34 Signs and Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency

signs of magnesium deficiency

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There are many signs and symptoms of magnesium deficiency. If you think that maybe you are deficient in magnesium, you may be right. You see, magnesium deficiency is more common in our modern world than it used to be 100 years ago, and causes many physical and mental health problems wild wide.

In fact, it is quite possible that you may be deficient in magnesium, or even more than likely that your level of magnesium is suboptimal.

I know that is a bold statement. So let me explain: Per a report in Scientifica Journal, 56-68 % of  Americans do not get enough magnesium from their diets to meet the RDA ( daily recommended allowance), and 42 % of young adults have an ongoing primary magnesium deficiency.

Also, dietary surveys of people in Europe and the United States show that magnesium intake is lower than the recommended amounts and that people consuming western-type diets are low in magnesium.

Research also shows that the dietary intake of magnesium in the united states has been declining for the last 100 years.

Why is this, you may wonder.  Per studies,  low magnesium levels are likely due to the increasing use of fertilizers and increased consumption of processed foods.

And while many people in the US and many industrialized nations are likely deficient, many doctors do not routinely test for magnesium deficiency. When you go for a physical, normally magnesium testing is not routinely ordered.

Moreover, early signs of magnesium deficiency like decreased appetite, are not a signal that would scream low magnesium for many people. 

Magnesium deficiency and chronic illness

The most astonishing thing though is that in fact, every illness known to man is associated with magnesium deficiency.

I know that may sound like stretching it a bit far, but according to a 2017 study in Scientifica, chronic latent magnesium deficiency is an important underlying pathology to many clinical conditions and a contributing factor to many illnesses.

As such it is sad to think that there are many people out there suffering from illnesses that can likely be prevented with simple magnesium supplementation, or eating foods rich in magnesium.

Some of these chronic illnesses may include diseases such as:

signs of magnesium deficiency

Some facts about magnesium

Magnesium is the 8th most abundant mineral on the earth’s crust and is usually tied up with other minerals appearing such as magnesium carbonate. However, the hydrosphere, that is rivers and oceans are the most abundant source of biologically available source of magnesium.

Why is magnesium so important in the health and prevention of chronic diseases?

Magnesium is required for hundreds of biochemical reactions and processes in the body, and chronic deficiency ultimately leads to metabolic dysregulation and various illnesses.

Magnesium is also an essential electrolyte for all living organisms, and the fourth most abundant mineral in the human body, after sodium, calcium, and potassium.

According to a 2017 study in Nutrients magnesium is essential for over 300 enzymatic reactions that regulate many biochemical reactions including DNA and RNA synthesis, muscular contraction, blood pressure regulation, blood sugar control/insulin metabolism, cardiac function, and nerve transmission.

Magnesium is also necessary for the structural function of proteins, nucleic acids, and mitochondria.

It is found in high concentrations in the mitochondria(the energy factory of the cell) where it helps in energy production through the breakdown of fats, carbs, and proteins for energy.

Although subclinical to moderate magnesium levels are asymptomatic, animal studies show that moderate or subclinical magnesium deficiency levels prime phagocytic cells ( these are the cells that fight for your health) for the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines.

And this leads to chronic inflammatory stress and an increased risk of chronic inflammatory disease.

Furthermore, low levels of magnesium have been linked to many chronic and inflammatory diseases such as:

  • asthma
  • Alzheimer’s
  • insulin resistance
  • type 2 diabetes
  • ADHD
  • hypertension
  • cardiovascular disease
  • migraine headaches,
  • and osteoporosis(source).

Studies find that serum or plasma CRP, a marker for inflammation is reduced with magnesium supplementation. Also, other studies have found that dietary magnesium is inversely associated with chronic diseases.


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magnesium and health

Why is magnesium deficiency so common today?

There are several factors that have led to ever-increasing magnesium deficiency, especially in the developed western world. These include the following:

Increasing use of processed food

The practice of refining grain to make processed food removes the germ and bran- the main sources of magnesium in grains such as rice and wheat, leaves them now stripped of nutrients through processing to make white rice and white flour.

And after such processing, only 16% of magnesium and 24% of zinc present in wheat remain.

Yes, the final product may look pretty when cooked but does not do much for nutrition.

Loss of nutrients after harvest

Magnesium levels continue to decline after harvesting through handling, transport, and storage after we bring the produce home.

