Playing a crucial role in around 300 reactions in the human body, magnesium is a mineral that’s crucial to the body’s overall function. Our nerves and muscles, our bones, and our metabolism need magnesium in certain amounts so they can do their job. So, when levels of magnesium are low, it can cause a range of signs, symptoms, and complications.

According to the National Library of Medicine, research has shown that the mineral content of magnesium in some foods is declining and low magnesium levels and intake have been seen in those with certain chronic conditions [1]. This has increased awareness around how important it is to get the right amount of magnesium as well as the symptoms of low magnesium to keep an eye out for, including:

  • Muscle cramps and/or contractions
  • Abnormal heart rhythms
  • High blood pressure

See also: What are the Benefits of Magnesium?


What are the signs of low magnesium in the body?


Magnesium plays a role in just about every cell in the body, so if we’re not getting the right amount, we can experience a range of different signs and symptoms.

Loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and muscle weakness are all common early signs of magnesium deficiency. If the deficiency isn’t detected in its early stages, it can worsen and cause a whole host of complications, from muscle contractions to high blood pressure.


Muscle cramps and/or contractions


While a muscle cramp or spasm can typically be caused by the overuse of a certain muscle, it can also be caused by low magnesium, potassium, or calcium intake. This mineral depletion can sometimes be a result of diuretics - medication commonly used for high blood pressure.

See also: The Role of Micronutrients in the Immune System


Abnormal heart rhythms


An abnormal heart rhythm, also known as heart arrhythmias, can cause your heart to beat too slow, too fast, or at an irregular rate. When levels of magnesium are too low, it can affect the heart’s electrical impulses and impact the heart’s rhythm.


High blood pressure


Magnesium helps to regulate blood pressure and according to Harvard Health Publishing, consuming magnesium, calcium, and potassium as part of a healthy diet can promote healthy blood pressure [2].


What happens if your magnesium is low?


Although low magnesium levels might not always cause symptoms in the short term, according to Mayo Clinic, in the long-term chronically low levels are often associated with an increased risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and osteoporosis [3].

One of the most reliable ways to know more about your magnesium status is with an at-home lab test.


How do you fix magnesium deficiency?


Magnesium can be found in a wide variety of foods, so when it comes to getting the right amount, one of the best ways is to eat magnesium-rich foods such as leafy greens, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. The recommended daily intake is 300mg for men and 270mg for women [4].

If you have an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) such as Crohn’s, take diuretic medications, or have particular health issues that may prevent sufficient magnesium intake, it’s important to check in with your doctor to see what the best steps are for you. If you do develop a magnesium deficiency, it can be treated effectively with medication - either oral magnesium or intravenous (IV.)

See also: What Foods Are Highest in Magnesium?


If you would like to know more about your vitamin and mineral levels, one of the most reliable ways is by taking a test - this can be done with your doctor or from home with an at-home lab test.

LetsGetChecked’s range of at-home Micronutrient Tests allows you to measure nutrient levels and identify any potential imbalances. The Mineral Test is a simple blood test that identifies levels of minerals that are essential for proper growth and development including magnesium, copper, selenium, and zinc. Online results will be available within 2-5 days and our dedicated clinical team will be available every step of the way to answer any questions you may have throughout the process.

Deficiencies may be more likely to occur as you age if you have medical conditions that impact the absorption of food or as the result of some medications. You should consider taking the test if:

  • You follow a vegetarian or vegan diet
  • You have recently excluded a particular food group from your diet
  • You have a condition that may impact the absorption of minerals
  • You are taking medications that impact the absorption of some minerals

If you are experiencing any symptoms, it’s important to speak with your doctor.


References


  1. National Library of Medicine. Therapeutic uses of magnesium. Online: Pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
  2. Harvard Health Publishing. Key minerals to help control blood pressure. Online: Health.harvard.edu
  3. Mayo Clinic. Magnesium supplements. Online: Mayoclinic.org
  4. NHS. Vitamins and Minerals. Online: NHS.uk