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Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency

Many of the symptoms of low magnesium are not unique to magnesium deficiency, which makes it difficult to diagnose with complete accuracy. Quite often low magnesium levels remain unrecognized and untreated.

Neurological:

Behavioral disturbances
Irritability and anxiety
Lethargy
Impaired memory and cognitive function
Anorexia or loss of appetite
Nausea and vomiting
Seizures

Muscular:

Weakness
Muscle spasms (tetany)
Tics
Muscle cramps
Hyperactive reflexes
Impaired muscle coordination (ataxia)
Tremors
Involuntary eye movements and vertigo
Difficulty swallowing

Metabolic:

Increased intracellular calcium
Hyperglycemia
Calcium deficiency
Potassium deficiency

Cardiovascular:

Irregular or rapid heartbeat
Coronary spasms

Among children:

Growth retardation or “failure to thrive”

Conditions Related to Problems of Magnesium

In addition to symptoms of overt hypomagnesemia (clinically low serum magnesium), the following conditions represent possible indicators of chronic latent magnesium deficiency:

  • Depression
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • ADHD
  • Epilepsy
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Sleep problems
  • Migraine
  • Cluster headaches
  • Osteoporosis
  • Premenstrual syndrome
  • Chest pain (angina)
  • Cardiac arrhythmias
  • Coronary artery disease and atherosclerosis
  • Hypertension
  • Type II diabetes
  • Asthma

In light of evidence that sub-clinical  magnesium deficiencies can increase calcium imbalance, worsen blood vessel calcification, and potentially lead to type 2 diabetes, the World Health Organization in 2009 issued a call for improved and more scientific methods of setting daily magnesium requirements and more accurate and accessible methods of assessing magnesium deficiency.

 

References:

  1. Fox C, Ramsoomair D, Carter C. Magnesium: its proven and potential clinical significance. Southern Medical Journal. 2003;94(12):1195-201. Available at: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/423568_1. Accessed March 8, 2010.
  2. DiSilvestro R. Handbook of Minerals as Nutritional Supplements. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press; 2004.
  3. Kimura M. Overview of Magnesium Nutrition. In: International Magnesium Symposium. New Perspectives in Magnesium Research. London: Springer-Verlag; 2007:239-260.
  4. McCarthy J, Kumar R. Divalent Cation Metabolism: Magnesium. In: Schrier R, series editor. Atlas of Diseases of the Kidney. Volume 1. Wiley-Blackwell; 1999: 4.1-4.12.
  5. Elin RJ, Rude RK. Oral magnesium and wellness. The Magnesium Report: Clinical, Research and Laboratory News for Cardiologists. 2000.
  6. Liebscher DH, Liebscher DE. About the misdiagnostics of magnesium deficiency. In: Xth International Magnesium Symposium. Cairns (Australia): 2003.
  7. World Health Organization. Calcium and Magnesium in Drinking Water: Public health significance. Geneva: World Health Organization Press; 2009.
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