This means that after we buy those beautiful leafy greens and other magnesium-rich foods and keep them in the fridge for days, they continue to lose nutrients.

And magnesium is further lost during cooking through leaching into the water.

Diet choices

Another cause of magnesium deficiency is eating synthetic foods high in sugar and additives such as phosphorus in sodas, lunch meats, hot dogs, or soy products that contain phytates, and foods containing tannins such as wine, or oxalates.

These substances bind magnesium and making it unavailable to the body. Consumption of caffeine and alcohol leads to magnesium renal wasting, especially in chronic alcoholism.

I know we have to have our coffee, but just don’t reach out for one too many cups. plus these foods do not replenish magnesium or other nutrients.

 Sugar consumption

We know that sugar is bad for us, but we may not realize that there is so much sugar in so many foods. And the sad truth is that it doesn’t matter what form of sugar, sucrose dextrose, or fructose.

To the body sugar is sugar. Too much sugar in the diet can affect magnesium levels.

Magnesium regulates blood sugar and insulin, and when there is too much sugar, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes can happen.

These conditions lead to magnesium excretion by the kidneys.

Also, sugar a very large molecule requires a lot of magnesium to metabolize. t takes 28 molecules of magnesium to metabolize just one molecule of sugar molecule! (source).

Too much calcium

Calcium is added to everything. In milk and in cereals.

People tell you to make sure you have enough calcium for your bones. While calcium is required for healthy bones calcium also requires magnesium for proper absorption. Magnesium and calcium are supposed to exist in a well-controlled ratio.

Studies show that magnesium maintains calcium in the liquid form in the blood.

If the magnesium is deficient then calcium calcifies causing lots of problems such as kidney stones, calcified arteries, gi problems with motility issues, and joint problems.

Drinking-Water Purification

Water can be a good source of magnesium if it came from deep wells or glacial runoff, but most bottled water is from surface water such as rivers which are not such great sources.

Some purification methods such as distilling lead to the complete removal of minerals from drinking water processed by distillation, desalination, and reverse osmosis.

Increasing diabetes both type 1 and 2

Research shows that hypomagnesia is correlated with diabetes incidents, and the incidents of diabetes are ranging from 13.3 to 47.7% in the US.

And the reason for the low levels of magnesium in these cases is due to poor oral intake, decreased gut absorption, chronic renal loss due to autonomic neuropathy, and drugs such as proton pump inhibitors for acid reflux.

People with diabetes are also much more likely to have kidney issues that prevent reabsorption of magnesium and so a lot more magnesium is lost in the urine.

Also, people living with diabetes are likely to be on medications such as hypertensive meds such as Thiazides which also lead to deficiency. Extensive studies have reported a significant correlation between magnesium deficiency and type two diabetes.

Modern farming practices

Practices of cultivation using fertilizers containing nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorous have led to the depletion of soil magnesium because potassium and phosphorous found in these fertilizers are antagonists of magnesium.

And because plants require magnesium to thrive, hybrid crops are bred to withstand such depleted soil conditions and these are not magnesium-rich.

Use of certain medications

Medications such as antidiuretics, some birth control pills aminoglycosides, fluoroquinolones, cyclosporins, amphotericins B, insulin, corticosteroids, and bronchodilator lead to loss of magnesium.

Reduced Gut absorption.

Reduced gastric absorption can be caused by gi issues such as Crohn’s disease, celiac UC, leaky gut, IBS, increased yeast in the gut from excessive sugar, antibiotic treatments, and use of PPIs to treat the ever-present acid reflux, and use of laxatives and small bowels resection all reduce magnesium absorption.

Vitamin D deficiency.

Magnesium is required to turn vitamin D into its active form. Then, in turn, the active form of vitamin D allows increased absorption of magnesium and calcium and normal parathyroid hormone which also regulates magnesium and calcium.

Vitamin D when sufficient can increase calcium and magnesium absorption by up to a whooping 300percent ( source)


Older people have in many cases reduced intake of magnesium-rich foods and are more likely to have reduced absorption due to other health issues.

Aging reduces magnesium absorption by up to 30%.

Hormonal imbalances

Hormones such as parathyroid hormone regulate both calcium and magnesium. If this hormone is unbalanced it will lead to magnesium deficiency. Diabetes, which also leads to magnesium deficiency is caused by an imbalance in insulin and insulin is a hormone.

