How Magnesium Deficiency Could Be Affecting You? All You Need To Know


Magnesium is an essential mineral that plays a crucial role in many bodily functions. However, many people do not get enough magnesium in their diets, putting them at risk for magnesium deficiency.

This article will provide an overview of magnesium deficiency – what it is, what causes it, symptoms to look out for, how to prevent it through diet and supplementation, and frequently asked questions. Getting enough magnesium is important for overall health and well-being. 

What Is Magnesium Deficiency?

Magnesium deficiency, also known as hypomagnesemia, occurs when the body does not have enough magnesium to function properly. Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body and is needed for over 300 biochemical reactions. It helps maintain normal nerve and muscle function, supports a healthy immune system, keeps the heart rhythm steady, and helps bones remain strong.

Magnesium Deficiency

The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for magnesium is 310-420 mg per day for adults depending on age and gender. However, it’s estimated that up to half of all adults do not meet this requirement. When magnesium intake falls below the recommended levels, deficiency can develop over time.

Causes And Symptoms Of Magnesium Deficiency

There are several factors that can cause or contribute to magnesium deficiency:

  • Inadequate dietary intake – Not eating enough magnesium-rich foods on a regular basis can lead to deficiency over time. Foods high in magnesium include green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, whole grains, and some types of seafood. 
  • Malabsorption – Health conditions like celiac disease and Crohn’s disease can impair the body’s ability to absorb magnesium from food.
  • Medications – Some medicines, including diuretics, proton pump inhibitors, and certain antibiotics can deplete magnesium levels. 
  • Age – As we get older, our ability to absorb magnesium decreases. Older adults are at higher risk of deficiency.
  • Alcohol abuse – Chronic heavy drinking can cause magnesium depletion. 

Early signs and symptoms of magnesium deficiency to look out for include:

  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite 
  • Abnormal heart rhythms and coronary spasms
  • Seizures
  • Personality changes and confusion
  • Restless leg syndrome

Without treatment, long-term magnesium deficiency can lead to more serious health issues like high blood pressure, heart disease, osteoporosis, and diabetes. That’s why it’s important to catch it early.

How To Prevent Magnesium Deficiency?

The good news is that magnesium deficiency can often be prevented through diet and supplementation:

  • Eat magnesium-rich foods – Include plenty of leafy greens, beans, nuts, seeds, whole grains, avocados, yogurt, and fatty fish like salmon and mackerel in your diet. 
  • Consider a supplement – If you have trouble getting enough dietary magnesium or have a health condition-causing deficiency, take a magnesium supplement of up to 350 mg per day to help meet your needs. Consult your doctor first.
  • Address underlying conditions – Get tested and treated for any health problems that could be interfering with magnesium absorption or increasing magnesium requirements. 
  • Limit alcohol – Heavy alcohol consumption can deplete magnesium over time. Follow moderation guidelines for your gender and age.
  • Ask about medications – Talk to your doctor about potential magnesium depletion from any medications you take regularly. You may need extra magnesium.
  • Get mineral testing if needed – If you have ongoing symptoms of magnesium deficiency, ask your doctor to test your magnesium blood levels and determine if supplementation or dietary changes are needed.

With proper prevention, magnesium deficiency is avoidable. But left untreated, it can negatively impact your health. Eating a balanced diet, taking supplements if needed, and discussing any concerns with your healthcare provider can help you maintain a healthy magnesium status.


Magnesium is a vital mineral that serves many crucial functions in the body. Magnesium deficiency, characterized by low magnesium levels in the body, can result from inadequate magnesium intake, decreased absorption, or increased bodily requirements for this mineral.

Signs of magnesium deficiency include fatigue, muscle cramps, numbness, abnormal heart rhythms, and mood changes. Thankfully, this condition can often be prevented through adequate magnesium-rich foods in the diet, supplementation when necessary, limiting alcohol intake, and addressing any underlying health issues. Paying attention to your magnesium levels allows you to take steps to avoid deficiency and enjoy good health.


Q: What foods are high in magnesium?

A: Some of the top magnesium-rich foods include dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, beans, whole grains, avocados, bananas, fatty fish, yogurt, and dark chocolate. 

Q: What magnesium supplement is best absorbed?

A: Magnesium glycinate, magnesium citrate, and magnesium chloride tend to be absorbed better than other forms like magnesium oxide. Chelated magnesium is also recommended for good bioavailability.

Q: What are normal magnesium levels? 

A: Normal blood magnesium levels range between 1.7-2.2 mg/dL. A level under 1.7 mg/dL indicates magnesium deficiency. 

Q: Can magnesium deficiency cause anxiety?

A: Yes, magnesium deficiency can increase anxiety symptoms due to its role in regulating the nervous system and neurotransmitters. Getting adequate magnesium can help reduce anxiety levels.

Q: Does magnesium help you sleep?

A: Yes, magnesium plays a role in sleep regulation. It can help initiate sleep and achieve deeper sleep stages. Taking magnesium before bed is often recommended to promote restful sleep.

Dr. Jun Ren is a dedicated and experienced registered dietitian and nutritionist who is committed to helping people achieve their health goals through personalized nutrition plans. With a passion for promoting healthy eating habits and preventing chronic diseases, Dr. Ren has been able to assist numerous clients in improving their overall quality of life.

Leave a Comment