5 Warning Signs of Magnesium Deficiency


Many Americans do not understand the importance of magnesium in the same way they understand calcium or iron, for instance. Nonetheless, adequate magnesium levels are crucial for brain, cardiac and muscle function and it is needed, along with silica and Vitamins D and K to promote bone health. Magnesium deficiency is more common than many people suspect, and below are 5 warning signs that could indicate a deficiency in this important mineral.

1. Ringing in the Ears or Hearing Loss
Tinnitus, or a constant, high-pitched ringing in the ears is common symtom of magnesium deficiency, as is hearing loss. There are have been a number of studies done on the relationship between ear health and sufficient magnesium levels. In one Chinese study, it was found that magnesium in sufficient quantities will prevent the formation of the free radicals that can lead to hearing loss. In a study at the Mayo Clinic, it was found that treating patients who had experienced hearing loss with magnesium supplementation often helped restore that loss within three months.

2. Muscle Cramps or Tremors
Magnesium is crucial to optimim muscle function. Without it, the body would be in a state of convulsion, because it is this mineral that allows the muscles to relax. That is why, for instance, a magnesium oxide drip is used to ease women in labor and why magnesium is found in so many sleep-inducing supplements. A lack of sufficient magnesium, therefore, can lead to facial tics, muscle cramping and twitching or cramping of the feet while trying to sleep.

3. Depression
The link between low magnesium levels and depression was understood over a century ago, when doctors would use it to treat this mental health disorder. Modern science has backed this up, with a study at a psychiatric hospital in Croatia finding that many attempted suicide patients had severely low levels of this important mineral. One advantage of magnesium over traditional antidepressants is the lack of side effects sometimes associated with these medications.

4. Abnormal Heart Function
As previously discussed, low magnesium levels can have an effect on muscles throughout the body and this includes the heart muscles. Insufficient magnesium can induce a condition known as a cardiac arrhythmia, in which the heart fails to beat regularly and this, in turn, can cause a greater risk for complications like heart attacks and strokes. That is why, for instance, doctors at the Henry Low Heart Center in Connecticut treat their arrhythmia patients with a medication which contains magnesium.

5. Kidney Stones
Many people believe that kidney stones are caused by an excess of calcium, but in fact it is a lack of magnesium that is the culprit. Magnesium prevents the formation of these stones by inhibiting the binding of calcium with oxalate, the two compounds which make up these stones. Kidney stones can be excruciatingly painful, so it is good to know that something as simple as magnesium supplementation can prevent them!

If experiecing any of these symptoms, consulting with a healthcare practitioner is a good idea. It is also wise to follow a diet which includes foods like okra, sunflower or pumpkin seeds, almonds, soy or black beans, cashews and spinach as these are all natural magnesium sources.

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Christine . S

Christine has written articles on most health-related topics, including traditional medicine, alternative and naturopathic and natural treatments, wellness, medical marijuana, diets and fitness.

  • naturopathathome

    Constipation is a major deficiency sign.

  • lee

    ok what do i do if i have this <<<^^^ ?

  • Jo2014

    What are the sources of research for this article? I agree with this information, but would like to see what research it is coming from specifically.


  • Salsify

    Look up Dr. Sircus, and Dr. Carolyn Dean. Oral supplements are poorly absorbed. Read up on what to do. Low Mg can also cause adrenal exhaustion, trouble swallowing, bad dreams/trouble sleeping, and many more symptoms. Sunlight and calcium intake increase your need for Mg.

    • Liz Smith

      Oddly I do not drink milk or coffee, never done since small child, or eat cheese at all, I'm not the rat in our house. But I need magnesium for cramps and migraines, fastest cure there is.

  • jennie

    caffeine can cause poor absorption of magnesium and how about posting all the many foods that contain magnesium. like dark leafy greens nuts and seeds etc ( you can look up the rest on line )

  • cindyH

    Very sad Christine that you are recommending soy. Please do some research on soy before being an advocate for it. Soy is used in the Asian culture in miniscule amounts and only after its been fermented. The whole soy/tofu as a health food is a horrible notion to pass along to an unsuspecting public. Soy is GMO, period. That should be enough to run away from this product and if you are hypothyroid run very fast away from this goitrogen.

