Signs and Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency
Magnesium is an essential micronutrient involved in numerous enzymatic and metabolic processes important for the proper functioning of the body. Generally, we consume the daily required amounts through a varied diet, but although this is not very common, sometimes we may experience a magnesium deficiency that can affect our health. It is essential to compensate for a low level of this mineral, because a deficit can trigger or worsen the prognosis of various diseases, from hypertension or osteoporosis to muscular diseases related to the cardiovascular system.
The following oneHOWTO article discusses the causes, symptoms and what you can do in case of magnesium deficiency.
Causes of magnesium deficiency
All organs in the body, especially the heart, muscles and kidneys, need the mineral magnesium. It also helps build teeth and bones. Magnesium is necessary for many bodily functions, including the physical and chemical processes in the body that convert or use energy (metabolism).
Magnesium deficiency is a condition in which the amount of magnesium in the blood is lower than normal. The medical name for this condition is hypomagnesemia. When the level of magnesium in the body is lower than normal, symptoms of magnesium deficiency may occur.
In many cases, magnesium deficiency is associated with several issues:
- Poor absorption of the mineral or with diseases of the digestive system that cause it not to be absorbed properly.
- Irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, chronic diarrhea or celiac disease are some of the most common conditions that can cause magnesium deficiency.
- Kidney disorders or diseases, excessive urination (polyuria), hyperhidrosis or abnormal sweating can be caused by low magnesium levels.
- Excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages.
- Severe malnutrition.
- Taking certain medications, especially laxatives and some antibiotics.
- Presence of burns on a large part of the body.
- Hormonal disorders, especially those related to the thyroid gland.
- Certain types of untreated diabetes.
Symptoms of magnesium deficiency
Recognizing and diagnosing magnesium deficiency is not easy, because the symptoms of this deficiency are very diverse and, moreover, can be more or less obvious or alarming, depending on the degree of deficiency. These are the following:
- A body that feels tired and weak for no apparent reason may not be absorbing enough essential micronutrients, including magnesium. This is especially if it is accompanied by other worrying symptoms, such as losing appetite (pay special attention to elderly diets) or gastrointestinal problems (vomiting and diarrhea).
- You should also know that magnesium is crucially involved in the connections that the nervous system makes to trigger movements and achieve the proper functioning of muscles and joints. In this sense, one of the most common symptoms of magnesium deficiency is the sensation of tingling or numbness in the extremities, as well as frequent muscle contractions, strains, or cramps. These symptoms can be especially alarming for athletes or people who perform intense physical activities on a daily basis.
- The most serious symptoms also include persistent headaches and increased blood pressure, which can even affect the heart rate.
- Magnesium plays a crucial role not only in physiological functions, but also in mental processes. Therefore, unexplained irritability, difficulty concentrating, sudden mood swings or issues falling asleep can be signs of low magnesium levels in the blood.
What to do if you have a magnesium deficiency
If symptoms are severe, a medical consultation and tests such as blood and urine tests are essential to determine magnesium levels and the possible causes of a low index. The specialist will determine if and how you need to take magnesium with a supplement containing this mineral to achieve a healthy level.
Fortunately, there are many foods that can provide significant amounts of magnesium. Therefore, the easiest and healthiest solution is to turn to these foods when you are deficient. A diet rich in magnesium should include green leafy vegetables such as spinach or watercress, legumes such as lentils, chickpeas or beans, fruits such as bananas or avocados, whole grains and also nuts such as almonds or pistachios. For athletes, isotonic drinks are also a great help in replenishing the mineral salts excreted during exercise, thus preventing magnesium loss symptoms such as muscle cramps.
This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.
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