Increased stress

Stress has no doubt increased in modern-day living. This also contributes to magnesium deficiency and leads to a high need for magnesium. Stress conditions, require more magnesium due to increased nerve activity, and increased muscle movements, which all lead to increased magnesium use.


Unlike calcium, the body does not easily hold on to its magnesium, and magnesium is easily lost through situations such as heavy sweating during exercise. Or the heavy sweating of menopausal women.

This depletes magnesium and compounds other symptoms of menopause such as irritability, weight gain, depression, and increased stress, worsening body aches, that are likely to co-exist in menopause.

There are many causes of magnesium deficiency in the population today and this list is by no means exhaustive. You can find a more comprehensive list of conditions that can lead to magnesium deficiency in this article.

Signs and symptoms of magnesium deficiency

As may be expected, deficiency in magnesium affects nearly every cell, organ, and function and so there are many signs and symptoms of magnesium deficiency



Symptoms of deficiency include the following:

  1. Foggy brain. difficulties concentrating, poor memory,
  2. Muscle spasms, cramps such as twitches, muscle cramps as in leg cramps abdominal cramps as shown in this case study
  3. Palpitations and hypertension
  4. Decreased glucose tolerance and insulin resistance increased the risk of metabolic syndrome.
  5. Vitamin D and bone metabolism disturbances
  6. Low levels of PTH
  7. Fibromyalgia.
  8. High blood pressure, mitral valve prolapse, stroke, pulmonary hypertension
  9. Dental caries, narrow jaw, and crooked teeth in children from mag deficient mothers osteoporosis
  10. Kidney stones
  11. Gut disorders such as constipation
  12. Lack of appetite, bulimia, anorexia
  13. Body odor
  14. Stress, anxiety, restlessness, irritability, agitation, hyperactivity
  15. Headaches
  16. Extreme fatigue, lethargy, weakness, including chronic fatigue syndrome
  17. Backaches
  18. Chest tightness and, CAD, arrhythmias, CHF, decreased heart pump functions
  19. Increased blood triglycerides and cholesterol.
  20. Difficulty breathing, Asthma
  21. Cold in the extremities
  22. Depression -research shows a large correlation between magnesium deficit and major depression in this study
  23. Dysmenorrhea, and pregnancy complications such as pre-eclampsia and eclampsia, PMS
  24. Thyroid disorders
  25. Myopia
  26. Low-stress tolerance
  27. Sleep disturbances
  28. Muscle spasm, cramps, in soles of feet, legs, and facial muscles
  29. Insulin resistance-magnesium deficiency elevates blood sugars and is associated with metabolic syndrome
  30. Urinary spasms
  31. Tetany, excessive muscle contractions
  32. Autoimmune disorders, such as arthritis (Source)
  33. Seizures, tremors
  34. Vertigo

Benefits of magnesium

Considering that magnesium is involved in so many metabolic and cellular reactions in the body, it can only be expected that it has very many benefits. Here are some reasons to elevate your magnesium intake.

Improved sleep

Magnesium may be the missing link between you and restful full energy-restoring sleep. Per this 2011 double-blind study, supplementing with magnesium and melatonin and Zinc improved the sleep of residents in a long-term care facility.

A study published in the Journal of Research in Medical Sciences found that magnesium supplementation improved sleep in elderly patients and this study magnesium improved signs of restless legs syndrome.

But Magnesium is given its role in nerve conduction, neurotransmitter, and neuromuscular function assists in restful sleep for all and not just the elderly.

For instance, just taking a bath using Epsom salt which is magnesium sulfate assists in restful sleep.

Signa and symptoms of magnesium deficiency

Magnesium and energy production

Magnesium is required for the breakdown and utilization of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats to produce energy in ATP the energy unit synthesis.

Without magnesium, no ATP, and no energy. So if your energy is lagging, while there may be other reasons, have a doctor check some labs including magnesium levels.

Magnesium and enzyme activation

As mentioned magnesium is a cofactor in more than 300 enzymatic reactions. That means many bodily reactions cannot happen without magnesium, and therefore when deficient, many functions in the body go wrong.

 Prevent calcification

One very important magnesium function is that it controls how much calcium gets into the cell. Magnesium and calcium exist in a well-controlled ratio. We have magnesium to thank every day our bodies have not turned into stone.

