10 Signs of Magnesium Deficiency and How to Increase Your Magnesium Intake

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Magnesium plays a big role in maintaining heart, bone, and brain health. However, its significance often goes unnoticed. This crucial mineral helps numerous biological functions, ensuring vitality, promoting mental well-being, and aiding in sleep and relaxation. The signs of magnesium deficiency are evident when you intake of magneisum is low.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH)  adult women aged 19-30 should consume 310 mg of magnesium daily, increasing to 320 mg after the age of 30, with a slight increment during pregnancy. For adult men in the 19-30 age bracket, the recommended dosage is 400 mg daily, which rises to 420 mg after the age of 31.Yet, data, including findings from a 2018 study, indicates that many consume merely half of this recommended amount. Such a shortage is alarming, given that signs of magnesium deficiency can escalate to serious health issues like diabetes, osteoporosis, migraines, and cardiovascular diseases.


While outright magnesium deficiency isn’t prevalent in the majority of adults, it’s beneficial to remain vigilant. Individuals with conditions like diabetes, gastrointestinal disorders, or the elderly might be particularly susceptible to a shortfall in magnesium.

Here are 10 signs of magnesium deficiency that suggest you’re not meeting your daily magnesium consumption, along with advice to incorporate more into your daily intake:

1. Persistent Muscle Cramps, Spasms, and Involuntary Movements 

Occasional muscle cramps or spasms are normal. However, if they become a frequent concern, it might be one of the signs of magnesium deficiency. Magnesium is instrumental for muscle functionality, ensuring they contract and relax optimally. Additionally, it’s essential for protein synthesis, strengthening the muscles. An imbalance in magnesium levels might lead your muscles to behave erratically, resulting in cramps or involuntary movements. Alongside, consider increasing your water intake, as dehydration might also be a factor in muscle cramps.

2. Decreasing Stamina During Physical Activities

If you’re consistently feeling worn out during exercise, it might point to magnesium inadequacy. A noticeable decrease in stamina, such as difficulty managing your routine gym sessions or lack of energy for evening strolls, can be warning signs of magnesium deficiency. As per a 2019 study, low magnesium levels might result in decreased potassium reserves, an essential electrolyte for efficient post-workout recovery.

3. Consistent Chronic Fatigue 

There can be several causes for consistent fatigue – demanding work, mental health challenges, or even the daily rigors of parenthood. Yet, your dietary choices substantially contribute. Magnesium plays a significant role in the transformation of food into energy. Consuming magnesium-rich foods is vital to ensure your body optimally derives energy from the food you eat.

4. High Blood Pressure

Insufficient magnesium intake can hinder your body’s ability to maintain optimal blood pressure. Magnesium is integral to heart health, aiding in the regulation of blood pressure, blood sugar levels, insulin levels and combating inflammation. Foods that counteract inflammation also have a high magnesium content.

2022 study indicates that magnesium might synergize with vitamin D to control systolic blood pressure, the initial value in a blood pressure measurement. This aspect is essential since hypertension is a precursor to diseases such as strokes and cardiac conditions, which are key signs of magnesium deficiency.

5. Poor Mental Well-being, Possible depression

Magnesium significantly influences the functioning of your central nervous system by regulating neurotransmitters responsible for communicating with your brain. Its integral connection with mood can’t be overlooked. In fact, a 2019 review revealed a correlation between decreased magnesium consumption and heightened depression risks

Indications from a 2017 research conducted at the University of Vermont, published in PLoS One, showed that by supplementing magnesium intake, individuals with mild to moderate depression experienced mood improvements comparable to the effects of standard antidepressants. 

6. You Have Trouble Falling Asleep

An irony with magnesium deficiency is that while it can induce exhaustion, it concurrently interferes with sleep patterns. A 2021 study reveals that magnesium has the potential to enhance sleep quality and duration, attributed to its interaction with a neurotransmitter termed GABA- Gamma-aminobutyric acid. GABA curtails overactivity in the brain, facilitating sleep. A lack of magnesium might leave you battling relentless thoughts and ineffective stress management during bedtime.

