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How to Spot the Signs of Low Magnesium

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Did you know that over half of the United States population does not take in enough magnesium?

Magnesium is a mineral essential to life. It allows your heart to beat, your brain to function, and your body to digest and break down food.

Magnesium is a very important mineral for the human body, but unfortunately, many people are deficient in it. Low magnesium can cause a variety of symptoms and health problems, so it’s important to be aware of the signs. This blog post will explore the many signs of low magnesium and how to treat and prevent it.

There are several signs that may be indicative of magnesium deficiency. One of the most common is muscle cramping, which can range from mild to severe. Other potential signs include fatigue, headache, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, muscle cramps, anxiety, irritability, difficulty sleeping, and headaches. In some cases, magnesium deficiency can also lead to more serious problems such as seizures or irregular heartbeat. It can also increase your risk of depression, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.

Conditions that can deplete magnesium.

Certain conditions can increase the loss of magnesium from your body. They include diarrhea which causes your body to lose electrolytes and minerals. Excessive intake of alcohol (more than 2 drinks per day for women, and more than 3 drinks per day for men) can also deplete magnesium from your body. Increased urination seen in uncontrolled diabetes also causes loss of magnesium from the body. In some cases, people with celiac disease and inflammatory bowel disease are unable to absorb magnesium, and so have low magnesium. Lastly, some medications can also cause you to lose magnesium, and they include diuretics (water pills), proton pump inhibitors such as Nexium and Prilosec, some antibiotics and cancer medications.

Other Potential Causes of These Signs.

It’s important to note that these signs can also be caused by other factors unrelated to magnesium deficiency. For example, muscle cramps can also be caused by dehydration or electrolyte imbalances. As such, it’s important to see a doctor if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms in order to rule out other potential causes.

When to See a Doctor.

If you think you might have a magnesium deficiency, it’s important to see your doctor. While some signs of low magnesium levels can be benign, others may be indicative of a more serious underlying condition. Your doctor can order tests to determine whether you have a magnesium deficiency and develop a treatment plan accordingly.

There are certain circumstances when you should seek medical attention right away if you think you might have a magnesium deficiency. If you experience any of the following symptoms, go to the emergency room or call 911:

• Difficulty breathing

• Swelling of the face, tongue, or throat

• Hives

• Low blood pressure

• Fast heart rate

What to Expect During the Appointment.

When you see your doctor about possible magnesium deficiency, they will likely ask about your medical history and current symptoms. Be prepared to answer questions such as:

• When did you first begin experiencing symptoms?

• Do your symptoms come and go, or are they constant?

• What, if anything, seems to improve your symptoms?

• What, if anything, makes your symptoms worse?

In addition to questions about your health history and current symptoms, your doctor may also perform a physical exam. This will help them rule out other potential causes of your symptoms. Your doctor may also order blood tests to check for low magnesium levels as well as tests to look for other possible causes of your symptoms.

How can you manage magnesium deficiency?

The first step in treating magnesium deficiency is to make sure you are consuming enough of the mineral in your diet. This can be done by eating magnesium-rich foods, such as dark leafy greens, nuts and seeds, fish, beans, whole grains, tofu and avocados. Second, try to limit your intake of processed foods, as they often contain less magnesium than whole foods. Finally, if you take medication that can cause magnesium deficiency (such as certain diuretics), talk to your doctor about ways to prevent or minimize this side effect.


If you are not getting enough magnesium from your diet, you may need to take a supplement. Magnesium supplements come in many forms, such as capsules, tablets, powders, and liquids. There are so many magnesium supplements out there. So which one is good?

My top picks are magnesium citrate, magnesium chloride and chelated forms of magnesium because they are better absorbed and less likely to cause diarrhea. Talk to your doctor about the best way to supplement your diet with magnesium. Talk to your doctor about which type of supplement is right for you.


In some cases, magnesium deficiency can be treated with medication. If you have a severe magnesium deficiency, your doctor may prescribe intravenous (IV) magnesium sulfate. IV magnesium sulfate is a very effective treatment for severe deficiency, but it can have side effects including low blood pressure and irregular heartbeat.

Take Home Message

Magnesium deficiency can cause a variety of health problems, but fortunately, it is usually easily treated. If you think you might be deficient in magnesium, see your doctor for a blood test. Magnesium supplements or changes in diet may be all that is needed to correct the problem.