Sometimes we come close when this ration is disturbed. It is the job of magnesium to stand at the gate of the cell and quickly usher some calcium into the cell to do a function such as conducting an impulse for muscle contraction and then calcium is again quickly ushered out.

Another problem with too much calcium in the cell is that it causes calcification in the body, hardening tissues that are supposed to be pliable such as blood vessels. Sometimes this hardening causes kidney stones, especially in the presence of substances such as oxalates.

Kidney stones are no fun so anyone who suffers from them may want to try magnesium supplements, especially when taken with potassium can greatly reduce the formation of calcium oxalate.

Magnesium binds oxalate in the stomach thus reducing the formation of calcium oxalate kidney stones. Per this article in a study that followed 64 patients over three years calcium oxalate stones formation was reduced by a significant 85%.

Muscle contraction and relaxation

Next time you walk or run batt your eyes, wink, eat, or perform any action that requires muscle to contract and relax, thank magnesium.

Magnesium is a calcium antagonist and assists to regulates muscle contraction and relaxation. Without magnesium, the body and the muscles would be in a constant state of contraction causing twitches, tremors, and tetany.

So take a moment to think of how well your body works, then vow to eat some spinach. Seaweed would be better though.

Blood pressure control

Research also finds that magnesium supplementation reduces both systolic and diastolic diabetic hypertension in patients with low magnesium.

And magnesium is vital for the cardiovascular system. It regulates cardiac muscle function, potassium movement in myocardial cells, vasodilation of coronary and peripheral arteries, and helps in the reduction of platelet aggregation (source).

Without optimal magnesium, many cardiac events can occur including arrhythmias and even stroke. And that is why these patients receive magnesium when they present to the hospital with such cardiovascular accidents.

Membrane function

Magnesium regulates ion transports of calcium and potassium across cell membranes and thus regulates muscle contraction, heart rhythm, and nerve impulses.

Pain management

According to a 2011 study investigating the role of magnesium in pain, researchers found that magnesium is important in pain alleviation in cases such as neuropathic pain such as peripheral neuropathy, migraines, PMS, post-herpetic neural pain, and diabetic neuropathy. And so while neuropathic pain can be caused by conditions like diabetes, and vitamin B12 deficiency, it can also be a sign of magnesium deficiency.

Structural role

We hear a whole lot about calcium and strong bones. Guess what? Magnesium is an important component of bone, multiple enzyme complexes, mitochondria, proteins, polyribosomes, and nucleic acids(Source), so maintains its structural composition.

Nutrient- metabolic activation

Synthesis of vitamins such as vitamins B, and D and glutathione also require magnesium.  (Source)

Proteins synthesis

Also, magnesium is involved in DNA and RNA synthesis, the very basics of what makes a living organism. Consider growth and development and reproduction.  Or consider the regeneration of your skin. If you want a youthful look, optimize your magnesium intake.

Ease Migraines

A Cochrane review recommends magnesium as one of the recommended treatments for migraine headaches. and magnesium supplementation was found to ease migraines, their frequency, duration, and intensity with up to 41% per article

Eases depressive symptom

Magnesium has been used to treat depression since 1921 and recovery has even been reported with the use of magnesium glycinate and magnesium tuarinate.

An inverse relationship is seen between magnesium intake and the existence of conditions such as depression and anxiety. This can be explained by the fact that magnesium is a required coenzyme in the reaction that converts tryptophan to serotonin, the mood transmitter, (source)

And so depression and anxiety can manifest as signs and symptoms of magnesium deficiency.

Eases Anxiety

Research published in Neuropharmacology points to a relationship between anxiety and magnesium deficiency.

According to that research, magnesium deficiency causes increased production of hormones that stimulate a stress response. Magnesium deficiency stimulates HPA-the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, for the coordination of stress response from the brain to the adrenals and leads to the production of stress hormones, corticosterone, and epinephrine.

magnesium rich foods


And It is believed that the activation of the HPA by the CRH ( corticosterone stimulating hormone) which is produced in the hypothalamus leads to the production of corticosterone.

This activation is involved in many autonomic, hormonal, and behavioral changes and reactions, and produces anxiety symptoms and stress and reactions.

Magnesium is known to be a major regulator of the HPA.

 Magnesium helps with Healthy Pregnancy

This study reports that mag deficiency can lead to babies who are small for gestational age and leads.

