As much as 75% of the US adult population does not eat the recommended FDA intake of magnesium – which means most of us are experiencing at least some magnesium deficiency. While many of us can continue on with life, mistaking our symptoms for other problems, prolonged magnesium deficiency not only lowers our quality of life but also puts us at greater risk of other conditions, such as osteoporosis.
If you’re concerned you may be suffering from magnesium deficiency, here are some of the symptoms you should look out for:
6 Signs of Magnesium Deficiency
1. You Feel Tired All the Time
Fatigue is another common symptom of magnesium deficiency because the body needs magnesium for over 600 enzyme functions. When your body is unable to function optimally, you’re going to feel tired no matter how much sleep you get. This fatigue can appear as physical fatigue, mental fatigue, or both.
You can also suffer from insomnia, despite feeling fatigued, because the sympathetic nervous system is working overtime to keep you alert.
2. You Feel Anxious and/or Depressed Often
Anxiety and depression are commons symptoms of magnesium deficiency in mammals because magnesium is a calming mineral that facilitates rest and digestion. When our bodies are at rest, our parasympathetic nervous system is activated. When we’re on high alert, it’s our sympathetic nervous system that’s activated, and this is responsible for our fight-or-flight instincts.
When we have a magnesium deficiency, we’re more likely to be in the sympathetic nervous system, which can cause high anxiety. If you’ve been dealing with feelings of increased anxiety, especially without a cause that would normally cause you to feel stressed, then it’s worth increasing your magnesium to see if the feelings ease.
3. Irregular Heartbeat
This is one of the most serious symptoms of magnesium deficiency, but if you have recently been experiencing heart arrhythmia, without any prior history of it, it is a good idea to see your doctor to find the cause. Research has shown that an imbalance of potassium in the heart—which has strong links with magnesium deficiency—is often to blame.
4. You Experience Frequent Migraines
Migraines have been seen to ease in their frequency and severity when patients increase their magnesium intake. One study’s participants reported a 41.6% reduction in the frequency of their migraines. Research has also found that an increased intake of magnesium effectively decreased the frequency of migraines linked to the menstrual cycle.
5. Your Body Holds a Lot of Water
When the body is deficient in magnesium, it starts to hold on to an excess of water and even swelling in the lower legs and feet. When you increase your intake of magnesium, even to just half of the recommended daily intake, you’ll see water retention reduced, especially during your period.
6. You Get Frequent Muscle Cramps and Twitches
Muscle cramps and twitching are common symptoms of magnesium deficiency and can become extreme in severe cases of magnesium deficiency. This occurs because more calcium can flow into our nerve cells, which overstimulates the muscle nerves.
How much magnesium should I consume a day?
The FDA recommends all adults consume 420 milligrams of magnesium a day. You can reach this recommended daily intake by eating a well-balanced diet, but if you are uncertain if you’re eating enough or dislike foods that are magnesium-rich, then taking a supplement is the next best thing. The only caveat is if you have a bleeding disorder, diabetes, kidney disorder, or irritable bowel syndrome, then you should check in with your doctor to get the go-ahead to start supplementing magnesium. These disorders can alter the way your body processes magnesium, so it’s best to err on the side of caution.
How can I increase my magnesium intake?
You can find magnesium naturally in a wide range of foods, so eating a balanced, healthy diet will help you balance your body and ensure you’re getting enough magnesium. Check out Part 2 of this blog, 8 Foods Rich In Magnesium to learn more.
Our Rest & Digest supplement provides you with almost all your daily magnesium needs in one serving. It’s paired with vitamin B6, also known as pyridoxine, which promotes deeper sleep, eases insomnia and anxiety, and supports better relaxation. You simply swallow two capsules each night as you get ready for bed and unwind from the day, and you’ll have more restful nights and more energized days because you won’t be magnesium deficient. To find out more about Rest & Digest, click here.
Dr. Nancy Rahnama, MD, ABOM, ABIM, is a medical doctor board certified by both the American Board of Obesity Medicine and the American Board of Internal Medicine. Her specialty is Clinical Nutrition, that is, the use of nutrition by a medical doctor to diagnose and treat disease. Dr. Rahnama has helped thousands of people achieve their goals of weight loss, gut health, improved mood and sleep, and managing chronic disease.