Magnesium Deficiency Symptoms: Are You Magnesium Deficient?

magnesium rich spinach

Magnesium is necessary for strong bones, proper energy metabolism, supporting the immune system, controlling blood-sugar levels, the normal functioning of nerves and muscles, maintaining normal heart rhythm, maintaining normal blood-pressure levels, stabilizing DNA and RNA, and synthesizing proteins in the body.

Without magnesium, your body can’t utilize calcium or potassium properly, or eliminate excess sodium. It is required for over 300 reactions in your body, and low levels of magnesium can cause many uncomfortable, and potentially dangerous, symptoms.

Magnesium Deficiency Symptoms

  • muscle cramps
  • muscle spasms
  • muscle twitches
  • muscle weakness
  • anxiety
  • poor concentration
  • confusion
  • depression
  • irritability
  • constipation
  • cold hands and feet
  • poor memory
  • numbness or tingling of the hands or feet
  • headaches, migraines
  • cravings for carbohydrates, chocolate, salt, and junk food
  • osteoporosis
  • polycystic ovaries
  • restlessness
  • low sex drive
  • low blood levels of calcium and potassium
  • infertility
  • high blood pressure
  • insomnia
  • kidney stones
  • cardiovascular disease
  • diabetes
  • PMS and or painful periods
  • stroke
  • and, at extremely low levels, death
What Causes Low Magnesium Levels

Even if you get plenty of magnesium in your diet, there are many other causes of magnesium deficiencies. There are many prescription medications that either interfere with absorption, or cause you to pass it out of your system too quickly. Digitalis, diuretics (water pills,) antibiotics, steroids, birth-control pills, some anti-cancer medications, and even synthetic estrogen can deplete your magnesium levels and cause symptoms.

In addition, many illnesses are connected to low magnesium levels. Magnesium is absorbed through the intestines, and excreted through the kidneys, so any illness that increases urination or causes diarrhea will reduce absorption or increase excretion, and can also deplete magnesium stored in the bones and tissues. Diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s Disease, and colitis can all reduce magnesium levels; as can radiation treatments, kidney or liver transplants, and pregnancy. Fibromyalgia has also been connected to low magnesium levels, although the mechanism is not yet understood.

Finally, there are many lifestyle/environmental causes for low magnesium levels. Smoking, drinking, and amphetamine use all deplete magnesium, as does drinking more than three servings of coffee or energy drinks per day. A diet high in protein or sugar can cause low magnesium; as can taking calcium, zinc, or iron supplements without also taking magnesium. Last but not least, high stress levels; mercury fillings; or drinking water contaminated with flouride, chlorine, or high levels of calcium will deplete magnesium.

If you choose to take a magnesium supplement, it should be one containing magnesium citrate or magnesium chloride, NOT the magnesium oxide which is found in most supplements. Magnesium oxide is very inexpensive, but it also has a very low bioavailability and is not absorbed well. Now Foods Magnesium Citrate is one of the best magnesium supplements and 250 tablets are available on Amazon for just over $10.


  1. Just wanted to know how much magnesium should one be taking on a daily basis…If you do have trouble absorbing it how do you make it absorb and how much should you be taking in that case? thanks

    • Hi Brady

      The amount of magnesium you need per day is dependent on your age, sex and whether or not you are pregnant. Males over the age of 19 require 350mg per day, females over 11 require 280mg per day and women who are pregnant need 320-355mg per day.

      There are a number of vitamins and nutrients that affect magnesium absorption. For example, higher levels of vitamin D help improve magnesium absorption, but increases in fiber and zinc decrease magnesium absorption.

      All of these elements are essential for maintaining optimal body function, so it;s a case of finding the right balance.

      Thanks for your comment.

  2. can you tell me . Which vagetable haveMagnesium .

  3. I am 31 years old and pregnant with our 5th child. We are having a homebirth and my midwife wants me to take mag-calcium daily. I went to Amazon and purchased Cal-Mag Caps by NOW. As I read this article, I went to read that it is 80% Mag Oxide, 10% Citrate and Malate. Is this okay or maybe could you suggest something better? Thank You! God Bless!

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