Magnesium is one of the most abundant minerals in the human body and is found in every cell in the body. For some reason, its deficiency is also one of the most overlooked health problems. Though there are varying statistics, it is fair to say that many people are not getting their recommended amount. One problem of why it often goes undiagnosed may be due to not having any signs until levels are extremely low.
The reasons for deficiency can vary and these include loss of magnesium from the body and an insufficient amount in the diet. Let’s take a deeper look at magnesium deficiency.
1. Cramps, Spasms & Twitches
Muscle cramps, twitches, spasms and tremors can be due to a deficiency in magnesium. In some people, it can even cause seizures. Calcium is important for muscle contraction while magnesium helps muscles to relax. Low levels can cause stiffness and cramping and also spasms. Supplements may help to give relief but when someone is older, sometimes supplements may not help.
Don’t assume that when you have muscle twitches that it is because of an insufficient amount of magnesium. It can be due to any number of reasons. It may be a neurological disease or it could be a side effect of a medication. The thing to remember is that the occasional twitch is not a concern, however, if it persists, you should see a naturopath or a doctor.
2. Fatigue & Weakness
Our cells contain adenosine triphosphate or ATP which is a chemical that needs to bind with magnesium to convert to energy. With low levels of magnesium, you can guess what happens. The energy molecules aren’t used and so we end up feeling weak and tired. The thing to remember is that everybody feels this way occasionally.
However, if it is severe enough and persistent, you need to find out why. Muscle weakness can also be as a result of magnesium deficiency. It is not completely known why that is, but it is suspected that it may be because of potassium loss in muscle cells which is associated with a deficiency in magnesium.
3. High Blood Pressure
Studies on animals have shown that a lack of magnesium can cause high blood pressure which in turn can cause heart disease. Though there is not much scientific evidence on humans, some studies seem to suggest that a low magnesium intake can raise blood pressure. One Harvard study showed that those who took a healthy amount of magnesium also had healthy blood pressure.
4. Irregular Heartbeat
A rather serious symptom of magnesium deficiency is an irregular heartbeat. It is thought that there is an imbalance of potassium both inside and outside of the heart muscle cells which is associated with a deficiency in magnesium. Patients with arrhythmia were shown to have lower levels of magnesium and their heart functions were improved upon receiving magnesium injections.
If there are healthy levels of magnesium in the body, then heart disease, calcification in the arteries, kidney stones as well as osteoporosis are risks that will be reduced. The problem with magnesium deficiency is that it is very subtle and you won’t realize there is a problem unless the levels are really low. Lower your risk of magnesium deficiency by taking foods that are good sources of magnesium which will also promote better health overall.