Magnesium is a necessary and important mineral in the body that supports the body in many ways including energy production, keeping bones strong, blood pressure regulation, muscle function and more. It is considered, alongside calcium, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, chloride and sulphur, a macromineral that the body needs to stabilize and function healthily. A lack of magnesium, medically called hypomagnesemia, is when the amount of magnesium in the body is lower than it should be. So, what happens when hypomagnesemia occurs and how can you tell if you are deficient?
Signs of low magnesium in the body:
Early symptoms of low magnesium include:
- Decreased appetite
As magnesium deficiency gets worst, symptoms are:
- Numbness and tingling in hands and feet
- Muscle cramps
- Personality changes
- Abnormal heart rhythms
Long-term hypomagnesemia can have negative impacts on the following things:
- Bone Density
- Brain Function
- Nerve And Muscle Function
- Digestive System
- Heart Disease
- High Blood Pressure
- Type 2 Diabetes
If you are showing any signs, you should speak to a medical doctor who can administer a magnesium test. One way to determine is through a blood test, urine sample, mouth cell sample (EXA Test), or as a red blood test. To be safe, your medical doctor may also test your blood calcium and potassium levels. To be considered a low level of magnesium in your body, your levels would have to be around 1.8mg. Anything lower than 1.25 would be considered very severe. For context, a healthy level is 1.8mg – 2.2 mg
People who have a lot of stress or recently had surgery often can have low magnesium levels. Or, it may be a sign that you have an underlying health condition such as diabetes, thyroid issues, pregnancy issue or other health concerns. Additional contributors to low magnesium include lifestyle issues and health issues such as:
- Excessive alcohol use which can lose excessive amounts of magnesium through urine and sweat
- Old age due to decreased gut absorption
- Burns that affect a large area of the body
- Chronic diarrhea
- Excessive urination (polyuria), such as in uncontrolled diabetes and during recovery from kidney disorder
- Kidney tubule disorders
- Malabsorption syndromes, like celiac disease or inflammatory bowel disease
- Medicines like cisplatin, cyclosporine, diuretics, proton pump inhibitors, and aminoglycoside antibiotics
- Excessive sweating
- Pregnancy and lactating
What is enough magnesium to have?
According to the National Institutes of Health, the recommended amount for magnesium depends on age and sex. As such, for people between 19–30-year-olds, is recommended 310mg for females and 400mg for males. For people 31 and older, the recommended amount is 320g for females and 420mg for males. Teenagers and pregnant women are recommended to have more, whereas children do not need as much.
If you are showing symptoms of lack of magnesium, the best person to speak to is your doctor. They will be able to run tests and provide you with more accurate advice on going forward – which may be as easy as adding a daily magnesium supplement to your routine.