And, magnesium is also required to prevent pre-eclampsia and eclampsia in at-risk mothers in the later stages of pregnancy.

Magnesium is administered IV in these situations and is the drug of choice to abate bad pregnancy outcomes from these conditions.

Energy metabolism

Many reactions are involved in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and protein to produce energy requirements and are dependent on magnesium.

According to this article in Scientifica magnesium is required for the production of the bodies energy molecule ATP, and ATP the bodies energy source for almost all metabolic functions occurs as a complex with magnesium, and a high concentration of magnesium is found in the mitochondria, the energy center of the cell.

Prevents depression

Mental health problems such as depression can be a sign of magnesium deficiency.

Those who suffer from depression know how debilitating it is.

A study in Magnesium Research found that magnesium was as effective as Imipramine an antidepressant medication in treating depression.

And another study published in the PLOS Journal found that supplementing with magnesium chloride led to an improvement in the severity of depression in as little as two weeks.

Magnesium may also assist in smoking cessation

Studies show magnesium is the antagonist of the NMDA receptor, as well as the nicotinic receptor both of which control dopamine release by nicotine, which explains the great feeling of the reward from the nicotine kick. Dopamine is the brain’s reward neurotransmitter.

Reduces PMS

Per this study and this other study and other studies, magnesium decreases PMS and its severity. Another study published in the Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research reported decreased PMS when magnesium and vitamin B6 were used together.

Reduction of inflammation

This study published in the Archives of Medical Research found that magnesium supplementation lowered inflammation markers in patients with low magnesium and prediabetes.

And inversely, magnesium deficiency research found was also a predisposing factor in chronic inflammatory stress and disease.

Magnesium decreases insulin resistance and improvement in blood sugar metabolism

Diabetes affects 45% of the US population, which in turn leads to heart disease, and stroke, and is the leading cause of blindness and kidney disease.

But the good news is that studies have shown that individuals who consume diets rich in magnesium are 10-47% less likely to develop full diabetes.

Yet, only about 50 percent of the population receive the recommended 400mg to 420 mg magnesium recommended for adult men and 300-310 for women, (source).

A 2010 study published in Diabetes Care by the American Diabetes Association found that magnesium lowered blood sugar. After following 4,497 people, only 330 people developed diabetes.

The study also found that people who had enough magnesium developed fewer diabetic complications caused by microvascular abnormalities.

And microvascular abnormalities lead to diabetic complications such as amputations, kidney disease, blindness, and stroke. So preventing diabetes, magnesium also prevents other associated chronic complications such as depression, anxiety, sexual dysfunction, and dementia.

Magnesium lowers serum cholesterol and triglycerides

Studies found that patients treated with 600 mg of magnesium for 12 weeks had a significant reduction in LDL, and total cholesterol and an increase in HDL  cholesterol.

And while magnesium all by itself did not lower cholesterol, as a statin drug does, magnesium improved all aspects of dyslipidemia, raised HDL, and lowered triglycerides.

Magnesium improves heart health

Magnesium improves heart health by preventing atherosclerosis and stroke. The Scientifica Journal reports that magnesium deficiency may affect several steps that can lead to the formation of plaques in the vessels.

This is because low magnesium can lead to calcification and accumulation of connective tissue in blood vessel walls, and accumulation of oxalate in the vessel wall,( these are the same deposits that lead to some types of kidney stones).

Magnesium deficiency can lead to impaired cholesterol transport, impaired lipid exchange between the vessel wall and the blood, and increased triglycerides.

Supplementation with oral magnesium was shown to improve endothelial ( walls of blood vessels) function, (Schwalfenberg, G. K., & Genuis, S. J. (2017).

The same article states that magnesium deficiency is associated with atrial fib and magnesium supplementation was found to reduce atrial fibration and is considered to be a safe and effective treatment in patients undergoing acute atrial fib.

Atrial fib can read to impaired blood flow and cause stroke… Indeed per this article, low magnesium may be the missing key to heart disease prevention. So afib and heart disease and also in some cases a sign of magnesium deficiency.

Magnesium supplementation

So far you can see why you may need more magnesium. And if you are not getting it from your food, which is more than likely, then supplementation is the key.

According to research, magnesium improves mitral valve prolapse and congestive heart failure when supplemented for a year leading to great improvement or recovery.

