How a Magnesium Deficiency May Affect Your Life

magnesium deficiency symptoms

Magnesium is an essential component of numerous biochemical functions within the human body. To put it simply, magnesium is a big deal for your body. Without it, your health suffers, and disease can develop. Before you reach severe problems, your life suffers in other ways, making it more difficult to enjoy each day. Here is what you need to know about magnesium deficiency and how it can affect your life in negative ways. 

Magnesium Deficiency

Properly functioning kidneys regulate urinary excretion, limiting magnesium loss to normal levels. As a result, a deficiency in magnesium is not common in healthy individuals. However, it is likely to occur in certain populations that experience health issues leading to severe loss of magnesium within the body. The groups experiencing a higher risk of magnesium deficiency include:

  • People with type 2 diabetes: They often have higher urine outputs, a magnesium deficiencycondition that can deplete magnesium stores. 
  • Individuals with gastrointestinal conditions: Magnesium depletion often occurs in people who have gastrointestinal diseases, since these conditions usually lead to fat malabsorption.
  • Alcoholics: Chronic alcoholism leads to increased levels of excretion of magnesium, depleting the body's natural stores.  
  • Senior citizens: Older people typically excrete higher levels of magnesium than younger individuals. 
  • Prescription takers: Certain types of medication deplete magnesium from the body. This list includes prescriptions from the following categories: acid blockers, antacids, antibiotics, antivirals, cardiac glycoside, central nervous system stimulants, corticosteroids, diuretics, and hormone replacement therapy medications.

Fatigue

Do you feel like sleeping all of the time, but you are counting enough sheep each night? It is normal for most people to feel tired every once in a while. Usually, this kind of tiredness disappears once the person gets enough sleep. If a deficiency in magnesium exists, fatigue sets in and becomes an ongoing problem. You begin to feel tired mentally as well as physically. If this situation goes on long enough, you may begin to feel tired all day and night, even if you've had eight hours of sleep.

Flu-like Symptoms

Do you feel like death-warmed-over? If you feel like you have the flu and it isn't flu season, you may be seeing the first signs of not having enough magnesium in your body. You may not feel like eating, or you may vomit when you do. You may experience nausea and weakness throughout the day and night. Add to these symptoms, the problem of feeling tired all of the time, and you should begin to wonder if your body simply isn't getting the right kind of nutrition.

Constipation

Are you backed up most of the time and drinking way too much coffee to help you go? If you don't have enough magnesium in the diet, it can lead to constipation and the feeling that goes along with it. If the number of bowel movements you have each week suddenly drops to one or two, it's important to see your doctor and find out why. While occasional constipation is experienced by most people, ongoing irregularity is an issue that should be explored. 

Muscle Cramps and Weakness

Are your legs and arms refusing to do what you ask of them? Muscle weakness, which is also referred to as myasthenia, can occur if your levels of magnesium are lower than they should be. It is possible that you may mistake muscle weakness for being tired. If you are having trouble lifting objects or standing, you may think you just haven't gotten sufficient sleep. 

In addition to muscle weakness, you may develop tingling and twitching. Muscle twitches can occur for a number of reasons. Poor magnesium levels is one of them. As magnesium levels drop, muscle twitches, cramps, and tremors become more severe. In extreme cases, a person may even experience seizures.

Even if you don't have muscle weakness or twitching you may feel your muscles cramping, especially for no apparent reason. Lots of people experience leg cramps, but an increase in their intensity or frequency may be an indication that your body simply needs more magnesium. 

Irregular Heartbeat

Is your heart beating faster? Although your levels of magnesium would need to become severely depleted before this would happen, you may begin to experience problems with your heart. In particular, you may experience a mild irregularity in your heartbeat. For many people, this symptom will occur unnoticed, while for other individuals, heart palpitations may occur. If the arrhythmia becomes serious, your risk of having a stroke increases as does the likelihood of heart failure. 

High Blood Pressure

Do you have high blood pressure? Scientists performing animal studies have discovered a link between low levels of magnesium and high blood pressures. Clinical trials on humans led to the conclusion that adding magnesium to the diet may lower blood pressure levels. Even though more studies may be needed to fully evaluate the connection between high blood pressure and magnesium deficiency, enough evidence exists to suggest that one does exist. High blood pressure can lead to heart disease and should be taken seriously.

Osteoporosis

Did your most recent bone scan come back with less-than-positive results? When the bones become thinner and weak, the condition is referred to as osteoporosis. This condition commonly occurs in older people as well as individuals who fail to get enough vitamin D, vitamin K, and exercise. Osteoporosis puts a person at a higher risk of experiencing bone fractures. Studies have also shown that a deficiency in magnesium is linked to lower levels of calcium, which is directly related to osteoporosis. 

Mental Problems

Have you lost your zest for life? If you suddenly feel less inclined to actively live your life and you are just going through the motions, maybe something serious is happening. Low magnesium levels have been linked with depression and apathy. Without enough magnesium to assist in biochemical functions, your mind begins to experience the kind of problems that make a person less likely to enjoy life. 

It is difficult to diagnose a deficiency in magnesium using only one symptom. In fact, you may not even notice you have a problem until it has been going on for quite a while. More importantly, this type of deficiency can lead to a list of scary symptoms, including chronic fatigue, weak muscles, brittle bones, and mental disorders. If you begin to suspect you have a magnesium deficiency, you may want to visit your family doctor for an annual examination.