Magnesium deficiency: what are the symptoms of magnesium deficiency

Magnesium deficiency (hypomagnesemia in medical terms) is quite frequent in Western countries, where it is estimated that 70% of the population suffers -often without being aware- of magnesium deficiency.

The early phases of magnesium deficiency are asymptomatic: generally, in fact, signs appear when the plasmatic concentration of magnesium falls below 0.5 mmol/L or even lower.

Reference valuesHypomagnesemiaHypermagnesemia
0.6-1.0 mmol/L<0.5 mmol/L>2.0 mmol/L
1.3-2.4 mg/dL1.0 mg/dL4.9 mg/dL
Reference values for the plasmatic concentration of magnesium (in mmol/L and mg/dL) compared to hypo- and hyper-magnesemia

What are the first signs of magnesium deficiency?
The first alarm bells are: frequent headaches, mood swings and irritability, difficulty in sleeping well and a general, recurrent feeling of tiredness. Physical disorders may also occur in various parts of the body, above all the limbs, including cramps, muscle spasms, mild tremors and involuntary contractions. Finally, severe magnesium deficiency could cause the onset of cardiac arrhythmias.

Causes of magnesium deficiency and possible remedies: when to use magnesium supplements

If there are no specific pathologies, magnesium deficiency is generally related to two specific factors: poor magnesium intake in the diet and/or increased requirements in some periods.

Women often suffer from magnesium deficiency in particularly stressful times, as well as in premenstrual periods, pregnancy and, later on in life, during the menopause. Sports people can also be affected by significant magnesium deficiency, due both to sweating and prolonged muscle effort. Other causes related to magnesium deficiency may be: overly strict or unbalanced slimming diets, chronic intestinal problems such as colitis or diarrhoea, frequent use of certain medicinal products (particularly antibiotics, diuretics and proton pump inhibitors).

The first remedy is certainly to include magnesium-rich foods in the daily diet, to ensure a continuous natural intake. When food is not enough on its own, or in more evident deficiencies, magnesium supplements can offer a valid support.

In sachets, caps or powder, there are many nutritional supplements designed to integrate magnesium stocks in the body, suited for every need. Magnesium supplements can be taken daily even for long periods. Generally however, it is advisable to follow cycles of three months, and then suspend for 30 days.