Magnesium deficiency is a condition in which there is an insufficient amount of the mineral magnesium in the body to support the proper function of various organs and systems. A lack of magnesium can lead to a wide range of health issues. Sometimes referred to as the anti-stress mineral, magnesium aids in the absorption of such vitamins and minerals at Vitamin C, the B vitamins, and calcium as well as providing health benefits on its own.
There are several common situations that can cause a magnesium deficiency to occur. Excess consumption of alcohol, coffee, and refined sugar can deplete magnesium levels significantly. Frequent use of diuretics can also cause an individual to become magnesium deficient. Some prescription medications can lead to a deficiency, such as cyclosporin or cisplatin. Ongoing health issues such as improperly managed diabetes are also among the several magnesium deficiency causes.
The symptoms of magnesium deficiency include the development of a number of mental and physical issues. Too little magnesium can lead to recurring migraine headaches and an inability to deal with stress. If left unchecked, the magnesium deficiency symptoms may progress to include mild depression, anxiety, and a constant feeling of fatigue.
People with magnesium deficiencies often are extremely irritable, nervous, and find it very hard to concentrate. Other magnesium deficiency signs may involve stiffness in the muscles, and some sense of memory loss. Insomnia may develop over time. Men may experience erectile dysfunction as a result of too little magnesium in the body.
Fortunately, making dietary changes as well as using nutritional supplements can treat most cases of a mild deficiency. Whole grains provide significant amounts of the mineral, as well as unpolished rice. Dark green vegetables such as turnips, collards, and kale are also helpful in maintaining healthy magnesium levels. Berries, avocados, and almonds can also help to boost low magnesium levels.
Herbs can also be used to deal with a slight magnesium deficiency. Chickweed, eyebright, fennel, and red clover are excellent sources of this mineral. When the deficiency has led to insomnia, using skullcap or valerian root will not only help correct the lack of magnesium but also aid in recovering a proper sleep cycle. Peach bark and licorice can also be used to brew a tea that will help replenish low levels of magnesium in the system.
When the magnesium deficiency is severe, dietary changes and over the counter supplements may not be enough to correct the problem. When that is the case, physicians may choose to use intravenous or intramuscular treatments in order to alleviate symptoms and replenish the body’s supply of magnesium.