Magnesium is the second most abundant mineral micronutrient present in our cell and intracellular fluids and the fourth most abundant in our body as a whole.
Most people don’t realize that magnesium is, directly and indirectly, engaged in hundreds of biochemical reactions in our body cells. When these reactions are hindered-either because you’ve lost a substantial amount of magnesium from your diet or from other causes-your body’s ability to process carbohydrates, protein, and fat is often compromised, which can lead to serious metabolic deficiencies or other health problems. Read on for in-depth information on the causes and symptoms of Magnesium deficiency along with 11 warning signs of a magnesium deficiency,
The signs of Magnesium deficiency can be difficult to detect because they can vary from person to person. Some people may experience symptoms while others may not show any symptoms at all.
Lack of Magnesium or hypomagnesemia can lead to a variety of health disorders. So why isn’t magnesium deficiency more well-known? And what can you do to get enough magnesium from foods? To find out about how to ensure getting sufficient magnesium by looking out for these 11 signs of Magnesium deficiency.
1. Fatigue and weakness
Magnesium is involved in energy production and the generation of ATP( Adenosine Triphosphate) in Mitochondria. synthesis of ATP is done by an enzyme8 known as ATP synthase, Mg plays a pivotal role as a coenzyme to form a transition state complex of Mg+ ATP synthase, and facilitates the formation of ATP from ADP and inorganic Phosphate. ATP is known as the energy currency of a cell, as it powers almost all biochemical metabolic activities. Deficiency in magnesium impacts the production of ATP in the cell and body as a whole, hence a deficiency can lead to fatigue and weakness. (1)
2. Muscle cramps and spasms
Magnesium (Mg2+ cation) plays a crucial role in muscle contraction and relaxation through its role in maintaining homeostasis in cells and intracellular fluids. Mg2+ maintains flows of Ca2+ in and out of the cell as well as maintains pH. For the contraction and relaxation of muscle, Calcium plays a direct role, as the influx of Ca2+ increases in the muscle cell during contraction, and its binds with troponin in actin filaments of muscle fiber bringing structural changes in the filament which causes contraction. Meanwhile, after muscle contraction, the Ca2+ needs to be removed from muscle cells. Mg2+ as a competitor of Ca2+ for membrane-bound transporting Channels/ proteins helps in the removal of Calcium from the muscle cell. In the absence of Magnesium, Ca2+ removal gets slowed down which hampers muscle relaxation after every contraction, which is the primary cause of muscle cramps and spasms. Various studies have confirmed that in the presence of Magnesium, the transport of Ca2+ increases by 1.6 times. So a deficiency of Magnesium is associated with muscle cramps and spasms, hence Magnesium helps to relax muscles. (2)
3. Abnormal heart rhythms and cardiovascular problems
Magnesium helps in maintaining the normal functioning of the heart. A lack of magnesium can cause abnormal heart rhythms. Evidence is pointing out that lack of magnesium is a significant factor in the endurance of Congestive Heart Failure. In lab tests, magnesium has been demonstrated to be engaged in a few stages of the atherosclerotic cycle and, Mg2+ assumes a critical part in CHF and different cardiovascular arrhythmias.
persistent cardiovascular sicknesses, including hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and hyperlipidemia. Intravenous magnesium has been utilized remedially in basic circumstances. (2)
4. High blood pressure
Magnesium helps to regulate blood pressure, so a deficiency can lead to high blood pressure.
studies have shown an inverse correlation between magnesium levels and blood pressure. Dietary Magnesium intake of 500 mg/d to 700mg/d has been shown to reduce blood pressure (BP) by as much as 5.6/2.8 mm in adults. More importantly, Magnesium’s role in relaxing blood vessels and muscles is considered a factor to contributing lowering blood pressure as well as its role in maintaining ionic intracellular homeostasis.
5. Decreases glucose metabolism and increases the risk of type 2 diabetes
Magnesium deficiency (hypomagnesemia) have observed with a high risk for diabetes complications and shows a faster disease progression. Clinical studies demonstrate that Type 2Diabetes Mellitus patients with hypomagnesemia have lower pancreatic β-cell functioning and have high insulin-resistant properties. Mg2+plays a direct role in the development of insulin resistance as insulin receptor proteins are dependent on the concentration of Mg.2+ Insulin helps in the homeostasis of Mg. and again Magnesium controls its effectivity, so both magnesium deficiency and type2 Diabetes are interlinked in a vicious cycle of interdependence, either of its deficiency can cause the other and so on.
