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April 25, 2023
11 Signs You May Have a Magnesium Deficiency (Plus How to Correct It)
Did you know there’s a 50% chance that you’re deficient in magnesium (1)?
Our soil and our daily diets have seen a decrease in magnesium levels over the last few decades, so perhaps it’s no surprise that a whopping 56 to 68% of Americans aren’t getting enough magnesium (2).
Magnesium is a mineral that’s involved in hundreds of reactions in the body. From converting food to energy to repairing DNA to regulating muscle movements, every cell relies on magnesium to function (3, 4).
A deficiency can arise from a diet low in magnesium, or from a condition like diabetes or indigestion that disrupts the absorption of magnesium (5). In this article, we’ll cover the five symptoms of magnesium deficiency, how to correct it, and the optimal dosage to take.
11 Warning Signs of Magnesium Deficiency
It’s important to be aware of the symptoms that may signal a magnesium deficiency. Read on to see if any of these sound familiar…
1. Difficulty Getting Through Workouts
Exercise is always a bit of a challenge, but that challenge should be at a level that feels healthy and rewarding. If you’re suddenly exhausted halfway through a workout routine that you used to love, you might need more magnesium (6).
2. Muscle Weakness
If your muscles feel unusually weak or tired, a lack of magnesium could be causing a decrease of potassium in your muscle cells (7). Because magnesium is so heavily linked to your muscle function, muscles are often one of the first parts of the body where you’ll notice deficiency symptoms.
3. Muscle Cramps
Muscle cramping and even twitching are telltale signs that you could be short on magnesium. If your deficiency is severe, you may even have a seizure (8). For most people, though, these symptoms will feel more like calf cramps when walking or a sudden twitch that you didn’t expect.
This is believed to have to do with the fact that magnesium deficiency increases the flow of calcium in your nerve cells (9).
4. Bone Density Loss or Osteoporosis
About 60% of the magnesium in your body is stored in your bones, so it’s no surprise that it’s an integral part of your bone health. Magnesium deficiency can lead to something called hypocalcemia, a condition in which you have too little calcium in your blood (10). Not getting enough magnesium is also a risk factor for osteoporosis, meaning that a deficiency could reduce your bone mass (11, 12, 13, 14).
5. High Blood Pressure
Magnesium deficiency may raise your blood pressure (15, 16). High blood pressure can put you at risk for heart disease, stroke, kidney problems, and other major health issues. It’s known as a silent killer, and it rarely has symptoms. So make sure you’re checking your blood pressure regularly. Fortunately, research has found magnesium supplements may help adults with high blood pressure lower their numbers (17).
6. Inflammatory Issues
Magnesium deficiency has been linked to higher levels of inflammation in the body, and studies have found that some people with chronic inflammation saw a reduction when they started taking magnesium supplements (18, 19). Without enough magnesium, you may be more likely to experience inflammation-related illnesses.
One example is asthma, which is an inflammatory illness. People with asthma tend to have lower levels of magnesium than people who don’t, and people with severe asthma are sometimes found to have a magnesium deficiency (20, 21).
7. Trouble Sleeping
If you’re physically and mentally exhausted, you might have a magnesium deficiency. This could manifest as sleepiness or your body yearning for a day on the couch. Magnesium is an effective supplement for sleep (22). Here’s why…
Magnesium regulates your body’s circadian rhythm, which is central to your sleep-wake cycle (23). It relaxes your muscles and regulates many of your sleep-centered neurotransmitters like GABA. All of this becomes even more important as you age—because the older you get, the harder it is to snooze peacefully through the night (24, 25).
This is why we put 10 milligrams of magnesium in our Collagen PM Powder. So you can rest easy—all while giving your body, brain, and muscles what they need to repair through the night.
8. Feeling Depressed
A magnesium deficiency could increase your risk of depression, feelings of numbness, and mental health issues.
Magnesium is like a balm for your mood. Studies have found that it can help you respond better to stress and may even soothe symptoms of depression, particularly in women who have gone through menopause (26, 27). So if you find yourself feeling down out of the blue, magnesium just might be the reason.
9. Feeling Anxious
Early research points to a possibility that magnesium deficiency could increase the risk of anxiety, but more studies need to be conducted to know for sure (28). What we do know is that many people take magnesium to feel calm, and that low magnesium levels may raise the risk of certain mental health conditions (29).
10. Increased Migraines
If you suffer from migraines, magnesium deficiency may cause you to have them more often. Some experts believe migraine sufferers are generally more magnesium deficient than others (30). In fact, many migraine sufferers take magnesium supplements specifically to help decrease their migraines’ frequency and intensity (31).
11. Loss of Appetite
When your magnesium levels are too low, you might not be very interested in eating. You may feel too tired to bother with food or have a hard time getting enough calories to feel energized and healthy. This is especially common in cases of severe deficiency (32).
How to Correct a Magnesium Deficiency
Rebuilding your magnesium levels is easy: just add a magnesium supplement to your daily routine.
Each serving of Native Balance (launching Wednesday, May 17th!) includes 300 milligrams of magnesium in a formula that’s designed for maximum absorption and gentleness on the stomach. The formula also includes 100 milligrams of ashwagandha, an herb known for its stress-relieving properties.
The Magnesium Dose
How much magnesium you need each day (from your diet, supplements, or both) depends on your age, gender, and whether you’re currently pregnant or nursing (32).
Daily Magnesium Dose for Ages 19-30: 400 mg for men, 310 mg for women, 350 mg for pregnant women, and 310 mg for nursing women.
Daily Magnesium Dose for Ages 31-50: 420 mg for men, 320 mg for women, 360 mg for pregnancy, and 320 mg for nursing women.
Daily Magnesium Dose for Ages 51 and up: 420 mg for men and 320 mg for women.
If you have any concerns about taking magnesium, talk to your healthcare provider before choosing a dose.
The Bottom Line
Magnesium is integral to hundreds of your body’s daily functions. Without it, you may experience depression, anxiety, trouble sleeping, bone density loss, muscle weakness, high blood pressure, and many other symptoms. The good news is that it’s easy to treat. Take a daily magnesium supplement like Native Balance to get your magnesium levels back on track.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take to correct a magnesium deficiency?
When you start taking a magnesium supplement, you may start to notice improvements in symptoms in as little as a few days. However, if you’re extremely deficient when you start taking a supplement, it could take as long as six months for your body to fully replenish its magnesium levels.
As a writer, editor, and wellness seeker, Claire has written for Self, Health, Prevention, CNN, Mic, Livestrong, and Greatist, just to name a few. When she's not writing, she specializes in traveling, getting lost in health-related research rabbit holes, and finding new ways to spoil her cat.
This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Dr. Chad Walding nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement, or lifestyle program.