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How Do I Recognize Magnesium Deficiency Symptoms?

By Meshell Powell
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Magnesium is a mineral that is essential to the proper functioning of all of the major organs of the body. For this reason, a magnesium deficiency has the potential to cause life-threatening complications. Some of the most common symptoms of this deficiency include anxiety, restlessness, and insomnia. Headaches, fatigue, and muscle pain are also among the more frequently reported magnesium deficiency symptoms. If left untreated, more severe symptoms may include chest pain, difficulty breathing, or even irreversible damage to many of the organs of the body.

Muscle pain or weakness are often among the most commonly reported magnesium deficiency symptoms. This may involve the presence of frequent, unexplained headaches, neck or back pain, or muscle disorders affecting the jaw. Some with a magnesium deficiency may experience overall muscle pain or weakness. Uncontrolled muscle twitches can sometimes be traced to a deficiency in this important mineral.

The smooth muscles of the body begin to lose the ability to contract normally when there is not enough magnesium in the body. This may lead to magnesium deficiency symptoms such as constipation, painful menstrual cramps, or urinary spasms. Difficulty swallowing or an increased sensitivity to light or sound may also develop.

Increased levels of anxiety and panic attacks are potential magnesium deficiency symptoms. The affected person may also seem restless or have difficulty focusing completely on a task. Some may become confused or irritable for no apparent reason. Salt and carbohydrate cravings are often present in those who are experiencing a magnesium deficiency. Breast tenderness unrelated to the menstrual cycle has been reported by many women who suffer from a magnesium deficiency.

Heart-related complications are among the most severe potential magnesium deficiency symptoms. This often begins with palpitations or a feeling that the heart is racing. The heartbeat may become irregular, or blood pressure changes may occur. The major arteries of the heart may begin to spasm, leading to potentially life-threatening complications.

A doctor should be consulted if any of the possible magnesium deficiency symptoms are present. Simple blood tests can reveal a deficiency in this mineral, allowing the doctor and patient to work together to create an individualized treatment plan. Dietary changes or the use of over-the-counter nutritional supplements are often successful in treating this condition. If severe symptoms are present, treatment may involve a brief stay in the hospital, where intravenous medications can be given until the patient is considered medically stable.

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Discussion Comments
By serenesurface — On Jul 21, 2013

I was diagnosed with a magnesium deficiency last month. Since I started taking my supplements, I've been less moody and I haven't gotten any new canker sores in my mouth.

By fify — On Jul 20, 2013

@donasmrs-- No, a magnesium deficiency might not cause every one of the symptoms mentioned in the article. I have a magnesium deficiency, but I only experience anxiety and headaches.

Whether your anxiety is caused by a lack of magnesium or not, you should take a magnesium supplement anyway. It has been shown in studies that people with anxiety need more of this mineral that others. So if you have severe anxiety, it's very likely that your magnesium levels are low, even if there isn't a deficiency.

I highly recommend that you take magnesium supplements. Magnesium is water soluble so if you end up taking more than necessary, your body will get rid of it through urine, so it won't be a problem. I personally take 365mg twice a week which seems to be enough. But I also eat a lot of magnesium rich foods like spinach, bananas and almonds.

You might also want to supplement with Omega 3 and a vitamin B complex. These are also usually lacking in people with anxiety. I hope you feel better soon!

By donasmrs — On Jul 20, 2013

I have been experiencing severe anxiety for the past several weeks. I suspect that I might have a magnesium deficiency but I don't have insurance right now, so I can't get the blood test to diagnose it. Is it okay if I just go ahead and take magnesium supplements?

Do I have to have all of the symptoms of magnesium deficiency to be considered deficient?

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