Magnesium deficiency or hypomagnesia (not to be confused with hypomagnesemia) refers to inadequate intake of dietary magnesium or impaired absorption of magnesium, which can result in numerous symptoms and diseases. It is generally corrected by an increase of magnesium in diet, oral supplements, and in severe cases, intravenous supplementation.
‘Normal’ serum magnesium levels
A serum magnesium <0.82 mmol/L (2.0 mg/dL) with a 24-hour urinary magnesium excretion of 40–80 mg/day is highly suggestive of magnesium deficiency.[rx]
One group of experts has recommended magnesium supplementation in subjects experiencing symptoms that reflect magnesium deficiency if the serum level is below 0.9 mmol/L,[rx] with levels less than 0.8 mmol/L necessitating magnesium.
Serum magnesium levels above 0.95 mmol/L may indicate hypermagnesaemia.
|Lactating women||400 mg/day|
Retention of magnesium load (intravenous or oral) after its administration[rx] is likely the best indicator of magnesium deficiency. However, the retention test assumes normal kidney function for intravenous magnesium loads and normal gastrointestinal and renal function for oral load tests and is cumbersome and invasive.
Less reliable methods
Bone magnesium (magnesium depletion in the coccyx may indicate magnesium deficiency).[rx]
The ratio of ionized magnesium to total magnesium[rx] (serum or plasma).
Ionized magnesium levels[rx] (serum or erythrocytes, ionized magnesium is the physiologically active magnesium not bound to proteins). However, this biomarker is controversial and not always available in clinical labs and hard to measure reliably.
Urinary or fecal magnesium excretion[rx] (low or high levels may indicate deficiency).
Total serum magnesium levels.
It is important to note that choosing only one of the aforementioned methods of measuring magnesium deficiency is not appropriate for diagnosing magnesium deficiency. In general, either symptom of magnesium deficiency must accompany the more reliable methods to diagnose magnesium deficiency (eg, intravenous/oral magnesium load, mononuclear cell or muscle), or two or more of the reliable measurements (eg, intravenous/oral magnesium load, mononuclear cell or muscle) should be used in supporting a diagnosis of magnesium deficiency.
Magnesium Deficiency & it Basic Role in Human Body
It is an antidote to stress, the most powerful relaxation mineral available, and it can help improve your sleep.
I find it very funny that more doctors aren’t clued in to the benefits of magnesium, because we use it all the time in conventional medicine. But we never stop to think about why or how important it is to our general health or why it helps our bodies function better.
I remember using magnesium when I worked in the emergency room. It was a critical “medication” on the crash cart. If someone was dying of a life-threatening arrhythmia (or irregular heart beat), we used intravenous magnesium. If someone was constipated or needed to prepare for colonoscopy, we gave them milk of magnesia or a green bottle of liquid magnesium citrate, which emptied their bowels.
If pregnant women came in with pre-term labor, or high blood pressure of pregnancy (pre-eclampsia) or seizures, we gave them continuous high doses of intravenous magnesium.
But you don’t have to be in the hospital to benefit from getting more magnesium. You can start taking regular magnesium supplementation today and see results.
The Relaxation Mineral
Think of magnesium as the relaxation mineral. Anything that is tight, irritable, crampy, and stiff — whether it is a body part or an even a mood — is a sign of magnesium deficiency.
This critical mineral is actually responsible for over 300 enzyme reactions and is found in all of your tissues — but mainly in your bones, muscles, and brain. You must have it for your cells to make energy, for many different chemical pumps to work, to stabilize membranes, and to help muscles relax.
When was the last time you had a good dose of seaweed, nuts, greens, and beans? If you are like most Americans, your nut consumption mostly comes from peanut butter.
That is why the list of conditions that are found related to magnesium deficiency is so long. In fact, there are over 3,500 medical references on magnesium deficiency!
Even so, this mineral is mostly ignored because it is not a drug, even though it is MORE powerful than drugs in many cases. That’s why we use it in the hospital for life-threatening and emergency situations like seizures and heart failure.
Magnesium Deficiency Symptoms
- Muscle cramps or twitches
- Sensitivity to loud noises
- Anal spasms
- Chronic fatigue
- Kidney stones
- High blood pressure
- Menstrual cramps
- Irritable bladder
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Trouble swallowing
Magnesium deficiency has even has been linked to inflammation in the body and higher CRP levels.
- In our society, magnesium deficiency is a huge problem. By conservative standards of measurement (blood, or serum, magnesium levels), 65 percent of people admitted to the intensive care unit — and about 15 percent of the general population — have a magnesium deficiency.
- But this seriously underestimates the problem, because a serum magnesium level is the LEAST sensitive way to detect a drop in your total body magnesium level. So rates of magnesium deficiency could be even higher!
- The reason we are so deficient is simple: Many of us eat a diet that contains practically no magnesium — a highly-processed, refined diet that is based mostly on white flour, meat, and dairy (all of which have no magnesium).
- When was the last time you had a good dose of sea vegetables (seaweed), nuts, greens, and beans? If you are like most Americans, your nut consumption mostly comes from peanut butter, and mostly in chocolate peanut butter cups.
- Much of modern life conspires to help us lose what little magnesium we do get in our diet. Magnesium levels are decreased by excess alcohol, salt, coffee, phosphoric acid in colas, profuse sweating, prolonged or intense stress, chronic diarrhea, excessive menstruation, diuretics (water pills), antibiotics and other drugs, and some intestinal parasites. In fact, in one study in Kosovo, people under chronic war stress lost large amounts of magnesium in their urine.
