Magnesium deficiency, also known as hypomagnesemia, is an often overlooked health problem. Health problems associated with magnesium loss include diabetes, poor absorption, chronic diarrhea, celiac disease. People with alcoholism are also at an increased risk.
The symptoms of magnesium deficiency are usually subtle unless your levels become severely low. Deficiency may cause fatigue, muscle cramps, mental problems, irregular heartbeat and osteoporosis.
1. Muscle Twitches and Cramps
Twitches, tremors and muscle cramps are signs of magnesium deficiency. In severe deficiency, it may even cause seizures or convulsions. While occasional twitches are normal, you should see your doctor if your symptoms persist.
2. Mental Disorders
Mental disorders are another possible consequence of magnesium deficiency. These include apathy, which is characterized by mental numbness or lack of emotion. Worsened deficiency may even lead to delirium and coma.
Additionally, observational studies have associated low magnesium levels with an increased risk of depression and might promote anxiety. Lack of magnesium may cause nerve dysfunction and promote mental problems in some people.
Osteoporosis is a disorder characterized by weak bones and an increased risk of bone fractures. The risk of getting osteoporosis is influenced by numerous factors. These include old age, lack of exercise and a poor intake of calcium, vitamins D and K.
Interestingly, magnesium deficiency is also a risk factor for osteoporosis. Deficiency might weaken bones directly, but it also lowers the blood levels of calcium, the main building block of bones. Studies have associated poor magnesium intake with lower bone mineral density. (Also read –> 16 Calcium Rich Foods For Vegans)
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4. High Blood Pressure
Magnesium deficiency may increase blood pressure and promote high blood pressure, which is a strong risk factor for heart disease. Studies suggest that low magnesium levels or poor dietary intake may raise blood pressure, which, in turn, increases the risk of heart disease. (Also read –> Foods That Lower The High Blood Pressure)
5. Fatigue and Muscle Weakness
Fatigue, a condition characterized by physical or mental exhaustion or weakness, is another symptom of magnesium deficiency. Keep in mind that everyone becomes fatigued from time to time. Typically, it simply means you need to rest. However, severe or persistent fatigue may be a sign of a health problem. However, these are not specific signs of a deficiency unless they are accompanied by other symptoms.
Another, more specific sign of magnesium deficiency is muscle weakness, also known as myasthenia. Studies have shown that the weakness is caused by the loss of potassium in muscle cells, a condition associated with magnesium deficiency.
6. Irregular Heartbeat
One of the symptoms of magnesium deficiency is heart arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat, which may increase the risk of more serious complications, such as a stroke or heart failure.
The symptoms of arrhythmia are mild in most cases. Often, it has no symptoms at all. However, in some people, it may cause heart palpitations, which are pauses between heartbeats. Other possible symptoms of arrhythmia include lightheadedness, shortness of breath, chest pain or fainting. In the most severe cases, arrhythmia may increase the risk of stroke or heart failure.
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Note : If you believe you may have a magnesium deficiency, your suspicions can be confirmed with a simple blood test. You should speak with your doctor to rule out other possible health problems.
Whatever the outcome, try to regularly eat plenty of magnesium rich whole foods, such as nuts, seeds, grains or beans. These foods are also high in other healthy nutrients. Including them in your diet not only lowers your risk of magnesium deficiency, but it also promotes your overall health.