SYMPTOMS MAGNESIUM DEFICIENCY

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HOW TO RECOGNIZE A SHORTAGE OF MAGNESIUM


Magnesium is a mineral that’s crucial to our body and brains. It’s involved with more than 600 processes throughout our entire body. Our cells contain magnesium, which the part of the cofactor in the biochemical reactions that are continuously executed by our enzymes. The cofactor is also known as the “helper molecule” (1).

Magnesium is a important mineral to the human body. Since our body is unable to create this mineral itself, we need to get magnesium from our foods, like nuts, beans, legumes, pure chocolate, whole wheat grains, dairy, bananas, avocados and plankton.

A study has shown that when we experience health complications, a magnesium deficiency isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. Less than 2% of the American citizens experience a magnesium deficiency, while research has shown that 75% of the population doesn’t get enough magnesium in their daily intake (2).

There are certain groups of people that have a higher risk of creating a magnesium deficiency. Those people may benefit from using magnesium supplements next to their daily meals. It is, however, important to note that if you suspect you have a shortage of magnesium, you should always consult a doctor before taking any supplements.

People with a higher risk of getting a magnesium deficiency are:

- People with chronic bowel illnesses, like IBS, Crohn, Colitis, etc,
- People that use medicine with side-effects that negatively affect the mineral,
- Seniors,
- Women in their menopause,
- People with diabetes type 2,
- People with alcohol dependency.

A shortage of magnesium can be recognized by the following symptoms. If you recognize one or more of these symptoms, it is advisable to contact your physician


1. FATIGUE AND WEAK MUSCLES



A symptom of a magnesium deficiency is feeling fatigued, a disorder that is best explained through feeling mentally and physically weak. We all know the feeling from time to time, that’s why a good night’s rest is essential. However, when this fatigue persists, underlying health issues may be the cause. The weakness of the muscles, a disorder that leads to the loss of function in your muscles, is a specific signal that’s also known as myasthenia (3).

Scientists suppose that this weakness is caused by a lack of potassium in the muscle cells. This disorder is often associated with a magnesium deficiency as well (4,5). Insufficient intake of magnesium can, therefore, be a potential cause of fatigue and/or muscle weakness.


In short: fatigue and muscle weakness can be caused by a magnesium deficiency.


2. IRREGULAR HEARTBEATS



A heart rhythm disorder is a disorder in the rhythm of the pulse (also known as arrhythmia). There are both innocent and harmful forms of arrhythmia. Arrhythmia or an irregular heartbeat can be a severe symptom of a magnesium deficiency (6).

On the overall, the symptoms of arrhythmia are mild, making it possible for you not to notice them. This is contrary to the symptoms of light-headedness, fainting, being short of breath, and experiencing pain in the chest. A severe form of arrhythmia can even increase the chances of a stroke or heart failure. Scientists believe that the underlying cause is a disbalance in the potassium levels. This happens in and outside of the heart muscles, caused by a shortage of magnesium (7)(8).

In some patients with congestive heart failures (the heart is unable to pump sufficient amounts of blood through the body), a lower magnesium level was present than in healthy patients. They see benefits with a magnesium injection treatment (9). Some patients with arrhythmia also profit from taking magnesium supplements (10).

In short: arrhythmia and the risk of severe complications, like a stroke or heart failure, can be caused by a shortage of magnesium.


3. MUSCLE SPASMS AND CRAMPS



Signs of a shortage of magnesium are cramps, muscle spasms, tremors, and in severe cases, epileptic attacks and convulsions (involuntary discharges in the brains) can happen due to a deficiency (11)(12). According to a study, these symptoms are caused by a high amount of calcium in the nerve cells, which causes them to overload. Magnesium is needed to break down calcium properly (13).

However, you should remember that involuntary muscle spasms don’t always have to have a severe underlying cause, like a magnesium deficiency. Other reasons can be the side-effects of medicine, stress, or too much caffeine.

We all experience cramps every now and then, and this is entirely normal. However, when your complications persist, it’s advised to contact your doctor.

In short: Tremors, cramps, and muscle spasms are often signs of a blood level with insufficient magnesium.


4. MIGRAINES



Migraines are an attack of severe headaches that can last up to a few days. Just before such an attack, some people experience wavy vision and flashes of light. Research has shown that people with migraines have a magnesium deficiency more often than people without migraines (14).

In another study, magnesium was used to treat migraines and to reduce the number of attacks (15). Just one dose can already minimalize the impact of an acute migraine attack than any of our modern medicine (16).

In short: a shortage of magnesium can increases the chance of a migraine, while higher and healthier levels of magnesium lower the risk.


5. MENTAL DISORDERS



During a depression, you can feel somber, worthless, and you may not take the enjoyment out of anything. You can also feel fatigued, restless, and guilty for unknown reasons. Magnesium affects the working of our brains and emotions. When you have a magnesium deficiency, you have increased chances of depression (17).

A study from 2015, in which more than 8500 people were tested, shows that people under 65 with low magnesium levels had a 22% higher chance of becoming depressed (18).

In another study with seniors, a 450mg dose of magnesium improved their moods tremendously, about just as good as any regular antidepressant (19).

In short: with insufficient magnesium in your body, you have a higher chance of feeling down and developing depression.


6. OSTEOPOROSIS



Osteoporosis is the medical name for porous bones. When you have porous bones, there is less bone mass and a different bone structure, which leads to an increased risk of breaking them.

Till you’re about 30, your bones keep on developing. You create more bone than you break down. From your 40th onwards, this development stops, and more bone is broken down than created. Osteoporosis is affected by multiple factors like age, lack of movement, and a lousy intake of vitamin D and vitamin K.

A shortage of magnesium can weaken your bones directly, but it also lowers the calcium levels in your blood. Calcium is also an essential building block of your bones (20)(21)(22)(23)

In short: magnesium is, like calcium, of great importance for the strength of your bones. A shortage can increase the risk of osteoporosis and breaking bones.


7. PMS



Women who suffer from PMS (pre-menstrual syndrome) often retain water, suffer from cramps, are irritable, and tired. A study has found that magnesium supplements significantly improve these symptoms (24).

In short: magnesium supplements can help to relieve PMS symptoms


8. HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE



Your blood pressure is considered to be high when it reaches above 140/90 mmHg. High blood pressure can cause damage to your heart, blood vessels, and even your organs. Because your blood pressure doesn’t instantly increase, it’s wise to check it every now and then. There is strong evidence that magnesium supplements can help to lower the blood pressure in adults with high blood pressure (25)(26)(27).

In adults with normal blood pressure, the magnesium levels won’t further decrease the blood pressure (28).

In short: magnesium supplements can help to lower a high blood pressure.


9. ASTHMA



Asthma is an inflammation of the lungs. The swelling is permanent, which means that there will always be smaller or bigger inflammations in your lungs. In some patients with asthma, a shortage of magnesium was found (29). Overall, the magnesium levels in the bodies of people with asthma are overall lower than in people without asthma (30)(31).

Research has shown that a shortage of magnesium can obstruct the build-up of calcium in the muscles around the airways of the lungs. Breathing gets harder because the airways tighten up (13)(32).

People with severe asthma use an inhalator with magnesium sulfate which helps to relax and widen the airways. There is still no evidence that the usage of magnesium supplements is useful in asthma patients (33)(34)(35).

A study has shown that severe asthma in some patients can be a symptom of a magnesium deficiency. However, more research is needed to confirm this theory.

In short: a shortage of magnesium can be connected to severe asthma. The exact role of magnesium in the development of asthma is still not clear yet.


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