There are a lot of health problems that can occur when you have a magnesium deficiency, some minor and others more serious. While severe magnesium deficiency is relatively rare, reported in less than 2% of the population, undiagnosed mild deficiency is far more prevalent, occurring in as much as 75% of the population. Deficiency can occur for a number of reasons. A bad diet is one, but some health problems that can actually make it more probable. People with celiac disease and chronic diarrhea are more prone to deficiencies. So are diabetics, alcoholics and people with HBS—hungry bone syndrome.
If you get frequent muscle cramps, you might be low on magnesium.
Not all tremors, muscle cramps or twitches are from magnesium deficiency. Some of those things occur in older adults without deficiencies and even if a deficiency occurs, supplementing with magnesium may not help in older adults. Some deficiencies can even cause seizures or convulsions. If you’re getting muscle cramps and muscle twitches occasionally, it could be normal or from other causes, like medication, neuromyotonia or a motor neuron disease.
Checking your magnesium levels may be an important predictor of heart disease.
Scientists believe that low magnesium levels can be linked to all types of heart disease from high blood pressure to plaque build up, cholesterol problems, hardening of the arteries and calcification of soft tissue. In fact, low magnesium may be a good predictor of the potential for heart disease. High blood pressure can be caused by deficiencies and studies show that magnesium supplements can benefit those people. People with irregular heartbeat that may also suffer from heart palpitations, light-headedness, shortness of breath, chest pain and fainting. Severe arrhythmia can increase the risk of heart failure and stroke.
Is anxiety or depression a problem and there’s no identifiable cause?
There are many mental health disorders that can come from lack of magnesium. Depression and anxiety are two, but lack of emotion, apathy and mental numbness are also early symptoms, with the potential for coma and delirium a potential for severe deficiency. Scientists hypothesize that magnesium shortage can cause nerve damage and that can increase the potential for mental health conditions in some people.
- Animal studies indicate that low magnesium levels might lead to osteoporosis. It could cause the bones to weaken and also cause calcium levels, necessary for strong bones, to be lower in the blood.
- Chronic exhaustion and fatigue with muscle weakness could indicate a magnesium deficiency. Low magnesium can cause potassium deficiency that leads to the muscle weakness.
- Severe asthma may have a link to magnesium deficiency. Studies show that people with asthma may have lower levels of magnesium. Lack of magnesium can create the build-up of calcium in the lining of the lungs that restrict breathing.
- Foods that are good sources of magnesium include dark chocolate, pumpkin seeds, popcorn, almonds, peanuts, other seeds and coffee.
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