    • RaviK

      I think you need to do some research on this yourself :-). Asian countries DO NOT use soy in miniscule amounts, and no not everything we eat is fermented, that's a big fat lie and I should know it I am South Asian. Soy in moderation is actually good for you (unless you believe the junk science from places like the Weston Price Fdn and the Meat industry). GMO soy is bad I agree, so find Non-GMO Soy and take no more than 3-6 servings and it will be very beneficial to your health.

    • KerryD

      Soy AND Corn seeds are now round up pesticide ready and GMO. Google Monsanto.

  • Shirley

    Can a person take too much magnesium supplements? I am taking cal-mag and still have very severe feet and leg cramps. Thanks Shirley

    • art

      soak in Epsom salt which is a source of magnesium and potassium and your skin is your largest organ of the body so absorbs rapidly . the pain will lessen and go away immediately . then let the world no. of your results. do everyday for thirty days . no more pain . I use 5 gal bucket with 3-4 cups epsome salt . with small amount food grade hydrogen peroxide which increase the absorbion rate. I change water once a wk . this will also help u sleep

    • Marliese

      I take 1 or 2 Magnesium Citrate for leg and feet cramps, usually after 10-15 minutes I have complete relief. I get the Mag Citrate at the health food store

      • Sharron

        Yep. When I get leg or foot cramps I take a 500 mg tab with power-ade. Within 5- 10 min it's gone.

    • thom

      Dont take calcium, they counter each other. Its about the balance between the to. Find a magnesium supplement without calcium. Magn citrate is good if you use a lot. If you use to much you will get diarrea and you know you have to take less.

    • TED

      Muscles need Calcium to contract and magnesium to relax. If your supplement has more Calcium than Magnesium then that could be the problem. For relieving leg cramps you might have better results with a supplement that contains Magnesium only.

    • deenie1219

      I take 750mg of chelated mag a day (plus a slew of other supps). IMO, it is difficult to take too much mag. If you do, you will get loose bowel movements. Most peeps don't need to take calcium but 500 to 1000mg per day should be okay.

  • sandy

    It is true that many Americans do not get the nutrients they need from the foods that they eat. Many of the foods available for many people lack essential vitamins and minerals. One of the important minerals that they do not get enough of in their diet on a daily basis is magnesium.

    Why is it so important to eat foods that have magnesium? Why are foods lacking magnesium? Which foods are rich in magnesium?

    Why are foods lacking magnesium and which foods are rich in it http://www.naturalnewsblogs.com/foods-lacking-magnes

  • Sue P

    I recently read the book Transdermal Magnesium Therapy: A New Modality for the Maintenance of Health
    by Dr Mark Sircus, Ac, OMD, DM(P) which I highly recommend. Despite the fact that I'm well read on many health topics – I didn't realize that the public as a whole are very deficient in magnesium and the best way to assimiliate it is through the skin. I have been using magnesium oil from an ancient seabed in Holland – and it is really working – some of my arthritis is dissipating and my husband's RLS is much better. A foot soak in magnesium chloride (not the Epsom salts magnesium sulfate) will do wonders for your health.

    • BELLA


    • deenie1219

      I massage liquid mag chloride into my wife's back each night. She loves it. You can buy the crystals at Swansonvitamins.com and make your own.

  • michelfedrick

    Actually magnesium helps to expand blood vessels and improves blood circulation. These magnesium helps in controlling glutamate, which is a major cause for induced hearing loss. As you said, it is found that magnesium deficiency increased the risk of hearing loss and ringing in ears. Now medical advisors suggest that magnesium supplementation (122 mg daily for ten days) reduces these noises induced hearing loss in men aged between 18- 40 years. It is also found that intravenous magnesium and oral magnesium supplementation may be good for other cases of hearing loss.

  • James

    Absolutely true that Mg deficiency can cause irregular arrhythmia. Most with Atrial fibrillation blame the triggers like
    chocolate, alcohol, sugar, soft drinks and other foods. But basically these and other things including stress, deplete are Mg levels severely which in turn causes Afib. When I know Im going to drink a bit, I load up on Mg Malate 600mg, cant hold in Citrate, and Mag oil with no issues afterwards.