- This is all further complicated by the fact that magnesium is often poorly absorbed and easily lost from our bodies. To properly absorb magnesium we need a lot of it in our diet, plus enough vitamin B6, vitamin D, and selenium to get the job done.
- A recent scientific review of magnesium concluded, “It is highly regrettable that the deficiency of such inexpensive, low-toxicity nutrient results in diseases that cause incalculable suffering and expense throughout the world.” (ii) I couldn’t’ have said it better myself.
- It is difficult to measure and hard to study, but magnesium deficiency accounts for untold suffering — and is simple to correct. So if you suffer from any of the symptoms I mentioned or have any of the diseases I noted, don’t worry — it is an easy fix!! Here’s how.
- Magnesium deficiency can be harmful! Low magnesium levels can cause fatigue, seizures, high blood pressure, blood clots, muscle cramps and so on.
- It’s estimated that 80 percent of Americans have a magnesium deficiency. And this is not a good thing since this mineral affects every organ in the body.
- According to the Institute of medicine, adult men should consume 400 –
- 420 mg of magnesium while women should aim for 310 – 360 mg per day. Now, the foods below can help get the recommended amount of magnesium without supplementation.
Magnesium Rich Food to Improve Your Overall Health
|Energy production (→ ATP production)|
|Enzyme activation (examples)|
|Calcium antagonist/NMDA-receptor antagonist|
- Okra – One cup of okra has 70 mg of magnesium – approx. 15 percent of the recommended daily intake. Avoid fried okra, boil or roast it.
- Dark chocolate – A bar of chocolate has more than half of the daily recommended magnesium.
- Pumpkin – A cup of chopped pumpkin has 60 mg of magnesium. This food also other numerous benefits so eat it as often as possible.
- Brown rice – A cup of brown rice supplies about 20 percent of recommended magnesium.
- Avocado – This alkaline food is a great magnesium source. One medium-size avocado has about 15 percent of the magnesium you need in a day.
- Almonds – One ounce of this healthy nut has approx. 20 percent of magnesium you need.
- Beet greens – Beet greens may not be popular, but they have lots of magnesium. One cup has 100 mg of magnesium.
- Spinach – A cup of spinach has 150 mg of magnesium. This is definitely one of the best sources of this mineral.
- Squash – This pumpkin-like will give lots of magnesium. One cup has about 40 mg.
- Broccoli – If you’ve never liked broccoli, its magnesium content might change your mind. A cup has 33 mg.
- Figs – 4 cups of dried figs can give you all the magnesium you need in a day.
- Cashew nuts – An ounce of cashew nuts has about 20 percent of the magnesium you need.
- Bananas – Bananas may be known for being potassium-rich, but they also contain some magnesium.
- Pumpkin seeds – Pumpkin and squash seeds contain about 19 percent of recommended magnesium per ounce.
- Lentils – A cup of lentils will give you 18 percent of recommended magnesium.
- Cucumbers – A cup of cucumbers has about 40 mg of magnesium.
- Peas – You can get 70 mg of magnesium from a cup of peas.
|Medications that reduce magnesium levels:|
|(i) H2 blockers: for example, cimetidine and nizatidine|
|(ii) Proton pump inhibitors: for example, esomeprazole, omeprazole, and pantoprazole (FDA WARNING: supplementing magnesium will not correct deficiency; you must stop the drug)|
|(iii) Antacids: aluminum and magnesium hydroxide and sodium bicarbonate|
|(iv) Antibiotics: for example, amoxicillin, azithromycin, doxycycline, minocycline, levofloxacin, ciprofloxacin, cephalexin,|
|sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim, and tetracycline|
|(v) Antihistamines: for example, astemizole and terfenadine|
|(vi) Antivirals: for example, delavirdine, lamivudine, and zidovudine|
|(vii) Antiepileptic medications: phenytoin and phenobarbital|
|(viii) Blood pressure drugs: hydralazine and combination of ACE inhibitors with HCTZ (enalapril and HCTZ)|
|(ix) Diuretics: for example, furosemide, ethacrynic acid, chlorothiazide, chlorthalidone, metolazone, and indapamide|
|(x) Cardiac glycoside: digoxin|
|(xi) Cardiac drugs: sotalol, amiodarone, bretylium, and quinidine|
|(xii) CNS stimulants: methylphenidate|
|(xiii) Cholesterol agents: cholestyramine and colestipol|
|(xiv) Corticosteroids: betamethasone, dexamethasone, hydrocortisone, prednisone, and triamcinolone|
|(xv) Inhaled corticosteroids: fluticasone, flunisolide, and triamcinolone|
|(xvi) Estrogens: DES, estradiol, estring, and estrogen-containing drugs: HRT and BCP|
|(xvii) Immunosuppressants: cyclosporine and tacrolimus|
|(xviii) Nonsteroidal aromatase inhibitors for breast cancer: anastrozole|
|(xix) Osteoporosis: raloxifene|
|(a) On the other hand, magnesium decreases bisphosphonate absorption|
|(xx) SERMs (selective estrogen receptor modulators): raloxifene, tamoxifen, and toremifene|
|(xxi) Sulfonamides: antibiotics and some diabetic medications|
|(xxii) Nutraceuticals: for example, high-dose calcium, high-dose vitamin D, and caffeine|
|Medications that may increase serum magnesium:|
|(i) Lithium carbonate|
|(ii) Antidepressants: for example, sertraline and amitriptyline|
|(iii) Potassium sparing diuretics: amiloride and spironolactone reduce magnesium excretion|