Published on July 19, 2021
An estimated 42% of young adults have ongoing magnesium deficiency, which could lead to several health complaints
Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the human body. It is involved in over 300 enzymatic reactions and is a necessary component for energy metabolism, muscle function, blood pressure regulation, insulin metabolism, cardiovascular function, nerve transmission, neuromuscular contraction and more. Because of this widespread need, chronic magnesium deficiency can lead to general feelings of unwellness and contribute to the development of many different diseases.
Below is a summary of health conditions that low magnesium intake and levels may contribute to, based on a review by Schwalfenberg and Genius, which outlines the published evidence supporting the use of magnesium in the prevention and treatment of many common health complaints.
Clinical Symptoms and Signs of Magnesium Deficiency
The effects of low magnesium can include everything from fatigue and loss of appetite, to tremors and muscle cramps. Severe deficiency can cause cardiac arrhythmias. The combination of a healthy diet with supplementation can alleviate and, in some cases, eradicate most health issues related to low magnesium levels.
The following symptoms and signs can be indications of magnesium deficiency, although as noted by the authors, any clinical signs of deficiency are usually totally absent.
- Neuromuscular: weakness, tremor, twitching (muscle fasciculation), difficulty swallowing (dysphagia), facial twitching as a reaction to facial nerve tapping (positive Chvostek’s sign), application of a pressure cuff to transiently block off the main artery in the arm resulting in spasm of muscles of the hand and forearm (positive Trousseau’s sign)
- Cardiac: arrhythmias, changes in heart function that are detected on ECG
- Central Nervous System: depression, agitation, psychosis, uncontrolled movements of the eye (nystagmus), seizures
Health Conditions Associated with Magnesium Deficiency
The following health conditions have been associated with magnesium deficiency:
Asthma – magnesium may help reduce bronchospasm and improve symptoms of breathlessness, reducing the severity of acute asthma attacks and the need for hospitalization
Rickets and Osteoporosis (with vitamin D) – magnesium deficiency can prevent the conversion of vitamin D, which is necessary for calcium absorption and metabolism, and normal parathyroid hormone function, all of which control the build-up and break-down of bone
Prenatal Outcomes – shown to help ameliorate muscle cramping during pregnancy, decrease the frequency of preterm births, low birth weight and small for gestational age newborns, and used as a treatment for preeclampsia/eclampsia. Magnesium has also been associated with metabolic syndrome for the child later in life.
Migraine Headaches – regarded as a strongly recommended treatment by a Chochrane review, magnesium has been shown to reduce the frequency, duration, and intensity of migraines
Metabolic Syndrome, Diabetes, and Diabetic Complications – magnesium intake has been inversely associated with fasting glucose, insulin levels, insulin resistance, and the incidence of type 2 diabetes, suggesting that a diet rich in magnesium may be important in preventing metabolic syndrome and diabetes. Magnesium has also been shown to improve peripheral neuropathy and depression in diabetics, and lower levels have been associated with more rapid renal decline.
Depression and Anxiety – magnesium is necessary for the conversion of tryptophan to serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter important to mental health and mood. Magnesium has been successfully used as a treatment for depression, and magnesium intake has been inversely correlated with anxiety and depression.
Sleep and Restless Leg Syndrome – research investigating magnesium supplementation has shown significant improvements in insomnia severity, sleep time, sleep efficiency, sleep onset latency, and the regulation of sleep related hormones. It has also been shown to decrease periodic limb movements during sleep.
Smoking Cessation – studies have shown magnesium supplementation may help decrease the number of cigarettes smoked and help with smoking cessation
Renal Calculi (Kidney Stones) – magnesium taken with meals binds to oxalates in the intestinal tract, reducing oxalate absorption and accrual in the body and leading to a diminished risk of stone formation
Cardiovascular Health, Hypertension, and Sudden Cardiac Death – magnesium supplementation has been shown to improve vascular and endothelial function, acts as a natural calcium channel blocker, increases nitric oxide, and induces vasodilation. Higher magnesium intake has been associated with a reduced risk of sudden cardiac death and improved blood pressure.
Atrial Fibrillation – magnesium has been found helpful in rapidly resolving atrial fibrillation; low magnesium has been associated with increased risk of developing atrial fibrillation
Cataract and Glaucoma – magnesium is needed to maintain homeostasis of the lens within the eye, and plays an important role in ocular blood flow and ganglion cell maintenance. Supplementation with magnesium may be of therapeutic value for both the onset and progression of cataracts and glaucoma.
Stress, Aging and Longevity – the need for magnesium is increased when the body experiences any type of stress, including physical stress (due to heat, cold, exertion, trauma, or surgery), emotional stress (excitement, anxiety, or depression) and dyspnea (difficulty breathing). Magnesium deficiency may increase the risk of cardiovascular damage and damage to the DNA due to oxidative stress, which could contribute to age-related diseases.
