Signs You Need More Magnesium (and You Probably Do!)

Signs You Need More Magnesium (and You Probably Do!)

If there is one nutrient you are going to add more of to your diet, you might want to make it magnesium. Magnesium plays many key roles in our bodies, and as it turns out, most of us are not getting enough of it.

In this post, we are going to share some common signs with you that you may not be getting sufficient magnesium. But first, let’s talk about how widespread magnesium deficiency is, and why magnesium is so important.

How Common is Magnesium Deficiency?

One thing you need to realize about magnesium levels is that they can be suboptimal at a subclinical level.

That means that your serum levels of magnesium may read as “normal,” yet you might still be getting insufficient magnesium.

This article provides some statistics on low magnesium levels, stating, “In developed countries, older data estimated that the prevalence of marginal magnesium deficit is 15%–20% of the population.15 This corroborates more recent data indicating that around 10%–30% of a given population has subclinical magnesium deficiency based on serum magnesium levels?<0.80?mmol/L.29.”

Think about that for a moment. Up to nearly a third of the population of a developed country may not be getting enough magnesium.

The article also points out that magnesium deficiency may be even more pervasive among patients in certain groups, like those with type-2 diabetes or postmenopausal osteoporosis.

So, even if you get a test that tells you that your magnesium levels are normal, you still might need more magnesium.

What Does Your Body Do With Magnesium?

Why is it important to make sure you are getting optimal levels of magnesium? As explained here by NIH, magnesium helps to regulate blood sugar, blood pressure, nerve function and muscle function. Our bodies also use it as one of the building components of DNA, bone tissue and proteins.

How Much Magnesium Should You Be Getting?

NIH recommends the following magnesium intake:

Birth to 6 months

30 mg

Infants 7–12 months

75 mg

Children 1–3 years

80 mg

Children 4–8 years

130 mg

Children 9–13 years

240 mg

Teen boys 14–18 years

410 mg

Teen girls 14–18 years

360 mg


400–420 mg


310–320 mg

Pregnant teens

400 mg

Pregnant women

350–360 mg

Breastfeeding teens

360 mg

Breastfeeding women

310–320 mg

Signs You May Need More Magnesium

How do you know you are not getting enough magnesium? Following are some common signs that can clue you in.

1. Muscle symptoms.

Twitching and cramping in muscles are common signs of magnesium deficiency. Technically, these symptoms relate to the nervous system, as the theory is that your nerve cells have more calcium inputs in the absence of optimal amounts of magnesium. This leads to the nerves getting overexcited, which produces the tremors, cramps and twitches.

Additionally, when you are not getting enough magnesium, it appears that your muscle cells may also not get sufficient potassium. As a result, your muscles may feel weaker than they should.

2. Arrhythmia

Experiencing an irregular heartbeat may sometimes be associated with magnesium deficiency.

If you have arrhythmia, you may notice symptoms like your heart skipping beats, shortness of breath, dizziness, fatigue, chest pain and even fainting.

3. Elevated blood pressure

If your magnesium levels are low, then your blood pressure may be higher, since you need optimal magnesium levels to regulate your blood pressure.

4. Fatigue

One of the most common complaints among people who are not getting enough magnesium is fatigue. In fact, this may be one of the earliest signs you detect.

5. Osteoporosis

There is a close relationship between magnesium deficiency and osteoporosis. Sometimes, developing osteoporosis is connected to an underlying magnesium deficiency.

This study explains, “Magnesium deficiency contributes to osteoporosis directly by acting on crystal formation and on bone cells and indirectly by impacting on the secretion and the activity of parathyroid hormone and by promoting low grade inflammation.”

6. Depression

Research suggests an association between people who are not getting enough magnesium and depression.

Some people also think anxiety and magnesium status could be linked, but there is less data to go by right now. You can find some research here on magnesium, anxiety and stress.

A quick disclaimer about our list above—these signs and symptoms can have other causes, so it can be hard to pin down whether you have magnesium deficiency or not.

If you have one or more of these signs and symptoms, it is worth trying to increase your magnesium intake to see if you feel better. But if the signs and symptoms do not improve, or if you are experiencing severe or dangerous symptoms, you should consult with a doctor.

7. Migraines

If you have been getting more migraine headaches than usual, sometimes there could be a link to low magnesium levels.

The American Migraine Foundation writes, “There is some evidence that migraineurs may have lower brain magnesium levels either from decreased absorption of it in food, a genetic tendency to low brain magnesium, or from excreting it from the body to a greater degree than non-migraineurs. Studies of migraineurs have found low levels of brain and spinal fluid magnesium in between migraine attacks.”

Much more research is needed to establish the exact relationship between magnesium and migraines. It is worth pointing out that migraines, like magnesium, also can cause muscular symptoms, so that could be another avenue through which the two are connected (i.e. low magnesium exacerbating migraine-induced muscle symptoms). That is hypothetical, however.

Where Can You Get More Magnesium?

If you want to increase your intake of magnesium, you have a couple of options: diet and supplements.

If you are going to take a magnesium supplement, it is recommended that you choose a form that boasts superior absorption, like magnesium citrate. That way, your body derives the maximum benefit from the supplement.

In terms of food sources, consider adding more of the following to your diet: Leafy green vegetables, nuts, legumes, whole grains, fatty fish, tofu, seeds, dark chocolate and bananas. Hopefully as you raise your magnesium status, you will start feeling more like yourself.




Magnesium Citrate is a dietary supplement taken to assist in energy production, support nerve and muscle function and to help reduce stress levels.*