7. Your Heart Rhythm Seems Irregular 

Magnesium is essential for heart rhythm stabilization. A deficiency can gravely disrupt its regularity. Heart arrhythmias, or inconsistent heart rhythms, rank among the gravest outcomes of a magnesium deficiency. A 2023 review explained the pivotal role of magnesium in the heart’s electrical infrastructure, which orchestrates its contractions and relaxations. The study also implied that magnesium is instrumental in vascular health. 

Arrhythmia symptoms encompass chest discomfort, breathlessness, fatigue, anxiety, disorientation, dizziness, or even a sudden blackout. Given their potential escalation to cardiac failure or strokes, it’s crucial to reach out to a healthcare specialist if such signs of magnesium deficiency manifest. 

8. Frequent Constipation And Bowel Movement Irregularities 

Among the signs of magnesium deficiency, are irregular bowel movements. Predominantly, foods abundant in magnesium also possess ample fiber. Consequently, a deficiency in magnesium often indicates a fiber shortage, resulting in digestive inconsistencies. Direct consumption of magnesium can promote regularity; however, excess intake, primarily through supplements, can lead to hurried trips to the restroom. 

Overconsumption can also lead to unintended repercussions, such as altering the absorption rate of certain medications, as mentioned in a 2021 review. The same review also advised individuals with chronic kidney disease (CKD) to approach magnesium supplements with caution, ensuring they receive regular monitoring from healthcare professionals. Before considering any supplementation, including magnesium, consult a healthcare expert or licensed dietitian.

9. You Have Strong Cravings For Chocolate

While most individuals have a fondness for chocolate, you might have intense cravings for it when you’re deficit in magnesium. Suppose you’re persistently driven by a formidable urge to consume chocolate, significantly more than the usual pre-menstrual inclination. In that case, it might be an indicator to increase your magnesium levels. Dark chocolate is a rich source of magnesium. To put it into perspective, a mere ounce can fulfil 12% of daily magnesium necessities, as stated by the USDA. Conversely, craving chocolate can also arise from sleep deprivation or heightened stress. 

10. Your Diet is Rich in Meat and Refined Foods 

As mentioned before, foods abundant in magnesium typically have high fiber content. Genuine fiber sources are exclusive to unprocessed plant-based foods. If your daily intake revolves around meat, dairy, and processed products, there’s a reasonable deficit in magnesium. For instance, a cup of yogurt contains about 11% of the daily magnesium requirement, as per USDA standards. Nonetheless, maximum magnesium value is found in foods like nuts, green vegetables, soy, legumes, whole grains, and fish—items most people often neglect in their diets, leading to signs of magnesium deficiency.

How To Boost Your Magnesium Levels?

Increasing your magnesium intake can also elevate your consumption of other vital nutrients like fiber, healthy fats, and calcium. For those seeking signs of magnesium deficiency, consider incorporating more magnesium-rich foods into your meals. Some top sources of magnesium include:

  • Pumpkin seed kernels: 168 mg
  • Almonds: 80 mg
  • Spinach (½ cup): 78 mg
  • Cashews: 74 mg
  • Black beans (½ cup): 60 mg
  • Edamame (½ cup): 50 mg
  • Dark chocolate: 50 mg
  • Peanut butter (2 Tbsp.): 49 mg
  • Whole-wheat bread (2 slices): 48 mg
  • Soymilk (1 cup): 39 mg

Consider adding nuts to your salad or opt for dark chocolate and nuts as a healthier dessert alternative, and choose whole-wheat bread over refined varieties.

Magnesium is a crucial nutrient vital for optimal bodily functions and yet several people fall short in their required daily magnesium consumption. Emphasizing a diet rich in whole grains, dairy, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds ensures adequate magnesium intake. If there’s a concern about magnesium intake or signs of magnesium deficiency, it’s advisable to consult with a healthcare provider or dietitian for personalized treatment.

Read: The different types of Magnesium and what magnesium does for your body