Magnesium also eases inflammatory conditions and  deficiency is a factor in chronic inflammatory stress and disease

such as fibromyalgia, source

Magnesium and bone health- and prevention of osteoporosis

Magnesium is required to turn vitamin D into its active form, and vitamin D then supports calcium absorption and metabolism. and assists in normal parathyroid hormone function.

Per the study cited here, magnesium supplementation increased bone density and decreased fractures. However too high of magnesium levels can also decrease bone density, so important to be within the normal ranges.

Magnesium helps in neurologic conditions

Through proper nerve conduction, magnesium prevents diseases such as ADHD, study reports. Magnesium levels are usually low in ADHD children and a supplementation study found, reduces attention and hyperactivity.

Also for patients with MS, fatigue is usually greater than those with mg deficiency. Furthermore, magnesium may be an adjunct therapy for improving memory in dementia as the level of deficiency correlated with the level of cognition.

Scientifica Journal, referencing evidence from other studies states there is evidence that several psychiatric conditions including schizophrenia may be associated with metabolic changes involving magnesium metabolism.

Therefore, magnesium is being investigated as an adjunct to some psych problems, and low levels of magnesium along with elevated aluminum are seen in patients with Parkinson’s ( source)

Magnesium and detoxification

Magnesium is required in many detoxification pathways in the body. It is necessary for the neutralization of toxins and neutralizing overly acidic conditions that can arise in the body and glutathione the main body’s antioxidant requires magnesium to function.

Magnesium eases asthmas symptoms

Although the mechanism may not be clear, it does appear that magnesium deficiency makes those susceptible to asthma experience more severe bronchospasms, and some studies have shown improvements in acute symptoms when magnesium sulfate 2 gms is administered intravenously(source).

Magnesium may also be beneficial for certain skin conditions

Skin conditions such as dermatitis, per the double-blind controlled study, using a cream containing magnesium and ceramides were found to be superior to hydrocortisone in the treatment of mild to moderate dermatitis. So if you have some skin issues this is something you may want to check.

Magnesium may also improve phosphate absorption for the patient with chronic renal failure and alleviate vascular calcification. For patients on hemodialysis, low magnesium can be a risk factor for sudden cardiac death (source)

Studies also show that children with dermatitis had lower serum magnesium and zinc. And the problem with that magnesium salts are known to enhance skin hydration and permeability, dermal repair, and facilitate epidermal proliferation and differentiation( making of new skin cells).

Gastric motility and wastes elimination

Well, your stomach and intestines are muscles-smooth muscles that are. They need to contract and relax in the process called peristalsis.

These movements require the actions of magnesium, and the nerves controlling them require magnesium in order to send the signals for movement. So constipation may be due to magnesium deficiency as well. But you do have to eat fiber and drink enough fluids as well to improve waste elimination.

Magnesium prevents migraines and severe headaches.

According to a study published in the Journal of Head and Neck Pain, 1 out of every 7 people is likely to suffer from migraines.

And it’s no wonder given the extensive nutrient deficiency in modern society. Females have an even higher tendency to suffer these migraines, which again may be due to combined triggers such as stress, which leads to more magnesium demand, and the likelihood of magnesium deficiency.

This study showed that magnesium sulfate was more effective and worked even faster in reducing headaches than the usual medications such as dexamethasone and metoclopramide.

Helps  to slow aging

One more thing to consider is that magnesium deficiency may contribute to aging, (source. As already discussed, research is showing that magnesium is involved in very many biochemical and metabolic functions including cell metabolism such as RNA and DNA synthesis and maintaining the mitochondria. So it is only natural that deficiency would affect aging.

Without proper cell production, and a lag in all the other functions, keeping in mind more than 300 biochemical reactions, yes, early aging can occur if magnesium deficiency is chronic.

Good Sources of Magnesium

As outlined above, it is evident that magnesium is vital for the proper functioning of nearly all organs and cells in the body, and is required for many metabolic and cellular functions.

But with declining levels in the soil and our new ways of eating diets that are deficient in micronutrients, it becomes difficult to get enough. Perhaps if one has a plot of land they can grow their own veggies and try that. Failing that, then the next best thing is supplementation.

However, before you decide to include a magnesium supplement, speak with a medical professional to assess your levels and supplementation need.

So, what are the best magnesium supplements?

