Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency You Must Look out For

Hypomagnesemia is characterised by low levels of magnesium in the blood. This deficiency in an essential mineral can cause several adverse effects. Being aware of the symptoms of magnesium deficiency allows you to get an early handle of your situation if you ever experience it. Without further ado, here are some of the things you may suffer from when you lack magnesium.



While hypomagnesemia isn’t rare, many people still go undiagnosed due to a lack of testing for the deficiency. Apart from a poor diet, substance abuse, certain medications, metabolic abnormalities, malabsorption and some genetic diseases or syndromes can cause the condition. If you’re a relatively healthy adult, consuming enough magnesium through your diet isn’t difficult.

Magnesium exists in a plethora of everyday foods. Good sources of the nutrient include spinach, nuts, beans, avocados, brown rice, bananas and milk. Some breakfast cereals also come fortified with magnesium.

The recommended dietary intake of magnesium depends on sex and age. Men over 40 years old must consume 420mg per day, according to the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia.


Both anxiety and depression can be signs of something else entirely, but some studies have shown that they may also be linked to magnesium deficiency. Such studies can be found in Neuropharmacology and the Internal Medicine Journal.

Another one published in the Archives of Medical Research found that elderly diabetic patients with depressive symptoms had significantly low levels of magnesium. As for anxiety, its association with hypomagnesemia has been looked into, however, more research is required to arrive at a concrete conclusion.


Another sign of hypomagnesemia is asthma. Insufficient magnesium in the body can lead to calcium buildup in the muscles along the lungs’ airways. As a result, breathing may become impaired.

A study published in the European Respiratory Journal found that patients suffering from asthma tended to have lower levels of magnesium in their system. Treatment with a magnesium sulphate inhaler has shown promise, according to a study found in Chest. Another study published in the Emergency Medical Journal revealed that magnesium sulphate delivered intravenously is an effective treatment for acute asthma, particularly in severe cases.


One of the most dangerous symptoms of magnesium deficiency is a cardiac arrhythmia, a condition characterised by an irregular heartbeat. A heart arrhythmia can come with symptoms of its own, including shortness of breath, dizziness, chest pain and heart palpitations.

In more extreme cases, it can even lead to heart failure, as one study, published in the Journal of Internal Medicine, concluded. The study stated that hypomagnesemia is ‘an essential feature of heart failure associated with complex ventricular arrhythmias’.

An abnormal heart rhythm as a result of hypomagnesemia may be due to hypokalemia. Hypokalemia, characterised by low levels of potassium, is also associated with magnesium deficiency. Research published in Drugs revealed as much.


Feeling tired is a normal part of life. So, experiencing it every now and then is usually no cause for alarm. However, extreme tiredness or fatigue may be a cause for concern, especially if it’s chronic.

Another warning sign of hypomagnesemia is muscle weakness, as one study published in Magnesium Research revealed. Hypokalemia also typically brings on muscle weakness. This condition, characterised by low potassium levels, is linked to magnesium deficiency.


One of the more alarming symptoms of magnesium deficiency is hallucinations. An instance published in the British Medical Journal Case Reports presented a 57-year-old man who experienced ‘profound visual hallucinations’. The man had severe hypomagnesemia and hypocalcemia, otherwise known as calcium deficiency. His symptoms settled once supplementation started.

Of course, hallucinations may be the result of something else entirely, so you mustn’t immediately jump to any conclusions. You must consult with your physician first.


Hypertension is no joking matter. A high blood pressure can be dangerous and even lead to heart disease. It has also been associated with magnesium deficiency.

An observational study published in the American Journal of Cardiology points to the idea that insufficient magnesium can cause high blood pressure. Another study published in the Journal of Human Hypertension had the same findings. However, much like other symptoms on this list, high blood pressure can stem from a number of possible causes.


While a number of conditions can cause involuntary muscle cramps, twitches, tremors or spasms, they may also be a sign of hypomagnesemia. Tetany may also occur, particularly in more advanced cases of magnesium deficiency.

Don’t be fooled, though. Minor muscle cramps can quickly turn into convulsions or seizures under specific circumstances. Research published in the International Journal of Nephrology and Renovascular Disease, as well as the New England Journal of Medicine, revealed this much.


It’s common knowledge that calcium is important for overall bone health. Without it, your bones become fragile and weak, making them more susceptible to fractures. But, where does magnesium come into play?

According to studies published in Nutrients and the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, hypomagnesemia can cause your calcium levels to go down. With weak bones, the risk of osteoporosis increases. When you’re of a certain age, you must take extra care of your bones. Bones naturally become frail as you get older.


Tingling or numbness of the hands and feet, otherwise known as paresthesia, is also one of the symptoms of magnesium deficiency. It may also present itself as a prickling or burning sensation and may be felt in other areas of the body.

A study published in the Cases Journal presented a 57-year-old male with paresthesia, among other symptoms. The results of his blood tests revealed that he was suffering from hypomagnesemia, as well as hypokalemia and hypocalcemia–two conditions associated with magnesium deficiency.

Another study, published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology, showed a 67-year-old male with hypomagnesemia experiencing paresthesia. His symptoms subsided after his magnesium levels normalised.

As you can see, you mustn’t downplay the symptoms of magnesium deficiency. While some of them may only be minor inconveniences, the reality is that a lot of them can be hazardous to your health, especially if you allow them to worsen. If you have hypomagnesemia, you must immediately consult your doctor for treatment. And if you don’t have it, do your best to prevent it by maintaining a balanced diet.


Anthony Hill

When you put together the sum total of my 30 years of bodybuilding training, the contests, the vast array of diets I have experimented (tortured) myself with as well as the experiences I have been through with various training partners in the gyms I have trained in all over the world, it’s been a great ride and I wouldn’t change it for anything. Over the years, I have been fortunate enough to be able to do lots of personal training for private clients alongside my day job. For a few years during my 30’s, I moved to Asia and worked as the Fitness Manager and head personal trainer at one of Thailand’s leading gyms in Bangkok. Learn More

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