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Zaheera Swing
Nutritional Therapist & Herbalist BSc Hons Nutritional Science + NTPD

Signs You're Deficient in Magnesium: Nature's Mighty Mineral

Key points

 

  • Magnesium is an essential mineral involved in over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body.

  • It plays a role in food metabolism, protein creation, muscle and nerve function, healthy bones and teeth, and DNA synthesis.

  • It helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle, calm the nervous system, and regulate neurotransmitters.

  • Deficiency can lead to muscle weakness, cramps, twitching, anxiety, high blood pressure, and decreased exercise performance.

  • Also involved in cardiovascular health by regulating blood vessel relaxation and contraction and maintaining calcium balance.

  • It plays an essential role in Vitamin D activation for the absorption of calcium and phosphorus for healthy bones.

  • It helps to maintain healthy blood sugar levels by regulating the hormone insulin.

  • Magnesium bisgylinate supplementation is the easiest way to ensure you’re getting enough magnesium daily.

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    What is magnesium?

     

    Magnesium is an essential mineral that plays a vital role in maintaining vibrant health. Unfortunately, many people don't get enough of it in their diets, leading to a magnesium deficiency. But don't worry, in this article, we're going to talk all about the benefits of magnesium, how to tell if you're deficient, and how to get more of it into your diet.

    First off, let's talk about why magnesium is so important. Magnesium is involved in over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body, including the metabolism of food, the creation of new proteins, and the functioning of muscles and nerves. It's also necessary for healthy bones, teeth, and DNA synthesis. But that's not all - magnesium also has a number of health benefits when it comes to sleep, anxiety, muscle health, and cardiovascular health. [1] [2] 

     

     

    1. Sleep

     

     

    Let's start with sleep. Magnesium plays a crucial role in regulating the body's sleep-wake cycle. It helps to relax muscles and calm the nervous system, which can make it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep. Magnesium also helps to regulate the levels of melatonin and GABA in the body, two important neurotransmitters for sleep regulation. 

    In fact, studies have shown that people with insomnia who take magnesium supplements have better sleep quality and are able to fall asleep faster. 

    [3] [4]

     

     

    2. Anxiety & depression

     

     

    Magnesium is known as "nature's tranquilizer" because of its ability to calm the nervous system. Studies have found that people with low levels of magnesium are more likely to struggle with feeling depressed and anxious. For example, one study involving over 8,800 people showed that adults with the lowest intake of magnesium had a 22% higher risk of developing depression.

    A systematic review of clinical trials focusing on magnesium supplementation found that the current evidence suggests a beneficial effect of magnesium on subjective anxiety levels. [5]

    Research indicates that these benefits may result from Magnesium’s influence on the body's main stress response system, known as the HPA axis, as well as it’s effect on the neurotransmitter known as GABA, which is responsible for feelings of calm and well-being.

    [6] [7]

     

     

    3. Muscle health

     

     

    Magnesium is essential for muscle function, and a deficiency can lead to muscle weakness, cramps, and twitching. Magnesium is also necessary for proper muscle contraction and relaxation and for maintaining nerve function. In addition, it has been shown to reduce muscle pain and soreness after exercise. 

    [8] [9]

     

     

    4. Cardiovascular health

     

     

    Shockingly, statistics show that cardiovascular disease is the #1 cause of death in the United States, with someone dying from the disease every 34 seconds. That means it’s more important than ever to give your heart health some love.

    The good news is that researchers have found a relationship between high consumption of magnesium and a reduced likelihood of encountering significant cardiovascular risk factors such as metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and hypertension, as well as a diminished chance of stroke and total cardiovascular disease risk. 

    Magnesium is involved in the relaxation and contraction of blood vessels and the heart muscle. Some observational research shows that a lower intake of magnesium may be linked to high blood pressure. 

    Magnesium has also been found to have a beneficial effect on blood lipid levels, and may lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

    [10] [11]

     

     

    5. Vitamin D activation

     

     

    Magnesium and Vitamin D are two essential nutrients that work together. Magnesium is necessary for the activation of Vitamin D, which means that without enough magnesium, Vitamin D cannot function properly in the body.

    Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is essential for the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, which are necessary for healthy bones and teeth.

    It is also involved in regulating the immune system and plays a role in cell growth and differentiation. However, it needs to undergo hydroxylation in the liver to become active. This process is dependent on magnesium as a cofactor for the enzyme that catalyzes the hydroxylation of Vitamin D. [12]

     

     

    6. Blood Sugar Balance

     

    Magnesium plays a crucial role in maintaining healthy blood sugar levels. It is involved in the regulation of insulin, a hormone that controls the uptake of glucose from the bloodstream into the cells. 

    Studies have shown that people with type 2 diabetes may have lower levels of magnesium in their blood compared to people without diabetes. 

    Furthermore, increasing magnesium intake through diet or supplements can improve insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism and reduce the risk of developing diabetes. 