There are many magnesium combinations such as magnesium citrate, magnesium oxide magnesium taurate, magnesium surface, and magnesium chloride.

Magnesium may also be used topically as magnesium oil spray such as this one. And magnesium spray is also easy to absorb since it bypasses the gut and renal systems which helps avoid magnesium wasting.

It is best to avoid magnesium oxide as it is not easily absorbed. Try instead magnesium glycinate or magnesium citrate.


Please note: Too much magnesium can be toxic, so make sure to talk to your doctor before taking supplements. While hypermagnesemia is rare, it is always better to be safe, with medical advice. However, food sources are safe.


Sources of Magnesium

  • Seaweeds/kelp
  • legumes, such as black beans
  • avocado
  • yogurt, kefir,
  • figs,
  • bananas
  • nuts and seeds, such as pumpkin seeds
  • leafy greens such as spinach, swiss chard, kale. nettle
  • dark chocolate
  • see weed/kelp

How much magnesium? This depends on age and sex.

The following are the current recommended daily allowances.

Table 1: Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) for Magnesium [1]
Age Male Female Pregnancy Lactation
Birth to 6 months 30 mg* 30 mg*
7–12 months 75 mg* 75 mg*
1–3 years 80 mg 80 mg
4–8 years 130 mg 130 mg
9–13 years 240 mg 240 mg
14–18 years 410 mg 360 mg 400 mg 360 mg
19–30 years 400 mg 310 mg 350 mg 310 mg
31–50 years 420 mg 320 mg 360 mg 320 mg
51+ years 420 mg 320 mg

Source: National Institute of Health; Office of dietary supplements.

Chlorophyll, and thus green vegetables such as spinach are the major source, nuts seeds, and unprocessed cereal, legumes are also rich, water about 10 %, fish, fruit, low content of mag in diary except in milk

[click_to_tweet tweet=” Per the 2005-2006 NHANES united states study, about half of all adults in the united states” quote=” Per the 2005-2006 NHANES united states study, about half of all adults in the united states”] have inadequate magnesium intake. Studies also have shown that chronic magnesium deficiency is associated with increased risks of atherosclerosis, hypertension, arrhythmias, stroke changes in lipid metabolism insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, depression, and many neuropsychiatric disorders.

Furthermore, research shows that magnesium deficiency may be a link that can explain interactions between inflammation and oxidative stress, with the aging process and many age-related diseases. So you want to age gracefully, I say leverage your magnesium levels, and eat that spinach.

Magnesium supplementation

So far you can see why you may need more magnesium. And if you are not getting it from your food, which is more than likely, then supplementation is the key.

According to research, magnesium improves mitral valve prolapse and congestive heart failure when supplemented for a year leading to great improvement or recovery.

Magnesium also eases inflammatory conditions and  deficiency is a factor in chronic inflammatory stress and disease

such as fibromyalgia, source


Related article: Natural ways to heal inflammation for better and vibrant health

The question remains. Are eating foods that are magnesium-rich? Are you optimizing your magnesium intake? If you have a chronic illness or are under a lot of stress, have your magnesium levels checked by your doctor.

Here are Some magnesium products I love

To further educate yourself in regard to magnesium and its functions, and deficiency outcomes, this book is a great resource,


Gröber, U., Werner, T., Vormann, J., & Kisters, K. (2017). Myth or Reality—Transdermal Magnesium? Nutrients, 9(8), 813. http://doi.org/10.3390/nu9080813

Eby GA, Eby KL, Murk H. Magnesium, and major depression. In: Vink R, Nechifor M, editors. Magnesium in the Central Nervous System [Internet]. Adelaide (AU): University of Adelaide Press; 2011.Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK507265/Dietary Magnesium and Chronic Disease

