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Magnesium Deficiency:The Many Signs

  • Published on: 15 December, 2014
  • Last update: 25 September, 2020

Signs of magnesium deficiency are everywhere if you know what to look for. Unfortunately, the symptoms are so incredibly common that they constantly slip under the radar.

What exactly is magnesium?

Magnesium is life.

It is the 4th most abundant mineral in the body, right next to sulfur (which is JUST as important).

Along with being a mineral, magnesium is also an electrolyte. “Sports drinks” contain electrolytes such as magnesium, potassium, and sodium because these important nutrients are sweat out during exercise, and their deficiency is what leads to the common problems athletes face such as muscle cramping! But believe me – electrolytes (especially magnesium) do so much more than treat and prevent muscle cramps.

First off, electrolytes are what allow us to be living, electrical beings. They are responsible for all electrical activity (and thus brain conductivity) in the body. Without electrolytes like magnesium, muscles can’t fire, your heart cannot beat, and your brain doesn’t receive any signals. We need magnesium to stay alive, point blank. As soon as we don’t have enough of it, we start to loose the energy and conductivity that keeps us going (not to mention the aches and pains that can come along with deficiency).

Magnesium is a cofactor in over three hundred reactions in the body, necessary for transmission of nerve impulses, temperature regulation, detoxification in the liver and formation of bones and teeth. However, magnesium shows its true power in cardiovascular health.

So many of us have signs of magnesium deficiency without even realizing it:

Symptoms can include…

  • Constipation
  • Hypertension
  • High blood pressure
  • Anxiety and melancholy
  • Insomnia
  • Behavioral disturbances
  • Lethargy
  • Impaired memory/thinking
  • Fatigue
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Pain
  • Muscle cramps
  • Chronic back pain
  • Headaches
  • Migraines
  • Muscular pain
  • Tendonitis

Anything that makes you tense and tight could potentially be due to magnesium deficiency. If you can’t relax or you can’t stop — think magnesium!

“Similarly, patients with diagnoses of depression, epilepsy, diabetes mellitus, tremor, Parkinsonism, arrhythmias, circulatory disturbances (stroke, cardiac infarction, arteriosclerosis), hypertension, migraine, cluster headache, cramps, neuro-vegetative disorders, abdominal pain, osteoporosis, asthma, stress dependent disorders, tinnitus, ataxia, confusion, preeclampsia, weakness, might also be consequences of the magnesium deficiency syndrome.”
 – Journal of the American College of Nutrition


Magnesium is associated with so many disorders that Dr. Carolyn Dean of the Nutritional Magnesium Association has devoted an entire book to how she has treated thousands of patients for wide arrays of diseases with magnesium as the primary component. Her book, The Magnesium Miracle is a must read if you have any of the magnesium deficiency symptoms above, or any health problems in general – as there is likely a magnesium component to everything.

Why don’t doctors find more magnesium deficiency via lab work?

Unfortunately, blood tests do not yield much helpful information about magnesium… why? Because the body controls the levels of blood magnesium very tightly. If the magnesium in the blood drops just a little bit, things could get rocky fast. So to prevent this, the body will pull from all of the cells, tissues and the bones in order to keep the blood constant. 99% of the magnesium in the body is stored in your cells, while only a mere 1% of your the body’s total magnesium is in your blood.

“A serum test for magnesium is actually worse than ineffective, because a test result that is within normal limits lends a false sense of security about the status of the mineral in the body. It also explains why doctors don’t recognize magnesium deficiency; they assume serum magnesium levels are an accurate measure of all the magnesium in the body.” – Dr. Carolyn Dean, The Magnesium Miracle.

The best ways to get magnesium

1. Eat magnesium rich foods grown on organic soil.


2. UPDATE: Take ionic magnesium drops. This is my new favorite method, which I’ve learned from The Magnesium Miracle.

3. Apply magnesium oil to your skin! This is the second best way to raise your levels.

4. Soak in epsom salt baths. This will provide not only magnesium, but sulfur for your liver as well.

5. Take Magnesium CALM orally. I take this before bed if I don’t have a chance to soak in epsom salt. Do not use this option if you have low stomach acid.

Additional References (not linked in the article)

Oxford Journals – Magnesium Basics: http://ckj.oxfordjournals.org/content/5/Suppl_1/i3.full

Dr. Carolyn Dean, MD: http://drcarolyndean.com/magnesium_miracle/

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22 Comments

Michelle

Reply
You advise not to use Magnesium Calm if you have low stomach acid. Can you please tell us what to use?

