Magnesium forms the part of the 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 a health condition caused by the long-term inadequacy of magnesium in the human body. It may be caused by inadequate intake of magnesium-rich diet or the presence of pre-existing health issues like GI disorders.
Functions of Magnesium
Magnesium plays a 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 has been illustrated below:
- Inadequate Diet: The most common cause of magnesium deficiency across the globe is our eating habits. We often consume foods that are poor in nutrients such as magnesium.
- Unavailability of Nutritious Food: The variability in 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 of inadequate diet. 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 the case of chronic alcoholism, an individual will always be deficient in salt due to excessive discharge.
Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency
The common symptoms of magnesium deficiency include:
- Appetite Loss
The symptoms of severe magnesium deficiency include:
- Blood Pressure Fluctuations
- Arrhythmic Heart Rate
- Muscle Cramps
- Behavioral 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 the heart beats abnormally. The 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 a very important in the 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 a carrier for signal transfer in the body. The deficiency of these affects our central nervous system. Lack of these electrolytes causes several neuro-health conditions such as migraines.
Some other health risks 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 bodies. However, most of the content is found in cells and bone and a very small quantity of magnesium is present in the blood. The magnesium blood test is used to do magnesium profiling in our bodies.
- Serum Magnesium Test: A 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 medication that may affect magnesium levels in the body. Magnesium tests sometimes also include other electrolytes like sodium, potassium, and chloride tests.
If you have health conditions that may cause deficiency, doctors may advise for serum magnesium tests. Pregnant women must go for a 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 the supervision of doctors. As higher magnesium may be harmful to health.
- Magnesium Rich Diet: Magnesium-rich food items will help in minimizing 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 agricultural produce.
Prevention of Magnesium Deficiency
It is often said that “Prevention is better than Cure” and indeed this is very much true about micronutrient deficiencies. Magnesium deficiency can be prevented through the consumption of a magnesium healthy diet.
- Sweet Potato
- Black Beans
Adequate Intake (>19 yrs.):
The 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 a very important mineral that takes part in more than 300 metabolic processes. It is an important electrolyte in our body in addition to sodium, potassium, and chloride. Hypomagnesemia controls muscles, nerves, and the 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 an adequate amount of magnesium as per RDA through various magnesium-rich diets.