium levels may cause.

Final Thoughts 

There are various factors you should think about if you wish to keep your body in good shape. Your diet and lifestyle may contribute to how your body functions. Additionally, the amount of vitamins and minerals you consume may also affect your overall health.

If you lack magnesium, you may experience various symptoms that impact your overall wellbeing. Hence, you should ensure your body gets the nutrients it needs to prevent any health complications from developing. If you’ve been experiencing signs like muscle weakness or numbness in certain parts of your body, it’s best to consult an expert and receive treatment to ensure you won’t suffer from any long-term effects of nutrient deficiency.

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