Olivia

Reply

Use methods 2, 3, and 4 of magnesium delivery instead of #5.

Michelle Burk

Reply
Hi Olivia~ you say not to use magnesium Calms if you have low stomach acid. What should we use then?

Lynda

Reply
Timely article! For over 2 months 24/7 I was suffering from a “muscle twitch” in my inner ear (called tensor tympani and stapedius muscle spasms). It was driving me crazy, being very loud and strong at times. I looked up naturopathic methods after reading on several sites that surgery (actually cutting the ear muscle to stop the twitching…) was the recommended cure. One of the recommended naturopathic methods was taking a magnesium supplement. This did the trick! I occasionally still experience the inner ear muscle twitch, mostly during moments of stress, but for the most part it has been resolved by the magnesium supplement.

Olivia

Reply

I’m so glad the magnesium is helping. Stress depletes both magnesium and zinc (and B6 too actually) so look into zinc and a good methylated b-complex! xx

KJ

Reply
Dudette….thank you. One more thing to add to the list, of things to incorporate into my lifestyle. When I complete my very first parasite cleanse (I’m 38), want to do a kidney cleanse, and then a liver flush. Then another parasite cleanse. Ah well.

Olivia

Reply

Thank YOU so much! Happy cleansing!! Check out watermelon seed tea for a kidney cleanse as per Edgar Cayce’s recommendation.

Tracy

Reply
Great article! Will look for you on instagram

Ashley

Reply
I have low stomach acid, could i still use ionic magnesium drops ?

Leanne

Reply
Hi Olivia, This was a great post and I’m so happy I stumbled across it. I was originally reading your 429 post (which was amazing and made me realize a number I have been seeing repeatedly for years but never thought anything of) and it led me here. I studied holistic nutrition and am still frustrated a lot of the time because I still suffer from digestion issues and acne. I think magnesium would definitely make a big difference. I have never left a comment on a blog before but I just wanted tell you that I think you are an incredibly inspiring human being and every time I look at your website I always feel energized, hopeful and excited for the possibilities ahead. Keep doing what your doin 🙂

Tessa

Reply
Hi Olivia, do you take the liquid drops AND Magnesium Calm on a daily basis? They are relatively expensive so I was wondering if taking both would be necessary or recommended. I do have anxiety so taking both would probably benefit me though. I take other supplements too and they add up pretty quickly 🙁

Olivia

Reply

It totally depends on what works for you. Try the magnesium calm first and see how you feel. If you’re calmer and sleep better, it’s working! But if you still have symptoms go for the liquid drops. Everyone is different. Lots of love!

Theresa

Reply
I just saw your instagram post on Magnesium deficiency and it reminded me of my fiance’s old neighbor, Dr. Carolyn Dean who made a big impression on his family about the use of magnesium. And then I saw she was a source for your article. Small world! Anyway, just a quick question: is taking Magnesium supplements (i.e. the oil or the drops) okay if you are pregnant? Thanks!

Olivia

Reply

Hey again 🙂 Magnesium should generally be safe for pregnancy since it is a naturally occurring mineral present in foods such as chocolate, pumpkin seeds, etc (but always check with your doctor). The oil may be a great choice since it’s absorbed topically right into the cells.

Kasha

Reply
Are there any supplements you recommend? Any certain kind of supplement? How many mg would you say is an adequate amount for a supplement?

Olivia

Reply

Hi Kasha, the answer to your question is at the end of my article where I mention the top 5 sources including supplements.

Maria Parra

Reply
How about taking Magnesium Chloride?

Maria Parra

Reply
I would like to receive post by emails.

Jennifer

Reply
How many mg of magnesium should we have a day?

Gabriela Black

Reply
I suffer for about 5 with Rheumatoid, Fibro and Osteo very badly. looks like I need more magnesium. I use Tumeric now, should I add magnesium to it as well?

whitney

Reply
Hi! I am just wondering what is the best Magnesium supplement you recommend to get? And also, what’s the difference between a magnesium supplement and msg supplement?

Allison Essex

Reply
You posted this all week on instagram and I just happened to be researching water bottles lol funny thing. Do you recommend any specific drinking waters? And what is the best area to apply the magnesium oil?

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