Magnesium Deficiency: Signs and Symptoms

Know the signs and symptoms of magnesium deficiency

2 min read
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According to the estimates, 2 percent of Americans suffer from magnesium deficiency and this percentage is higher in people who suffer from diabetes and alcohol abuse. Magnesium deficiency is also known as hypomagnesemia and it is an overlooked health problem.

Magnesium deficiency can be underdiagnosed due to signs that are too common or overlap with other health conditions.

According to PubMed, the common causes of magnesium deficiency include:

  • Starvation

  • Certain medications, such as chemotherapy and proton pump inhibitors

  • Acute or chronic diarrhea

  • Hungry bone syndrome

  • Gastric bypass surgery

Conditions like diabetes, poor absorption, chronic diarrhea, and celiac disease are linked with magnesium loss. People with alcohol use disorder are at a higher risk of magnesium deficiency.


Twitches and Cramps

Few common signs of magnesium deficiency include twitches, tremors, and muscle cramps which can even lead to seizures or convulsions in worst-case scenarios.

These symptoms are caused due to a greater flow of calcium into nerve cells, which thus overexcites the muscle nerves. Magnesium supplements can help relieve muscle twitches and cramps but they might not be an effective treatment in older adults.

Involuntary muscle twitches can also be caused due to stress or excessive caffeine, side effects of certain medicines resulting in involuntary muscle spasms.

You should see a doctor if your symptoms persist.

Poor Mental Health 

Magnesium deficiency can also cause various mental health problems over time. According to PubMed, apathy characterized by mental numbness or lack of emotion is one such example. Severe magnesium deficiency can even lead to delirium and coma.

Research has also linked low magnesium levels with an increased risk of depression and anxiety though more research is required to confirm the effects on anxiety.

The context is that lack of magnesium can cause nerve dysfunction and thus take a toll on the mental health of some people.


Osteoporosis with symptoms like weak bones and an increased risk of bone fractures. A Few factors that increase the risk of developing the condition include aging, lack of exercise, poor diet with a lack of vitamins D and K, and osteoporosis.

According to US NIH, magnesium deficiency weaken the bones directly and also lowers the levels of calcium in the blood, a nutrient that is the main building block of bones. Research proves that diet with low magnesium results in reduced bone mass.


High Blood Pressure 

Research proves that magnesium deficiency can affect blood pressure and promote high blood pressure, which further increases the risk of heart diseases.

You need to consult a doctor before consuming magnesium supplements because there are chances that these supplements may lower blood pressure in adults with high blood pressure issues.


Magnesium deficiency is experienced by people with severe asthma (US NIH). Magnesium levels are found to be lower in people with asthma than in people who do not suffer from this condition.

A lack of magnesium can result in a buildup of calcium in the muscles and lining the airways of the lungs which can constrict the airways making breathing more difficult.

People suffering from asthma use an inhaler with magnesium sulfate which helps relax and expand the airways. More severe cases of asthma require injections of magnesium sulfate.

Research shows a link between severe asthma and magnesium deficiency in some people but more research is required for its confirmation.

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