6. Kidney stones
Homeostasis of Magnesium level as well its reabsorption is done by the kidney. Magnesium reabsorption and amount of Mg excreted through urines depend on the health of the kidney and its function, Lower level of dietary and serum Mg induces imbalances in Calcium assimilation in the kidney and hinders its reabsorption as well excretion, which results in deposition of calcium in the form of stones in the kidney. Further, it has been evident through numerous studies that the concentration of serum Mg is inversely proportional to the prevalence of kidney stones. (3)
7. Bone density depletion and Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis (bone becoming less dense in minerals, becoming weak and brittle ) is a major health concern of old age people and is more prevalent in elderly women. Much systematic research has indicated that higher dietary Mg intake has been demonstrated by higher Bone mineral density. Mg deficiency/ hypomagnesemia infers low bone density and osteoporosis.
Mg deficiency is associated with higher concentrations of para Thyroid Hormone and deoxypyridinoline, both collectively resulting in a systemic reduction in bone mineral density and more specifically bone loss. It occurs more frequently in women with old age, after menopause. (4)
8. Anxiety and irritability
Anxiety and irritability are common neuropsychiatric and mental disorders prevalent in Europe and US, Several studies on mice have shown, that altered Mg homeostasis and Hypomagnesemia have induced anxiety and depression-related behavior in mice. It has been well evident that Mg.2+ concentration affects the release of adrenal corticotropin hormone (ACTH) I from the pituitary into the blood serum which, stimulates the secretion of corticosterone, which is further involved in the generation of many different autonomic, hormonal and behavioral changes regulating stress and anxiety. (5)
8. Depression and stress
The mood-enhancing capability of magnesium compounds has been affirmed by the after-effects of various pre-clinical and clinical investigations. It appears to be that magnesium supplementation is very much endured and improves the viability of traditional stimulant medicines, and as such could be an important expansion to the standard medicines for depression
9. Difficulty in sleeping
Studies have confirmed that Magnesium supplement helps in improving sleep and taking Magnesium supplement has been used for insomnia-related issues. Out of the many functions of Mg, one of the crucial functions involves the stabilization of the Biological clock and biorhythms. The role of Mg in the synthesis of many neurotransmitters as well as providing supporting and antagonist roles to many are well augmented. Especially two neurotransmitters have been identified to affect sleep 1. N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) plays a role in the synaptic process, memory, and learning. And another one is 2. γ-amino butyric acid (GABA) which has an inhibitory effect on neuromodulators. The NMDA has been identified for sleep disruption, and increased activity of NMDA receptors is associated with heightened excitability, awakeness, and insomnia, Magnesium acts as an antagonist to NMDA receptors and decreases the activity of NMDA which leads to the promotion of sleep. While Magnesium acts as an agonist with GABA receptors and promotes an inhibitory and calming effect on neuromodulators to prompt sleep.
A lack of magnesium can make it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. Jiangsu Nutrition Study has revealed that dietary magnesium admission of 332.5 mg/d prompts 5.3% of the subjects to report daytime nodding off, 13.2% revealed daytime lethargy and sleepiness, and 35.7% revealed wheezing and snoring during deep sleep. (6)
10. Headaches and migraines:
Hypromagnesium is often linked to headaches and migraines on and off.
Investigations have ascertained that individuals who have headaches and migraine generally have lower levels of magnesium than individuals who don’t get cerebral pains. A few researchers accept that magnesium blocks signals in the brain. Magnesium’s role in smooth muscle relaxation, lowering blood pressure, and acting as a Calcium antagonist explains the role of low magnesium in acute headaches and migraine. As well as many studies with patients taking Mg supplements from the diet have shown less occurrence of migraines. (7)
11. Loss of appetite, Nausea, and vomiting:
A lack of magnesium can lead to a loss of appetite or an aversion to certain foods with acute vomiting and nausea, These are the earliest symptoms of Mg deficiency often not got diagnosed as nausea and vomiting are associated with many disorders, so you have to check whether your diet is lacking magnesium and providing you with sufficient Mg or not.
Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency
Though Magnesium plays an array of diverse roles in the body, it’s still considered a forgotten and orphaned mineral, because lacking in an amount of awareness of the dietary intake of Mg. A short-term and long-term deficiency in magnesium has shown to cause many short-term (Acute) symptoms as well as long-term (Chronic) effects. Thus magnesium deficiency is responsible for many chronic and acute diseases as discussed below.
Acute Magnesium deficiency symptoms:Acute diseases are short-term (last for less than 3 months)and sudden, Ex, such as fatigue, weakness, loss of appetite, diarrhea, vomiting, muscle cramps, muscle spasms, seizure, Heart attack, anxiety, and mood swing.
Chronic Magnesium deficiency symptomsChronic diseases last over 3 months, and can only be controlled but can’t be cured. Long-term Magnesium deficiency has been shown to be responsible for, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, Asthama, hypertension, Chronic mental disorder, kidney stones, and kidney malfunctions, sleep disorder.
