Low magnesium symptoms often disguise themselves as other issues
“About half of adults don’t consume sufficient magnesium,” says Samantha Cassetty, MS, RD, Chief Nutrition Officer for OMG! Nutrition. “Clinical deficiency isn’t common, but insufficiency is. The typical American diet is low in magnesium-rich foods like leafy greens, whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds.” This is one of the many reasons low magnesium symptoms start to crop up for otherwise-healthy people.
Even “common gastrointestinal concerns such as IBS can impact absorption, and medications including commonly prescribed antacids interfere.”
Some of the most common low magnesium symptoms include:
Fatigue and weakness
“Fatigue and weakness may be early signs of suboptimal magnesium levels, and magnesium is deeply connected with our sleep patterns,” says Cassetty. So while your birth control pills may make you tired, low magnesium levels may actually render you exhausted. “Studies suggest that low magnesium levels are linked with insomnia, and supplementing with magnesium has been found to improve sleep quality and duration.”
Feeling extra stressed
“Low magnesium levels may also be linked with symptoms of stress, and magnesium supplementation may help with stress reduction, promoting better wellbeing.” Plus, it turns out more stress can cause other symptoms ranging from weight gain to issues with fungal acne.
Irregular heart rhythms
One of the scariest low magnesium symptoms is a changed heartbeat, and magnesium-related heart issues are on the rise according to this study.
Increased risk of diabetes
“Low magnesium levels are linked with impaired glucose metabolism, which puts you at risk for diabetes. You might experience excessive hunger or weight gain if your glucose metabolism is impaired.” Hardly worth skimping on salads, seeds, and nuts. In fact, lower blood sugar levels are one of the many health benefits of falafel.
Increased anxiety and depression
“Magnesium is also strongly linked to anxiety and depressive symptoms,” says Cassety. “While not a substitute for medication, people report lower anxiety levels and improvement in depressive symptoms when taking magnesium.”
Weak, brittle hair
Magnesium supports a healthy immune system as well as normal blood glucose levels, both of which are important for healthy hair growth. You can always increase scalp circulation externally, but if you’re exhibiting low magnesium symptoms, watch out for thinning, weak, and brittle hair.
Muscle contractions and cramping
You can thank magnesium’s role in the production of protein and energy for those nasty muscle cramps you may experience when finding yourself low on magnesium.
How to treat low magnesium symptoms
“Magnesium is found in leafy greens, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds, as well as dark chocolate,” she explains. “You can add a few handfuls of spinach to your morning smoothie, snack on almonds, or toss beans into a salad.”
Women should aim for 320 mg of magnesium per day and men should aim for 400 mg, which can be hard to meet on salads and dark chocolate alone. Cassety suggests “supplementing to fill the gap,” and warns that “the form you choose is key, with common forms like magnesium citrate causing cramping and diarrhea because that form isn’t as available to your body.”
She prefers supplements like OMG! Nutrition, “because it’s highly-absorbable and gentle on the stomach, and it comes in ready-to-mix drink packets.”
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