    [13] [14] [15] 

     

     

     

    Signs you're deficient in magnesium

     

    So, now that you know all the amazing benefits of magnesium, you're probably wondering how to tell if you're magnesium level is low.

    Here are some common signs that you might be running low on this essential mineral:

    • You're feeling more "twitchy" than usual. Magnesium is involved in muscle function, and a deficiency can lead to muscle weakness, cramps, and twitching. If you're feeling like your muscles are in a constant state of contraction, it could be a sign that you're not getting enough magnesium.
       
    • You're having trouble sleeping. Magnesium is known as "nature's tranquilizer" because it helps to relax muscles and calm the nervous system, making it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep. If you're tossing and turning all night, it might be time to check your magnesium levels.
       
    • You're feeling anxious. Magnesium is essential for regulating the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain, particularly those related to mood such as serotonin and GABA. If you're feeling like you're on edge all the time, it could be a sign that you may have low magnesium levels.
       
    • You're feeling fatigued. Magnesium is involved in over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body, including the metabolism of food, the creation of new proteins, and the functioning of muscles and nerves. If you're feeling like you're running on empty, it could be a sign that you're not getting enough magnesium.
       

    N.B: It's important to note that these symptoms can be caused by other factors as well, so the best way to determine if you're deficient is to have your blood levels checked

     

     

     

    Why are so many people not getting enough magnesium?

     

    For starters, many of our soils are depleted of magnesium, which means that the fruits and vegetables we eat may not have as much of it as they used to. Plus, many processed foods, which make up a large portion of the modern diet, are also lacking in magnesium.

    Another factor is that certain lifestyle factors such as alcohol consumption, caffeine intake, and stress can lead to increased excretion of magnesium from the body, making it even harder to maintain adequate levels.

    And if you think that's bad, it gets worse; magnesium is also not well absorbed by the body, so even if you are eating magnesium-rich foods, your body may not be able to utilize it as well as it should.

    It's no wonder that a lot of us are falling short on this important mineral. So, if you want to make sure you're getting enough magnesium in your diet, it's a good idea to choose whole, unprocessed foods and consider taking a supplement.

    The good news is that it's easy to add magnesium-rich foods to your diet. Magnesium is found in a wide variety of foods, including:

    • Leafy green vegetables
    • Nuts
    • Seeds
    • Whole grains
    • Spinach
    • Black beans.

    In addition to dietary sources, magnesium can also be obtained through supplements. Magnesium supplements come in various forms, such as tablets, capsules, powders, and liquids. 

    Different forms of magnesium supplements have different bioavailability, meaning that some forms are better absorbed and utilized by the body than others.

     



    What is the best form of magnesium supplement? 

     

    Magnesium Bisglycinate is considered one of the best forms of magnesium supplementation because of its high bioavailability.

    Bioavailability refers to the amount of a nutrient that is able to enter the bloodstream and be used by the body. Some forms of magnesium, such as magnesium oxide, have low bioavailability, meaning that the body doesn't absorb them very well. Magnesium Bisglycinate, on the other hand, is a chelated form of magnesium, which means that it is bound to an amino acid (glycine) that helps to maximize its absorption and bioavailability.

    Magnesium Bisglycinate is also less likely to cause gastrointestinal side effects, such as diarrhea, which is a common side effect of some forms of magnesium supplements like magnesium citrate. This is because the glycine in Magnesium Bisglycinate helps to neutralize the laxative effect of magnesium, ensuring it’s gentle on the digestive system.

    Other commonly available forms of magnesium supplements include:

    • Magnesium oxide is frequently found in dietary supplements since it is relatively inexpensive. However, it has a low bioavailability making it less effective than other forms.

    • Magnesium citrate is bound to citric acid. It is well-absorbed and utilized by the body, making it one of the more bioavailable forms of magnesium supplements; however, it can lead to unpleasant side effects like diarrhea due to its laxative effects. 

     

     

     

    Final Thoughts

     

    In conclusion, magnesium is an essential mineral that plays a vital role in maintaining vibrant health. It's involved in over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body, including the metabolism of food, the creation of new proteins, blood glucose balance, and the functioning of muscles and nerves. It also has a number of benefits when it comes to sleep, anxiety, muscle function, bone health, and heart health. Eating a balanced diet that is rich in magnesium-rich foods and if needed, taking a supplement is a great way to ensure that you are getting enough magnesium in your diet.

     

    Note: This article is for informational purposes only and not intended for use as medical advice. Always consult your healthcare provider before starting any dietary supplement.

    Zaheera Swing
    Nutritional Therapist & Herbalist BSc Hons Nutritional Science + NTPD
    As a qualified Nutritional Therapist (BSc Hons Nutritional Science + NTPD), Zaheera Swing has a deep passion for restoring balance and harmony to the body through the modalities of nutritional science, herbalism, and holistic lifestyle practices. Using the functional medicine model coupled with wisdom from ancient paradigms, she aims to provide insight into the underlying root causes of poor health and the holistic tools we can harness to enhance the well-being of mind, body, and spirit.
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