Further Magnesium deficiency symptoms can be characterized by the manifestation of its effect on the body i.e. either it can be physiological symptoms
Physiological Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency
Those diseases express and manifest themselves through physiological disorders. As Mg is involved in the regulation of ions homeostasis, and the regulation of hundreds of enzymatic processes in metabolism, the primary Mg deficiency symptoms are expressed in the form of physiological disorders like Type 2 Diabetes, osteoporosis, muscle contraction, and relaxation disorder, kidney malfunction, development of kidney stone.
Mental Disorder Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency
Magnesium deficiency leads to many disorders expressed as mental disorders like hypertension, anxiety, mood swing, stress, insomnia, etc.
Organs affected by Magnesium Deficiency
- Almost the whole body and cell
Let’s see, What are the Causes of Magnesium Deficiency?
The 7 most common and prevalent causes of Magnesium deficiency.
1. Not getting enough dietary Magnesium.
You may not know it, but magnesium deficiency in diets is incredibly common. In fact, it’s estimated that over 80% of Americans are deficient in this important mineral. Though the role of Magnesium as an essential micronutrient with enormous amounts of functions in living organisms is well established with numerous studies, still Magnesium is quite neglected and awareness about its dietary intake is not quite encouraging. As evident by the survey done by the National Health and Nutrition Examination (NHANES) of 2013-2016, it is found that on average 48% of Americans consume 35 % to 45% less Magnesium intake from foods and diets. Their diets don’t provide the minimum amount of Magnesium needed for the body for males 400 to 450 mg and for females, it’s 300 to 350 mg.
2. Kidney Diseases
Kidney daily filters and reabsorb around 95% of dietary Magnesium and the majority of (65–75%) is reabsorbed in the Loop of Henle of the Kidney, while only 15–20% of filtered magnesium is reabsorbed at the proximal tubule parts of internal Kidney, Any kidney disease like stone in kidney, or malfunction of kidney result in inefficient and low Magnesium reabsorption, which leads to magnesium deficiency.
3. Excessive Alcoholism.
Excessive Alcohol consumption creates pressure on the normal functioning of the kidney and affects its reabsorption capacity. A large part of the kidney’s resources got utilized in filtering alcohol which leads to kidney failure and hence creates magnesium deficiency even if you eat Magnesium rich foods, it gets unabsorbed and could not assimilate into the body.
4. Chronic Diarrhea and vomiting
Prolonged and frequent diarrhea and vomiting can lead to magnesium deficiency, as these conditions prevent normal assimilation and absorption of nutrients in our body after digestion of foods.
5. Use of certain drugs like diuretics, antibiotics
and drugs used for ulcers, these medicines if taken for a longer period of time can cause magnesium deficiency in blood serum due to its interaction with the drugs.
6. Taking too much Vitamin D without enough Calcium.
Magnesium is mostly found in Bone around 55 to 60% rest 35% to 40% in soluble forms either combined with different proteins or as free cations. Magnesium maintains intracellular calcium concentration by competing with calcium binding sites on the membrane, and by stimulating calcium isolation by the sarcoplasmic reticulum. hence taking too much Vitamin D without Calcium can cause Magnesium to compete and bind with the Calcium receptors in bone, which will lead to the reduction of Magnesium serum concentration and its deficiency thereof.
7. Mutation in TRPM6 and 7 genes
TRPM6 and 7 genes (Transient Receptor Potential Melastatin Member genes) code for membrane channels made up of proteins. this channel helps in the transportation and absorption of Magnesium and calcium ions from the intestine and kidney, any mutation in these genes leads to a reduction in the Magnesium reabsorption capacity of the intestine and kidney which leads to a condition called hypomagnesemia or Magnesium deficiency.
What can be done to help with a magnesium deficiency?
There are a few things that can be done to help with magnesium deficiency. First, it is important to eat a balanced diet that includes foods rich in magnesium. This includes green leafy vegetables, nuts, and whole grains. You can also take magnesium supplements to ensure that you are getting enough of the mineral.
It is also important to get regular exercise and avoid stress. Stress can deplete the body’s magnesium stores and lead to further deficiency. Exercise helps to promote magnesium absorption and helps to reduce stress.
If you think you may be magnesium deficient, it is important to talk to your doctor. They can order tests to check your magnesium levels and determine the best course of treatment.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms and signs listed above, it is important to get checked out by a doctor to rule out other possible causes. If your doctor does suspect magnesium deficiency, they will likely recommend supplements or dietary changes to help increase your intake of this essential mineral. Taking steps to ensure that you are getting enough magnesium can help improve your overall health and well-being.