Picture illustrating magnesium deficiency symptoms like fatigue and low energy caused by lack of magnesium.

Magnesium Deficiency – Symptoms, Treatment, and Supplements


Magnesium is an indispensable mineral that plays a role in several physiological processes. In fact, magnesium is the 4th most abundant mineral in the human body.

Unfortunately, many people don't meet their daily requirement for magnesium, leaving them susceptible to deficiency and an array of health problems. In the United States, up to 75% of Americans do not get sufficient amounts of magnesium via their diets.

In this article, we will list some symptoms of magnesium deficiency, which you should pay attention to. After that, we will cover a few natural sources to get magnesium.

Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency

The diagnosis of magnesium deficiency requires two key components:

  • Signs and symptoms that suggest low levels of magnesium
  • Serum magnesium levels that are below normal levels

After exhibiting symptoms of magnesium deficiency, your doctor will take your medical history, then perform a comprehensive physical examination. If they still suspect this condition, they might order some blood tests to confirm the diagnosis.

Here are some signs and symptoms that may indicate magnesium deficiency:

May lead to recurrent headaches

There is some evidence that links magnesium deficiency to migraines and recurrent headaches. However, we can find more solid research on people with chronic headaches who respond well to magnesium supplementation.

For instance, a study found that taking magnesium supplements lowers the incidence of migraines by up to 41%. Magnesium also helps women who experience menstrual-related migraines.

For this reason, some doctors started prescribing magnesium to prevent episodes of migraines. In general, you will have to take between 400 and 500 milligrams of this mineral per day. Some people prefer to take the supplements via the oral route, whereas others opt for the injected form.

Comparing magnesium to other treatments for migraines displays a huge difference. Pharmacological drugs might be effective, but they lead to a number of side effects. This is why they are rarely sustainable. On the other hand, we have magnesium supplements, which serve as a therapeutic and preventive measure against migraine headaches.

Causes muscle tremors

Muscle twitching is a classic symptom of magnesium deficiency. As magnesium plays a crucial role in muscle contraction, its deficiency can lead to tremors, cramps, and even seizures.

Researchers believe that when magnesium levels drop, calcium takes over and enters the neurons in large quantities. As a result, the muscle cells get overly stimulated, which leads to twitching. However, it's important to note that these symptoms can be the result of other factors, including:

  • Stress
  • Excessive caffeine consumption
  • A few medications (e.g., antidepressants)

Increases the risk of mental disorders

Magnesium deficiency can also lead to emotional apathy. Sadly, this could develop into delirium and coma when the deficiency is left untreated.

Some studies linked low levels of magnesium to depression. Moreover, a review of studies concluded that magnesium supplements may help people with anxiety. All in all, magnesium deficiency causes nerve dysfunction and increases the risk of mental disorders.

May lead to fragile bone syndrome

Osteoporosis leads to weak bones and an increased risk of fractures. There are a number of factors that precipitate this condition, including:

  • Advanced age
  • A sedentary lifestyle,
  • Nutritional deficiencies in vitamins D and K

Magnesium deficiency also plays a role in osteoporosis since low levels of magnesium can directly weaken bones and deplete the body of calcium. A study on rats showed that hypomagnesemia reduces bone mineral density. Despite the limited evidence on humans, poor dietary intake of magnesium may decrease the mass of your bones.

Increases the risk of muscle weakness

Fatigue and muscle weakness are also symptoms of magnesium deficiency. If you feel persistently tired and physically exhausted, you may want to consult with your doctor. Fatigue is a nonspecific symptom that can be caused by many conditions, so your doctor will take several factors into consideration before making a diagnosis of magnesium deficiency, which can only be confirmed through blood tests. Muscle weakness is another symptom of low magnesium levels, but it could also result from other disorders.

Causes high blood pressure

In a few animal studies, researchers proved that low levels of magnesium might contribute to high blood pressure. As you may know, uncontrolled blood pressure is a major risk factor for strokes, coronary artery disease, and peripheral artery disease.

While there is a lack of research regarding magnesium deficiency and blood pressure, a number of observational studies found endothelial cells in the blood vessels become more spastic in the absence of magnesium.

Compared to clinical trials, observational studies tend to be less reliable.

Note that reviews demonstrated that taking magnesium supplements may decrease blood pressure. This might not be definitive proof, but it connects magnesium to blood pressure regulation.

How to treat magnesium deficiency naturally

Making sure to incorporate some foods with high levels of magnesium will lower your risk of side effects. Examples include veggies, legumes, whole grains, nuts, and seeds.

With that said, you will most likely require dietary supplements to reverse magnesium deficiency. Speak with your doctor to get tailored medical advice about magnesium deficiency.

Nonetheless, here is a table that demonstrates the best natural sources of magnesium:


Per serving

Percentage of the daily value

Low-fat yogurt (8 oz)

42 mg


Fortified breakfast cereals

40 mg


Oatmeal, instant, 1 packet

36 mg


Peanut butter (2 tablespoons)

49 mg


Avocado (1 cup)

44 mg


Soy milk (1 cup)

61 mg


Kidney beans (1/2 a cup)

35 mg


Banana (1 medium)

32 mg



Including some of these foods in your diet might replenish some of your stores. However, it is often not enough, especially for people with severe deficiencies.

Takeaway message

Magnesium deficiency is extremely common in developed nations. Educating yourself about this condition is crucial to avoid unnecessary complications. Unfortunately, most people cannot get their daily recommended dose of magnesium via their diets. This is why you may need to take magnesium supplements.

Learn more about magnesium supplements by clicking on this link 

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