How Can I Tell If I Have Magnesium Deficiency?

The fact that around 75% of Americans are
not meeting their recommended magnesium intake is really disturbing. Although
magnesium deficiency affects less than two percent, we should all start
thinking about increasing our intake of this important mineral.

Magnesium is a vital mineral and
electrolyte that participates in numerous bodily processes, such as bone and
teeth structure, energy production, nerve function, DNA replication, muscle
function, RNA and protein synthesis, etc.

 

That’s why it’s crucial that we get
enough magnesium in our diet to stay healthy.

The truth is, our body is capable of
retaining good levels of this mineral, which is why it’s rare for someone to
feel magnesium deficiency symptoms. Still, there are certain factors that can
raise our risk of developing deficiency.

Factors That Increase the Risk of Magnesium Deficiency

  • eating low magnesium foods for a longer time,
  • having celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, and other
    gastrointestinal disorders,
  • being pregnant or breastfeeding,
  • drinking too much alcohol,
  • having type 2 diabetes,
  • being hospitalized,
  • taking diuretics, proton pump inhibitors, antibiotics,
    bisphosphonates, and other medications,
  • Being older.

Long-term deficiency may affect brain function, bone density, digestive system, and nerve and muscle function.

How Can I Tell If I Have Magnesium Deficiency?

Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency

1. Muscle Cramps and Twitches

Muscle
cramps, tremors, and twitches are common signs of magnesium deficiency. In
serious cases, it can even cause convulsions or seizures. According to researchers, these symptoms happen because of the increased flow of
calcium into nerve cells.

This, in turn, hyper stimulates or
overexcites the muscle nerves. Still, one study concluded that taking magnesium
supplements in such cases won’t help if you’re an older adult.

2. Fatigue & Muscle Weakness

Although we’re all tired and fatigued at
some point, persistent or severe fatigue might be a symptom of magnesium
deficiency, especially if it’s accompanied by muscle weakness. Muscle weakness
can happen due to a lack of potassium in muscle cells – a condition linked to
magnesium deficiency.

3. High Blood Pressure

According to animal studies, a lack of this mineral may promote high blood pressure
and increase blood pressure. This, in turn, increases the risk of heart
disease. Some human observations suggest that a lack of magnesium may increase
blood pressure.

Controlled studies have
shown that taking magnesium supplements may reduce blood pressure in adults
suffering from hypertension.

4. Asthma

According to a 2007 study, people who have asthma may also have a magnesium
deficiency. That’s why experts believe that deficiency can cause calcium
buildup in the muscles lining the airways of lungs.

As a result, the airways constrict and
breathing becomes more difficult. Still, more research is needed to prove that
magnesium can help people with asthma.

5. Irregular Heartbeat

Irregular heartbeat or arrhythmia is one
of the most serious symptoms of this mineral deficiency. Other symptoms of
arrhythmia are shortness of breath, lightheadedness, fainting, and chest pain.

According to researchers, one of the possible reasons may be an imbalance of
potassium levels outside and outside of heart muscle cells – a condition linked
to magnesium deficiency.

6. Mental Disorders

Another possible symptom of magnesium
deficiency includes mental disorders like apathy – lack of emotion or mental
numbness. Studies suggest that a lack of this mineral may contribute to anxiety
and depression.

Other early symptoms of magnesium deficiency include:

  • loss of appetite
  • vomiting
  • nausea

How to Get More Magnesium

By adding the following magnesium-rich
foods to our daily diet:

  • spinach,
  • nuts (cashews, almonds, peanuts),
  • edamame,
  • dark chocolate,
  • black beans,
  • peanut butter,
  • potato,
  • pumpkin seeds,
  • whole wheat bread,
  • rice,
  • avocado,
  • fortified cereals,
  • Yogurt.

Other
foods that contain reasonable amounts of the
mineral
 are:

  • kidney beans,
  • oatmeal,
  • apples,
  • banana,
  • milk,
  • fish (halibut and salmon),
  • beef,
  • chicken breast,
  • raisins,
  • carrot,
  • Broccoli.

How to Improve Magnesium Absorption

Not only that we should eat more foods
containing magnesium, but we should also make sure our body absorbs it in the
best way possible. To improve absorption, we should try:

  • avoiding or reducing foods rich in calcium two hours before or
    after consuming foods high in magnesium,
  • improve vitamin D levels,
  • quitting smoking,
  • Consuming raw veggies instead of cooking.

We can also consider taking magnesium
supplements, but we should always consult a doctor before taking them.

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