Are you magnesium deficient? Research shows that a whopping 70% of people in the US don't get the recommended daily intake: 420 mg per day for men and 320 mg per day for women. And figures for the UK population are thought to be similar. But have you ever thought about whether you're getting enough, or looked into magnesium deficiency symptoms? The answer for most people is no. Which is bizarre if you dig a little deeper, and find out just how crucial magnesium is for good health.
Supplements like iron and B12 get a lot of airtime, you probably already know they can help you fight fatigue, and boost your energy levels. Lots of people swear by vitamins C and D to see off viruses. Take a scroll through socials, or read an article on wellbeing, and you'll find loads of talk about supplements like glutathione, and NAD, and their transformative powers. But when did someone last mention magnesium to you?
Often overlooked, magnesium is essential to feel well. Your body needs it to control electrical activity in the heart, dilate your blood vessels, relax your muscles, and produce energy. It also plays a key role in your nervous system, stress reduction, and restful sleep. And much, much more. In fact, it’s absolutely crucial for more than 600 enzymatic reactions in the body – who knew?
We're magnesium's number one cheerleader – can you tell?! So, here's the skinny on why magnesium is so important for your health, the weird symptoms that could mean you're not getting enough, and how to top up your levels so you feel fantastic again.
What happens if you don't get enough magnesium?
In the short term, the effects of magnesium deficiency can be quite subtle. You might feel anxious and unsettled, but not able to put your finger on why. Sleepless nights could start to become a regular thing. Your face and limbs could feel tingly sometimes, or you might get woken up by cramps.
If you ignore your magnesium deficiency symptoms and let them go untreated, things could get more serious. Long-term subclinical magnesium deficiency is thought to play a part in heart and circulatory disorders, as well as other chronic health problems. For instance: type 2 diabetes, asthma, depression, Alzheimer’s and dementia, fibromyalgia, brittle bones, and even cancer.
What are the common magnesium deficiency symptoms you need to look out for?
1) Muscle twitching:
Magnesium helps your muscles work by regulating the electrical thresholds in your nerve cells. Don't get enough and the nerve cells become hyper-excitable, leading to uncontrolled muscle spasms. That annoying twitch you get next your eye might be one too many coffees, or late nights. But if you're experiencing some of the other symptoms, maybe it’s time to get your magnesium levels checked.
2) Leg or hand cramps:
Keep waking up with ouchy cramps in your legs or hands? If you have low levels of magnesium, your body is less able to control muscle contraction. This means your muscles could contract or tighten up when you don't want them to, resulting in those pesky cramps.
3) Weakness and Fatigue:
Had a good night's sleep but STILL struggle to get out of bed in the mornings? It might be magnesium! If your levels are low you'll lose potassium in your muscle cells. This can weaken your muscles, so that even the simplest everyday tasks can feel exhausting. You'll feel weak and tired out before you've even left the house in the morning – sigh.
Low magnesium levels can disrupt the potassium levels in ALL the muscles in your body. Including the ones inside and outside of your heart muscle. This can cause arrhythmia or palpitations, when your heart might beat too fast, or skip a beat. You could feel like you've just run a marathon when you've been sat down all day.
You might also experience lightheadedness, chest pain and shortness of breath. This could just be another one of your magnesium deficiency symptoms. But it goes without saying that chest pain or shortness of breath should be checked out by a Dr. And sooner rather than later.
Some people call magnesium 'nature’s valium' because it blocks stimulating neurotransmitters in the brain, and binds to calm receptors instead. It also helps to regulate stress hormones like cortisol. If you don't get enough magnesium your nervous system can go into overdrive leaving you feeling on edge, anxious, and stressed. Yikes.
It's not fully understood why low levels of magnesium can impact on your ability to sleep, but studies have shown that supplementing with magnesium can reduce insomnia symptoms and side effects. Insomnia often goes hand-in-hand with depression and anxiety too, which can both be related to low magnesium.
7) Chronic migraine headaches
Fed up with killer headaches? Research shows that many people who have migraines have lower levels of magnesium than people who don't experience them. Some scientists think this could be because magnesium can block the disruptive signals in the brain that cause this type of pain. Bravo magnesium!
Why are so many people not getting recommended amount of magnesium?
Your body can't make magnesium itself. So, to avoid magnesium deficiency symptoms you have to make sure you're eating plenty of magnesium-rich foods, or take a supplement.
The 'standard' UK diet (if such a thing exists!) only contains about half of the recommended daily intake of magnesium for adults. Probably because processed foods, fat, refined flour, and sugars all contain zero magnesium. And even if you have an exemplary diet and live on green veg, eggs, nuts, and brown rice (all excellent sources of magnesium)- you STILL might not get enough.
Why? Because as you get older it's more difficult for your body to utilise magnesium. Or maybe you have malabsorption issues. Then there’s the overuse of high-potassium fertilisers in farming. This means plants take up potassium rather than magnesium, and there isn’t as much magnesium in your veggies as there should be.
How to boost your levels to reduce magnesium deficiency symptoms:
Making some tweaks to your diet can help to improve your magnesium levels. Spinach, black beans, avocado, and wholemeal bread all contain a decent amount. Looking for the food with the highest magnesium content? Hello chia and pumpkin seeds! Sprinkle them on your morning porridge, or a lunchtime salad or soup. A great way to boost your levels with minimal effort.
Speaking of which, the ultimate shortcut to top up your magnesium levels is to take a supplement. The Tri Magnesium Complex patch is a specially formulated combination of the three most bioavailable types of magnesium: theronate, malate, and glycinate. All recommended by Drs if you need to top up. So there's no need to try out lots of different types of magnesium, the patch has done the hard work for you by combining all 3 of the best ones – ta dah!
Living with some of the psychological symptoms that low magnesium can trigger? The MagnaCalm patch is perfect for you. As well as boosting your magnesium levels, it also contains natural stress and anxiety relievers L-Theanine, DHH-B, and passionflower.
Give them a try and you can wave goodbye to pesky magnesium deficiency symptoms. You’ll also feel your best mentally and physically, reduce your anxiety, and sleep better. And start spreading the word about magnesium and how brilliant it is for your health!