A significant magnesium deficiency won’t necessarily rear its ugly head immediately, but when it does make its presence felt, the issues that arise are certainly to be taken seriously. This powerhouse mineral heroically multitasks managing nerve and muscle function, regulating blood sugar, maintaining long-term bone health and facilitating healthy metabolism, among other jobs. Best of all, magnesium is an overachieving natural building block in numerous delicious, wholesome foods from dark leafy greens, nuts and seeds to salmon, avocados and yogurt. Still, over a long enough timeline without taking in enough, conditions including Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, osteoporosis and insulin resistance can gain lasting footholds that transform lives for the worse.

If you find yourself plagued by these five significant symptoms, consult your doctor immediately. Your diet may need some retooling.

Tingly Extremities

Remember that part about magnesium making sure nerves and muscles are consistently firing as intended? Regularly experiencing the opposite may be a sign you aren’t taking in enough on a regular basis. Persistent numbness or tingling in the fingers and toes or limbs often feeling like they’ve fallen asleep could indicate your body doesn’t have enough magnesium to optimally conduct your nervous system’s functions. Relatedly, constantly cramped muscles may suggest muscle nerves are hyper-stimulated by calcium flowing steadily into nerve cells without adequate magnesium to manage absorption.

Unusual Heatbeat

Heart beating a bit off its normal rhythm? Don’t necessarily write it off as being smitten with that cute new hire at your favorite Starbucks. When your body doesn’t receive enough magnesium on a daily basis, potassium levels tend to plummet. That effect can throw off your ticker’s natural cadence by interfering with the heart’s muscle cells. Don’t take a slower or more rapid heartbeat lightly. Mention your symptoms to a doctor in a timely fashion, and a magnesium-packed diet may mitigate the root problem before it can give rise to a more serious, harder-to-treat condition.


Asthma patients tend to exhibit magnesium deficiencies with great frequency than is typically seen in healthy, non-asthmatic individuals. Researchers general attribute this finding to a belief that lower magnesium levels cause improperly absorbed calcium to build up in the muscles lining the airway to the lungs. As a result, those passages constrict and hinder normal breathing. This is why patients diagnosed with severe asthma are often given magnesium sulfate inhalers to instantly expand and relax the airways and emergency injections to combat life-threatening symptoms.

Chronic Fatigue

Feeling a bit tired every now and then is one thing. Constantly feeling physically or mentally drained is a non-specific symptom that may point toward a magnesium deficiency when paired with other warning signs. Specifically, scientists believe chronic muscle weakness may be caused by the loss of potassium in muscle cells often associated with a lack of magnesium. Again, this is not a definitive symptom. At the same time, if it presents alongside other conditions, you should absolutely mention chronic fatigue to a doctor.

Seizures without an Existing Condition

Consider this one of the most severe potential signs of magnesium deficiency. Several conditions cause recurring seizures, but they don’t typically occur completely at random. Scientists believe sudden, unexplained seizures may be caused by dangerously low magnesium levels because a significant lack of this mineral can cause abnormal electrical activity in the brain. Experiencing a seizure absent any other recent symptoms may indicate a need for dietary overhaul, magnesium supplementation and possibly a few lifestyle changes.


Let’s end on some good news: yes, anywhere from 75 to 80 percent of Americans do not take in enough dietary magnesium, but only around 2 percent suffer from truly severe deficiency. Symptoms such as muscle cramps, fatigue, mental issues, osteoporosis and irregular heartbeat do not set in until magnesium is severely depleted. However, a simple blood test can quickly rule out other possible health problems similarly marked by such lesser symptoms as nausea, flu-like ailments and constipation. In the meantime, the best way to prevent magnesium deficiency is to mindfully plan your meals and snacks around plenty of magnesium-rich whole foods such as various nuts, seeds, grains, fish and beans.


To learn more about how to get to the root cause of your health concerns, schedule an appointment with one of our Functional Medicine Experts. Our doctors take a comprehensive and proactive approach to your health issues, using advanced diagnostics to seek out the root cause of your health concerns. Instead of seeing your concerns as a set of isolated symptoms, we look at you as a whole body – one that has the capacity to heal, eliminate pain, and empower itself through natural solutions and preventative healthcare. As a result, Functional Medicine helps your body build its healthiest foundation that will improve your quality of life and better keep illness away for years to come!



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