Are you battling headaches, cravings, or muscle spasms? 9 signs of magnesium deficiency and how to get more in your diet

If you’re like most people, there are days when you hit a slump — whether it’s a challenging day at work or at home or just “one of those days.” While we usually point to stress as the main culprit for these slumps, some experts suggest that this could be an indicator of magnesium deficiency.

Magnesium is an essential mineral “which plays a crucial role in more than 300 different enzymatic reactions in the body each day.” However, not everyone is getting the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of this nutrient. (Related: Magnesium is Vital for Good Health.)

In a separate study, researchers found out that almost half of the U.S. population did not meet their magnesium RDAs for over a year. This leads to low levels of magnesium in the bloodstream which leads to an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes, metabolic conditions, hypertension, and in extreme cases, sudden cardiac death.

In an article in Daily Mail, medical doctor and broadcaster Dr. Michael Mosely talked about how the mineral could treat various sicknesses such as migraines, premenstrual tension (PMT), and constipation. He also lists down some things that you should look out for to know if you’re magnesium deficient.

    1. You have trouble sleeping. “Magnesium contributes to the normal function of the nervous system thereby offering nervous system support which may then assist with sleep disturbance,” according to London-based nutritionist Rick Hay. This is because of magnesium’s effect on the brain — it increases the release of a chemical neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) which play a crucial role in sleep regulation. A clinical study conducted among senior adults was able to conclude that increased intake of magnesium improved their quality of sleep.
    2. You’re prone to depression. Magnesium has a hand in biochemical reactions that happen in our body. In our brain, it’s part of the chemicals that protect against neuron damage from stress, as well as excessive calcium intake. If a person lacks magnesium, this can exacerbate major bouts of depression — coupled with excessive calcium intake and stress, could be a cocktail of conditions such as agitation, asthenia (lack of energy), and irritability, among others.
    3. You have migraines. People with low levels of magnesium are more prone to headaches. In a clinical study, people who took magnesium reduced their frequency of having a migraine attack by 41.6 percent over those who did not.
    4. You want chocolates more than usual. Chocolates are a sweet treat, but if you find yourself wanting more of the sweet stuff, it may be because of magnesium deficiency. If you must reach for it, go for dark chocolate — the highest levels are found in bars that have over 60 percent cocoa.
    5. You’re having muscle spasms. Calcium and magnesium work together to regulate muscle contraction. Too little magnesium causes excess calcium to bind to the muscles leading to problems with contraction — which can be felt through leg cramps and tightness.
    6. Your eye twitches a lot. “One of the most common ways magnesium deficiency can manifest is through eye twitches,” Hay explained. A lack of magnesium affects the muscles around your eye, which makes for involuntary spasms and twitches.
    7. You have irregular heartbeats. In this case, your heart skipping a beat doesn’t mean your heart’s aflutter — it’s a serious sign that you’re depleted your magnesium resources. When this happens, arrhythmia (the formal name for irregular heartbeats) is a common indicator. If this is not treated, this can lead to cases of hypertension, blood clots, and coronary heart disease.
    8. You’re tired. According to experts, magnesium helps with the natural production of energy in the body, allowing it to release energy. If there isn’t enough magnesium in the body, the creation of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a compound needed for creating energy, is hampered.
    9. You have an acne breakout. When a person lacks magnesium, they’re also missing one of the minerals that fight inflammation caused by skin disease. In fact, magnesium salt therapy has been used to treat skin disorders for a long time.

Adding more magnesium to your diet

Upping your magnesium intake doesn’t need to be difficult — there are a lot of foods that provide magnesium. A good rule of thumb to follow is that foods that contain dietary fiber also provide magnesium. These include green leafy vegetables (such as spinach), legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. Here are some magnesium-rich food sources, based on the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

  • Almonds
  • Spinach
  • Cashews
  • Peanuts
  • Soymilk
  • Black beans

Learn more about magnesium and how to add it to your diet by going to today.

Sources include: 1 2 3 4

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