  • Marlene Glidden

    Wish our doctors would read up and educate themselves about supplements

  • Cherilyn Royall

    There are some Doctors that Educate themselves from all over the world, they go to Summer Camp, at DR Bannajea s Clinic in Chelmsford! Essex, England, this clinic is in the Baddow Road, they learn so much, this Indian Doctor is so utterly amazing. However, anyone can attend this Summer Camp, one will never look back.

  • Cate

    It's important to ensure enough calcium intake when using Mg – really important. Try using Mg in a spray form, the skin is the perfect way to absorb Mg. Even and old fashioned epsom salts bath will do the trick. There are transdermal sprays on the market – buy the very best one you can afford. I have had Tinnitus for 20 years and well… you just get used to it however, I am starting to find it is now damaging my hearing. Blessings for all the research, I hope others will benefit.

  • ellenry

    My daughter has ahd bouts of depression and insomnia for years 500 mg a day of magnesium has helped tremendously

  • andy

    i gotta a good idea! how bout a magnesium enema!! woo hoo! i love stikin things in me bum!!woo hoo!!

  • C.L.

    I've been taking Magnesium Taurate by a company out of Ca. called Cardiovascular Research – outstanding product. Carried by Vitamin World among others. I take 3 cap.s a night and a lot of aches and pains, insomnia, all cramps, and much lower anxiety have been acquired. This is a major mineral which is used in hospitals for many reasons e.g. IV infusions and with pregnant women who labor with difficulty. Another source is castor oil. Simply rub your feet well, slip on old socks to prevent oil from staining sheets, and sleep well. Will relieve constipation, too. Lots of evidence out there from many sources Western medicine included.

  • Wendy

    Great information. Thank you.

  • Michael Haymar

    Another way to prevent kidney stones is to drink lemon water first thing in the morning. Made with the juice of freshly squeezed lemons.

    • MrsRanMac

      It’s also a way to bring your body back into balance from an acidic body to a more alkaline body…..
      In the mornings drink WARM lemon water….it doesn’t shock the system as much as cold lemon water….

    • Joan Camara

      I’d suggest ORGANIC lemons! Of course, I drink and eat EVERYTHING organic!

  • enzymefanatic

    Thank you. I didnt know it was related to hearing loss. Magnesium is one of my most important supplements, I know Im low if I crave chocolate or my legs are restless before going to sleep. Also, women are at risk of being low because of menstruation, magnesium is a blood mineral and its lost during that time of the month.

  • MerryMary

    I agree with Michael. Lemon water in the morning really helps.

  • tikibam

    What might be the link of chronic meth addiction to low magnesium? I suspect prescription drugs might also rob the body of important minerals.

    • Sheila Rowbotham-Coon

      Yes the prescription drugs to deplete the body of minerals and vitamins. Suzy Cohen has a book about it. Its called “Drug Muggers.”

    • chuckmi

      Originally Roundup was a chelator and was used to remove chemical scale from industrial pipes. Studies show that cows fed GMO feed have severe MANGANESE (not magnesium) deficiencies…because Roundup is in the food supply for both cows and humans. This study talks about Mn: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4392553/. But where can I buy good MANGANESE supplements?

      • Rose_5HT

        Manganese is a very very dangerous metal, it can quickly cause Parkinson’s disease, check the related literature. And don’t be fooled by the concept that it’s a catalyst of SOD (superoxide dismutase).

        • Blafulous.Deplorable

          I haven’t heard of this. Do you have any links to full, peer-reviewed studies?

    • Witch

      You are spot on.

  • David_R59

    A symptom of hypomagnesemia in children is the grinding of their teeth during sleep.
    I had this problem as a 5-7 yr old which was never diagnosed at the time.

    • JustMe

      I have had this problem as a child too, as my siblings would tell me in the morning. I am also the sibling who has a hearing loss, tinnitus, and muscle cramps during my sleep. This is a great article!

  • cautiousnautious

    Ear ringing is also a result of listening to noises! a/c in a small environment. Loud noises while sleeping. machinery. anything that is a constant pressure on your nerves that monitor noise levels.

