Getting the right vitamins and minerals can make a big difference in the way you feel each day. When you are lacking in a specific area, it can take its toll in peculiar ways. Studies from the past decade or so have suggested that a vast majority of people are living with health conditions brought on by a lack of magnesium. These same studies point to the fact that diets these days consist of less magnesium than the human body needs.
Low Magnesium Causes
You may be wondering what causes low magnesium, or hypomagnesemia, in the first place. While “true” hypomagnesemia is very rare, most experts agree that the average American is likely not getting enough of this essential mineral. Though there isn’t one single culprit, focusing on key magnesium deficiency causes can shed a bit of light on the topic and help you plan a solution!
What You Drink
Running on caffeinated beverages might help you get through your day, but you could also be doing a lot of damage to your system by chugging coffee and soda. According to experts, the diuretic effects of caffeinated drinks can lead to a loss of vital minerals through frequent urination (1). What’s more, the phosphates found in sodas can actually attach to magnesium in your system and prevent it from being absorbed by your body in a healthy manner.
A history of alcoholism can also lead to a wealth of health and wellness complications (2). If you have taken in a lot of alcoholic beverages in your life, then it stands to reason you are suffering from improper magnesium levels and should seek appropriate supplements and foods to help close your nutritional gap.
What You (Don’t) Eat
Malnutrition is another big issue. Like alcoholism, malnutrition brings about a slew of health complications. When your body is not getting the right vitamins and minerals on a regular basis, it can easily take its toll on various systems. Often, malnutrition will put extra pressure on the kidneys and the organs associated with digestion, resulting in frequent urination and diarrhea (3).
As your body expels waste, it is likely you are also losing out on important minerals like magnesium. In fact, any health-related problems that cause increased urination or diarrhea might cause a deficiency in magnesium (4). If you believe you might be dealing with malnutrition, speak to your doctor immediately.
Medications You Take
You also may find that certain medications interact poorly with the nutrients in your body. Cisplatin, which is normally given to cancer patients, has been known to have a number of side effects. One common side effect is diarrhea, which can lead to lowered levels of magnesium in the body. Another common drug, cyclosporine, is used to prevent organ and graft rejections after major surgery. As with cisplatin, cyclosporine can cause diarrhea and vomiting. The best thing to do is speak with a doctor about your magnesium levels and see which supplements will work best with any medications you’re currently on.
6 Magnesium Deficiency Symptoms
Focusing on how to increase magnesium levels can be a great move for your health. To determine whether you could benefit from extra magnesium, look over these common magnesium deficiency symptoms. Once you have an idea of what you’re dealing with, you can start making steps toward improving your situation.
1.) Muscle Cramps
Muscle cramps can happen for a variety of reasons. Still, consistent cramping is considered one of the strongest signs of a magnesium deficiency. When you are experiencing muscle cramps in your legs on a regular basis, there is an easy way to see what is to blame (5). Eating a food rich in potassium is usually a surefire way to cure a cramp. When potassium does not have an impact on the cramp, it means magnesium is most likely to blame.
To get the best results from this test, try eating something rich in magnesium when you have a cramp. A good choice here would be a handful of almonds or pumpkin seeds. If this solves the problem, then your body is most likely telling you that you’re not getting enough magnesium in your diet.
2.) Stressed and Awake
Being able to keep the pace of the demands of the modern world can be exhausting. Maintaining an active social life while juggling familial and professional responsibilities can cause a person to take on a lot of stress. People also tend to drink more caffeinated beverages when they are trying to take on a lot in a small period. Unfortunately, consuming caffeine can cause your body to use up all of its magnesium. This, in turn, can worsen the stress you are experiencing and create a violent cycle.
The more stressed you feel, the more difficult it will become to sleep. Ironically, magnesium is also required to provide your brain with the stimulation its neurotransmitters need to help the mind find a state of rest before sleep (6). Relieving this stress and finding a way to sleep again might be possible simply by boosting your magnesium. Consider supplements or increase how much spinach and tofu you consume to make a difference in your magnesium levels.
3.) Tired and Depressed
While a magnesium deficiency in your body can make itself known by causing you to lose sleep and feel stressed, it can also have a dramatically different impact. For some, a lack of magnesium can create tired or sluggish feelings (7). This lack of energy can lead to feelings of depression and prevent a person from working up the motivation to carry out simple daily tasks. If you are feeling more tired and depressed than you are used to, magnesium might be a good choice.
Kidney beans, brown rice and broccoli can all be excellent sources of magnesium to add to your diet. By making a dish loaded with magnesium-rich ingredients once a day, you are going to start noticing a difference in your overall energy levels (8). Magnesium aids your body in the creation of ATP, which helps to energize your cells and keep your body functioning to the best of its abilities.
4.) Respiratory Troubles
Having difficulty breathing might be another of the signs and symptoms of low magnesium. Specifically, asthmatic respiratory troubles. A number of researchers have collected data suggesting that low magnesium levels can cause an excess of calcium in the body. These calcium deposits can collect in the muscles near the lungs, creating serious difficulty with breathing (9).
Of course, scientists argue over whether asthma is a good indication of monitoring magnesium levels. While respiratory complications might be a sign of a deficiency, studies have shown that magnesium supplements do not always improve asthmatic conditions (10). Still, difficulty breathing coupled with other symptoms on this list could definitely be pointing to a lack of magnesium.
5.) Weak Bones
Osteoporosis and other conditions that impact bone density might also be strong indications of a magnesium deficiency. People living with some form of osteoporosis tend to be more susceptible to breaking bones, which can be a huge problem depending on age and the location of the fracture. A lack of magnesium has been said to weaken the bones in general (11), but it also has a negative impact on calcium levels. Since calcium is integral for healthy bones, experts believe osteoporosis is a strong indication of decreased magnesium levels.
6.) High Blood Pressure
Heart health is super important for a long, happy life. An early sign of cardiovascular complications comes in the form of high blood pressure. While there have not been many studies conducted on how high blood pressure connects to magnesium deficiencies (12), some researchers believe that a deficiency can put an individual at risk for a heart attack. Certain observational studies have shown that magnesium supplements have a positive impact on lowering blood pressure levels (13).
How to Get More Magnesium
Increasing your magnesium levels is all about learning why you are suffering from a deficiency in the first place. The best way to do this is by speaking with your primary care physician as soon as you notice magnesium deficiency symptoms. Changing your habits can be useful, such as cutting back on alcohol, coffee, soda and anything else that might lower your levels of magnesium.
There are a number of magnesium-rich foods you might want to add to your diet. These include almonds, avocado, tofu, sesame seeds, spinach and dark chocolate. The right magnesium supplements might also do wonders to cover nutritional gaps in your daily routine and give your body the magnesium it requires to operate efficiently.