Physical Performance – magnesium supplementation has been shown to result in increased physical performance; grip strength, lower leg muscle power, knee extension torque, and ankle extension isometric strength have all been correlated with higher magnesium
Neurologic Conditions – magnesium intake and levels have been related to attention and hyperactivity among children with ADHD, fatigue among multiple sclerosis patients, memory in patients with dementia, schizophrenia, and Parkinson’s disease
Other conditions in which magnesium supplementation has shown to be beneficial include
- Cardiac Arrhythmias
- Mitral Valve Prolapse (improved symptoms, complete remission)
- Congestive Heart Failure (improved symptoms and survival outcomes)
- Smoking Cessation
- Chronic Kidney Disease, Dialysis
- Dyslipidemia (regulating blood lipids)
- Premenstrual Syndrome (less pain, mood changes)
- Breast Cancer Treatment Side Effects (reduction in hot flushes, fatigue, sweating)
- Atopic Dermatitis
Make Sure You are Getting Enough Magnesium
Up to 60% of the US population is estimated to be deficient in magnesium. Deficient magnesium levels can be due to insufficient magnesium in the diet, as well as problems with kidney function, alcoholism, and the use of diuretics and proton pump inhibitors.
The dried blood spot magnesium test measures the amount of magnesium within the red blood cells (RBC), and is a better indicator of magnesium status than the serum magnesium test. Measure your level of magnesium by adding it as a test option to your Custom Test Kit with vitamin D.
Measure Your Level of Vitamin D, Magnesium, and Other Important Nutrients
Having and maintaining healthy vitamin D levels and other nutrient levels can help improve your health now and for your future. Choose which to measure, such as your vitamin D, omega-3s, and essential minerals including magnesium and zinc, by creating your custom home test kit today. Take steps to improve the status of each of these measurements to benefit your overall health. You can also track your own intakes, symptoms and results to see what works best for YOU.
Enroll and test your levels today, learn what steps to take to improve your status of vitamin D (see below) and other nutrients and blood markers, and take action! By enrolling in the GrassrootsHealth projects, you are not only contributing valuable information to everyone, you are also gaining knowledge about how you could improve your own health through measuring and tracking your nutrient status, and educating yourself on how to improve it.
Help everyone Move Research into Practice with vitamin D and other nutrients! As a special birthday gift to everyone, in honor of the science, we have created a special scholarship fund for anyone to donate to that will go towards helping others participate. Your donation will allow anyone to get help with funding their participation when they need it.
Text-to-give: Text Daction to 44321 to add to our Scholarship Fund.
What Does it Take YOU to Get Your D to 40 ng/ml (100 nmol/L)?
Did you know your health could be greatly affected by making sure you have a vitamin D level of at least 40 ng/ml (100 nmol/L)? Help us help you.
STEP 1 - Do you know what your vitamin D level is? If not, be sure to test today to find out.
STEP 2 – Determine your target level. Are you at your target level? Experts recommend a level of at least 40-60 ng/ml (100-150 nmol/L).
STEP 3 – Need to boost your level? Use the D*calculator to see how much vitamin D it may take to reach your target. Opt for the Loading Dose for a quicker boost.
STEP 4 – Optimize how your body absorbs and utilizes vitamin D with co-nutrients and these simple steps.
STEP 5 – Re-Test! This is an important step to make sure you have reached your target level, and to ensure you are not taking too much! Re-testing after 3-4 months is recommended.
STEP 6 – Adjust, Repeat…
Give your immune system the nutrients it needs to support a healthy you and protect yourself from unnecessary diseases, especially COVID-19.
The first Randomized Controlled Trial on vitamin D and COVID-19 has shown a 96% lower risk of ICU admission for those receiving vitamin D (as 25(OH)D to quickly boost vitamin D blood levels) along with the standard treatment, compared to those receiving standard treatment alone.
These results support many previous observational studies showing a relationship between vitamin D levels and intake and COVID-19 severity.
GrassrootsHealth Nutrient Research Institute has launched the new Immune Boost project with the use of our myData-myAnswers nutrient health system that nearly 15,000 people are already using for their health. Specific markers that influence immune health are suggested for testing as part of this project including:
- Vitamin D
- Omega-3 Index
- Essential elements magnesium, selenium, and zinc
Our goal is to demonstrate how one can use the Nutrient Research Model established by Dr. Robert Heaney to show the effect of vitamin D serum levels of at least 40 ng/ml (100 nmol/L) on risk reduction for all ethnicities in the population. Status and intake of other nutrients will also be analyzed for any type of relationship to immune status and symptom severity. Join the project today!
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Through GrassrootsHealth Nutrient Research Institute, you can also test your essential elements magnesium, copper, zinc and selenium, toxins such as lead, mercury and cadmium, as well as your omega-3 levels, inflammation levels and thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) level. Find out your levels today! Log on to the test selection page (click the link below) to get your tests and see for yourself if your levels can be improved.
Make sure you track your results before and after, about every 6 months!
How can I track my nutrient intake and levels over time?
To help you track your supplement use and nutrient levels, GrassrootsHealth has created the Personal Health Nutrient Decision System called
For each specific supplement, you can track what days you take it, how much, and many other details. This will help you know your true supplemental intake and what patterns of use work for you to reach and maintain optimum nutrient levels. Check it out today!