Magnesium forms the part of electrolyte in our body along with sodium, chloride and potassium. It participates in more than 300 metabolic and biochemical processes in the body. Magnesium deficiency can cause several health conditions that may be fatal in long term deficiency. 

What is Magnesium Deficiency?

Magnesium deficiency is the health condition caused by long-term inadequacy of magnesium in human body. It may be caused by inadequate intake of magnesium rich diet or presence of pre-existing health issues like GI disorders.

Functions of Magnesium

Magnesium play very important role in muscle contraction, protein synthesis, energy production, blood pressure, glucose levels, bone development and glutathione synthesis which is responsible for RNA and DNA production.

Causes of Magnesium Deficiency

The condition of hypomagnesemia can be developed due to various factors. Some of the major cause have been illustrated below:

  • Inadequate Diet: The most common cause of magnesium deficiency across the globe is our eating habits. We often consume foods which are poor in nutrients such as magnesium.
  • Unavailability of Nutritious Food: The variability I soil composition varies from area to area. Magnesium deficient soil can’t produce magnesium rich grains, fruit and vegetables.
  • GI Disorders: Malabsorption is the second most cause after inadequate diet. The gastrointestinal disorders affect the ability of internal organs to absorb essential nutrients. Bariatric surgery is the most common disorder offered by the current lifestyle.
  • Alcoholism: It affects the discharge capacity of the body. Excessive discharge may lead to salt deficiency in your body. In case of chronic alcoholism individual will always be deficient in salt due to excessive discharge. 

Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency 

The common symptoms of magnesium deficiency include:

  • Dizziness, 
  • Weakness 
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhoea
  • Appetite Loss
  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting

The symptoms of severe magnesium deficiency include:

  • Blood Pressure Fluctuations
  • Arrhythmic Heart Rate
  • Muscle Cramps
  • Seizures
  • Behavioural Changes 

Health Risks due to Hypomagnesemia

  • Cardiovascular Diseases: Hypomagnesaemia affects the muscle tissues and results in muscles spasm and cramps. It causes palpitations in which heart beats abnormally. Long-term condition of hypomagnesemia may lead to weaker heart tissues and even failure in extreme cases.  
  • Diabetes: Magnesium regulates the production of insulin in the body and its deficiency may affect the body glucose level. Prolonged deficiency may lead to diabetes and it will worsen the existing diabetic condition.  
  • Osteoporosis: Magnesium plays very important in synthesis of Vitamin D and its deficiency may lead to osteoporosis. It is caused by the low level of magnesium and calcium in the body. 
  • Migraines: Micronutrients such as sodium, magnesium, chloride and potassium as carrier for signal transfer in the body. Deficiency of these affects our central nervous system. Lack of these electrolyte causes several neuro-health conditions such as migraines.

Some other health risk associated with magnesium deficiencies are hormonal imbalance, sleeping disorders, anxiety, depression, artery calcification and pregnancy problems.

Tests for Magnesium Deficiency

Magnesium is very abundant in our body. However, most of the content are found in cells and bone and very small quantity of magnesium is present in the blood. Magnesium blood test is used to do magnesium profiling in our body.

  • Serum Magnesium Test: Magnesium blood test is used for the distribution of magnesium in our body. In general, it doesn’t require any preparation, but we may need some preparation in case you are on some sort of medications which may affect magnesium level in body. Magnesium test sometimes also include other electrolyte like sodium, potassium and chloride tests.

If you have health conditions which may cause deficiency, doctors me advise for serum magnesium tests. Pregnant women must go for magnesium blood test as magnesium deficiency may cause preeclampsia, a serious form of high blood pressure that affects pregnant women.  

Remedies of Magnesium Deficiency 

  • Magnesium Supplements: If you are diagnosed with severe magnesium deficiency, you should consider medical supplements under supervision of doctors. As higher magnesium may have adverse effect on health.
  • Magnesium Rich Diet: Magnesium rich food items will help in minimising the magnesium deficiency. Some of the magnesium rich food items are almond, cashew, black beans, avocado, whole grain, fatty fish, legumes.
  • Fortified Food Items: Several agricultural lands across the globe are poor in micronutrients which will serve nutrient deficient food produces. Fortified seeds will help in providing nutrient rich agriculture produce.

Prevention of Magnesium Deficiency

It is often said that “Prevention is better than Cure” and indeed this is very much true with reference to micronutrient deficiencies. Magnesium deficiency can be prevented through consumption of magnesium healthy diet.

Food items rich in magnesium:

  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Sweet Potato
  • Spinach
  • Black Beans
  • Raisins
  • Apple
  • Avocado
  • Bananas
  • Cashews
  • Peanuts
  • Almonds
  • Quinoa

Adequate Intake (>19 yrs.):

Simple way to prevent magnesium deficiencies is to maintain recommended daily intakes. The recommended daily intake of magnesium for an adult is 310-420 mg.


Magnesium is very important minerals which takes parts in more than 300 metabolic processes. It is the important electrolyte in our body in addition to sodium, potassium and chloride. Hypomagnesemia controls muscles, nerves and heart. 

Although magnesium deficiency has several ill effects, it can be reverted with the right consultation and medical supplements as prescribed by doctors. The best possible way to avoid these complications by consuming adequate amount of magnesium as per RDA through various magnesium rich diet.