    • Rose_5HT

      Sulphur amino acids like taurine, L- or D-methionine, L- or D-cysteine, NAC are a cause of tinnitus too. Though they efficiently chelate metals they quickly lead to a higher level of free iron in the body. Free iron buildup is a major cause of “irreversible” chronic diseases (like nearsightedness, arthritis, cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s).

      Paradoxically, thio-compounds like R-alpha lipoid acid, thiamine (vitamin B1), D-biotin (vitamin H) can reverse this free iron buildup and the related diseases.

      Unsurprisingly doctors (aka pharma dealers) turn a deaf ear to natural remedies. They are a threat to their profession I guess !

  • Justis

    Soy is a poison. Unfortunately, many “experts” have not read the 25+ years of research that show humans and animals should not consume soy.

    • D.Moore

      Soy is in everything and they know it is wrong

    • chuckmi

      Chemicals in soy mimic the hormone estrogen, and that plays havoc with a person’s endocrine system.

    • deenie1219

      Fermented soy, as in natto and tempeh, is okay.

  • BarbaraCharis

    Two other good sources of magnesium…bananas and raw cacao. One pound of bananas has 123.4 mg of magnesium…and 1/2 oz of cacao has 60 mg. The nutrient standard today is 420 mg, which is low. It should be closer to 600 or higher. Calm Magnesium powder has 350 mg in 3 teaspoons. I use it, if I don’t get sufficient magnesium and wake up with leg cramps. Spinach has 142 mg of magnesium in 6 oz. Pineapple has 55 mg in one pound. Many foods have a little, which adds up. I keep a food journal to make sure I am covering all bases.

    • Steeko

      I fix leg cramps in 15 minutes with a half teaspoon of baking soda and water.

  • Linda

    Magnesium can cause loose stools, a real problem. Try Magnesium Ionic, Magnesium (taurate) or Magnesium (L-threonate). Read what Dr. Carolyn Dean has to say. It can take months to build up your magnesium supply.

    • tikibam

      I decided on magnesium glycinate. From my research, Mg is always found in combination with another molecule ranging in size. Glycinate is small enough
      to pass the blood-brain barrier, giving this element a calming effect on the body.

  • chuckmi

    But what are the right amounts of magnesium we need to swallow? Because not all we swallow is absorbed into the body. The RDA is only the minimum amount needed to prevent disease.

  • Shelley Finch-Wagner

    One thing most Americans fail to realize is Pepsi and Coke are high in Phosphates which deplete our bodies of calcium, potassium and magnesium. My honey is allergic to dairy, but he drinks Pepsi not water, then wakes up screaming in pain as he can’t walk off the worsening cramps. I pull out the Dill Pickle jar so he can stop the pain. I still and fighting him on taking supplements. Our high eating of eggs which he never ate regularly his entire life added to his lack of needed minerals. Lol

    • AutismDadd

      Dill pickle jar? Read the label, any polysorbate 80 in those pickles?

  • Witch

    Avoid meds if you can because G O D didn’t make us to use meds when all these healing
    foods are among us.

  • deenie1219

    High blood pressure is another symptom of deficiency. Read: The Magnesium Miracle by Dr. Carolyn Dean. Mg is involved in over 600 vital processes, the main one being in energy production within the cells.

  • alexthecomic

    Great tips, thanks for the post! 🙂

  • Larry Miller

    Very true I had cramps most of the time until I started taking magnesium every day

  • Anna Stasek

    For me headaches are also a big sign as well. That could technically be the muscle cramp symptom.

  • Goldentouch8

    Huge difference in my overall well being, taking magnesium. My body feels much more relaxed. I also started taking lemon and baking soda in the morning. Before this new program, I felt like I wanted completely out of my body due to the pain and constriction in my body……. I feel soooooo much more calmer and relaxed in my mind, body and soul. I was at a point in my life, where I was seriously thinking in taking antidepresents. I hope this info goes main stream. Blessings to all. Please note, this program that I am on consist of drinking several glasses of water with organic lemon juice. Avoiding sodas, sugary drinks ect.