Nielsen, Forrest H. Advances in Chronic Kidney Disease, Volume 25, Issue 3, 230 – 235
Bilbey, D. L., & Prabhakaran, V. M. (1996). Muscle cramps and magnesium deficiency: case reports. Canadian Family Physician, 42, 1348–1351.
pain management: Na HS, Ryu JH, Do SH. The role of magnesium in pain. In: Vink R, Nechifor M, editors. Magnesium in the Central Nervous System [Internet]. Adelaide (AU): University of Adelaide Press; 2011. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK507245/
Fathizadeh, N., Ebrahimi, E., Valiani, M., Tavakoli, N., & Yar, M. H. (2010). Evaluating the effect of magnesium and magnesium plus vitamin B6 supplement on the severity of premenstrual syndrome. Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research, 15(Suppl1), 401–405.
Takaya, J., & Kaneko, K. (2011). Small for Gestational Age and Magnesium in Cord Blood Platelets: Intrauterine Magnesium Deficiency May Induce Metabolic Syndrome in Later Life. Journal of Pregnancy, 2011, 270474. http://doi.org/10.1155/2011/270474
Schwalfenberg, G. K., & Genuis, S. J. (2017). The Importance of Magnesium in Clinical Healthcare. Scientifica, 2017, 4179326. http://doi.org/10.1155/2017/4179326
Killilea, D. W., & Maier, J. A. M. (2008). A connection between magnesium deficiency and aging: new insights from cellular studies. Magnesium Research : Official Organ of the International Society for the Development of Research on Magnesium, 21(2), 77–82.

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    1. Hi Vox! Yes, Magnesia is especially important and many people these days are especially at risk of deficiency. I appreciate your reading and I am glad you found the info useful.It’s a great idea to optimize your family’s nutrition and especially the micronutrients like magnesium.

    1. Debrah,
      Thank you so much! That means a lot to me. I am glad you found value in this post. My aim as always is to inform and educate and your comment gives me insight. Again, thank you!

    1. Mary thank you so much for sharing that. I too have found that taking magnesium helps me sleep better. I was amazed by researching this article about the many benefits of magnesium especially knowing that magnesium can help so much with some chronic conditions like restless legs. Thank you for reading and sharing your experience with magnesium

  1. Thank you so much for this! I take magnesium supplement every night with calcium to replenish this electrolyte for the ketogenic diet and it helps me sleep. Thank you for laying out the importance of supplementing!

    1. Marnie, thank you for letting me know how well this type of diet and including electrolytes is working for you. Thank you for supporting with your results this research based fact that magnesium is needed for health.

  2. This was very useful and comprehensive. Taking magnesium supplements is making a huge difference to my mood and sleeping patterns. On top of that I make sure to eat cocoa and bananas every day. Just to be sure. 🙂

    1. Hi Cristina! yes, you do your body a great favor by making sure you intentionally increase magnesium. And it is so good just to enjoy that calm no jugged nerves and good sleep to boot. So yes a great idea to have those foods.

    1. Hi Sarah! Yes many people may not be aware how much magnesia really does to contribute to their wellness or otherwise. So yes i would definitely encourage an intentional incorporation in the diet.

  3. What a useful post! I had no idea how important magnesium is to your general health. As someone who suffers from depression and anxiety, I had no idea there was a link. I regularly need vitamin D top ups so thinking I should get my magnesium levels checked too! Thanks!

    1. Hi Emma! Yes, I definitely would recommend you have your doctor check your levels. Many people are deficient of vitamin D especially and the link with magnesium can make it worse as they work together.

    1. Heather< thanks for reading and letting me know you found this post useful. Yes, we all need to really be mindful of our nutritional needs. Our food and nutrients are medicine, they can prevent a host of chronic illnesses

    1. Hi Maria! Sometimes life gets in the way and we sometimes forget to do things that are good for us. Supplements can be very helpful as we don’t always meet nutritional needs through food.

    1. Kripa! Thank you for reading! And I am glad you two are taking a step in the right direction in health. Yea, it turns out Magnesium is the forgotten mineral that holds the key to many things that ails us. I am glad you found this article and yes, it is good to see research-backed evidence of something.

  4. I think this is the most complete and extensive article i have read about magnesium so far. About the lack of appetite, not much is written about it. I assumed it was the lack of iron, as well as the depressed thoughts. In dutch articles is rarely written about these things. Especially the mental suffering. It really seems as if the information flow is being controlled. Most of what I learn comes from American websites.
    My doctor keep telling me there is nothing wrong, while I suffer from a lot of these problems. Have Hashimoto’s as well. Probably a leaky gut, but that is not acknowledged. The Hashimoto would rather not either.

    I did increased my magnesium intake, but I am not sure whether it is of added value to take different forms of magnesium. I have read that some forms are more useful for the muscles, for example, or for the heart or night rest. Try to learn about that some more so i can optimize my intake and take the best care of my body.

    Thank you for your time and energy you have put in this article.(website) 🙏🏼

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