What are the symptoms of low magnesium in the body?

March 12, 2020

What are the symptoms of low magnesium in the body?

What are the symptoms of low magnesium in the body?

Have you been experiencing nausea, vomiting, decreased appetite, or general weakness? While these signs may indicate other conditions, it may be the early symptoms of low magnesium. As one of the most plentiful minerals in the human body, magnesium plays a critical role in 300 biochemical reactions, including energy creation, protein creation, and muscle movements.


Your bones hold about 60% of your magnesium, with the rest in the blood and soft tissues. Unfortunately, studies show that 50% of men and women in Europe and the United States are magnesium deficient or have hypomagnesemia. (1)


As an often-overlooked health concern, a magnesium deficiency can lead to health problems. In this article, we look at seven serious symptoms of low magnesium in the body.


Weak bones

One way to describe osteoporosis is weak bones. The condition is linked to different factors, such as aging, inadequate exercise, and insufficient intake of vitamins D and K. Another risk factor may be low magnesium levels. While it isn't clear if a magnesium deficiency creates weak bones or reduces calcium, which leads to osteoporosis. (2)  

Women, in particular, are always warned about the dangers of osteoporosis, but the health problem isn't solely a female issue. According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men in every part of the globe may have an osteoporotic fracture. (3)


Muscle cramps and twitches

While the occasional tremble or twitch is normal, having ongoing muscle cramps and shaking may be a sign of a magnesium deficiency. In the worst cases, low magnesium may lead to seizures or convulsions. (4)


The reason for the bodily movement could be due to the higher amounts of calcium flooding the nerve cells. The extra calcium over stimulates the muscle nerves, leading to cramping and twitching. (5) Taking a magnesium supplement may help ease painful symptoms. 


Muscle weakness and tiredness

 Experiencing tiredness is normal for anyone. But if the condition is chronic and described as “fatigue,” it could indicate a magnesium deficiency. Many people living with daily fatigue believe rest is the answer, but even when you take it easy, you still feel tired. Another sign of low magnesium is muscle weakness.


In one review, looking at 19 studies of infants sleeping in the prone position (stomach) and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), showed that magnesium deficiency might increase the risk for SIDS. (6) Infants with lower magnesium may lack the muscle strength to move their heads while sleeping. 

Although other factors, like soft bedding and other biological concerns, may increase the risk, too. Muscle weakness and fatigue alone may not show a magnesium deficiency, but when combined with other signs may truly indicate you need to boost your levels.


High blood pressure

While different factors such as overall health and lifestyle choices may lead to high blood pressure, there’s some evidence that low magnesium increases blood pressure in animals. In one animal study, having a magnesium deficiency led to higher blood pressure. (7) If you have high blood pressure, it may lead to cardiovascular disease. Other studies show that magnesium supplements helped treat and reduce blood pressure. (8)


Those with severe asthma may have a magnesium deficiency. (9) In people with asthma, magnesium levels can be lower, compared to those who don't have this issue. Research showed that dietary magnesium supplements help reduce asthmatic symptoms.


The reason is that scientists think that less magnesium causes a build-up of calcium in the lung's airways, leading to asthma. Asthma patients and sometimes prescribed inhalers with magnesium sulfate.


Irregular heartbeat

Heart arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat is when you have pauses between pulses. As one of the most severe symptoms of a possible magnesium deficiency, sufferers also report lightheadedness, shortness of breath, and chest pain. (10)


One possible reason that a magnesium deficiency may cause heart arrhythmia is because of low potassium in the heart muscle cells. It may create equilibrium. When this happens, a magnesium cream may help ease the symptoms. (11)



Since the 1980s, treating constipation with magnesium supplementation has been common. For those who suffer from poor bowel movements, magnesium loosens up the stools and allows your body to eliminate waste. (12)


It stands to reason that if you’re constipated, you have low magnesium. When you have enough of the mineral, it draws water into the stools, making it easier to go to the bathroom.



Migraines are painful headaches that make it impossible to go about your daily life. Research shows that men and women susceptible to migraines have lower levels of magnesium. (13) After three days, over 40% of all people reported migraine relief within three days of taking 400 mg of magnesium per day.


Boost magnesium levels naturally  

If you're experiencing symptoms of low magnesium, you may want to boost levels naturally. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for men is between 400-420 mg, and for women, it's 310-320 mg. The easiest way to increase levels is through eating magnesium-rich foods, including:

  •     Dark chocolate
  •     Almonds
  •     Popcorn
  •     Pumpkin seeds
  •     Peanuts
  •     Avocados
  •     Spinach


Take a magnesium supplement  If eating a consistently healthy diet doesn't fit with your modern lifestyle, or you need a boost, try magnesium supplements. Magnesium is available over the counter and considered safe to use with minimal side effects.   

While you can find magnesium in powder or pill form, some people prefer a topical cream. It's fast-acting and easy to apply. The amount of time it takes magnesium to work depends on the dosage, treatment, and condition.

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26404370
  2. https://www.iofbonehealth.org/what-is-osteoporosis
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23912329
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24966690
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2436546
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11300621
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10334795
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17277891
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7368975
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6942639
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31587548
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK507271/